/ Technology

Hit by a mobile price hike? Want to exit without penalty?

Cartoon of happy phone

After more than 2,000 comments and 38,000 pledges on our Fixed Means Fixed campaign, Ofcom’s launched a consultation on how to tackle price hikes on fixed contracts. We still need your support to get the right result.

If you’re a Which? Convo regular, I’m sure you’re aware of all the mobile phone price rises we’ve had to suffer over the past couple of years.

O2 was the last to jump on the price rise bandwagon, with Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and Three Mobile hiking their prices beforehand. It’s a practice that will see their customers collectively paying almost £150m extra per year.

Following our Fixed Means Fixed campaign, Ofcom has now launched a consultation on how to protect you and me from such mid-contract price rises. And mobile phone contracts aren’t the only deals on the table; broadband and landline deals are also included in the consultation.

What does Ofcom’s consultation propose?

Ofcom concludes that its current rules are not operating effectively as they don’t meet our expectations that the price of a contract should be fixed. Instead, these rules are leaving consumers exposed to surprise price rises, without offering the ability to avoid them.

Ofcom’s preferred solution is to let customers leave their contracts without penalty if prices go up. At the moment, you’re locked into your mobile deal if prices rise. But how are you locked in? Because exiting requires you to pay a hefty fee – usually the remaining payments on your contract. And that’s no small change – if you’re not too far into a two-year deal, the remainder of your contract will run well into the hundreds of pounds. How exactly can you vote with your feet if you’re forced to pay a hefty fee to move to another provider?

Ultimately, fixed contracts should be at a fixed price. But if providers don’t want to stick to that, you should be able to say ‘sayonara’ and leave without penalty. That would put the power back in your hands – you’ll have the freedom to switch and take advantage of the best deals.

Help us achieve the right solution

However, Ofcom has also put forward other potential solutions. These include issuing further guidance for mobile providers, ‘opt-ins’ for variable price contracts or even maintaining the status quo – an option I’m sure the providers would welcome with open arms.

At Which? we want to see Ofcom act upon its consultation without delay and make the right decision. Not only should you be able to cancel without charge if prices go up, Ofcom must ensure providers tell you about this right before you sign on the dotted line. No more surprises.

So, that’s what we think about Ofcom’s consultation here at Which?, but we still need your help to achieve the right solution. Ofcom’s consultation lasts 10 weeks, so there’s plenty of time to tell the regulator what you think, either by responding on Ofcom’s website or by commenting below. We’ll feed your comments into the consultation to make sure no views go unheard.

Do you think you should be able to exit your contract without penalty if providers put your prices up mid-contract?

[UPDATE 7 March 2013] – There’s just one week to go before Ofcom closes its consultation into price rises during fixed contracts. Have your say by voting in our poll and watch our new Fixed Means Fixed video:

Comments
Durr says:
13 March 2013

What gets me is that I pay £36 or £37 a month now (can’t remember exactly) for my Three contract, yet I walk past their store the other day and see the same contract for £34 a month. It has the same iphone (though the new iphone 5, not 4s) storage wise and same exact contract.

Durr says:
13 March 2013

I think they charging the existing customers more to cover the 4G auction and to make prices lower for new contracts to suck people in. Then after 6 months or so they whack on a price rise and keep you locked in. It’s got to stop and ofcom need to be firm with this. Thanks to which for getting ofcom to at least take a look.

pmunc6 says:
13 March 2013

Hi Patrick,
It has been my pleasure to contribute to this campaign, it is time that consumers were given an opportunity to voice their opinion on these underhanded tactics.
You mention that there is only one day to go, do you think we will get a decision this quickly or will we have to wait until June.
You may have read that I cancelled my contract with O2 and that they sent me a bill to cover the 22 months left on my contract, I have responded advising them that I will reveiw the situation after the decision has been made by Ofcom and will not be making any futher payments until that time. I expect the heavies to call on me sometime soon so fingers crossed for that!

lin lobb says:
13 March 2013

Wonder what the Small Claims Court would make of all this?

Wonder if Which would either take this to court or guide anyone brave enough through the small claims court process?

