After research showed three quarters of mobile phone users waste £200 a year by being on the wrong contract, some believe telecoms companies must have taken lessons from the banks in how to rip off customers.
The Billmonitor mobile report analysed 28,000 phone bills and found the vast majority of customers waste money on a tariff that is too large for them. Many will have been wheedled into it by sales staff.
The easiest way to slash the cost of a contract is to ensure you only pay for what you need. Compare a few months’ bills and work out what you use. That way, you won’t waste cash on 200 texts or unlimited data that you never use.
The eye-watering penalties mobile companies charge for breaking a contract mean it’s rarely worth trying to do so, but if you’re coming to the end of a deal, some quick research could save you hundreds.
Enter your phone number of the Bill Monitor website (billmonitor.com) and it will analyse your usage and automatically send you the cheapest network deals. Alternatively, on the Omio (omio.com) and MoneySupermarket (moneysupermarket.com) sites, enter your desired number of minutes and texts to find the cheapest tariffs.
For light users who don’t want a new handset, “pay as you go” or Sim-only deals tend to work out cheaper. Once you’ve found the best rate, it’s worth going back to your existing provider to see if they’ll match it and save the hassle of moving.
You need to play the system though: tell the company you’re calling for your “Pac code” - which you’ll need to retain your number under a new provider’s contract. Then your call will be switched to a department called “retentions” who have access to the best deals, in a bid to try to stop customers from leaving.
If you do decide to switch, check the signal strength at home or wherever you use your mobile most: the telecoms firms all have maps indicating their coverage, or ask a friend on that network to check it out.