O2 has announced that it'll be splitting off from the herd of other mobile network operators and stop being dicks to its customers.
A lot of pay monthly plans factor in the cost of your new phone, and when you've paid it off, you'll keep getting charged for it unless you contact your provider on the date that last instalment is due. If you don't for whatever reason, they'll just keep on taking money off you for a phone you've now paid off, and should you contact them after the fact and ask for a refund on overpayments, well you can just shove it up your arse. Thanks for nothing, EE, you money-grubbing monsters.
But O2 has recognised what a shady, shitty practice that is and is doing something about it.
"It is simply not right that consumers across the UK are being charged for a phone they already own. You wouldn’t keep giving money to your mortgage provider if you’d finished payments and owned your house – so why should it be that way for your phone?" Exactly correct, CEO of O2, Mark Evans.
"The mobile industry does not have the best track record on transparent billing practices. Our Overpayment Estimator is another positive move towards changing that.”
What is the Overpayment Estimator, you ask? Just head over to the site and answer a few questions about your phone, mobile bills, etc, and it'll let you know if you're potentially getting ripped off.
O2 will also offer its in-contract customers the option of a calendar reminder to let them know when it's time up upgrade, and even if you still manage to forget about the deadline, O2 won't brazenly continue to steal your money.
With custom plans, O2 will automatically adjust your bill to account for the paid off handset, and you'll only be paying for your usage after that.
Hopefully we'll see other mobile network operators follow suit, but it looks like a pretty good reason to switch providers if you're nearing the end of your contract.
UPDATE: O2 has reached out to clarify that it's been not a total shit like other network operators for six years now, separating airtime and device plans so as not to scam customers as part of O2 Refresh in 2013. Top marks! The new bit of news is the Overpayment Estimator, which "aims to put a spotlight on the outdated industry practice of charging consumers for phones they already own."