EE has announced that it will be dropping all fees to unlock mobile phones.
Last year the mobile supplier responded to our Unlock Mobiles campaign by reducing the charge for unlocking phones by 50% to £8.99.
More than 75,000 of you have backed our campaign to get mobile phones unlocked for free, and now EE has decided to go whole hog.
This summer EE’s pay monthly customers will be able to request to unlock their phone for free at the end of the contract. And pay-as-you-go customers will be able to unlock their phone free at any time.
An EE spokesperson told us:
‘We believe that this policy provides the best balance of meeting our customers’ needs, whilst providing an important defence against device theft and fraud that remains a constant issue for the mobile industry.’
It would be even better if EE unlocked your phone automatically when your contract ends, but this is a big step forward considering the company used to charge customers more than £20.
EE’s announcement follows the Government’s Budget commitment to consult on ending the practice of locking phones after your contract has ended. George Osborne said that the Government welcomes voluntary commitments from mobile providers (so, well done to EE!), but added that it’s read to introduce legislation if necessary.
If you’re happy then please let EE know by retweeting our tweet below.
Major mobile phone companies agreed with the Government in December 2013 to introduce a liability limit to protect customers from excessive costs if their phone was used fraudulently when it was lost or stolen.
However, more than a year later, Vodafone, O2, EE and Virgin have failed to implement a limit. While Three's customer liability is capped, customers will still have to pay the first £100 if the loss or theft is reported within 24 hours.
We found that a third of people with a mobile phone contract would find it difficult to cope with an unexpected expense of £100, and six in 10 think they should not have to pay any of the costs incurred from fraudulent use when their phone is lost or stolen.
Our executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:
'People should not have to foot the bill if criminals run up expensive charges when their phone is lost or stolen. Mobile firms agreed to introduce a limit on excessive costs over a year ago but have still not implemented safeguards that really protect their customers.
We think mobile firms need to give customers 48 hours to report a lost or stolen phone. Our research found that a quarter of people said they have accidentally left their phone somewhere for a whole day or overnight in the last two years.
Which? Conversation user Mike was faced with a huge bill:
'My phone was stolen abroad earlier this year and despite being locked, the Sim was used to rack up over £2,000 in a few hours before I could report it stolen.'
Richard Lloyd added:
'Consumers are already losing out to the tune of more than £5bn by not being on the best mobile deals. With people fast losing trust in mobile operators, it's time for the industry to keep its promise and ensure that no one is faced with more unfair cost through no fault of their own.'
New proposals from the Government will protect consumers from huge bills run up on stolen mobiles.