Some U.K. smartphone users continue to get charged for phones that were already paid off

Some U.K. smartphone users continue to get charged for phones that were already paid off
Some U.K. smartphone users could be overpaying for their carrier's service according to Citizen's Advice. The latter is a network of 316 independent charities throughout the United Kingdom that advise people about money, legal and consumer issues. According to the agency, carriers like Vodafone, EE and Three are continuing to charge for the cost of a handset even after the expense of the phone has already been covered.

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."

source: TechRadar

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10 Comments

1. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"However, there is no indication that U.K. carriers plan on making any such adjustment soon.," Considering that the UK carriers are benefiting from such a thing, they'll take their time before making an adjustment anytime soon. In fact, they'll probably only do the adjustment when in treat of lawsuits.

2. Nopers unregistered

Obviously, and when it gets overturned by law they'll advertise it as if it's something they wanted to do because they care about consumers like when the EU forced carriers to eradicate roaming charges.

3. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2277; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

Didn't know UK customers use dollar notes

4. sabretigger

Posts: 80; Member since: Sep 15, 2012

erm, customers sign up for a 2 year contract and they know well enough that they'll continue paying the same monthly amount when it's all over. the phone companies do their bit by encouraging and of course selling new phones and renewing contracts for these people, even before it is up. if the customer chooses not to renew their contract when it's expired, then that's their f**king problem. the usual dumb s**ts giving consumers a bad name.

8. scarface21173

Posts: 631; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

02 refresh have had the plan that after the phone is paid off you only pay for mins texts and data, in other words your bill is halved for a few yrs now. Looks like the rest will follow.

10. T12RYK

Posts: 849; Member since: Jun 10, 2011

Apparently the 36% don't know that! You really are MIND NUMBINGLY STUPID!! Its not made clear when signing up for a two year contract and towards the contact end date, you get calls to upgrade but there is no mention of downgrading to a SIM only plan. It the networks that are giving everyone a bad name for being greedy sh**ts, they should make the customer aware of ALL their options!

5. wesley.

Posts: 206; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

If that happens, you're supposed to switch to a sim only contract. Poor people that can't remember to do that.

6. slannmage

Posts: 289; Member since: Mar 26, 2013

This has always been the way, why are people surprised? Your contract is up, you either upgrade or keep your phone and change your plan for a cheaper one. The problem is people are idiots.

9. HansP

Posts: 542; Member since: Oct 16, 2011

It's not so much that people are surprised, it's more that network providers are notorious for selling their things with the options hidden and always pushing a bit beyond what's acceptable to earn that extra cash. Like, them pretending there's an special overseas cost for their own company when you use your phone abroad. Fees they've created themselves. Your bank doesn't keep charging you the same amount on your bank account when your house is paid off, so why should these be allowed to do that? To anyone arguing it's avoided by simply switching to a SIM-only contract at the end of the period, last time I did that I was double-charged one month plus slapped with a massive data usage fee on the day I switched, because "those were the rules". I had to fight with Three for two months to get most of that money back.

7. dcwt2010

Posts: 71; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

Networks, not carriers!! Yes, networks will try to drain you for every last penny but that's just business. I hate the fact it takes at least half an hour of phone time wasting to get my PAC for cancellation; that's worth sorting out. This is just helping the stupid people who don't keep track of their contract periods.

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