Mobile phone customers who find that they are locked into contracts sold on the back of exaggerated claims on features or coverage are being “taken to the cleaners” when they try to exit from such deals.
That is the view from Citizens Advice who have examined over 21,000 mobile phone issues they have had to deal with over the last year. The charity are saying that there is now confusion over who should be held responsible when deals go wrong.
In the study it was found that average mobile phone contracts are most often for periods of two years – and that 39% of customer complaints are about faulty phones, with other complaints include poor service, misleading sales practices or bill disputes.
However, when dissatisfied customers try to exit the deals they are being faced with crippling bills as they are forced to compensate phone companies for quitting their contracts early – often as high as £800.
Citizens Advice charity chief executive Gillian Guy said: “Consumers can be taken to the cleaners for ending a mobile phone contract that does not deliver.
“Consumers should only be paying for the service they receive – for customers to be guaranteed a good deal from their mobile phone providers, clear minimum standards of service and better contract exit rights are needed.
“A cap to stop customers being told to pay thousands pound phone bills run up by thieves is also long overdue.
“Despite important work by OFCOM and Trading Standards to tackle poor practice, people are still being passed from pillar to post when things go wrong.”