Charging a mobile phone in a cafe? Pay up, says Vienna owner

The Hundertwasser House landmark, an apartment house designed by artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, with the "Terrassencafe im Hundertwasserhaus" is seen in Vienna Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Terrassencafe im Hundertwasserhaus is located in one of Vienna's most recognizable landmarks, the Hundertwasser House

The days of charging your phone for free may be gone, at least in one cafe in Vienna.

Tired of clients plugging their devices for hours, cafe owner Galina Pokorny now charges €1 ($1.06; £0.85) for those who take too long charging.

"Tourists - always electricity, electricity, electricity. Sorry but who is going to pay me for it?" she said.

A recharge during a 15-minute coffee is still fine. More than that will add to the bill.

The fee applies also to laptops and tablets and it is multiplied by the number of devices being recharged.

"I run a cafe, not an internet cafe," she was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.

"It's getting more and more extreme. People come and think everything is accessible and free... You don't even open your eyes in the morning for free."

Ms Pokorny thinks hers was the first cafe to introduce such a fee in Austria, which came in last year - it only came to light this week when a newspaper reported on the "bizarre bill" containing the "electricity" charge.

And while some say the fee is fair, others may argue its cost is too high. Last year, technology website ZDNet calculated how much it costs to charge a smartphone during a year: $0.84 if you're in the US (£0.67, €0.79).

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But Ms Pokorny is far from being the only one angry at customers who consume more in internet and electricity than coffee.

Some owners also complain about the poor atmosphere created by busy professionals absorbed in their phones, rather than friend and family get-togethers.

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Media captionIs the party over for free wi-fi in cafes?

So to avoid being used as office spaces, some cafes have hidden plug sockets, introduced a limit on table usage and restricted wi-fi availability - some have even dropped it altogether.

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