Contracts cost 130 per cent more than necessary, says Citizens Advice


The advice group conducted over 350 shops for its research in August

Mobile phone customers are paying more than double what they need to on contracts, according to Citizens Advice.

The consumer advice group conducted 350 mystery shops over the phone, on the internet and in actual stores throughout August. It’s research involved Carphone Warehouse and all four UK operators. The shoppers did not state any preference for a phone and requested a monthly tariff of 250 minutes, 250 texts and 200MB of data.

It claims to have found major variations on contracts offered. Average monthly tariffs recommended were £23.16 – more than double the most suitable £9.89 tariff it found. EE, Vodafone and Three offered pricing between £10 and £50, whilst prices from O2 ranged between £11 and £46.

Citizens Advice said there weren’t any cases of mis-selling, but claimed there was a strong focus on handset sales. Most combine the handset cost with the service and make it impossible for customers to work out how much they are paying for a phone, according to Citizens Advice.

Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: “Mobile phone customers are being saddled with unnecessarily expensive contracts.

“While we didn’t find evidence of mis-selling, sales pitches were focussed overwhelmingly on phone brands which meant not enough attention was paid to tariffs – which are very important. The focus on handset brands mean people are essentially taking out loans on expensive phones – but without being able to work out the details of the loan or whether it’s value for money.