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Consumers are paying billions of pounds in extra costs on seemingly attractive broadband deals, new research has found.

According to a study by wireless broadband provider Relish, the average broadband customer in the UK can spend up to £156 extra a year after being automatically locked into price hikes once the initial 12-month sign-up offer has expired.

This means a collective total of around £2.6 billion worth of hidden broadband and line rental fees is being paid in Britain every year.

The study, which was carried out in partnership with founder of Moneymagpie.com Jasmine Birtles, comes shortly after the Advertising Standards Authority and Ofcom warned that broadband providers’ advertisements will have to make pricing clearer in future.

Will Harnden, Chief Marketing Officer at Relish, commented: "We don’t think there’s any need for broadband to be as complicated as it currently is. 

"We need to work together to clean up the industry and give consumers the correct information to clearly assess the best possible deals."

He went on to stress that the £2.6 billion extra being paid out by broadband customers in the UK is "by no means a small amount".

Ms Birtles of Moneymagpie.com said it is good to see regulators are willing to take "radical steps" to improve how "shiny broadband deals" are advertised to consumers.

"Our research has demonstrated that these supposed offers are not good deals," she remarked.

Ms Birtles added that consumers need clarity on how much a broadband package actually costs and what a deal actually means.

Figures from Relish suggest that the average broadband customer stays with their internet provider for a minimum of three years.

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