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VAT’s not fair

Better get the magnifying glass out and examine your phone bill, as some cheeky phone providers have charged 20% VAT to customers before the rise came into effect on January 4.

Research by uSwitch.com shows that major phone companies including Orange, Three, T-Mobile and Virgin Media charged 20% VAT on December calls, texts and data usage.

Ernest Doku, a communications expert at uswitch.com, says: 'The bizarre thing is the phone firms are not going to make any extra money from this situation - it all goes to the Inland Revenue.

‘This is lazy billing and customers are bearing the brunt of it while the taxman is rubbing his hands with glee.

‘The post-VAT price rises that providers have introduced may not seem like much, but the incremental hikes on essential services like call waiting and voicemail can really add up.'

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