Mobile phone operators overcharging for handsets

30 October 2017

An issue that the Panel have raised concerns about is the unfair practice by mobile phone operators of continuing to charge customers the same tariff after they have paid off their handset – when that tariff included the cost of the handset (see our response to Ofcom’s consultation on the Review of the General Conditions of Entitlement (PDF 318KB, opens in a new window)). So we were very pleased to see Citizens Advice champion this. They revealed that customers of Vodafone, EE and Three who choose to stay on the same phone plan after their fixed deal ends do not get their bills reduced. These customers are paying on average an extra £22 a month for a phone they have already paid off. Citizens Advice’s analysis revealed that the extra cost can be as much as £38 a month on average for contracts with handsets such as the iPhone 7 128/256GB, the Galaxy S8 and the Xperia XZ Premium.

36 per cent of people with a handset-inclusive mobile phone contract stayed on it beyond the fixed period, with 19 per cent staying in the same contract for more than six months afterwards.

The Panel will be pursuing this issue further with Ofcom.

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