93% of Brits don’t know their telecom provider can keep paying them for a device they bought.
Some mobile phone companies combine the two components, while others sell them separately.
Neither is an issue until the device is paid off, which typically takes between 12 and 24 months.
What occurs thereafter depends on your agreement.
If you purchase your device and airtime separately, you have the option to only pay for airtime, thereby reducing your monthly bill, or your provider may automatically switch you to an airtime-only tariff.
If your tariff includes device and airtime fees, you may have to buy a phone you already possess.
The majority of individuals who overcharge do so for no longer than six months, though many do so for years.
Bundled packages are cheaper than split tariffs, but users must verify their monthly payments after their gadget is paid off.
According to Virgin Media O2, this affects millions of individuals annually.
Citizens Advice reports that 58% of the average monthly mobile bill is comprised of the cost of the device.
In other terms, once the device is paid off, more than half of millions of Britons’ phone bills represent overcharging.
Virgin Media O2’s chief commercial officer, Gareth Turpin, stated, ‘We’re calling time on this £500 million problem and imploring the industry to step up for consumers and end the smartphone scam.
In 2020, Ofcom introduced new regulations mandating that mobile phone, broadband, and pay-TV providers inform customers when their current contract is expiring and how much they could save by switching to a new plan.
Ernest Doku, a telecommunications expert at the comparison website Uswitch.com, stated, “VMO2’s research on handset overpayments sheds light on a problem we’ve been discussing for years and that is now more important than ever.”
Consumers must be educated about their contracts and their options when they expire.
A spokesperson for BT, which also owns EE, stated, “We find these claims from Virgin Media O2 to be misleading and unnecessary – designed to chase headlines at a time when consumers require assurance that the industry is transparent.”