/ Technology

O2’s price rise ‘flies in the face of new rules’

We’ve been celebrating Ofcom’s new rules to protect consumers from mid-contract price rises. But O2 has found an opportunity to sting new customers with another price rise and we’re calling for action.

I will remember Thursday 23 January for two things; a big win for consumers as Ofcom’s rules kicked in, and a big groan as O2 unveiled a price rise.

You see, we came full circle with our Fixed Means Fixed campaign, which had the backing of 60,000 of you. Ofcom’s new rules now mean you can leave your phone or broadband provider penalty-free if it unexpectedly hikes prices mid-contract.

O2 announces a price rise

However, O2 announced a mid-contract price hike of 2.7% for its eight million pay-monthly customers, due to come into effect in March 2014. Unfortunately, the new rules permit price rises for existing customers and new customers as long as these new customers are told about this at the point of sale. Now O2’s using this loophole to hike prices for new customers who signed after 23 January 2014, as O2 says it will warn them that inflation-matching price rises will hit them on a yearly basis.

Plus, since these hikes will be measured by the rate of RPI (retail prices index) you won’t even know how much you’ll end up paying. And those who join O2 after Ofcom’s rules take effect still won’t be able to leave their contracts without penalty.

We don’t think that’s right or that O2 is following the spirit of Ofcom’s original announcement. We stand by the message of our Fixed Means Fixed campaign, and we’ve been in contact with O2 to tell them this. You can also help us up the ante by emailing O2’s chief exec to tell him to rethink O2’s approach.

Three won’t hike prices mid-contract

Thankfully Three Mobile has embraced Ofcom’s new rules:

‘Your fixed monthly recurring fee from Three will not go up in the minimum term of your contract. We support Ofcom’s approach to fixing the price for pay monthly contracts for their duration. We think it’s only fair that customers should have clarity around costs when they sign up to a contract.’

We’ll be keeping a close eye on other providers to make sure they follow Ofcom’s rules, rather than following in the footsteps of O2.

[UPDATE 28/01/2014] Vodafone has confirmed that they will respect Ofcom’s new rules. You can see this in section 11 of Vodafone’s new contract T&Cs:

‘We will respect Ofcom’s guidance on mid-contract price rises. We will continue to notify customers of increases to out-of-bundle call prices a month in advance, with significant variations also potentially allowing a customer to leave their agreement.’

Are you an O2 customer? What do you think of O2’s latest price rise?

Comments

I have an iPhone from O2. I am paying mainly for the phone which is a cost that O2 have already incurred. Thus the cost of living argument is spurious in my case.

Kamila Lepiankiewicz says:
4 February 2014

I have been a faithfull customer of 02 since 1994 without a problem. I am now disgusted that 02 can add/change charges in a sneaky roundabout way. As far as I am concerned, a contract is a contract and nothing should be changed until the next contract is taken up and any nefarious future possibility of adding new charges whould be unveeled in an open manner before the new contract is signed. I am now stuck for another 18 months with this shower, but will not be renewing.

Reply from O2. Basically denied O2 customers have any rights under the new ofcom regulations at all

Thanks for your email.

I’m sorry you’re unhappy with the announcement about our price change. This is in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI) inflation rate that was announced on 14 January 2014.

As we said in the announcement, we want to give customers the best possible service, for the best possible value. With the current Retail Price Index (RPI) rate of inflation at 2.7%, the cost of everything is going up. As a result, we’re adjusting the price of Pay Monthly Tariffs in line with RPI.

We’re completely modernising our entire network and investing £1.5m every day on replacing and upgrading equipment to ensure our 2G and 3G networks continue to deliver the best experience for our customers. In just 5 months our 4G network is live in 13 cities and over 120 surrounding towns giving access to over 18 million people in the UK, that’s 30% of the UK population. In the last year, we’ve also launched O2 Refresh and we continue to offer extras such as O2 Priority Moments, O2 Gurus, O2 Wifi and O2 Recycle.

