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Brits Face 'Nightmare' In Budgeting Telecoms Costs

Oct 11, 2007
Consumers could well be finding pressure on their day-to-day finances is increasing due to consistently miscalculating the cost of their telephone bills, new studies show.

In research carried out by Post Office, when asked to estimate how much their landline and mobiles set them back, the typical British household misjudges this figure by some 79 pounds. And with the public said to "have little idea of the real cost of chatting", this lack of awareness about the cost of telephone bills could affect their ability to service other areas of their finances such as credit cards and loans.

Overall, residents in Scotland have the greatest capacity for factoring telecoms costs into their budgeting as they have the lowest average miscalculation at 58 pounds. This compares to people living in London who are some 134 pounds out when asked to judge how much of an impact this area has on their spending. According to the financial services provider, unclear bills and hidden charges are the main reasons for consumers' inability to budget accurately, in addition to people not taking the time to think about how much a call will set them back before making it.

Stewart Fox-Mills, telephony manager for Post Office, said: "Too often telecoms bills are confusing, with complex layers of billing and hidden charges."

Commenting on the news, Jasmine Birtles, a financial expert from moneymagpie, added: "Budgeting for technologies such as mobile phones can be a bit of a nightmare. In years gone by, telecoms costs were restricted to a single company providing a single telephone line. Now, there are so many different products and suppliers out there that we're overwhelmed by choice and confused by all the options available. We don't seem to be thinking about the cost of communicating.

"I hear endless tales of people using [a] mobile phone at home - which works out much more expensive than a landline. We are also often unaware of how much calls actually cost, which can really add up for a household using a landline and a number of different mobile telephones, on various price plans."

Meanwhile, findings from Post Office indicated that people find it easier to factor in the cost of internet access when creating a budget, which may also incorporate how much money they have able to pay off loans, credit cards and other demands on their finances. The typical household was revealed to have misjudged the annual cost of their internet bills by just 3 pounds.

Last month, a Citizens Advice representative claimed that the ability to set up - and stick to - a budget was crucial for improving the nation's capacity to manage their money more effectively. Stating that being able to plan for demands on their spending is "a fundamental building block of financial skills", the spokesperson suggested that the introduction of personal finance lessons in schools could consequently lead to young people attaining greater understanding and adopting a more responsible attitude towards loans and other forms of credit. In addition, it was asserted that much of the country's debt difficulties are caused through a lack of understanding about financial products such as unsecured loans.
About the Author
Tom Dawson writes for Essentially Home Loans. Our visitors can apply online for secured personal loans and debt consolidation loans at the lowest interest rates.
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