From the Which video, I would have liked to see another option 5: Mobile Providers are just banned from raising their price. If they wanted to increase their income then give their new contractees a contract that is a bit more expensive.

robb says:
5 April 2013

haven’t checked, but there is aparently a warning in the small print of the contract about price variations, which means the courts can do nothing, as it is in the contract. however, i wonder if the monopolies commission may be interested, as it does mean that for 2 years you can’t switch to a competitor, without paying out a load of money.

Billymac10 says:
22 March 2013

I completed the OFCOM survey some time ago and found it interesting that one of their questions asked whether OFCOM should provide guidance as to when prices can be increased. It turns out that the existing get out clauses providers have to increase prices (inflation/materiality) were given to providers by OFCOM as earlier guidance. I wasnt aware of this before, as until this happened providers never increased their contract prices (I have had various contracts since 1996). OFCOM seem to have created ths mess themselves…….I hope the next guidance is to let us get out without a charge if prices are increased. I work in Financial Services and in my industry price increases like these mid term would be a major scandal.

Next step for OFCOM is to stop the likes of sky and virgin bundling their services so that if you don’t want a fixed line telephone, the price of their stand alone broaband goes up by nearly the same amount as if you did take a fixed line contract

Steve Porter says:
4 April 2013

I would love it if a fixed contract was actually a fixed contract.

Funny.. at the start the guy who sold me the contract (T-Mobile) assured me it was fixed monthly fee and that there wouldn’t be any price rises. (Lying ********)

Is this the main reason why they tie you in to a 24 month contract… so they can just boost the price half way through and leave you with relatively no choice but to carry on with the contract with the higher price.

It’s awful really. Even though I know it’s not just T-Mobile (it’s the majority), I will not be staying with T-Mobile at the end of my contract, unless they give me a great *FIXED RATE* contract 🙂

Stellarbelz says:
6 April 2013

Firstly, I have not received or seen any paperwork from T-Mobile. Secondly, I asked about the £15.50 a month payment and if there would be any changes to it. I was told, the price was fixed for 2 years. All this was concluded over the phone. I have only just become aware that I have contracted into a scheme where I have agreed to pay £15.50 a month for 24 months,and T-Mobile have agreed to accept my payments, provided me with a phone and services but not fully signed up to the same contract as I have.

A contract is a binding agreement between 2 or more, all agreeing to the terms and conditions of that contract. It would be very interesting to see what happens if any of these breached contracts end up in court.

Ofcom needs to define the legal terms of “contract” and quickly decide who is in breach. There are a lot of us out here wanting to know this.

kirsten says:
7 April 2013

I have only been in my new contract with TMobile since mid January and they are already going to increase my ‘fixed’ price.

However I think I have an ‘out’ by reading their own T&Cs. These state you can terminate contract without penalty if increase is more than RPI. Their calculated RPI rate is 3.3%. My monthly charge is £11.00, so max increase would be 36.3p. they are proposing a rise by 40p. Also despite saying the increase is 40p, they are quoting a total new monthly cost of £12.40??. This is a % increase of 12.7%, nearly 4 times RPI.

I I intend to challenge them and would urge everyone to read their T&Cs very carefully.

In the meantime I can’t understand why these contracts have not been challenged in law as totally illegal. No other fixed price contract can be increased i.e mortgages.

Google Bank of Ireland tracker and you’ll see that even mortgage companies are at it.

And Re the T&C of your phone contract, don’t forget it was OFCOM that allowed the phone companies to add that clause. OFCOM clearly aren’t working in the interests of the consumer.

kirsten says:
7 April 2013

Just spoken to T-mobile (twice as they cut me off first time – nothing new there!) Apparently I get a discount of £1.00 on my plan so although I pay £11, my plan is for £12. This was news to me! RPI increase is based on price before discount, so their letter says I will pay £12.40, though I will actually pay £11.40. Stillll with me???

I have never had any contract in writing though they were supposed to send it with phone. They tell me I can read it all on My T-mobile. That’s just great as I can’t access the site – it asks for a ten digit phone number and all phone numbers are eleven digits. When I pointed this out, I was offered no help.

