/ Money, Technology

EE announces price rise for loyal customers

EE logo

EE has announced a 2.7% price rise for EE, T-Mobile and Orange customers who signed before Ofcom’s new rules came into effect. Have you been contacted by EE about a price rise?

From 28 May, EE’s pay-monthly contract customers will be hit by a price rise of 2.7%. The increase is in line with the Retail Price Index rate of inflation as announced in March this year.

The price rise will add 68p to a £25-a-month contract, and if you’re unhappy with the hike you’ll have to pay the cancellation charges that apply.

So far, so similar.

Customers after 26 March

However, the price rise will not apply to customers who joined or upgraded between 23 January and 26 March 2014. Ofcom’s new rules on mid-contract price hikes came into effect on 23 January, thanks to the 60,000 people who supported our Fixed Means Fixed campaign. However, for people who signed after 26 March, EE customers will be hit by a price rise once a year, every year in March. EE comments:

‘Contracts entered from the 26th March will be subject to terms and conditions stating that their monthly price plan will be increased in March each year by the latest rate of RPI. The first increase does not take place until March 2015.’

No more price hikes

We wrote to EE last month asking it to make a solid commitment to keep prices the same during the full term of its customers’ contracts. It’s therefore disappointing that EE has made a last ditch attempt to hike prices for its loyal customers. The fact that EE is writing yearly price rises into its customers’ contracts, just like O2, is even worse and not in the spirit of Ofcom’s new rules.

We’ve also had assurances from other providers, including Three Mobile, that they’ll stick to the spirit of Ofcom’s new rules and won’t increase prices mid-contract, and we expect this to be EE’s last. We hope EE’s customers will take a stand and show their provider they won’t put up with this by choosing other operators who are playing fair and who offer fixed prices, that stay fixed, for the duration of the contract.

Have you been contacted by EE about a price rise on your contract? What do you think about it? Will you be looking to switch to another mobile phone provider?

[UPDATE] – This post has been updated to reflect the fact that EE customers who sign after 26 March will be agreeing to yearly RPI price rises. And for that reason we have launched a call to EE’s CEO to think again – you can help by joining more than 3,000 others in emailing EE’s CEO.

Comments
Gailbm says:
2 May 2014

Price rise is infuriating enough but the letter showed complete, arrogant disregard for what is fair and reasonable. We should all hit them where it hurts and not renew our contracts. C’mon, BOYCOTT this company like so many have boycotted Starbucks for not paying fair UK taxes.

Mike says:
5 July 2014

Done it yesterday no longer with EE will see how this works out

Daniel Rhodes says:
14 May 2014

I think Which? is misinforming a large number of its EE customers when it tells them: ‘If your mobile phone provider raises the price of your contract, currently you can’t exit the contract if you’re still within your minimum term without incurring a penalty fee.’ [http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/problem/the-cost-of-my-mobile-phone-contract-has-gone-up-can-i-cancel]

For example, when I questioned the increase in my fixed contract, EE referred me to Clause 7 in my Terms and Conditions. Clause 7 in the T&Cs sent to me when I entered the contract with EE was ‘Version 58A dated November 2010’. Clause 7 of those T&Cs states as follows:

‘7. Changing Charges and terminating this Agreement
7.1. Changes to Services and Charges

7.1.4. We can increase any Price Plan Charge. We will give You Written Notice 30 days before We do so.’

‘This is an unlawful term under Schedule 2(1)(l) of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, according to which terms are unfair if they ‘have the object or effect of … allowing a … supplier of services to increase their price without in both cases giving the consumer the corresponding right to cancel the contract if the final price is too high in relation to the price agreed when the contract was concluded.’

The RPI exception in Schedule 2(2)(d) of the Regulations is not applicable in this case, since the exception requires that ‘the method by which prices vary [must be] explicitly described.’ This is definitely not the case in many of the EE contracts, including mine – which just says EE ‘can increase any … charge’ without saying how –, so they are unlawfully relying on that contract term.

It therefore seems to me that EE are trying to modify their contractual conditions. As a result, Article 20(2) of Directive 2002/22/EC (Universal Service Directive), applies and EE ‘subscribers have a right to withdraw from their contract without penalty upon notice of modification to the contractual conditions proposed by the undertakings providing electronic communications networks and/or services.’ This is a bit succinct as I had a limited number of words, but if you e-mail me I’ll send the full copies of the letters I’ve sent to EE on this matter, as I’m disgusted by their bad faith towards long term customers (I have had 3 phone contracts with them for a number of years!).

