NORTH Ayrshire’s MP has hit out at Ofcom over mobile phone prices.

Patricia Gibson, SNP Spokesperson for Consumer Affairs, has demanded that government approved regulator The Office of Communications (Ofcom) and the UK Government itself, act to protect consumers by ensuring mobile phone providers reduce the monthly bill of any customers who remain in a contract past the end of a fixed deal to reflect the handset’s cost.

Patricia was speaking after a study by Citizens Advice found three of the four largest mobile phone providers - Vodafone, EE and Three - continued to charge customers extra for handsets after they had been paid off as part of their fixed deal.

Mobile phone users often have a contract with the new handset cost included in the overall price of the fixed term deal, with the majority paid off monthly over two years.

At the end of the contract, consumers can choose to remain with their network on the same contract, taking out a new one or switching to another provider.

Citizens Advice found that some networks overcharge loyal customers an average £22 a month and up to £38 for contracts with highspec handsets such as the iPhone 7, Galaxy S8 or Xperia XZ Premium and warned that consumers could find themselves paying £46 a month extra for the iPhone8 256GB model.

Patricia said: “Citizens Advice must be commended for their work in exposing this rip-off.

“It is unacceptable that customers are paying unsuspectingly for mobile phones they have already bought. That the over 65s are particularly vulnerable to this is of great concern.”