I have insisted on a text confirming the actual amount I will be paying and when. I have also insisted they poste the paperwork that should have come with the phone.

I am disgusted with T-mobile, who seem to be near the bottom of the pile as far as Which is concerned and will be leaving them as soon as I can.

Jimbob says:
7 April 2013

Hate to be bearer of bad news but the bank of Ireland trackers were only guaranteed for a couple of years and they kept them for another two or so (I.e letting customers keep them on customer favourable terms and indeed loss making to the bank) before saying they would increase the rate. However to other key difference is that they let customers leave penalty free.

Sheridan Williams says:
10 April 2013

If my business worded contracts like this, I would be sued left-right-and-centre.
Bosses at T-mobile, Vodaphone etc should be ashamed of themselves. They have no morals, and are simply money-grabbers!

Sheridan Williams says:
10 April 2013

I have been interviewed on behalf of OFCOM, and every time I remark that they are simply not fit for purpose – a “quango-non-sequitur”. I am over 60 years old, but could make better decisions 20 years ago than these people.

kirsten says:
11 April 2013

I still dont understand why suing these companies isn’t a consideration (perhaps as a class action.) To say that we couldnt due to our having agreed to the contract in the first place is surely a weak arguement.

I have never received, let alone signed a contract despite having asked repeatedly. I only received the generic T&Cs after receiving the phone and only then after asking three times. How can I have agreed to a contract I have never seen.

Besides, what about the laws against unreasonable contract terms?

Ray says:
11 April 2013

I am trying to take on o2. My legal insurance says i have a case against o2 but the amounts involved, 3.2% of my tariff falls below their threshold to take the case. Ofcom are not worth the effort of a call and the ombudsman totally ignored the fact that o2 miss sold the contract to me as at the time of taking the contract i specificly asked the operator if the tariff could be increased in price. I was told 100% no it would not go up. Very disolusioned as ofcon and the ombudsman appear to be aiding and abetting the phone companies to mis sell and do nothing about it

Sam Wardill says:
11 April 2013

This is my problem too. The amount is so small that I am worried a small claims court might regard it as frivolous. I think the class action idea is a good one. Perhaps Which? could facilitate.

Mark says:
14 April 2013

Hi all,
I was wondering if any of you is in a similar situation. I have signed a Full Monty 36 contract with T-Mobile (with a discount of £10). But on their website at that time it has been just advertised as £26 per month till the end of the contract. And when I first I got my bill I though little of it as I only thought it was their way of calculating it. However my new bill hasn’t been based on what I am paying but on the tariff I am. Which means the increase of 1.17 which is 3.2% of £36. Even though this figure is within an inflation comparing it with my current monthly payments of £26 and a new one of £27.17 means effectively an increase of 4.5% which is surely above the rate of inflation.
Any thoughts?

kirsten says:
14 April 2013

Yes Mark see both my comments 7th April. If there’s a may to screw you they’ll find it!

Phill says:
23 April 2013

In january 2012 there was the first rise in the contract of £1 (from £26 to £27), I didn’t think anything of it at the time.
In april 2012 I renewed my contract at the £27 over the phone, then in May 2013 they tell me they are going to increase their fees again, £27.88. I decide to make a stand, they say they cannot reduce it because they have changed their plans and there isn’t one for £27. There was never one for £27, it was the £26 price plan, but I was paying more for it.

I will be leaving t-mobile after 4 years when I get a chance.

pmunc6 says:
3 May 2013

As I said in an earlier post, I cancelled my contract as 02 increased my monthly charge after only 1 month into a 24 month contract. They did not make a fuss about the cancellation however, they did bill me for the total cost of the remainder of the contract, almost £800. I responded that I would consider how to proceed after Ofcom had made a decision. They have since passed the supposed debt to a Freidrickson Debt Collectors who are hounding me daily and, to add insult to injury, have added a further £89 to the bill for their charges.

I have just watched the BBC Watchdog programme which reported on this issue and, following the comments of their contracts expert, I have now decided to go to the court with this as I, like so many others, was assured by the O2 salesman that the monthly charge would remain the same for the duration of the contract, by stating this, according to the contract expert on Watchdog, he was actually lying. Surely, in light of this fact, the courts cannot rule in their favour.