I’ve posted this on here as Which? ignored my e-mail to them on this matter.

Daisy says:
1 June 2014

Hi,

Can you send me copies of the letters you’ve sent to EE please? I do seem to have a clause in my EE contract that states price increases can be made based on RPI in clause 7.3 does that mean I’m not entitled to cancel my contract?

Thanks

Daniel Rhodes says:
1 June 2014

The following is actually the letter I wrote to OFCOM, rather than the EE letters, but it’s better because it sums up the whole argument in one letter. It can be adapted quite easily to be sent to EE. OFCOM have told me they’ll ‘be back in touch as soon as possible’. Where it says emphasis added below, it means I’d underlined the relevant parts, but it’s not possible to do that in this conversation blog. EE rejected my argument, without giving reasons, which gives me hope and anyway, if OFCOM goes against them they look like the greedy disloyal cheats that they are. And as a disclaimer, I have no qualifications to give legal advice, and my argument may be wrong or based on out-of-date legislation. Anyway, here’s the letter:

OFCOM
Riverside House
2a Southwark Bridge Road
London
SE1 9HA
16 May 2014

Dear Sir,

I am writing to you since on your website you state that you ‘can consider complaints made about the fairness of any contract term drawn up for general use’ (http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/tell-us/telecoms/contracts/).

The term I wish to complain about is Clause 7.1 in the EE/T-Mobile Terms and Conditions’; the version of Terms and Conditions sent to me when I entered into the contract with EE/T-Mobile was ‘Version 58A dated November 2010’. Version 58A is no longer available on the company’s website, but the Clause 7 in those T&Cs is precisely the same as the one I have enclosed (TMUK_PAYM_TERMS_V59A – available in full at http://ee.co.uk/content/dam/ee-help/e-gain.s3.amazonaws.com/external/content/Ts%20and%20Cs/TMUK_PAYM_TERMS_V59A.pdf). In both cases, Clause 7.1 states as follows:

‘7. Changing Charges and terminating this Agreement
7.1. Changes to Services and Charges

7.1.4. We can increase any Price Plan Charge. We will give You Written Notice 30 days before We do so. The change will then apply to You once that notice has run out.’

This is clearly an unfair contract term under Schedule 2 of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, which reads as follows:

‘SCHEDULE 2
INDICATIVE AND NON-EXHAUSTIVE LIST OF TERMS WHICH MAY BE REGARDED AS UNFAIR
1. Terms which have the object or effect of –

(l) providing for the price of goods to be determined at the time of delivery or allowing a seller of goods or supplier of services to increase their price without in both cases giving the consumer the corresponding right to cancel the contract if the final price is too high in relation to the price agreed when the contract was concluded;’
(emphasis added)

In September 2008, the Office of Fair Trading published a document entitled Unfair contract terms guidance – Guidance for the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 (‘the Guidance’ – OFT311 available online as a PDF at http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/reports/unfair_contract_terms/oft311.pdf). For your convenience, I have attached to this letter the relevant part of the Guidance relating to ‘Price variation clauses – paragraph 1(l) of Schedule 2’ (pages 57 and 58). On page 57, Point 12.2 of the Guidance states as follows:

‘12.2 Any purely discretionary right to set or vary a price after the consumer has become bound to pay is obviously objectionable. That applies particularly to terms allowing the supplier to charge a price on delivery of goods that is not what was quoted to the consumer when the order was placed. It also applies to rights to increase payments under continuing contracts where consumers are “captive” – that is, they have no penalty-free right to cancel.’
(emphasis added)

The term EE/T-Mobile rely on, namely ‘[w]e can increase any Price Plan Charge’, is clearly a ‘purely discretionary right to set or vary a price’ and thus an unfair term in accordance with the above.

On page 58, Point 12.4 of the Guidance indicates that ‘[a] degree of flexibility in pricing may be achieved fairly in the following ways’:
(1) specifying ‘the level and timing of any price increases’;
(2) having ‘[t]erms which permit increases linked to a relevant published price index’, subject to the proviso in paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 to the regulations, and
(3) allowing consumers ‘to escape its effects by ending the contract’.