A price rise is never welcome but it is covered in your Pay Monthly Mobile Agreement, which comply with applicable law and regulation. Ofcom’s recent “fixed means fixed” guidance applies only to new contracts made after 23rd January 2014 and the terms and conditions you agreed to when you signed up stated that we are entitled to increase your monthly subscription charge by no more than RPI and no more often than every 12 months. These terms are compliant with the body of general consumer protection law. Our advertising has also said ‘tariff prices may go up’ since January 2013.

An increase of this kind does not entitle you to end your airtime agreement mid-contract without paying the remaining months of your subscription. You’ll see the price increase from your March 2014 bill. There’s more information about this on our website: http://www.o2.co.uk/prices.

We trust this provides you with an adequate explanation our decision.

Kind regards

I would love a Which adviser to comment on what is obversely provocation at the very lest and why are my previous comment no longer showing on this !!!

Thanks Patrick.
I’ll remember to remove all links in future comments

The point is that my contract started before January 2013 So I am wondering if I should point this out to O2 as it does state that before that date O2 did not advertise that tariff price may go up !!!! If that’s the case O2 should refund all the monies that have been levied due to tariff price increases if your contract started prior to January 2013

Just wondering

My reply to 02

Dear | Telefónica UK Limited
Complaint Review Service
A few points that you have failed to grasp
I have been a customer since March 2010 I renewed my contract in March 2012 so your reply stating “Our advertising has also said ‘tariff prices may go up’ since January 2013.” Is irrelevant
Do you think for one minute I’m in the slightest bit interested in your future plans to improve this service?
We’re completely modernising our entire network and investing £1.5m every day on replacing and upgrading equipment to ensure our 2G and 3G networks continue to deliver the best experience for our customers. In just 5 months our 4G network is live in 13 cities and over 120 surrounding towns giving access to over 18 million people in the UK, that’s 30% of the UK population. In the last year, we’ve also launched O2 Refresh and we continue to offer extras such as O2 Priority Moments, O2 Gurus, O2 Wifi and O2 Recycle.
If your company can not put enough monies aside for future upgrades or improvements from the profits you are already making you really need to speak to your R+D department about planning.
Ofcom regulations came into force on the 24th January as far as I can see those regulations do not give you the right to change any part of our contract in fact the regulation are designed to do the exact opposite
I again quote
This Guidance sets out that:

Ofcom is likely to regard any increase3 to the recurring monthly subscription charge4 in a fixed-term contract as ‘materially detrimental’ to consumers;

providers should therefore give consumers at least 30 days’ notice of any such price rise and allow them to exit their contract without penalty; and

any changes to contract terms, pricing or otherwise, must be communicated clearly and transparently to consumers.

In accordance with the three bullet points above I have the right to exit my current contract without penalty.

I look forward to hearing from you shortly so that this matter can be resolved.

Our last O2 phone in the entire family has been binned. Now we are on TalkTalk which piggbacks on Vodaphone so pretty solid service and coverage. TT have added a pop up to their dashboard which reassures us whenever we look that the monthly price is fixed for the entire contract. Nice to know.

For a large family or a business who use TT for fixed line and broadband I’d happily recommend TalkTalk who do some really good deals limited to existing subscribers. None of the chiseling away at the little things that I had from Orange and my Partner had from O2. We don’t have to pay for collecting our voicemail and everyone in the family and firm gets free calls to mobiles and lines on the plan.

As TT is the same outfit as Carphone Warehouse I’m surprised they push O2 as much as they do in their shops. After being customers of Orange and O2 in the past and having been exploited by them we have simply decided to become ‘rate tarts’.

Right now TT gives us a better deal than GiffGaff or Lebara but we now buy our phones from Amazon or Ebay and then buy SIM only deals which is much easier now the nonsense about transferring numbers has been finally gripped by Ofcom although the Telcos are gradually trying to reestablish their ‘ownership’ of our numbers most recently in the taking back of numbers from which outgoing calls are not made to put money in their pockets.

Maybe it is time that Which? got ahead of that game and pressed the politicians and Ofcom to establish some sort of permanence in number ownership. Once that were done much more power would be in the hands of the consumer.

