The next time you think you’ve hit the peak of your phone plan, you may be surprised to find you’re actually on the wrong track.
According to a new report from the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), more than half of Americans are paying more than they should for their monthly phone bill.
And many of those bills are actually out of line with the industry average.
“It’s not just a problem with the phone service,” CFA President and CEO Jay Carney told Time.
“This is really about the fact that many of the customers who are using their phone plan are paying higher prices for the same service.”
The report notes that nearly 60% of consumers who use their phone plans pay more for phone service than they actually spend on it.
While it’s not uncommon for consumers to pay for their phone service out of pocket, the report finds that the average bill for Americans who are on an installment plan is $1,957, and for those who are paying for phone services out of the gate, the average is $2,086.
That’s not to say that consumers should cut their monthly bill to make up for the fact they’re paying more.
Carney points out that if you are on a fixed rate plan, and your bill is higher than the average, it’s actually likely that your bill will go up as a result.
“The reason it’s happening is because there is this enormous amount of money being spent on these plans,” Carney told TIME.
“That’s just the reality.
The more money that’s being spent, the more people are going to have to pay out of their pocket.”
The CFA’s report highlights the fact there are a lot of ways that consumers are overpaying for their phones.
For instance, many consumers are being charged for data and/or voice, which is more expensive than the data and voice they get from the wireless network.
The CFC found that one in five consumers were paying $3 or more per month for a phone plan.
The average monthly bill for those on fixed-line plans was $1.23, while the average monthly phone service bill for customers on installment plans was just $1 per month.
For those who have their phones serviced by an outside provider, the CFA found that the costs of that service were about $3 per month per customer.
The number of people who were paying more for their smartphones than they were actually paying has increased dramatically over the last decade.
According the CFC, from 2008 to 2012, the number of customers on fixed phone plans who were overpaying on their phone bills grew from 15% to 31% over that same time period.
Meanwhile, the percentage of consumers paying more money for their bills has dropped dramatically since 2008, when it was at 50%.
The number that is now paying more on their phones is also a huge change for consumers, as they are paying much more for the services they’re receiving than they are actually getting.
The most recent data from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) indicates that the number on their mobile phone plan was down 7.3% from 2014 to 2015.
However, that is not the only thing that is increasing.
The percentage of Americans who said they were overcharging their phones went from 41% in 2015 to 44% in 2016.
While this data suggests that the percentage is going up, the total number of consumers on fixed and installment plans who are overspending on their service is still small.
That doesn’t mean consumers are paying too much, however.
The FCC found that between 2008 and 2014, the percent of customers who were spending more on phone service in 2015 than they did in 2014 rose from 19% to 27%.
By comparison, the amount of customers paying more in phone service fell from 40% to 32%.
That means consumers are still paying their phone bill out of pockets.
“We’re in the middle of an industry-wide crisis of over-the-top wireless pricing,” Carney said.
“What we’ve seen is that the consumers who are going over the edge are the ones who are the most affected.”
The FCC’s report says that these are people who are not only overspend, but are also spending more than the service they’re getting.
They’re paying for services that are not being delivered and that are going through a phone company instead of being provided through a network operator.
These consumers have been calling on carriers for more than a decade to make phone service more affordable and have been waiting for a solution.
But the problem is, there’s no solution in sight.
In fact, the FCC report points out, “The majority of those consumers who say they are over paying on their bills, are not in a position to choose another carrier or pay off the balance of their phone phone plan.”
That means those consumers are in danger of paying more and getting a bill that’s too big.
“I think we’re in a big mess right now,” Carney noted.
“And that’s not good for consumers.”