Mission completed says:
3 May 2013

This is quite sad to hear. I too considered this option but my situation was a little different in that I’d taken my O2 via a Tesco Phone Shop. Unfortunately for BOTH parties, O2 had supplied Tesco with a much older copy of their T’s and C’s. In this contract, there was no mention of RPI but there was a very clear ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ clause. Took a lot of wrangling and denial on the part of O2 but eventually, they had no choice but to concede and after an apology and suggestion that maybe this might restore a bit of faith for the future, they ended the contract without further charges “I bet you had to give the phone back though” I hear you say. WRONG. Still got my lovely Samsung Galaxy Note II and not a peep from either party. The only time where you may have to return your phone would be if you had simply changed you mind and were using a cooling-off period but in my case, Tesco supplied the phone and not only do Tesco not offer a cooling-off, even if they had, it would have passed weeks ago. As the reason for ending the contract was because my contract had changed ‘To my disadvantage’ both monetary and contractually, under this situation, I may leave without penalty. Also, they had breached the contract in a number of ways, not least, failing to notify me of changes, and significant changes to my contract. Biggest one was the thing that everybody is complaining about now, all this RPI stuff.

As you can imagine, O2 hated this and for the most part, remained in denial while a few, point blank, refused to honour the contract but still felt it was ok to hold me to the parts in their favour along with parts that weren’t even in my contract.

One of the funniest episodes was when and agent came out with the following attack:

“MR B*******D! DO YOU KNOW HOW BIG O2 ACTUALLY IS?”
“Quite big I’d imagine” I replied
“O2 IS A VERY BIG COMPANY!! DO YOU REALLY THINK O2 WOULD WRITE A CONTRACT WITH THE SORT WORDING YOU ARE TELLING ME ABOUT NOW!?!?

I MEAN, EVERYBODY WOULD BE LEAVING”

“Hopefully ;-)” I replied

Given the contract I was staring at, this was so comical but the end result is they were in fact forced to let me go.

It’s sad, you shouldn’t have to fight like this but many will accept what O2 tells them, even if it is a pack of lies. According to O2 my situation is unique because they claim that I’m the only one who ever got this contract but the true fact is that they continued using that same contract months after my original complaint and it was with just weeks of my final resolution that they finally changed it.

I posed as an O2 customer with the same issue and they totally rejected the contract in addition to advising me that O2 has never let anyone leave without penalty. After an extended and heated discussion, I asked “what about that guy who keeps posting on the Which convo? he had the same contract as me?”

“That was different and I cannot discuss it and talk about their contract for legal reasons!!”
I wonder just how many times they’ve used that line?

Word of note for anybody who is with Giffgaff; If you’ve ever had the pleasure of trying to sort a problem, such as missing minutes maybe, ever wondered why they sound just like O2?

Check out their registered address:

giffgaff Limited, registered in England and Wales, registered office address: 260 Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire SL1 4DX, UK (company number 4196996)

Look familiar? This is for all those that still believe Giffgaff simply uses O2’s network. Giffaff was setup by O2 but trying calling that office address and asking for them.

Still not convinced? Do a search on Companies House for Giffgaff’s company number 4196996, it’s quite enlightening 😉

Paul T says:
1 July 2013

I can confirm what “Mission accomplished” above says to be true.

In December 2012 when 02 announced their price increases they were in fact in breach of their own terms and conditions. Their T&Cs at that time stated that a customer could leave “without penalty” in the event that 02 increased their costs beyond the “RPI at the date the increase is announced”.

The fact is that their December increase (3.2%) was above the then published RPI of 3.01%. I pointed this out to Which, who were about as uninterested as they could be unless I subscribed, OFCOM, the Ombudsman service and the OFT on the basis that the term was an unfair term.

02 behaved with me exactly as they behaved with “Mission Accomplished” refusing to admit that the wording of their T&Cs was such that customers could leave (I have several screenshots of both before and after).

None of the regulators were prepared to force 02 to honour their own terms and conditions and allow customers to leave “without penalty” because of their breach.