Amanda Thompson says:
4 February 2014

I have checked this online at the ofcom website and various others, and many refer to general condition 9.6. Having looked at this, it refers specificially to certain exclusions – namely VAT. It does not mention them being able to increase the price due to inflation. Inflation is neither included nor excluded in Ofcom’s report – frustratingly. I am a pre-January 2014 customer, and when my contract expires in December, I don’t think I’ll be renewing my contract with O2. I’ll be looking to at any new contract conditions very carefully. However, as they all seem to be doing the same thing, I think I’ll be going PAYG again! I am disgusted that, despite everything Ofcom is trying to do, O2 and the others are STILL trying to reap ever bigger profits.

Logical Robbie says:
4 February 2014

I don’t think it matters if it is not ‘excluded’ as is the case with VAT which makes perfect sense.
Unlike VAT which is mandatory for any VAT registered company, inflation and RPI are just simply guides as to what is happening in the economy. It is also interesting to note that O2 is using RPI despite the fact that few products actually retail for the recommended retail price, most sell their products and services for somewhat less at least.

This is nothing more than greed and bullying on O2’s part. They do it because they know they will get away with it since most folk think that whatever you write into a contract is legally binding but this is far from the truth.

If certain terms used in a contract are unbalanced and favour a particular party or such terms are deemed unfair in a court of law, then those terms become null and void while the rest of the contract remains.

Since O2 is still promoting these contracts as ‘fixed’ and the details of the contract show a fixed figure such as £42pm for a minimum of 24 months, if O2 wants to be able to change that figure, it needs to be made as clear as the £42 quoted and added or included in that figure.

Thing is, O2 can’t do this because they don’t know what the RPI is going to be. At this point, it is no longer a fixed price so these terms are in conflict with the originally quoted, ‘fixed Price’ QED.

As far as I can see, Ofcom’s own people aren’t even clear on the new guidelines they’ve drawn up, let alone the basics of consumer law. Like another well know quango which I believe is at risk of being shut down, I think Ofcom is also in need of retirement as it is clearly unfit for purpose.

For me at least, I will never trust the likes of O2 since in the words of an O2 advisor;
“VARIABLE” is the new ‘Fixed’ !!

That’s no joke, that is the excuse one of their own advisors gave when trying to blame this all on Ofcom. Get that Ofcom? O2 says this is ALL your fault and you made them do it !!

If that’s not misleading the consumer, I don’t know what is !!!

I have received a reply from O2 following my complaint and have replied to them confirming that I still disagree with their stance. My intention is to keep pushing them and throwing as many curve balls as I can to keep their lawyers busy.

As piper dog has confirmed, if you keep disagreeing with their responses and your case is well communicated it could go to the Ombudsman Service, which will cost o2 £300 regardless of the result. The more costs and admin O2 incur the better as far as I am concerned!

Please don’t simply say they will not get my business again, we are all going to leave O2 after this anyway. Send in those complaints and put this company in a state of disarray.

I also have a few pr tricks up my sleeve too, I’m planning a few viral videos and social media campaigns against this too. Thankfully, I have the expertise to optimise You Tube Videos for Google searches and I will be uploading something shortly and optimising the hell out of it. I’ll try my best to get this viral through other social media too. Remember the guy who’s guitar broke in the hold of a United Airlines flight…something along those lines..you tube it..funny video but it taught that plane company a lesson or 2. I am like a rottweiler on speed with this one.

So, lets incur this company costs and work as hard as we can to destroy their reputation!

piperdog123 says:
4 February 2014

I am delighted to say Jim and I agree!!!! AWESOME.

Sadly I am unable to refer to the Ombudsman as I have checked my t&c’s and o2 are (legally but in almost everyone’s opinion not morally) right. So whilst I would love to (and I am sure Jim and many others would say I should anyway) it is not an option.

But for everyone else who feels they have a grievance then you MUST follow the guidance I posted the other day. Please refer earlier up the thread. Jim is right. The more people that complain to the Ombudsman the more it will cos o2 at £300 a go.

It would also be helpful if people could post back to say if they have done so. But you MUST follow the correct procedure as earlier advised. You cannot go straight to the ombudsman.

Good luck everyone.

Adrian says:
4 February 2014

Should be ileagal, along many other large company rip offs to the public.
Been O2 custom omer for 7 years.
You’d think their huge profits would be enough, hope they loose a load.

