More than half (56 percent) of Brits buying mobile phones on a contract are not given accurate information about their right to cancel the deal if they experience coverage issues, says the Communications Consumer Panel.
Secret shopper research by the advisory board revealed that all of the UK's mobile networks except Orange allow Brits to cancel their contract if they believe the coverage to be poor.
However, the period in which mobile phone owners can cancel their contract varys greatly. Virgin gives users a 28-day grace period, while O2 and Tesco Mobile customers get 14 days. Vodafone and T-Mobile offer a seven-day window for users to cancel their contract, but 3 has no time limit.
As a result, the Communications Consumer Panel is calling for standard cancellation guidelines that apply to all UK mobile networks.
"Consumers have a right to get accurate and consistent information at the point of sale when they ask legitimate questions about coverage and cancellation policies," said chair of the panel, Anna Bradley.
"We are calling for an across-the-board minimum 14 days to cancel contracts where consumers have coverage problem. People must be given enough time to test coverage in the places where they want to use their phone."
The panel also believes mobile phone owners should be given the right to cancel their contract if coverage doesn't meet their needs, while staff should be trained to explain company policies correctly.
Stephen Rayment, chief technology office at BelAir Networks said the fact mobile phone users are still plagued by coverage problems was worrying.
"With the explosion in demand of smartphones like the iPhone, the issue is only set to escalate. These devices can require more capacity than is available on a mobile operator's network. So problems with network coverage can be made even worse when people use their smartphone to access services like the mobile internet," he said.
"If mobile phone operators fail to address these challenges quickly and find new ways of boosting network capacity, the problems are only going to get worse."