Some U.K. smartphone users continue to get charged for phones that were already paid off
U.K. consumers can pay a monthly rate for a 2-year fixed term contract. The monthly charge includes the cost of data and the price of a phone. After two-years go by, the subscriber can keep the same contract, start a new contract, or switch to another carrier. The 36% who stay with the same contract (19% of them stick around for an extra 6-months) are the ones paying more than they should.
The average subscriber is overpaying by £22 ($29.02 USD) a month. The overpayments are higher for those who paid off more expensive phones like the Apple iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S8. According to Citizen's Advice, owners of those two devices are paying £38 a month ($50.13 USD) more than they should. And those purchasing the 256GB Apple iPhone 8 could end up overpaying by £46 ($60.68 USD) monthly.
Citizen's Advice wants U.K. carriers to clearly indicate on an invoice how much is being charged for data and voice minutes, and how much the carrier is billing for the phone. It also would like to see the cost of a phone automatically deducted from a customer's bill once it is paid off. However, there is no indication that U.K. carriers plan on making any such adjustment soon. A spokesman for carrier Three said, "Whenever a new customer signs with us, we make the end-date of the contract term very clear."