Tony says:
4 February 2014

Our contract was ‘negotiated’ by Azzurri and the best they have come up with so far was a polite call from the sales rep who said he knew nothing of the price increase and was sorry. Then a couple of hours later I was sent scans of two O2 documents I had never seen before, including a contract I never signed. I will not roll over on this and have already talked to a legal.

Giffgaff or Tesco here we come. It was suicidal of O2 to be so greedy at such an inappropriate time of media attention following Ofcom’s actions and statements.

Naida Wall says:
5 February 2014

I have had 1 increas since I took out my contract and one pending I dont even have a decent signal where I live having to go and sit in the garden to make and receive calls when my contract is up in april I will not be renewing it with 02.

Philip says:
6 February 2014

This is not the first time that O2 have shown that they have no respect for their customers rights.
In April 2012 I bought a mobile phone on a 2 year contract from O2. I made a point of reading their terms and conditions thoroughly. One of the things that I read was that O2 said that after serving half of their contracts, customers would be allowed to change to a lower tariff.
In May 2013 I decided that as I did not use this phone very much I would like to save myself some money and change to a lower tariff. I phoned O2 customer services and asked about this and was told that this was not possible and they refused to discuss it or offer any explanation. I then pointed out that their own terms and conditions as printed on their web site said that this was permitted. They still refused to agree. I then asked to speak to a manager and after some delay I eventually spoke to a senior customer services manager. I explained the situation to him and pointed out that this was in accordance with their own terms and conditions. He refused point blank to do as I asked and also would not offer any explanation.
I then went onto the O2 forums and posted a message about my experience and I said that I would complain to OFFCOM.
Within 20 minutes of posting this message I received a phone call from someone at O2, he still refused to accept that O2’s terms and conditions allowed this, even after I pointed it out to him on their web site. He then said that as a “GOOD WILL GESTURE” they would reduce my tariff by £5.00 per month for the remainder of the contract. I accepted this offer, but I still think it wrong that O2 can refuse to honour their own terms and conditions, but will readily bend the rules to suit themselves.

I may have missed it whilst skimming through, but no one has mentioned O2’s parent company, which is BT. Enough said.

Are you sure about this Roy? I know BT and 02 used to be the same company. But the last I heard was BT sold it a number of years ago now?

Er, no they’re not. O2 is owned by Telefonica. BT sold them off years ago.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O2_(United_Kingdom)

It’s now owned by Telefonica

Carol Braid says:
6 February 2014

only one thing for it as far as I am concerned I will go back to pay as you go!!!

Dan Kinsman says:
6 February 2014

I’m in the same boat as many of you and am absolutely furious.

After using O2’s PAYG service for 2 years, I was so delighted with the coverage both at home 2G and 3G and at my place of business, I am a surf school owner in Cornwall. I left Virgin and paid my contract off early as the service was so good. 5 months into a 24 month “FIXED” term contract back in June and then all of a sudden I totally lost 3G signal at work (essential for me to process card payments from the beach) never to return again. 3 weeks later and my 2G signal has done the same thing at my home address. Keeps dropping connection, something which had NEVER happened before. Was told by customer service to switch off 3G then restart my phone every time I wanted to make a phone call lol! Followed correct process, complaints, Ombudsman to end contract without penalty only to be told by communications ombudsman there is no evidence there has been a drop in service at which point I informed the gentleman I was stood in my back garden during Friday’s epic storm as no longer any signal inside. Was offered a slightly reduced line rental as a “gesture of goodwill.”

I then asked the ombudsman to inform O2 I would leave without penalty under the new OFCOM guidelines as I was not made aware at any point during the sale over the telephone that the monthly payments would be anything other than £38 per month (I asked them to check the recorded conversation, which of course, they are very unlikely to have). I’ve received all the usual patronising responses as the rest of you from both the CEO’s office and complaints advisor and his supervisor. About to escalate it to the complaints department before costing them another £300 with the Ombudsman. This is already disproportionate to the however many hundreds of pounds I’d have to pay in penalties.

