A new tool has been launched by Virgin Media O2 to help customers check if they are overpaying for their smartphone, which could potentially save them hundreds of pounds a year.

Their online calculator can find out exactly how much people could have overpaid by in just a few minutes but inputting information such as their mobile network provider, current device, monthly bill amount and contract start date.

The results will then give users the clear information they need to stop overpaying in the future by negotiating a new deal or moving provider.

Virgin Media O2 added: "The launch comes three months after Virgin Media O2 called on the industry to end what it’s calling the "Smartphone Swindle” – as three of the four UK mobile network operators (EE, Vodafone, and Three) continue to charge millions of customers for phones they already own."

Daily Echo: Virgin Media O2 are claiming that many network operators bundle together costs that offer little discountVirgin Media O2 are claiming that many network operators bundle together costs that offer little discount (Image: Canva)

"This happens when operators bundle together costs for minutes, texts and data with the cost of the handset and provide customers little discount, if any, at the end of their contract."

Virgin Media O2 analysis estimates this is costing millions of consumers across the country over half a billion (£530m) every year with the average person worse off by more than £200 a year.

To access the online calculator you can do so at the website here.

What are Virgin Media O2 urging customers to do?

Virgin Media O2 is urging consumers to use the calculator to check if they’re overpaying for their smartphones and to follow four simple steps to prevent it from happening in the future: 

  • Split – your device and airtime wherever possible
  • Switch – if you are at risk of overpaying for your handset at the end of your contract and don’t have the option to split your bill, switch to another operator
  • Save – money by being aware of this issue and never overpaying for your handset
  • Share – tell friends and family if you think they might be paying for a phone they already own

Alongside these steps, the operator is also calling on the other mobile network operators to help put an end to this issue with three clear asks:

  • Introduce split contracts giving consumers greater choice over their mobile phone bills.
  • Automatically roll down customers onto an airtime only plan at the end of their minimum term to stop handset overpayments.
  • Inform customers once they’ve paid off the cost of the handset at the end of their contracts.

Daily Echo: Virgin Media O2 are urging people to use the online calculatorVirgin Media O2 are urging people to use the online calculator (Image: PA)

Gareth Turpin, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Media O2, said: “Charging consumers for phones they already own is just plain wrong – yet millions of us are being swindled by other operators that do just this.

“Since we first exposed this issue in May, consumers with other operators have spent more than £100m paying for phones they already own. Now, armed with our new easy to use overpayment calculator, we’re putting clear information into consumers hands, helping demystify bundled contracts and exposing just how costly they can be if no action is taken.

“The other operators could help stop this with three simple steps – provide split mobile plans; introduce automatic roll down to an airtime only plan; and provide clear information once a phone has been paid for. We hope they’ll join us in doing the right thing for their customers.”