Our latest research has found that mobile customers are collectively losing out on billions of pounds a year by being on the wrong contract for their usage. When was the last time you switched mobile contract?
As I’m sure most people who have recently gone through it will agree, changing your mobile contract can be a pain. And with two year minimum contracts now standard, there’s even more pressure to make the right decision.
This shows in the number of people actually switching – nearly half of people on a mobile contract have never switched. Of those that have switched, four in 10 switched over four years ago.
That means there are hell of a lot of people on contracts that aren’t right for them. In fact, we’ve worked out that mobile users are collectively losing out on £5.4bn a year, either by paying for texts, minutes and data they don’t use or paying extra charges because their phone package is too small. That’s £159 per person, or enough to subscribe to Netflix for more than two years!
Switching mobile phone contracts
Even when people know they’re on the wrong deal, they’re reluctant to switch due to the many barriers in the way. For example, mobile companies don’t always notify you when your contract’s about to end, they require 30 days’ notice if you want to switch and charge you to unlock handsets you’ve already paid for.
Then there are all the different tariffs available. Do I want to pay more for the phone upfront, or pay nothing and pay a higher monthly tariff? And exactly how much are you charging me for that new iPhone 6 compared to the cost of my minutes, text and data? It’s all just so confusing.
Part of the problem is that we’re never really comparing all the deals. Most of us are offered a deal by our existing provider in return for our loyalty, but there’s no real way of knowing whether someone else is being offered an even better deal somewhere else. And the system is set up so that you have to do all the leg work; cancel your old contract, get your handset unlocked, get your PAC, time the new contract so you don’t lose service…
This is why we want the system to change – we want Ofcom to introduce a system where the provider you’re moving to is responsible for the switch. This is similar to how it works with banks and energy companies.
The mobile industry needs to change
We also want mobile companies to make voluntary changes. They should:
- Notify you a month before your contract ends so you have time to look for better deals.
- Give you your average usage stats so you know whether the deal you’ve spotted is right for you.
- Show the monthly cost of the handset separately from the service charge.
- And automatically unlock handsets for free.
These are steps mobile companies need to take if they’re going to restore consumer trust, which is currently lower than the banks! It’s a wake up call the industry cannot afford to ignore. Nor can they ignore your support for our campaign.