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Britons who plead ignorance when they rack up thousands of pounds of overseas data charges have only themselves to blame and should pay up and shut up, according to the overwhelming majority of Britons.

For years, newspapers have filled their personal finance sections with reports of consumers who have been served a hefy bill after downloading and streaming lots of content while abroad.

Perhaps mindful of the glare of bad publicity being on them, networks named in the news items have often opted to simply drop the data charges altogether or ask those affected to pay a much reduced fee.

But today it seems that after years of warnings in the press and the introduction of data caps that users must actively opt out of with a text message, Britons are now much less sympathetic to the ‘victims’ of overseas data charges than you might expect.

The change in sentiment was reflected in a survey of 283 uSwitch Tech users, in which almost 7 out of 10 (67%) said that ignorance of the high fees is no longer a valid excuse.

The findings come after a separate study found that England fans at the World Cup in Brazil could face ruinous bills of £4,859 if they opt out of automatic mobile data limits imposed by most networks.

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Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch, said: “Data caps that most networks will automatically opt customers into are very easy to opt out of by text – and it can be tempting to do so, particularly if footie fans get carried away by World Cup fever and want to send a picture message via Whatsapp or Skype friends and family from the stadium.

“However tempted you are, don’t opt out. Every megabyte costs an average of £5, which could result in a huge post-holiday bill. Instead, England fans should keep data roaming switched off and make the most of free Wi-Fi in hotels and cafes.

“The other option is to buy a local SIM card, put it in your phone and top it up once you get to Brazil.

“Finally, give your network a call before you leave as they may be able to advise a bundle that’ll keep a lid on costs.”

Consumers’ shifting sympathies towards 'victims' of high overseas data prices are also likely to have been influenced by regulatory changes that have dramatically cut data costs across the EU. However, high prices remain in place in many locations outside The Continent.

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