News

Mike Phillips Fairer

Three quarters of islanders surveyed think mobile handset charges after the contract has ended are unfair

73% of mobile phone customers in the Isle of Man think it is unfair to be charged for their phone after their contract has expired, a survey has found.

Continuing to charge customers for their mobile handset after the expiry of the contract term was condemned by Citizens Advice in 2017 and Sure commissioned an independent online market research survey to gauge islanders’ awareness of the practice in May this year.

The survey found that the majority of islanders are aware that their monthly cost is broken down between their handset and their minutes, texts and data package; however there was less awareness of charges for handsets upon the expiry of a contract.

57% of Manx Telecom customers are not aware that they will continue to be charged after their contract has expired. Sure does not charge customers for their handset after the term of their contract has expired but 42% of Sure customers surveyed were unaware that they’d automatically stop being charged.

Sure’s chief executive Mike Phillips said that more has to be done to increase awareness of the practice: “We can see from this survey that awareness levels of contract charges and practices on the Isle of Man are pretty high, which indicates we have some well-informed consumers on the island.

“However, it’s also clear that more needs to be done to help islanders understand what happens at the end of their contracts and that they may well still be paying for a mobile handset that they thought they’d finished paying off long ago.

“As Citizens Advice has recognised, this practice is clearly unfair and exploits loyal customers. Sure changed its mobile plans more than a year ago to ensure customers wouldn’t continue to be charged and we’d encourage other providers in the market to do the same in the interests of customers.”

All of Sure’s mobile plans since the start of 2017 automatically move pay monthly mobile customers to a SIM-only plan after their contract ends so customers won’t ever be overcharged for their handset. The small number of customers on legacy plans which didn’t do this have been moved to new-style mobile plans this month.

The results of the survey are available here: www.sure.com/fairer

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