Clause 7.1 meets none of the above criteria and is therefore clearly unfair. Although it has sought to increase its prices in line with the RPI, nowhere in Clause 7.1 of its Terms and Conditions is it specified that the price change will be calculated in that way. It is clear from paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, that any clause seeking to increase prices in line with the RPI must explicitly state the method by which it does so (this is the proviso referred to in (2) above). Accordingly, paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 provides as follows:

‘2. Scope of paragraphs 1(g), (j) and (l)

(d) Paragraph 1(l) is without hindrance to price indexation clauses, where lawful, provided that the method by which prices vary is explicitly described.’
(emphasis added)

The clause on which EE/T-Mobile seek to rely is therefore clearly unfair. Regulation 8 of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 explains the effect of an unfair contract term:

‘Effect of unfair term
8.—(1) An unfair term in a contract concluded with a consumer by a seller or supplier shall not be binding on the consumer.’

Accordingly, the EE/T-Mobile proposed price increase is a modification to the contractual conditions proposed. Subscribers are therefore entitled to withdraw from this contract under Article 20(2) of Directive 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on universal service and users’ rights relating to electronic communications networks and services (Universal Service Directive), which provides that:

‘Member States shall ensure that subscribers have a right to withdraw from their contract without penalty upon notice of modification to the contractual conditions proposed by the undertakings providing electronic communications networks and/or services. Subscribers shall be given adequate notice, not shorter than one month, of any such modification, and shall be informed at the same time of their right to withdraw, without penalty, from their contract if they do not accept the new conditions.’
(emphasis added)

EE/T-Mobile were therefore required both to inform their subscribers of any ‘modification to [their] contractual conditions’ and to inform them ‘at the same time of their right to withdraw, without penalty, from their contract’. It also acted unlawfully in failing to inform its subscribers of their right to withdraw from the contract without penalty.

I look forward to receiving a prompt reply.

Yours faithfully,

[Hope that helps!]

Stephen D says:
20 May 2014

I have not yet heard of this price rise and it will just about be the last straw for this company. I have just spent another hour or so trying to get some sense out of them regarding their inability to set up my direct debit on the right date. I am also in the unenviable position of having 2 of our 4 phones on EE after upgrades and 2 remaining on TMobile. This means 2 different payment dates, 2 different websites to visit. I asked if I could have all on EE (I didn’t want upgraded phones) and firstly they said it might be possible and then they flatly refuse, since the contracts are still running with TMobile. I am sorry, but I consider them all to be EE, since I do not recall asking for 2 providers. It is virtually impossible to communicate with them on the telephone.

Robert says:
27 May 2014

EE have – apart from increasing my contract price – told me that if I want to query my monthly bills then I have to pay them £1.50/month to have access to a detailed online bill! Can this be true?

Surely we must have a consumers right to be able to check our bills for accuracy without having to pay for the pleasure!

Anybody else had this problem?

RandomCurve says:
27 May 2014

Sorry to be back again but you have until midnight TONIGHT to email EE to try and cancel your contract penalty free.

You’ll find a template email to send – this will cost you nothing and if everybody uses this method EE will NEVER try to increases prices again as it costs them several hundred pounds per case.

AS an update those who have already sent the email are now taking cases to CISAS and EE have submitted a defence which sidesteps all the main issues – This means one of two things – either there is no real defence and we will win penalty free cancellations, or EE have already done some behind the scenes dealings with Ofcom to prevent cases from winning – we will find out in the next 2 to 3 weeks.
See here for EEs defence:
http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4818999&page=31

I’ll keep you posted when the judgements start to come.

Rivermummy says:
3 June 2014

We wrote to Olaf Swantee atEE regarding our contract which they have put up by around £5 per month and told him that we would stay with EE after the first part of the contract(we have two phones) runs out on 6th July 2014 and the second part runs out next February and this was the reply – not even a named person – great customer service after 15yrs…..

