Three companies were asked to provide automatic discounts on contracts after the expiry of the minimum term and to minimize the overpayments of customers.
Most mobile subscriptions include a minimum amount of airtime and listener component – usually 24 months. After this period, customers have theoretically paid off the handset component.
However, the operators continue to charge the same amount until the customer decides that they want a new handset or a new, usually cheaper rate.
EE, O2 and Vodafone have promised to take action by February next year, but Three has refused to do so. According to Charity Citizens Advice, this means a "loyalty penalty" for up to 210,000 subscribers. The average overpayment is between £ 10 and £ 13 per month and amounts to a maximum of £ 32.4 million per year.
"It's unacceptable that Three still thinks it can punish its loyal customers with over one million pounds every month," said Gillian Guy, CEO of Citzens Advice. "She can not put her head in the sand anymore.
While Three claims in its ads that phones are good, its customers can not compare their experiences to anything other than their provider refusing to end this practice. We are pleased that other mobile operators have announced that they will act, but they must now keep their promises and put them into effect by early next year.
"All eyes will be on three to see if that's right and to eliminate the loyalty penalty."
Three's position is that arbitrary discounts are not in the best interests of consumers, and automatic end-of-service alerts are preferred to help users find the best deal for their needs.
A three-spokesman said, "The current proposals are not in the best interest of the customers. Three has some of the lowest prices and unsurpassed offers in the market. Customers are always our top priority and will continue to do so. Applying an arbitrary discounts on tariffs will not effectively address the basics and help them find a contract that best suits their needs as well as fair prices.
"As a leader in easy switching in the wireless industry, we're working hard to create a marketplace where customers are thrilled and satisfied by pushing for easier switching, unlocking all handsets, end-of-life notifications, and best-in-class bargaining. "
Earlier this year, Three was one of the signatories of an Ofcom pledge to put fairness at the center of their business.
"Fairness to Customer" commitments include the promise to provide the customer with the most appropriate offer for their needs and to provide clear information before, after and during a contract.
Vulnerable customers or customers whose circumstances change are treated fairly. Operators have also agreed to fix any issues and give customers the opportunity to terminate their contract if they do not receive the service they sign up for.
In addition, all signatories have stated that they will not impose any obstacles on customers wishing to change provider or service.
Citizens Advice claims that the continued imposition of the "loyalty penalty" means that Three disagrees with this promise.
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