8/6/2008 12:40:00 PM
Mobile phone contract complaints drop 62% this year
Complaints about mobile phone contracts are falling steadily compared with 2007 when complaints soared during the second half of the year.
Statistics from Government watchdog Consumer Direct show a 62% drop in complaints this year, from 3,878 in January down to 2,396 in June.
Complaints about mobile contracts averaged 3,265 per month for the second half of 2007, but for the first six months of this year, the average dropped to 3,031.
Rob Barnes at Money Supermarket suggested that the downturn in complaints could be due to the collapse of several large cashback dealers.
He said: ‘What’s probably happened is that people have taken less cashback deals, and people are more savvy about cashback deals.
‘But I wouldn’t draw the conclusion that people are now happy with their contracts.’
A consumer study by market research firm Mediacells found that auto-cashback deals were still the most popular choice of incentive deal, and it seems that the straightforward nature of the promotions now being offered are generating less complaints than old cashback deals.
The decline in complaints will add weight to mobile operators’ assertions that Ofcom’s proposed stricter code on mis-selling is not needed, and that the voluntary code introduced in the summer last year is working.
The tougher mis-selling guidelines are expected to be introduced in September this year, as consultations with networks continue.
A spokeswoman for Ofcom declined to comment on the Consumer Direct statistics, but she said: ‘Cashback complaints have fallen since the beginning of the year and are now below the level when the industry code was introduced. But complaints about unauthorised transfers and general mis-selling have not shown a similar decrease.’
It seems unlikely that a drop in complaints will stop the code. When speaking to Mobile in May this year, Ofcom’s consumer policy director, Claudio Pollack, said: ‘When things do go wrong we must have the ability to act and take steps to change behaviour. I think that’s absolutely vital.’
The latest Consumer Direct figures revealed that only second-hand cars have generated more complaints than mobiles.