Several months later (April 2013) and 02 have changed their terms and conditions to read “The Published RPI at the date the increased is announced” which is how it should have read for them to be able to reject customers requests to leave.

The regulators are toothless and unwilling to stand up to these companies.

Well done “Mission accomplished” at least you won out.

Mission accomplished says:
3 July 2013

Thanks for your vote of confidence. Unfortunately, it seems a lot of folk still quite don’t understand the contract I had. For me and those who signed via Tesco and had the same contract, this has nothing to do with raising the price beyond RPI. I’m not sure what is so confusing.

The contract I had been given when I signed mentioned NOTHING about RPI. This was a unique situation in that O2 had provided Tesco with a VERY old set of T’s & C’s.

It simply said “If O2 change their price or the terms of their contract to my disadvantage, then under those conditions, I may leave without any early termination charges” I can’t remember the exact but it has been posted many times before.

It had nothing to do with the fact that O2 raised the price beyond RPI (which I think is still debatable). It’s simply that the raised the prices and changed the terms of the contract to my disadvantage. For me at least, nothing to do with RPI at all.

This is the bit that O2 refused to accept, even when I sent them a copy of said contract.
I find this so sad that I’m sure many others were lucky enough to be given the same contract on the day Tesco signed them to O2 but when you try to talk to O2, they don’t have a copy of that beauty of a contract, they simply look at the current one on the website and blindly try to tell us that this is our contract. Problem for O2 is that I signed the juicy contract and it’s all there in black and white.

To put this into context, one O2 advisor did understand what I was saying and he basically called me a liar.

“Do you really think O2 would write such terms as your trying to tell me now? I mean, EVERYBODY would be leaving !!!!!!!!! Do you really think we’re that stupid ?!?!?!?”

So let me clarify, for the benefit of those that still don’t quite understand, the contract that I and many others were given had no mention of RPI throughout the entire contract, Nothing at all.

All it said was that if the price or the contract change to my ‘DISADVANTAGE’ then I may give notice to leave WITHOUT penalty. It is that simply (you’d think)

All those who took out a contract with O2 via Tesco, before January 2013 (maybe even later) you need to pull out the PAPER contract you’d have been given. The contract that you physically signed in ink!. Do not let anybody point you to the terms shown on O2’s website as these all talk about RPI. It is so simple, many of us were given out of date contracts when we signed via Tesco but in taking your money and allowing you onto the O2 network, they have accepted that contract, even if it was given out in error. At no point can the show you signed a contract you’ve never seen and you have the paper contract you signed on the day with your signature.

This is O2’s and Tesco’s error, not yours. At such a late stage in the day, I’m not sure anyone could try and cite this juicy contract now unless you can show they have deceived you by pointing you to a contract you never signed. Please, pick out the contract you signed and quit with all this RPI stuff. If you have this contract, It is absent of anything to do with RPI. This was my escape route, this is how I beat O2.

I wish I could contact you all personally but it seems I’m not allowed to share my email or contact details. The exact terms of my contract have been posted numerous times, you just need to read them. Seems everyone has got RPI on the brain but for many of us who signed via Tesco to O2, RPI is not an issue as it never applied to us. Good luck people 🙂

Mission accomplished says:
3 July 2013

Hi folks, sorry to bang on about this again but it seems folk still do not understand how I escaped without penalty. It had NOTHING to do with RPI. I DID NOT challenge O2 on RPI for the simply reason, my contract NEVER mentioned RPI period. Please read the terms I used below, it really was this simple.

8.3 If this Agreement is ended during the Minimum Period, you must pay the monthly subscription charges up to the end of the Minimum Period. This does not apply if you end the Agreement for the reasons in paragraph 8.4.

8.4 You may end this Agreement at any time by giving us notice if:
(a) we break this Agreement in any way and we do not correct the situation within 7 days of your request;
(b) we go into liquidation or a Receiver is appointed over our assets; or
(c) we increase any of the Charges for the elements of the Service you are using or change this Agreement to your disadvantage. In this situation paragraph 8.3 will not apply.

