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Mobile users frittering away billions by being on wrong contracts

A new piece of research from consumer watchdog Which has found that UK mobile users are throwing away billions every year by being on the wrong contract.

The wrong contract meaning one which doesn’t tally with their actual usage levels in terms of minutes, texts or data, and Which reckons that the exact figure being frittered away annually is £5.42 billion.

That’s either folks who have an allowance which they’re not using much of – so they could switch to a cheaper plan and save – or at the other end of the scale, those who exceed their allowance and end up paying extra charges.

72 per cent of mobile owners could save £159 per year, Which reckons, by switching to a contract which better fits their actual needs (and another 5 per cent on top of that could save at least £50).

42 per cent of those Which surveyed thought there was a better tariff out there for them, but many don’t take the opportunity to look into changing, with 48 per cent of respondents never having switched their network.

Only 28 per cent of those questioned said they actually trusted mobile phone services.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which, said: “It’s shocking that consumers are overpaying by billions of pounds for mobile phone contracts that just don’t suit their needs. Mobile phone companies must do more to help people get the best deal, making switching hassle free and ensuring that pricing is transparent. If we don’t see mobile firms making voluntary improvements then we will ask the regulator Ofcom to step in.”

Which has called on mobile networks to unlock handsets automatically for no cost, and to show the monthly cost of the phone separate from the price of the tariff, among other measures. It seems unlikely, though, that we'll see voluntary action forthcoming...