UK consumer service Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has claimed in a new report that UK consumer’s mobile phone contracts are on average 130% more than they should be.
The charity devised the figure based on mystery shops at the UK’s leading mobile phone brands. It said that average monthly tariffs recommended by phone staff were £23.16 more than double the figure of £9.89 calculated by CAB as being what consumers should pay.
Explaining the methodology behind the mystery shop process CAB said that the mystery shoppers provided the same information to all staff. The customer expressed no preference for phone type and said they wanted a tariff of any kind that met ‘average’ needs. The charity calculated the ‘average’ needs as being around 250 minutes of calls, 250 texts and 200MB of data per month.
The report found that there was no evidence of mis-selling but that there was a problem with a focus on handsets. This CAB claimed that the combination of handset and service was ‘impossible’ for the consumer work out how much they pay.
isellmobile editor hits back
The conclusions drawn by Citizens Advice Bureau’s have been questioned by isellmobile editor Jack Courtez. The online community for retail staff conducts its own mystery shops as part of the process for its Shop Idol competition.
Courtez said: ‘Having watched hundreds of Mystery Shop videos myself, I’m yet to find a single example of what Citizens Advice’s research shows. The real story here is that after 350 mystery shops, the UK’s leading independent consumer service couldn’t find a single case of mis-selling. Instead, the press release shows a scrambling to push this ill-fitting research into a pre-conceived narrative.
‘The assertions of overselling on tariffs and of £9.89 being the most suited price based on their criteria are flawed. Many retailers don’t have a single tariff at this price and of those that do, the low handset quality is unsuited to most customer needs. I’d invite Citizens Advice to get in touch with the full methodology and mystery shop data so we can examine how their conclusion was reached.’