Dear Mrs Graham,
>
> I am sorry you are unhappy with the recent Price Increase. As a company we are committed to offering the best value for service which is why we have kept the increase to a minimum. The increase is a result of the rising costs to our business and is in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI), which is a measure of inflation.
>
> We are obliged, as are all UK operators, to abide by General Condition 9.6 of the Ofcom. This condition sets out what we must do if a change is of material detriment to a customer, which is to provide 30 days’ notice and allow a customer to end their agreement free of charge. When the changes are not of material detriment, the customer does not have the right to end their agreement. In the case of this price increase, the change is not of material detriment to customers.
>
> The increase is in line with the Terms and Conditions of your contract specifically clause 15.1). As the increase is less than RPI should you wish to close the account early in accordance with clause 4.3.1 you would be subject to an early termination fee.
>
> Our terms and conditions give us the right to increase the cost of our services that are not part of your core monthly allowance and this change does not give you a right to terminate your contract. Please refer to 3.7 clause in your terms and conditions.
>
> The Office for National Statistics published its official rate of RPI on the 25th March. The official measure of RPI for this period is 2.7%. We contacted customers between the 5th and the 14th April in order to give 30 days’ notice of the effective date, which is 28th May 2014.
>
> Whilst I appreciate this may not be the response you had hoped for, I trust I have
> explained the reason why I cannot release you from the agreements without penalty.
>
>
> Yours sincerely
>
>
> Executive Office,EE

RandomCurve says:
5 June 2014

If you wrote to EE before 28th May then you can pursue this and should be able to get a penalty free cancellation – on both phones.

RandomCurve says:
5 June 2014

Hi all – I said I would report back when the adjudicators decisions start to come in.
Today we had the first two decisions – and both cases WON!

Penalty free cancellation backdated to April when customer first requested, keep the phone, and received a PAC code, one of the cases also received £100 compensation.

This is only two results and the CISAS adjudication services is not always consistent in its findings so others may lose – we shall see.

The main point is that those who sent the Which email to Mr Swantee are probably now enjoying paying an increased cost, those who have followed the advice to take action now have a real prospect of escaping their contracts. And even if they lose it would have cost EE around £300 per case so EE actually losing on each case taken to CISAS. if EVERYONE of EEs customers had gone to CISAS then EE would NEVER dare increase prices again.

I am working on a plan so that those who have missed out may still be able to get a claim in.

http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4818999&page=35
See post #700 on the page linked above for the very first reported outcome.

RandomCurve says:
10 June 2014

It is now 3-0 to the consumer.
3 penalty free cancellations – 1 with compensation.

If you – or you know of someone, who has had the Vodafone price rise letter/email – I think I can get them out of their contract penalty free too!!!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fightmobileincreasescom/396612317147525

WHICH – do you want to help?

RandomCurve says:
11 June 2014

Now 6-0 to the consumer and 3 with compensation.

If only Which had given you the cancellation template to send rather than a request “not to do it again” that would have been 3,500 cases against EE (costs them £300 a time £1m) and it is looking like most would have won the penalty free cancellation (so another £1.2m) – now that WOULD STOP EE ever daring to raise prices mid term again!! And Ofcom would HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!

WHICH – we are now fighting Vodafone’s increase – will you give us the publicity we need to stop these increases once and for all? You are supposed to be the consumer champion.

RandomCurve says:
14 June 2014

12 – 0 (9 with compensation.)
Come on WHICH you are behind the (random) curve on this one. Work with me to help the Vodafone folk AND to help those ‘late to the party’ on this EE price rise – you have my email address 🙂

RandomCurve says:
19 June 2014

Not been able to post for a while. EE have won some cases – current score is 27-5 in favour if the customer. Question – all EE contracts now have the same price rise clause; all customers received the same 2.7% increase, so why are some wining and some losing? WHICH would you like to investigate??

chris says:
30 June 2014

I have been with orange for years never had an rpi rise, then just over 2 years ago, they got me.
so i moved to t-mobile, then they announced they where the same ie. EE.

so now im moving away, trying to find a provider that wont rise there prices, can anyone list current providers that wont up there prices mid term?

Tesco ran ads a few months ago stating they wouldn’t and I think I saw a Vodafone ad recently saying the same. e&oe

RandomCurve says:
30 June 2014

Tesco and Three have confirmed they won’t.
EE (inc T-Mobile and Orange) and O2 will continue to increases prices.
Vodafone SAID they would not – and then increased “out of bundle” charges – some by over 140%!!! (I am currently helping some Vodafone customers escape their contracts because of this, as WHICH seem not to be the consumer champion they have lead us to believe they are).
On this EE price rise we have so far had 36 people escape their contracts penalty free (32 with compensation of up to £112) and have 11 losses.
When EE changed their T&Cs in March we have 63 people escape their contracts (the vast majority with £100 compensation too) and only 5 loses.
Where were WHICH?
We are now pressing Ofcom to take some action.

