EE, Three and Vodafone accused of overcharging customers up to £38 per month


Vodafone was found to be the highest charger followed by EE and Three

EE, Three and Vodafone have been accused of overcharging customers on monthly contracts up to £38 per month, according to the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

The bureau said in a report released today (Oct 20) customers continue to be charged the same price for their contracts, which includes the cost of devices, with no notification to change price plans.

Vodafone was found to be the highest charger followed by EE and Three (see chart right).

The CAB examined 12 pay-monthly handset inclusive contracts across EE, Three and Vodafone, and compared SIM-only contracts.

Smartphones analysed include high range handsets including the: iPhone 8, Galaxy S8 and Xperia XZ Premium, which can rack up to £38 in overcharge.

People aged over 65 are more likely to overpay on the contract, 23 per cent in that bracket say in the same contract for 12 months beyond the end of it, only 13 per cent of under 65s stay on for 12 more months.

Overall, 36 per cent of people with a handset-inclusive mobile phone contract stayed in the same contract after the end of their fixed deal period, with 19 percent staying in the same contract for over six months afterwards.

Follow our lead

O2 already separates tariff and device pricing. Chief marketing officer Nina Bibby said: “Forcing customers to continue to pay for a phone they already own not only hits their pockets but undermines trust and the reputation of the industry.

“We’d like to see the other operators review their position and follow our lead.”

An EE spokesperson said customers are notified 45 days before contract end dates, and given the option to move to a SIM-only plan.

“Separating phone and tariff doesn’t always represent the best deal for consumers, it can sometimes result in them paying more, and EE customers have the flexibility to choose the tariff and upfront phone cost that’s right for them.

“We send our customers regular updates about their options before and after they reach the end of their contract, and the vast majority of our customers upgrade to a new phone or move to a SIM-only plan near the end of their contract.”

A Three spokesperson said end dates are highlighted very clear” to new customers. “Whenever a new customer signs with us, we make the end-date of the contract term very clear.

“We encourage all Three customers to contact us if they would like to change their plan at the end of their fixed term deal”.

Mobile News has contacted Vodafone for comment.