Residents from Burton and South Derbyshire could be being charged up to £38 a month more than they should be by their mobile phone providers, it has been claimed.

Analysis from Citizens Advice shows that customers of three of the largest mobile phone networks, Vodafone, EE and Three who decide to stay on the same plan at the end of a fixed deal phone contract do not get their bills cut.

Contracts include the cost of buying the phone and when people to come to end of their contract they have finished paying to buy the phone. But many who stay on the same plan are still being charged up for a handset that they have already paid for.

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The report states that the extra cost can be as high as £38 a month for contracts with high-range handsets like the iPhone 7 with 128 or 256 gigabytes, the Galaxy S8 and the Xperia XZ Premium.

A lot of consumers decide to take out a contract with an upfront cost of the new handset included in the overall price of the fixed term deal – most of which are paid off on a monthly basis across two years.

A separate study delving into the costs and deals around the newly released iPhone 8 saw that customers with a 256 gigabyte model could potentially end up being overcharged by £46 a month on average.

Gillian Guy, the chief executive of Citizens Advice claimed to our sister title, the Mirror that: "Some of the largest mobile phone providers are routinely overcharging their loyal customers.

The report criticises a number of phone companies
The report criticises a number of phone companies

"Mobile phones are now an essential part of modern life, but the way that the cost of handsets are hidden within some mobile phone contracts gives phone providers a way to exploit their customers.

"It is clearly unfair that some phone providers are charging loyal customers for handsets that they have already paid for.

"It's especially concerning that older customers are more likely to be stung by this sharp practice."

Matt Hancock, the Digital Minister said: "It's only right that mobile customers should be notified when they have paid off the price of their handset, and that their future bills should reflect this.

"I welcome Citizens Advice’s call for better billing information for consumers, and hope that providers will now take the initiative by clearly separating the cost of handsets and tariffs in mobile contracts."

Nina Bibby, the chief marketing officer of O2, which was the only large British mobile phone firm not criticised in the study said: "Forcing customers to continue to pay for a phone they already own not only hits their pockets but undermines trust and the reputation of the industry.

"We'd like to see the other operators review their position and follow our lead."