Three – that’s why I have just today moved over to them.

I have just asked for, and received, my PAC and have taken out a new SIM only contract with Three and, when asked by T-Mobile why I wanted to leave, I told the girl that, if they felt they had to rush in new terms to ensure they could hit their customers with price increases, then I refuse to be one of those customers. Bye Bye T-Mobile.

One-sided contracts such as those from EE illustrate the contemptuous greed and maximisation of profits whereby the chief executives of EE earn more money than they know how to spend whilst their staff and customers struggle with desperate budgets. I have recently been contacted by their telesales office saying that as a valued customer they would like to offer me a special deal but unfortunately for EE I am aware of their phsychology and will only be a victim once. When I complained and rejected any further dealings with EE their sales girl said that all the other networks put their prices up too. I can almost guarantee that if as many people walk away from EE as promised then they will change their dirty tactics.

Well yes, don’t forget that EE is a governmental organisation when all is said and done . . . it’s just that it is not our government but an unholy alliance of the Franco-German axis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EE_(telecommunications_company)

They have the certainty of protectionism at home and underwriting of much of their risk. As with other regulated industries in the UK much is now owned by the State Monopoly or Quasi Monopoly of other countries with, of course, the encouragement, support and protection of their masters.

The ‘Common Market’ might have evened out the rules but we were switch sold the EU instead.

Yes, when I phoned yesterday to cancel, the girl also tried to tell me that all the other networks had put up their prices as well. I simply suggested she check her facts.

BIG kudos to RandomCurve for all the hard work he has put in through MSE forums to challenge EE’s mid-contract price increases. I and many others have benefitted from his freely available template to challenge EE.

Sorry Which?, I don’t agree with your tactics on this issue. 5600 people emailing the greedy Swantee @ EE will make NO difference either to his or his company’s attitude to rip off customers. I and many others are fighting EE at CISAS on this, which is the ONLY way forward and one that matters. It costs nothing to fight your case at CISAS but hits EE where its hurts (EE pays ca. £300 for every single case). I have also cancelled my other out of contract service with EE.

Ironically, Which? have emailed me today stating that EE has listened, quoting the greedy Swantee who wants us to pay around £1 extra every month to fix the price of a Fixed Price Contract. Really ????

Come on Which?, please stand up to these corporate crooks or at the least support those who already do so.

Swantee’s response is something of a joke, surely! Why should we have to pay an extra £1 per month (i.e £12.00 per year) just to ensure that EE do what they’re supposed to do? And have you seen their roaming charges? Outrageous!!

I’m still going to give them the big EE

@David: Totally agree… Had Which? encouraged the 5600+ people to fight the case with CISAS instead asking to email Swantee @ EE, this would have been a totally different outcome. Emailing Mr Numpty is akin to asking turkeys to vote for Christmas!

So basically no change at all then!
I took out my contract in January 2014 and when I found out about the price increase I contacted Ofcom and they told me I was in my rights to get out of the contract. I sent a letter to Orange and they said they didn’t agree with Ofcom’s rules because the increase was in line with inflation so I couldn’t get out of my contract. I definitely won’t be renewing when my contract expires!

RandomCurve says:
28 July 2014

Don’t know if anybody is still angry over EEs behaviour – but we have just started the campaign to have ALL previous price rises refunded AND for those who had a change in T&Cs applied (practically everyone) to have the contract cancelled PENALTY FREE – no guarantees of a win but last time around we were 97% successful with the change in T&Cs and 75% successful re price rises – so it is up to you. You can follow (and/or join in) by following any of the following:
MSE – http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5021418
or via Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fightmobileincreasescom/396612317147525

Pleased to say I WON my case against EE at CISAS and the adjudicator ruled that EE should

1. Provide the customer with an apology
2. Provide the customer with his PAC
3. Cancel the customer’s contract without penalty, backdating such cancellation to 14 April 2014
4. Waive any charges incurred after this date and;
5. Pay the customer compensation in the sum of £50.00

The adjudicator also noted in his/her ruling that any price increase IS material detriment to the customer and goes against Ofcom GC 9.6.

Massive thanks to RandomCurve @ MSE for the fantastic help and free to use templates which helped to take my case to CISAS.