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Patricia Gibson MP has welcomed new proposals from Ofcom to finally stop mobile phone companies routinely overcharging customers.

Many people take out a mobile phone contract which includes their new handset’s cost in the fixed term deal’s price. The majority of phones are paid off over two years. However, research shows that many customers’ bills are not reduced after the fixed deal ends and therefore continue to pay an extra £22 a month on average towards a phone they have already paid for.

OFCOM, the communications industry regulator, has now announced a consultation on plans to ensure fairer, more transparent prices for mobile customers who pay for handsets and airtime within the same contract. It was hoped that a voluntary agreement could be reached with the industry, but a lack of commitment from mobile phone providers forced OFCOM to propose introducing formal regulation.

Patricia, who repeatedly raised this issue with the regulator, mobile phone companies and the UK Tory Government and who led a Westminster debate on it said:

“It is unacceptable that people unwittingly pay for phones they have already bought. Too many customers are being ripped off in this way, while the big mobile phone companies continue to make excuses to avoid changing this all too common practice.

“Customers need transparency, which can only be achieved if the costs of their phone contract are separated out so they can clearly see what they are paying for and know what deals are value for money. In any other industry, that would not be controversial. It is disappointing, but not surprising, that the phone companies have failed to reach an agreement with OFCOM.

“With more than a third of mobile handset customers staying on their contract after the fixed 24-month period, regulations must be put in place to stop loyal customers being ripped off by their mobile providers. Relying on the goodwill of mobile phone operators has not worked, so I am delighted OFCOM is, at last, stepping up to the plate and bringing forward regulatory proposals.”

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