Today’s the day Three puts its prices up for existing customers already tied in to ‘fixed’ contracts. And today’s the day we ask Ofcom to stamp out this practice. We need your support to ensure that Fixed Means Fixed.
Did you know your fixed mobile contract could go up in price at any time? When we recently asked more than 1,500 UK adults with a mobile contract, 70% said they didn’t know companies were able to do so.
That’s despite a spate of price hikes from Britain’s biggest mobile providers; Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and Three. It’s an issue I’m sure many of you are familiar with here on Which? Conversation – over 1,700 comments have been made by angry mobile customers hit by such price rises.
Pledge your support for Fixed Means Fixed
If you sign up to a 12 to 24 month contract at an advertised price of ‘£25 per month’, I’m sure you’d be surprised if you were told you had to pay more. You’d probably be outraged if you weren’t allowed to cancel without having to pay penalty. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what mobile companies have got away with.
Why? Most mobile companies’ T&Cs include a caveat that lets them put up prices by the RPI rate of inflation. And this can vary – last year Orange hiked prices by 4.34%, and this year Three put them up by 3.6%. You’ve been with us every step of the way and your comments haven’t fallen on deaf ears – we think it’s time to tell mobile companies that Fixed Means Fixed.
It’s simple; if a customer signs up to a fixed deal, where they can be tied in for up to two years, then all of the terms of that deal, including price, should be fixed for the contract’s duration.
If a mobile company feels it needs to put up prices, it should factor this into deals for new customers and not impose such hikes on existing customers who are already locked in. We have submitted a formal complaint to Ofcom packed full of your feedback and we need your support to help make it stand up and take notice:
Providers may protest that their price rises aren’t significant for individual customers, but we’ve worked out that with around 10.5 million Brits affected so far, consumers have spent almost £34.5m extra as a result. In a year, mobile companies could make a hugely significant £90m. That’s £90m that we, the customers, didn’t think we’d agreed to when we signed our contracts.
Shifting the balance of power back in your favour
If mobile providers can’t or won’t commit to Fixed Means Fixed not only should they be upfront about this in their advertising, they should give customers the ability to cancel without penalty if they change the deal. This means you could refuse a contract with variable terms, or accept a contract with fixed terms and cancel if those terms change.
If you agree with our campaign, show your support using the pledge above. The balance of power needs to be put back in your favour – Ofcom must intervene now and stamp out this practice so that you can be confident that fixed really does mean fixed.