Still confused? This is the get out clause:

“8.4(c) we INCREASE ANY of the CHARGES for the elements of the Service you are using or change this AGREEMENT TO YOUR ‘DISADVANTAGE’. In this situation paragraph 8.3 will not apply.”

8.3 refers to the bit that allow O2 to hold you to the charges of the remaining contract but 8.4(a-c) overrule 8.3.

This was a contract given out by O2 to Tesco stores in error. It is something that O2 and Tesco will do their level best to deny and will mislead you by pointing to the contract online with all the RPI stuff but many of you didn’t sign that, you signed what I have shown above. This only applies to O2 contracts signed via Tesco and was removed around Feb/March 2013.

You need to stop using the web and taking O2’s website as gospel and look at the paper contract you actually signed on the day in a Tesco Phone Shop. If you signed via Tesco to O2 online you will not have gotten this beauty of a contract.

If you have this contract, all this RPI rubbish does not apply to you as it was NEVER in your contract. For those this applies to, stop worrying about challenging RPI, the change in terms and price to your ‘disadvantage’ is all you need to cite. It’s that simple.

Good luck 🙂

You’re mistaken when you say “all this RPI rubbish does not apply to you”.

It applies to everyone currently on an O2 contract (whether physically signed or not) as it forms a main tenet of the Terms and Conditions of the services and contracts under which you are bound and under whicvh ypou may cancel without penalty.

Their Terms and Conditions are universal to O2 pay monthly customers.

Here is 5(d) where they state that customers can cancel without penalty if they “change the terms of this Agreement to your significant disadvantage (which for the avoidance of doubt shall not include an increase in Charges for Additional Services, or an increase in Charges as set out in paragraphs 5.3 (a) and (b)).”

So, as you can see they have narrowed the scope of the charge increases and you cannot, as you allege, simply obviate your obligations as a result of a price increase unless it meets / falls within very specific (see: 5.3(a) & (b)) criteria.

5.3(a) is where the specific reference to RPI applies. In December hey breached their own terms and conditions on two fronts (both RPI related).

1. They increased their price by what they stated was the current rate of RPI. They stated wrongly that 3.2% was the current rate of RPI. It wasn’t it was 3.01 (look up the ons site for confirmation). The actual rate of RPI at the date I was advised of the increase (December 17th) was not known until it was published on Jan 18th. Hence why there ought to be a distinction in their Terms and Conditions between “The RPI rate” and “The published rate”. They are two distinctly different things. As I said above they have subsequently amended the wording with effect from April of this year. Clearly this is an acknowledgement that their contract was flawed (as advised to OFT, OFCOM & the Ombudsman in December 2012) yet the regulatory bodies sat, and still sit, on their hands.

2. On the matter of 02’s wording the OFT is clear about unfair terms in contracts in that they say. Under the plain language requirement they state “A term is open to challenge if it could put the consumer at a disadvantage because he or she is not clear about its meaning – even if its meaning could be worked out by a lawyer. If there is doubt as to what a term means, the meaning most favourable to the consumer will apply.” Clearly there was doubt as to what was meant by 5.3(a) in it’s previous phrasing.

As I said above the regulatory bodies are afraid to act in this instance because of the potential haemmoraging it may cause.

You have been fortunate but don’t assume your lucky escape had nothing to do with RPI.

Sorry, I stated above “Here is 5(d)”. It should actually read “Here is 8.4(d)” which is the bit that Mission Accomplished omitted from his/her post which states:

“8.4 You can end this Agreement by giving us Notice (in line with paragraph 19) if: (d) we change the terms of this Agreement to your significant disadvantage (which for the avoidance of doubt shall not include an increase in Charges for Additional Services, or an increase in Charges as set out in paragraphs 5.3 (a) and (b)).”

I hope that clears it up. Ultimately you cannot cancel your contract due to a price increase unless it meets two very specific criteria (one of which relates specifically to the (published – as per April 2013) RPI).

Mission accomplished says:
4 July 2013

Dear Mr Angry,

It seems you have clearly not taken onboard, mine and many others situation. Nothing has been omitted, There is no 8.4(d) in the contract that I, and many others who signed via Tesco had, just as there is nothing about RPI. We were all in the unique position that we’d been given a very out of date contract (O2’s claim).

