Mobile Telephone Rental Contracts
One thing that Britain isn’t short of is mobile telephone shops, and the market is huge and competitive. The big five mobile telephone companies are extremely hungry for your business and there are a bewildering amount of offers and discounts available if you decide to apply for a mobile telephone contract. But the terms and conditions of the contract should be mandatory reading for anyone considering a pay monthly mobile phone contract.
Pay Monthly Mobile TelephoneAround 52% of UK mobile telephone customers are using a pay monthly contract. Pay monthly customers will usually sign up for a 12 or 18 month contract paying a monthly line rental. The mobile telephone companies will usually offer a certain amount of free minutes or free texts per month and in most cases will offer a free handset. There may be cash back offers or a free gift such as computer games console or an mp3 player.
In all cases anyone who accepts an offer of a pay monthly telephone rental will need to sign a contract and agree to the terms and conditions. The terms and conditions of the contracts are pretty much standard for all customers. The only clauses that will be different are the ones stating the tariff the customer is on, payment details, and the length of the contract. However, these terms and conditions should all be read carefully before anyone decides to enter into this kind of agreement.
Credit ContractsMobile phone contracts are a form of credit. The mobile telephone companies are giving an invitation to use their services, and are offering credit each month. When a customer applies for a contract the companies will perform a credit check on the customer. If a customer’s credit record is very poor they may be refused the company’s services and this will then be recorded on the customer’s credit reference score.
However, the company may decide that a customer’s credit score is low but not extremely bad. They may decide to offer their services providing a returnable deposit is paid. If the customer decides to accept this they should make sure that details of this deposit are included in the contract. A customer with a poor credit rating can rebuild their rating by using a mobile telephone rental contract.
Renewing the ContractThe mobile phone companies never want to lose customers to other companies, and as such this is where the customer has some power. Contracts will state the length of the contract but customers can usually begin negotiations to renew the contract around two months before it expires. Savvy customers will be able to get much better conditions regarding their telephone tariffs simply by saying they are considering moving contracts to a rival company.
Customers are under absolutely no obligation to stay with their previous mobile company. They should be able to change mobile telephone rental contracts and still keep their old telephone number. This should be stated in the contract’s terms and conditions. If a customer wants a better deal, more cash incentives, and a good handset upgrade then they should simply phone their mobile provider before the contract expires and express an interest in changing companies.
Terminating a ContractThe contract’s terms and conditions will give details on terminating a contract early. Companies tie customers into 12 and 18 month contracts in order to make money and keep the customer for a minimum length of time. The customer is under no obligation to stay with a company but there may be penalties should the customer decide to terminate the contract early. This condition should be checked before signing any contract. Failure to pay this penalty may result in a bad credit score.
Unfair Terms and ConditionsThe big five mobile telephone rental companies will all have standard customer contracts. All of the terms and conditions should be clearly defined and easily understandable. Customers should read these terms thoroughly to make sure there are no hidden clauses wrapped up in confusing language. This practice is in itself against consumer rights and any confusing clauses may render the contract unenforceable.
InsuranceAlways read the clauses on mobile telephone rental insurance. Mobile phone insurance is not compulsory but salespeople have a way of making it seem like it is, and will offer a few free months of insurance with a contract. They will make money from the customer for this and hope that the customer forgets to cancel after the free months have expired.
Where mobile telephone contracts are concerned the customer does have a lot of power and this is due to the competitive market. Contracts are not set in stone and if a customer has a problem they should talk it out with the salesperson, but only before the contract has been signed.