As the Government hosts a summit with mobile providers, we’re calling on ministers to get tough with an industry that’s been allowed to confuse consumers for too long. Are you paying too much for your contract?
Ministers today met with mobile phone industry executives to discuss concerns over pricing, whether it’s confusing tariffs or above inflation price rises. And we have some advice of our own.
Haggling for a better deal
According to our research, four in 10 people have resorted to haggling to get a better mobile deal. Nearly nine in 10 were able to negotiate a better deal, saving more than £100 a year or getting extras like a new phone or free minutes.
With mobile providers offering much better deals to customers who are savvy enough to haggle, why can’t they offer more transparent and competitive deals to everyone all of the time?
When it comes to switching, another of our surveys found that a quarter of people tried to leave a landline, mobile, broadband or pay TV contract early in the last five years. Yet, only seven in ten were successful and four in ten mobile phone customers who left had to pay a penalty charge.
Transparent and competitive mobile prices
So, we want the mobile providers and Government to introduce the following measures without further delay, and without waiting for possible new EU regulations:
- Easier switching with your SIM unlocked for free once the handset is paid off, and no penalties for leaving a contract after six months.
- Simpler mobile tariffs with handset and service charges separated, and the handset costs automatically dropped once paid off, so consumers are not overpaying.
- Caps on bills set by consumers to give them control over how much they spend and prevent bill shock.
Following the success of our Fixed Means Fixed campaign, Ofcom ruled that you can exit your mobile contract without penalty if your provider hikes contract prices. However, we think you should be free to leave any mobile contract after six months, even without a price rise, to put competitive pressure on providers to offer customers the best possible deal.
The Government must get tough with telecoms providers and help put the millions of consumers who are struggling with the cost of living in control of their mobile bills.