Mobile contracts are failing us all

mobile Citizens Advice aren't happy with our mobile contracts, calling for a big overhaul of the rules that surround them, noting that the state of things can take people "to the cleaners".

They compiled a report called 'Calling The Shots' (nothing to do with the Girls Aloud track, sadly) and they found that consumers are facing charges of (up to) £800 to leave maximum two-year contracts that fail to live up to the promises they made.

CA looked at 21,500 mobile phone complaints, and found that the most common problems involved faulty phones (39%), bad service and leaving contracts (17%), misleading sales practices (16%) and disputes over their bills (12%).

The charity pointed out that most contracts don't specify a reasonable minimum service one can expect from their phone, which means that people then don't have the right to cancel contracts that haven't delivered what has been advertised. The noted toward consumers who had paid for contracts that included 3G or 4G, but couldn't get coverage for them, and if they wanted out, they were asked to pay-up the full contract or pay for the remainder of as much as £800 to end it prematurely.

It was also found that some have been charged the full amount of their contract to cancel it before they'd even got their hands on a phone.

Citizens Advice were also unimpressed that the Government and providers haven't put a cap on bills that have been run-up by thieves, while also noting that a lot of customers don't know who to go to if their phone is faulty (it is the retailer's legal responsibility, if you didn't know).

Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: "Consumers can be taken to the cleaners for ending a mobile phone contract that doesn't deliver. Consumers should only be paying for the service they receive. For consumers to be guaranteed a good deal from their mobile phone providers, clear minimum standards of service and better contract exit rights are needed."

"Nobody should be left to fall through gaps in regulation, so the Government should now look into simplifying how mobile phone users can get redress when they are treated badly."

1 comment

  • Jimbo
    I'm sick of companies acting like the T&C's they drafted, that form the basis of the contract you signed, is the actual law. And tough if you disagree, you signed agreeing to the conditions. Yes, that may be so, but many of their terms fall foul of statutory legislation such as the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977, and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations, 1999 They may disagree with your argument, but the final decision in such cases is not theirs to rule on- unless they'd also like to usurp the authority of the courts.

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