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Millions of broadband and mobile customers could be paying over the odds because their contracts have expired, new research has revealed.

A study conducted by uSwitch found that more than eight million broadband customers and three million mobile customers who have a handset included in their deal may currently be out of contract.

This means that when the initial term of the contract is over, they are likely to be charged higher "out of contract" prices for the same service, without being notified.

As a result, uSwitch believes telecoms customers may collectively be paying £108 million extra a month - or £41 a second - on contracts that have expired. 

The price comparison site pointed out that telecoms firms are under no obligation to tell their customers when deals are coming to an end, unlike energy and insurance providers.

It has therefore urged industry watchdog Ofcom to introduce end-of-contract notifications, as the research showed 89 per cent of customers would consider the quality and value of their service if they received them.

Figures also showed that 79 per cent do not know that broadband and mobile phone providers are not obliged to tell their customers when their contracts have ended.

However, some 40 per cent of broadband customers said they would be prompted to look for a cheaper or better deal if they knew when their contract was drawing to a close.

In addition, 47 per cent said they would get in touch with their broadband provider to negotiate a better deal if they were informed, while 18 per cent would be willing to switch providers in order to get a better contract.

"We believe it is time providers do the right thing by their customers and start sending end-of-contract notifications as standard," said Richard Neudegg, Head of Regulation at uSwitch.

One in four broadband customers were found to have been on the same contract for at least three years.

However, figures also showed that eight per cent believe they are signed up for contracts of three years or more, despite the legal maximum contract length being 24 months.

"It is simply not right or fair that consumers lose out on savings or the opportunity to upgrade to a better service because the telecoms rules haven’t kept pace with other sectors," Mr Neudegg argued.

He went on to state that since end-of-contract notifications are standard practice in many other industries, people may "simply assume" they will be similarly informed by their telecoms providers.

However, Mr Neudegg warned that if people do not know their contract is about to expire and are waiting for a notification that never comes, many "won't consider their options".

He added that if customers received an alert telling them their deal is due to end, they would be able to "take stock" and think about whether they are getting a service that meets their needs at the right price.

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