Is Ofcom about to call time on communication providers that raise prices on fixed contracts? Today the regulator announced its plan for a consultation into protecting consumers from surprise price hikes.
Ofcom’s announcement highlights that this came about due to your complaints about price rises on fixed contracts.
It’s good news that the consultation, which is planned to take place before the end of the year, will be looking at hidden price variation terms for all communications providers, including landline, broadband and mobiles.
My personal interest, however, is on mobile phones, having been a victim of Vodafone’s recent 2.4% increase. It was comforting to know from reading previous Conversations that I’m not the only one frustrated and annoyed by these unwelcome and unexpected price hikes.
Over the past year, four of the five main mobile operators (Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone and Three) have outraged customers by imposing price increases on fixed mobile contracts. Like so many others, I was annoyed that after being dazzled by advertisements boasting the deal’s cheap price, the ability to raise prices was buried in the small print.
Ofcom must act swiftly
Ofcom’s announcement is definitely a big step in the right direction, but it’s now absolutely essential that this consultation is carried out swiftly and that it results in something that genuinely protects you and me from these unfair rises.
We’ve got this far because you’ve spoken up here on Which? Conversation or have been one of the 32,000 who’ve signed our Fixed Means Fixed campaign. And I think it will take your voice to get the right result from the consultation. At Which? we think that mobile providers should be made to drop hidden clauses that allow them to hit consumers with millions of pounds worth of surprise price hikes.
Ofcom’s consultation is a great opportunity to highlight the true level of dissatisfaction with the current situation. Therefore, as a fellow frustrated consumer, I would encourage you to share your thoughts with us – do you think fixed should mean fixed?