TV personal finance expert Martin Lewis has urged mobile phone customers to check their contract status ahead of anticipated price rises this spring, a move that could potentially save hundreds of pounds per year.
Speaking during the latest instalment of ITV’s The Martin Lewis Money Show Live on Tuesday evening, the expert explained that, by firing off text messages to two little-known customer information numbers, individuals can find out whether they are in contract, how much it would cost to leave their current network and arrange to take their present number with them when they change provider.
“Last week I told you broadband and mobile bills are going up 14 per cent in April for most of the big firms,” Mr Lewis told his prime-time audience, alluding to the common practice among providers of increasing prices in line with inflation (10.5 per cent in December) while adding a further 4 per cent on top.
“What I want you to do first is... I want you to check if you’re out of contract. Over 9 million of you are and are overpaying,” he said.
“What you need to do in most cases is text INFO to 85075 on your current phone. And that should tell you whether you have termination fees to leave your contract.”
If you do have fees on your current deal, you might be best advised to wait for its expiration, he said.
“[But] if you’re out of contract, there are actually some of you – outrageously and this should not be allowed – who got a contract with a handset and once you paid the handset off, they keep the price at the same level so you’re still paying the with-handset price even if you’re no longer using it.”
Citing typical deals offering unlimited minutes and texts with 5GB of data for £3.40 a month or 15GB for £4 a month, Mr Lewis continued: “Most people are paying so much more than that. If you want to keep your number, text PAC to 65075 on your old phone, they will send you your PAC code and you use this with your new provider as a way to keep your old number.
“Of course, you could use this as a way to haggle with your existing provider,” he added.
Mr Lewis is a tireless presence on British TV and radio, serving up sound advice and compassion throughout the cost of living crisis during his appearances on his weekly ITV show, via his BBC podcast, his MoneySavingExpert website and newsletter and through his regular media interviews.
No concern is too small to warrant his attention and he has most recently offered tips on everything from paying your energy bills by direct debit, tackling broadband price hikes, securing good deals on travel insurance and cheaper ways to dry laundry in winter.
He was rewarded for his efforts at the National Television Awards in October 2022 when he was named Most Popular TV Expert.