I really do need a reliable network as the season begins again. I estimate I lost hundreds of pounds in both time and missed business through constant loss of signal and my questions are;

If I transfer my number to EE and just cancel my Direct Debit with O2, would they take me to court and if so, would they likely win? I appreciate this would affect my credit rating if they were successful.

Has anyone attempted to take O2 to small claims court over the issue of mid term price increase or spoken with a solicitor?

Steve Linsdell says:
7 February 2014

Dear all I am with Orange (EE) and have just received my text informing me about the RPI increase I like everyone think this a blatant rip off FIXED IS FIXED I wonder if the CEO off Orange makes a contract with a supplier at a fixed rate over a fixed time would tolerate any increases I think he would see that supplier go under before paying any increase. I see little that we the customers can do other than WHEN your contract is up LEAVE AS I WILL BE DOING in the mean time keep their complaints department tied up making sure that they have to reply by email so you have copy of what they are saying……..

Dan Kinsman says:
7 February 2014

Friend of mine just this second got a text through from EE telling him he’s allowed to leave his contract taken out in December 2013 free of charge

Steve Linsdell says:
8 February 2014

spoke with orange @7-20 pm ( Simon ) he said that at the present Orange are not putting prices up and that if they do customers will be allowed to leave without charge. This I would love to see in writing to all Orange Mobile contract holders but somehow I don’t think Orange brave enough to make this gesture.

gabs says:
8 February 2014

I don’t think its right that o2 think they an get away with this price rise, its scandalous, I’m lucky
Im coming to the end of my contract with o2 in April, I will definetly not be renewing my contract with them, thanks for the heads up on the price rise,
I think o2 should be boycotted by new customers to show them its not fair, not right and should b cancelled.

We need a legal person to clarify this, but as far as I can see, a contract needs to be very clear to carry any weight. The terms of most PPI contracts appeared to be fairly clear and yet the banks are now having to pay compensation. So the Government should now do something, not just about O2, but every service company that plays this kind of game. For those of us who pay our bills regularly and do not default, what they are doing is really dishonest.

I have created a petition on the Government website to put a stop to this in future. Please sign it and tell your friends to sign it on http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/59833

The other thing we could do is if somebody in a legal position is willing to manage this, is to take group legal action. Maybe something could be put up on Facebook.

“The terms of most PPI contracts appeared to be fairly clear and yet the banks are now having to pay compensation” Its not really the fault of the contracts, its the way PPI was sold that’s the problem. i.e. sold to the self employed ( its not applicable to them), added to loans/mortgages w/o you being told about it, told you must have it to get a loan/mortgage again illegal. PPI in itself could have been a useful product, apart from I’d never take it cos I’d know they’re argue the t@ss if I were ever to claim. I’m just that lucky.

I’m still at a loss why Trading Standards don’t do more, Fixed doesn’t mean variable to me, yet they seem quite happy as long as you use small print .

Bet if I ran this ad, they’d jump on me “Guaranteed lottery predictor for sale £500” small print “requires time machine, time machines sold separately, currently out of stock, awaiting delivery.”

I have written to No 10…

Dear Prime Minister,

I write with regard to the honesty of businesses dealing with their customers. Disturbingly many companies are signing up people on Fixed Term contracts, giving the impression that prices will not change over the term of those contracts. I would suggest most of these are more misleading than the contracts for PPI.

People are genuinely trying to meet their obligations by budgeting and then find themselves with an unexpected price increase. This has several negative consequences for our nation: people find themselves struggling when as far as they are concerned they have budgeted which has obvious repercussions; I would suggest this leads to a culture of dishonesty and distrust amongst everybody and makes it harder to do business; and it leads to distrust of electronic business.

Companies I can readily point out are: O2, BT and T-Mobile but am sure there are many others.
Please do something to penalise these companies as they make a mockery of honest business.

I can see a few people are using a few other angles to attack this dreadful nonsense, keep it up folks!

Anyway, one of my approaches is currently the Advertising Standards Authority. Following my initial complaint (see below), they emailed me and I have subsequently emailed them back with more details and screen grabs. I will add that email in another comment box below.

I wrote the initial complaint in a bit of a blur one evening, so excuse the English. I added this content to the complaints process on the advertising standards authority website and it worked as they are now investigating.