Once again, for those who think they know the contract I and others signed:

8.3 If this Agreement is ended during the Minimum Period, you must pay the monthly subscription charges up to the end of the Minimum Period. This does not apply if you end the Agreement for the reasons in paragraph 8.4.
8.4 You may end this Agreement at any time by giving us notice if:
(a) we break this Agreement in any way and we do not correct the situation within 7 days of your request;
(b) we go into liquidation or a Receiver is appointed over our assets; or
(c) we increase any of the Charges for the elements of the Service you are using or change this Agreement to your disadvantage. In this situation paragraph 8.3 will not apply.

In case you think that I may be bound by any other contract or future ammendments, I suggest you study the other part of the agreement I signed:

11. Changes to the Agreement
We may change this Agreement and the Charges at any time. If we increase the Charges for the elements of the Service you are using or change this Agreement to your disadvantage we will give you 30 days’ notice before the changes take place.

That new universal contract you refer to is anything but. The only contract you can be held to is the one you originally agreed to. If that contract subsequently changes (see above) and this changes are to you ‘disadvantage’, then as per the contract I and others signed, O2 has to let us know and we have the option of rejecting those changes as per the terms of 8.4(c)

In addition, in my case at least, O2 failed to notify me of such changes as per “11. Changes to the Agreement”. As a result, O2 were now also in breach of 8.4(a) as they did not advise of a change to my contract. It matters not that these contracts were given out in error. I simply used that error to my advantage.

My reason for holding O2 to those terms was not just the money, in fact, that was now a very small part of it.

The main reason now was that had I been given the correct contract, I would never have agreed to such altered terms as “Significant Disadvantage” along with such other terms like putting the onus on me to check the web for changes to my contract along with many other changes.

As a result of your misunderstanding, many people reading this will ignore the contract they originally signed, regardless of the fact that they and O2 are actually bound by a much more favourable contract which would have allowed them to leave.

As I said before, after a lot of fighting regarding this RPI stuff that didn’t apply to me, the finally conceded that my contract was different, didn’t know why I’d been given it but after taking legal advice, confirmed they had no alternative to let me go. It had nothing to do with RPI and I’m pretty upset that without even seeing my contract, you accuse me of omitting terms which do not exist in the contract I signed.

I won because I persisted and made sure I fully understood the contract I signed. That and a little knowledge of common law. May I request you remove your factually misleading post as this helps nobody, best regards.

Hi Mission accomplised,

Thank you for reposting what you have already posted several times.

For the avoidance of doubt there is nothing “factually misleading” contained in anything I have posted. Quite the opposite is the case. I have quoted from entirely varifiable public domain published sources (the o2 Terms and Conditions / Services agreement) and invited readers to visit the ONS (Office of National Statistics) site to varify the anomaly in relation to the rate of RPI / Published rate of RPI on the date that 02 customers were advised of their change to their contract terms. Ergo I will not be removing anything.

You contest that your alleged contract with 02 via Tesco is governed differently. It is not. Irrespective of what you allege your contract may or may not say all services provided by 02 (irrespective of any third party) are provided pursuant and subject to the Terms and Conditions / Services agreement as determined by 02. Those terms are variable and you agree to that fact when you agree to the contract.

Bully for you that you got out of your contract, well done.

The fact of the matter is that the recent price increase in line with the alleged RPI rate at the date it was announced was a breach of 02s own terms and conditions. At the time of the announcement of the price increase (early to mid December for most customers) they quoted 3.2% as the then rate of RPI – it wasn’t. 3.2% was the RPI rate in October 2012, up from 2.6 per cent in September. That information was published on November 13th 2012. The November rate of RPI (published on December 13th) was 3.0%. The December rate ie. the time 02 were writing to customers alleging it to be 3.2% was actually 3.1% so 02 had contravened / breached their own terms and conditions and opened the door for a mass exodus:

Here is the particular term as extracted from the T&C’s as cached Dec 21st 2012:

(5.3 You can end this Agreement without having to pay the Monthly Subscription Charges up to the end of any Minimum Period you have left, if: (a) we increase your Monthly Subscription Charges by more than the Retail Price Index (RPI) annual inflation rate at the date we notify you of the applicable price increase;)

Key here is the term “at the date we notify you of the applicable price increase”. This is not the same as what it was amended to on April 6th 2013;

(5.3 You can end this Agreement without having to pay the Monthly Subscription Charges up to the end of any Minimum Period you have left, if: (a) we notify you of an increase to your Monthly Subscription Charges by more than the published Retail Price Index (RPI) annual inflation rate at the date we announce the applicable price increase;).

