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Only 1 in 4 read the terms of their mobile phone contract

  • Only a quarter of mobile customers read the terms and conditions when they signed their contract
  • Half say they definitely didn't, while a further quarter say they don't remember

15 September 2015 Only one in four mobile customers read the terms and conditions when they purchased their contract or pay-as-you-go deal, according to a survey of 2,500 UK customers carried out by broadband, TV and mobile comparison site Cable.co.uk.

Nearly half (46%) of mobile customers surveyed admitted they didn't read the small print when purchasing a new mobile deal and a quarter (26%) couldn't recall if they had or hadn't.

Commenting on the results, Cable.co.uk's consumer telecoms expert Dan Howdle said:

“It’s human nature to assume nothing is going to go wrong. And that’s really at the heart of why we don’t fuss too much over what’s likely to happen if it does.

“That’s what the small print of your average mobile phone contract really breaks down to: When things go wrong, are things generally in my favour, or in the favour of my mobile provider?

“Because those who don’t take the time to understand the terms of their contract properly can often find themselves without a paddle when their service is disrupted, they are charged more than they expected, or they wish to move to another provider.

“No matter how much it is in our interests, we’re all a bit lazy when it comes to reading T&Cs. We need to change that. We need to alter our perception of them as mumbo-jumbo-laden paperwork and instead perceive them as what they are: the means by which our provider protects itself."

5 things people should look out for in the small print of their mobile contract

1.Contract length – how long are you tied in?

2.What happens when you exceed your limits?

3.What happens when you go abroad?

4.Does your provider charge for things like voicemail and call waiting?

5.What are the penalties for early contract exit?

Study results

When you took out your current mobile phone contract / bought your current Pay As You Go SIM card, did you read the terms and conditions?

The past: the birth of mobile internet

Notes to editors

  • If using our research and/or commentary we would deeply appreciate a link either to this page or to https://www.cable.co.uk


What is Cable?

Cable is a broadband, TV and phone comparator, unique news source and consumer champion.

Dan Howdle has been plugged into the attitudes of UK broadband, TV and mobile customers for over two decades, running research fieldwork both nationally and internationally on behalf of the biggest players in the industry. Dan is now consumer telecoms analyst at Cable, as well as more formally operating in the role of its Director of Communications and Content.

An experienced broadcaster, commentator and writer, Dan has appeared on BBC TV and radio, ITV, Sky and in the national papers. Dan has advised Ofcom on issues surrounding service quality, administered Cable’s Broadband Service Quality Awards and sat on the panel of judges for the Internet Service Providers Association annual awards.

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