Please feel free to edit this content or use it for your own complaint, the more complaints the ASA get, the better, so hopefully this content will guide people on what is working to get things in motion.

The aim of this complaint is to force o2 to state the rpi information right at the start of their sales process online. Can you imagine an unsightly home page with an rpi clause next to each price and pre-sales page with this too? If you can, it will mean o2 will lose customers during their website sales funnel because they will clearly be put off by the rpi clause and move onto another suppliers website. Similarly, they should be forced to communicate the rpi on initial sales communications offline.

Alternatively of course, if o2 are forced to clearly show the rpi clause right at the start of customer communications, they will think very carefully about the policy of implementing it! Ultimate goal, o2 lose more new customers!

My first ASA communication (makes reference to the way prices are communicated on the o2 website):

“The tariff shown in the advert for the iphone displays a price for a 24 month contract including the minutes, texts and data usage. It tells you the upfront costs for the handset and exactly what you will pay per month. At no point in the point of sale communication do they state that the tariff could go up in the 24 month period.

So, the cost for the minutes, texts and data you intend to use and stay within. I am not complaining about O2 being able to change minute charges or text charges for what you use over your agreement.

This information is no doubt hidden in small print in the terms and conditions, as was the case when I purchased my Samsung back in 2012. I have subsequently had 2 price changes with my tariff since the purchase date. I am currently paying well over £2 per month more than was agreed at the start of the contract.

When all is said and done I am paying approximately £38 more than I should over 2 years. The contract should be a contract and therefore £36 per month for 2 years, full stop.

So how is this an advertising standards issue, well here goes.

O2 are advertising a contract for 24 months with specific features that should last for the entirety of that contract and nothing should change. That is what I have signed up for.

So the first web page and communication with the potential customer should clearly state in brackets that this Pay Monthly figure may rise as per terms and conditions. It doesn’t and you are led to believe that you will be paying that monthly fee for 2 years as long as you don’t go over agreed usage.

Now, on the following page when you click through, O2 are now telling you about the price changes related to the 2.7% RPI. Thanks for now adding this information O2, after probably being forced to do so by Ofcom, but this is not good enough.

People should be more informed on the initial communication of such prices increases. The £34 per month on the first page is essentially a complete lie because you won’t be paying that for 2 years at all. For poorly informed customers who don’t understand the rpi (yes I know we should know but some don’t) it is a confusing communication and misleading.

So what would I like to see:

1. On the first offer page for a phone on any website, there should be some brackets stating (this monthly cost may rise) and these brackets should link to an explanation why. That would be an honest way of doing it and telling people exactly what will happen. Now though, it is dishonest and unethical!

2. I don’t really want number 1, the ultimate solution is that no company online should be using terms and conditions in this way to unethically be charging consumers more money. So, it’s a contract that is not really a contract. One set of rules on the front end of the sales process and another set of rules in the terms and conditions.

If every consumer was subjected to such rules based on front end lies with everything we bought online or offline, we could all end up with massive bills at the end of each month that were completely unexpected. It is well known that people don’t read terms and conditions front to back, so this kind of precedent leaves consumers open to all sorts of problems.

Take the scenario of a family who now have contract phones and tablets totaling 6 devices (yes I know they are probably well off but not the point). The extra monthly costs for one of these families could be significant. Now if this type of unethical business practice was allowed in other industries it would be incredibly damaging to hard working families. Think also of the impact on retail, less people will be shopping if their monthly bills keep unexpectedly rising.

The message is simple…clear pricing at the outset and a contract means a contract. What I have signed is an agreement for O2 to manipulate me in whatever way they like during the 2 year contract.

Here is my reply email to the advertising standards authority. I have highlighted specific web pages where I feel there is a clear misrepresentation of the product. No clear reference to the rpi clause on these pages. I also took screen grabs of these pages to support my claim and attached them to my email. I used the snipping tool to do this, other tools on ipad or similar should do that also.

My argument continues to reiterate that the rpi clause should be communicated right at the start of communications thus turning O2’s website into a mess!

