With mobile phones becoming an absolute must for modern consumers, many people tend to take them for granted and never think twice about buying one. What they are mostly interested in when choosing a new mobile phone are features like Internet connectivity, but it turns out that UK consumers are losing a massive amount of money every year by choosing the wrong tariff, a recent study has suggested.
The research from Carphone Warehouse found that consumers waste £5bn every year because they do not choose their mobile phone contracts more wisely. In fact, almost half of those polled were unaware of the number of free minutes and text messages their contract allows. A surprising proportion of consumers pay monthly, while many have signed contracts with too many free minutes they cannot use.
Overall, each consumer loses an average of £194 per year by not choosing a tariff that corresponds to their need. However, choosing among the wide range of offers sometimes confuses consumers, who often let themselves be persuaded to sign the wrong contract.
Of the total sum wasted, more than £170m comes from additional data charges for online access outside of the contractual usage allowance. Generally, lack of consumer awareness was found to be a key factor, with over 40% of respondents not knowing that logging into Facebook with an app would increase their costs.
According to Andrew Harrison, chief executive of Carphone Warehouse, this problem might become even more pressing in the future as more people choose to convert to smartphones.