Customer’s of phone contracts asked ‘Are you free?’

Visitors to Brick Lane last month were treated to the spectacle of a Ferrari being driven by a human bunny rabbit and an army of Roman soldiers, all in the name of promotion and freedom.

This was a stunt by the mobile phone provider GiffGaff that asked those that had assembled, to witness the commotion, whether or not they were free? Referring to the companies contract-less phone plans.

Check out the video below. You have to hand it to them it was a well put together chain of events. Soldiers, dancers, rabbits, Ferraris and talking billboard all coming together to create what was a performance of theatrical proportions.

GiffGaff are currently the only network in the UK that offers a no contract pay-monthly price plan. This flies in the face of the other networks that surprisingly do offer a pay-monthly no contract deal in other countries. So why are us Brits being stiffed when in comes to phone contracts?

Some resorting to payday lenders to cover their bills

With this in mind I took to the streets of Brick Lane in order to ask customers just what was going on in this highly lucrative market. Not only for the customers but also for their pockets.

“I have a phone contract as I basically get a free phone worth £500 as part of that contract. Yes the monthly price is higher in comparison to those offered by the contract-less firms, but I have little choice.

Aaron from Bermondsey

“Unless you have the money for a new phone then this is the option you have to take. I used to have my own phone so was actually on GiffGaff, but when that phone broke I had to get a contract.”

Siobhan from Stevenage

Having spoken to half a dozen people I was hearing the same thing, people were being given very little choice if they wanted to get the latest handsets. With these 20th century gizmo’s costing upwards of £200, most simply couldn’t afford it. However, being in the situation where they had no spare money to buy a phone meant that these same customers sometimes ran into problems paying the higher monthly bills, which offset the price of the handset. Half the people I spoke with commented on how the cost per month was regularly something that was a worry to them, with one saying that she had even resorted to online loans in order to cover the cost at certain times during the year.

mobile phonesSo with my journalistic brain going into overdrive I set about to compare the difference

GiffGaff offer a pay-as-you go sim-only monthly price plan of 1000 free minutes, unlimited texts and 4GB of data for the month at a price of £15.

This compared to the cheapest provider I could find which was EE, where a similar deal on minutes was £35.99 per month for 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of data, but with a 24-month contract to boot.

Of course on this particular deal you also get a ‘free’ phone. In this case either a Samsung Galaxy S6 or iPhone 6.

Now my maths isn’t the best but even I can see that this free phone isn’t in fact free but cleverly packaged into the monthly price of the contract. Comparing the two, a customer on this 24-month contract would pay £480 more over the course of the contract than his GiffGaff counterpart.

So these phone contracts are just glamorised higher purchase

Yes, this would seem the case, but in this fast-credit era why are we surprised. But the question of the handset cost was still bothering me.

If phones didn’t carry such a high price tag then consumers would not be forced into this ridiculous situation

The price of such handsets have been clearly shown to be inflated so why are we still paying these prices? It’s like the days when the Sony Walkman was over £100. You can’t buy them now, but up until they stopped being made, one could be picked up brand new for under £10.

Buy a cheaper phone

Yes of course we could all buy phones with zero functionality and save all this debate, but why should we have to? We all know that these prices are inflated and so the normal Joe in the street is forced into this ‘covert’ game of contract extortion, which is leading some to turn to payday lenders!

I say boycott all phone contracts and switch your provider to GiffGaff. If the whole nation did this then we’d all be in it together and the big brands would be forced to listen. Who’s with me?