MILLIONS of mobile users with EE, O2, Three and Vodafone will have their bills hiked over the next few months but there are ways to cut costs now.
EE is upping prices by 2.7 per cent – or by up to £11.30 a year if you have a £35 a month contract – from March 31.
Alamy EE, O2 and Three are all raising prices in the next few months
While O2, Three and Vodafone are increasing prices by 2.5 per cent – or up to £10.50 a year on a £35 a month contract.
O2 and Vodafone’s hikes come into force from April, while Three’s price changes take effect from May.
With all of these providers, while you can’t ditch your contract penalty-free if you’re mid-term, you can do so if your minimum contract period has ended.
So if you were on a 24-month contract but it’s rolled on after this you’re likely paying too much.
Getty – Contributor EE users could save by cancelling their contract
The Competitions and Markets Authority estimates that loyal mobile users are overpaying by £110 a year when their contract ends.
But you can cut mobile costs now – here’s what you need to know.
1. Cancel your contract and get a Sim-only deal
Cancelling your contract may sound like the obvious solution to cutting bills but it’s surprising how few of us do it.
The problem is, that when your contract comes to an end, you’re usually rolled onto a monthly rolling contract at the same price – but this doesn’t factor in the fact you’ve already paid off the handset.
So if this is you, consider cancelling your contract and instead buying a cheap rolling Sim-only tariff or a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) deal to go with your existing handset.
You can find how much data, minutes and texts you really need by using website BillMonitor.
I was charged £600 a year for my phone, even though my contract had endedDAD-of-two Juan Askew was left £600 out of pocket after Vodafone continued to charge him the full rate for his phone contract for a year after it ran out.The marketing guru from Buckinghamshire took out a 24-month contract for an iPhone 6 back in September 2015 and paid £49.95 a month.
But it wasn’t until December 2018 that he realised his contract had ended even though he was still paying the full-whack.
Juan, 50, has been a customer with the network provider for more than seven years and claims he was never alerted by the company to the fact that his contract was up.
“It made me feel sick when I realised,” Juan told The Sun. “They’ve absolutley fleeced me.
“When I called to complain they agreed to move me on to a Sim-only deal which costs £6.99 a month – so why have I been paying nearly £50 a month when my contract was up?
“Why didn’t Vodafone tell me? They knew it was coming to an end so they must have ignored it.
“Technically I own the handset now so I’ve been paying hundreds more for no reason.
“What’s worse is that they don’t proactively get in touch to discuss your options.
“I want the £600 back. It’s the least they can do.”
A spokesperson for Vodafone said: “From April 2018 we have been proactively contacting all customers when they are approaching the end of their minimum term to let them know their options.
“These include upgrading their device or moving to a Sim-only contract so they are not paying anything for a handset.
“We also offer extra data to those customers who don’t opt for either of these alternatives but instead choose to stay on their contract after the end of their minimum term.”
2. Switch your contract
If you want a shiny new handset and you’re outside of your minimum contract, switch to a new deal.
Use a comparison site approved by telecoms regulator Ofcom to ensure you get the best price.
On its approved list are Bill Monitor, Ctrilo, HandsetExpert, and MobilePhones.co.uk.
PA:Press Association O2 customers should check if they can save by switching
If you want to stick with your provider or can’t leave penalty free because you’re mid-contract then consider haggling.
Ring up and tell your company that you’re unhappy with the price hikes and as a loyal customer you’d like a better deal.
Go in armed with the top deals offered by other providers and threaten to leave if they can’t match the price.
According to consumer group MoneySavingExpert.com, EE users report a seven in 10 (77 per cent) success rate when haggling with the provider.
While, Vodafone users have a three in four (76 per cent) chance of negotiating their price.
One Vodafone user tweeted that she’d saved 25 per cent on her contract by threatening to leave.
Alamy Three customers may be able to haggle for a cheaper contract
Some users of EE and O2 have also reported their successfull haggling on social media.
One EE customer tweeted: “You have to tell them, they’ll keep you on the same contract price otherwise and keep you paying silly money.
“Call when contract is up to haggle the cost if you want a better deal or just leave for another network.”
Another wrote: “I’m in the middle of nowhere and O2 rarely let me down… Haggle with them and you should be able to get a decent rate.”
Mobile users report success haggling
More on bills
But mobile providers aren’t the only ones to be upping prices. Sky has announced increases of £42 a year for millions of customers from April 1.
But you can save hundreds with our top tips to cut the cost of Sky.
Advert for mobile network Three takes a look back at what history could have been like with a phone
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