Mo­bile net­works ‘rip you off’ af­ter your con­tract ends

Computer Active (UK) - - News -

Voda­fone, EE and Three have been ac­cused of rip­ping off cus­tomers by con­tin­u­ing to charge them for phones even af­ter the cost has been paid off.

Re­search from Cit­i­zens Ad­vice found that cus­tomers who don’t sign up to a new con­tract are pay­ing an av­er­age £22 ex­tra a month. Peo­ple aged over 65 were the most likely to be hit, with 23 per cent stay­ing on their con­tract af­ter the fixed pe­riod ends.

Gil­lian Guy, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Cit­i­zens Ad­vice, said: “The cost of hand­sets are hid­den within some mo­bile-phone con­tracts giv­ing phone providers a way to ex­ploit their cus­tomer”.

The ma­jor­ity of those whose con­tract in­cludes the cost of the phone pay it off over two years. Cit­i­zens Ad­vice called on phone providers to re­duce monthly bills for cus­tomers who stay on their con­tract to re­flect the fact they have paid for the phone.

It also said net­works should tell cus­tomers when they have paid for their phone, an ap­peal backed by the Gov­ern­ment. Min­is­ter for Dig­i­tal Matt Han­cock said: “It’s only right that mo­bile cus­tomers should be no­ti­fied when they have paid off the price of their hand­set, and that their fu­ture bills should re­flect this”.

Guy added that providers should make it eas­ier for cus­tomers to com­pare prices by stat­ing the cost of the phone separately from the tar­iff cost (data and min­utes).

All three net­works de­fended their poli­cies. Voda­fone said that “wher­ever pos­si­ble” it gives cus­tomers near­ing the end of their con­tract sev­eral op­tions, in­clud­ing a SIM- only plan.

Three said it makes the con­tract’s end-date “very clear” when cus­tomers sign up, while EE claimed that separat­ing the phone and tar­iff costs some­times re­sults in cus­tomers pay­ing more.

Cus­tomers can ask for com­pen­sa­tion only if it wasn’t made clear in their con­tract that they would con­tinue pay­ing the same price when it ends.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.