I have slightly altered the links so that this comment does not get deleted, but more importantly I’m not giving this unethical company backlinks to help their seo! You should be able to figure out the links and repair them if you would like to use this content for your complaint.

I have also made reference to the Wayback Machine, which stores old web pages from pretty much every site. If you need proof from a previous version of the O2 site this might help you, but understandably it’s a little slow and sometimes unreliable.

Good Luck

Email reply to ASA:

“I have attached the screen grabs concerned and here are some explanations:

1. The Home Page www o2 .co.uk – No communication of the rpi clause for the iPhone 5s. It states a set of contract prices that are not accurate with what the consumer will pay.
2. The Shop Page www o2 .co.uk/shop – iPhone 5s and a series of phones are communicated with contract length, price and offers. 24 months, 60 minutes and the price you will pay etc (of course this is not the price you will pay)
3. Great Deals Page http://www.o2 .co.uk/greatdeals – Again this shows lots of offers but no reference to the rpi clause (misrepresentation of the price you will pay for the contract), here is an example:
i. iPhone 5c 16GB
ii. Now £0.00 upfront
iii. Was £29.99
iv. £32 a month
v. 600 minutes
vi. Unlimited texts
vii. 750MB data
viii. 24 months

4. Business Shop page http:// businessshop .o2.co.uk/ – Once more the same scenario as the great deals page. No reference to the rpi clause.

On each web page they are misleading the customer into purchasing a contract phone at a certain price. As the customer continues their journey on the sales process, they will be presented with the rpi clause on subsequent web pages. Here is an example:

1. Example RPI Clause page – http://www. o2 .co.uk/shop/phones/apple/iphone-5c-16gb-blue/?activeTabNum=8&noScroll=yes – Consumer is informed of the rpi clause under the button “get this phone and tariff”. It reads as follows – Your Airtime Plan will be adjusted by 2.7% RPI on your March 2014 bill and from 2015 will be adjusted every year by RPI on your April bill.

If O2 are going to have an rpi clause with their contract phones, this should be communicated at the start of the sales process and thus on their home page and pages I have listed above. No doubt, there are other instances where O2 are using other web pages on their site to mislead the consumer into viewing these offers.

The pages I have listed in points 1-4 are not representative of the price you will pay for your contract mobile phone and as such this is misleading the consumer into a misrepresented sales process.

O2 should not be permitted to communicate prices that are 100% inaccurate. The Misrepresentation Act 1967 exists to protect consumers from false or fraudulent claims that induce you into buying something or entering into a contract and allows you to claim damages in the case of fraudulent misrepresentation.

I believe that the communication of a monthly contract was falsely and / or fraudulently communicated to me during the initial sales process and it is still occurring on their website.

During an internet sales process you should be free to add subsequent items to your purchase at your discretion, such is the way with Amazon or similar, of which I have no problem. This is absolutely correct and your price changes as a result.

In this instance the 3rd, 4th and 5th part of the process or indeed other stages represent a completely different price to that which is communicated originally and the consumer has not added subsequent items. The consumer should expect to pay the price which is communicated in the initial sales communications.

Whilst these page examples I have provided are current, I will provide my personal example as proof of the misleading process. I purchased a contract phone for £36 per month on unlimited minutes and texts with 1GB of data. Back in 2012 when I did this, the ofcom rules were different and O2 did not have to make the rpi clause clear at all during the sales process. In fact, on the example clause page I highlighted there would not have been that clause text present on the web page back when I bought my phone.

My first bill was not for £36 but £37.20. After the recent rpi price rise from O2 I will now be paying over £38 per month. Over the course of the contract I am roughly paying £38 or more than I should.

So, in short O2 have been taken to task to show the rpi clause during the sales process now but it is currently not communicated at the start of the sales process on their website. This clearly entices the consumer into entering a contract which is absolutely not representative of the price they will pay.

This precedent cannot be allowed to continue for Internet sales processes or we will see other large corporate organisations using similar tactics to entice consumers into purchasing products or contracts at the wrong price.

Furthermore I have attached screen grabs from the Wayback Machine to highlight how O2 have been misleading consumers for a long period of time. These include screen grabs from when I purchased my phone.

If you need anything further information please contact me any time.”