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Three year mobile phone contracts are becoming increasingly common, according to new research.

Companies are using the lure of cheaper monthly bills to entice customers into long term deals with expensive buy out fees the only way out!

The popularity of smartphones, some of which are worth as much as £600, has led to the growing trend to tie in customers to longer deals, so as to ensure that the cost of the phone is clawed back.

Price comparison website uSwitch.com found that there are now only 279 12-month contracts now available, compared with 676,000 18-month deals on offer and 939,000 24-month contracts. Expert Ernest Doku, at uSwitch.com, said: 'We've seen a clear trend in the market that is seeing consumers being forced into taking out longer-term mobile phone contracts.

'It doesn't take a genius to see where the market is going, or to work out the fact that it's not necessarily in the best interests of the consumer.'

Thankfully, the EU plans to force through legislation to put an end to 36-month contracts in May. And it will force retailers to offer customers the option of a 12-month deal.

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