Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
1:00 AM 27th April 2024

Clearing Up Phone Contract Confusion

spusu breaks down phone contract jargon
Many things puzzle Brits — be it our ever-changing weather, why queuing isn’t as common abroad or what to reply when someone greets you with ‘you alright?’. But phone contracts should not be a cause of confusion. Over 98 per cent of the UK population own a mobile, but over two-thirds of us either don’t read or don’t understand our contracts, according to University of Law (ULaw) research. Here, mobile operator spusu explores the confusion surrounding overly complex contracts and offers a guide to help you understand phone contract jargon.

Photo: spusu
Photo: spusu
Getting to grips with your phone contract terms and conditions can allow you to save money by avoiding hidden costs and price hikes. This is especially true for those on rolling contracts, who have more freedom to switch providers if they find a better deal. Research from savings account provider Raisin UK reveals that as a nation we waste over £2.2 billion each year by not switching contracts from the ‘Big Four’ providers of Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three. The likelihood of overpaying is high, with these operators currently facing a £3.3bn class action lawsuit for ‘loyalty penalties’, wherein new clients are offered better terms than existing customers.

However, the issue isn’t just that Brits don’t bother to look at the contracts, but that when they do, they can’t wrap their heads around them. ULaw’s research also discovered that 55 per cent of us read the T&Cs to an extent, but don’t always understand what we’re signing up to. You may be unable to leave your current contract right now, but taking time to understand the small print now can help you when it comes to choosing your next plan.

Airtime and device plans

When taking out a new mobile contract, it is likely you will be quoted a singular monthly payment figure. These bundle contracts include the cost of the phone itself, known as a device plan, and the price of texts, minutes and data, known as an airtime plan.

Historically, bundle plans without this breakdown have been used by providers to swindle customers on rolling contracts into spending on a device they have already paid off. However, after a 2018 Citizen’s Advice Bureau complaint against the Big Four, mobile operators made a voluntary commitment to be more transparent. This means that when selecting your new plan, you can now ask for a split contract that details exactly how much you are paying for each part.

For those who are already locked into a contract, check the T&Cs for mention of airtime and device plans, as it may be cheaper to opt for a SIM-only deal when your current plan ends.

PAC and STAC codes

If you do decide to switch, it’s important to understand how to do it. Firstly, most providers require 30 days’ notice that you intend to leave, so don’t be tempted just to cancel the direct debit.

After you’ve given your notice, the process is very simple. For those who have stayed with the same company for several years without checking their contract’s updated T&Cs, the switching process may seem daunting and time-consuming. However, in 2019, Ofcom made switching easier and more accessible to hard-of-hearing customers by removing the need to call the mobile operator.

Ofcom’s text-to-switch service allows customers to change providers by sending a free text. To keep the same number when you switch, you will need a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC), so you should text ‘PAC’ to 65075. If you’d like a new number, you will need to request a Service Termination Authorisation Code by texting ‘STAC’ to 75075.

When choosing a new provider, avoid getting bogged down in confusing contracts. Spusu aims to be simple and fair, meaning that all our contracts are written in plain English, and we do not hide unreasonable fees behind piles of paperwork. We also offer an ‘order now, activate later’ option, allowing you to select a plan up to six months in advance of activating and paying for it. So, if you check your contract T&Cs and find it would be cheaper to switch to SIM-only, you can prepare now to avoid the hassle down the line.

Although the correct response to ‘you alright?’ may continue to baffle Brits, phone contracts no longer need to be a cause of uncertainty. Taking the time to understand the T&Cs set out in your phone contract can save you from confusion and save you money.

To discover spusu’s range of simple and affordable SIM-only deals, visit the website.

The content of this article does not constitute legal advice and is provided for general informational purposes only.