My earlier explanation as to the difference between the “actual” and “published” rates refers.

If you think this information “helps nobody” that’s entirely up to you. I’m sure others will beg to differ.

Mission accomplished says:
5 July 2013

Hello Mr Angry,

I notice that you have reposted the above, despite the fact that Patrick has clearly responded explain my contract. Please allow me to explain the ‘Factually Incorrect’ parts of your posts that I take exception to and why I feel that the posts in question are misleading to others. I apologise if this is lengthy but I’m quoting you verbatim:

“You’re mistaken when you say “all this RPI rubbish does not apply to you”.

Factually incorrect: RPI terms do not exist in the O2 contract I signed.

“It applies to everyone currently on an O2 contract (whether physically signed or not) as it forms a main tenet of the Terms and Conditions of the services and contracts under which you are bound and under whicvh ypou may cancel without penalty.”

Factually Incorrect: The contract you originally signed is the one you’re legally bound by until such time you are notified of a change to said contract. How you exit and whether you can avoid penalties depends on the original contract. Ours was crystal clear:

11. Changes to the Agreement
We may change this Agreement and the Charges at any time. If we increase the Charges for the elements of the Service you are using or change this Agreement to your disadvantage we will give you 30 days’ notice before the changes take place.

8.4 You may end this Agreement at any time by giving us notice if:
(a) we break this Agreement in any way and we do not correct the situation within 7 days of your request;
(c) we increase any of the Charges for the elements of the Service you are using or change this Agreement to your disadvantage. In this situation paragraph 8.3 will not apply.

In our cases, contract and price changed to our disadvantage; 8.4(c) and never notified period of a change to the original contract 8.4(a) both valid reasons to leave without penalty according to the terms above.

“So, as you can see they have narrowed the scope of the charge increases and you cannot, as you allege, simply obviate your obligations as a result of a price increase unless it meets / falls within very specific (see: 5.3(a) & (b)) criteria.”

Factually Incorrect: Those terms do not exist in the contract we signed and we’ve been never notified either by email or in writing of a change of terms or contract.

“You have been fortunate but don’t assume your lucky escape had nothing to do with RPI”

Factually Incorrect: Assumption and speculation, NOT FACT in ANY form. “WHICH” on the other hand were fully aware of my case and in frequent contact with O2. They have a copy of my contract and I’m quite happy for them to share it with you. Unfortunately, much as I’d love to post it so you may confirm it is a genuine, O2 contract, I can’t because we’re not allowed to post links or contact details which is a shame because I reckon we both have the energy to fight and score for everyone who thought their contracts were fixed. I’ve never stopped, just can’t do this on my own.

“Here is 8.4(d)” which is the bit that Mission Accomplished omitted from his/her post which states:

8.4 You can end this Agreement by giving us Notice (in line with paragraph 19) if: (d) we change the terms of this Agreement to your significant disadvantage (which for the avoidance of doubt shall not include an increase in Charges for Additional Services, or an increase in Charges as set out in paragraphs 5.3 (a) and (b)).”

Factually Incorrect (and quite defamatory if I may say so!):

Nothing was omitted because the above never existed in the contract I personally signed. You cannot be held to a contract you’ve never seen, only the one you’ve been asked to read and sign at the outset.

These are the parts by which I refer to as ‘Factually Incorrect’.

With regards to RPI, I never said it was not important, it’s simply not important to those that do not have these terms in their contracts and have never been made aware as per the terms of their original contracts that O2 has new terms. While it may not apply to me and others, I think terms regarding RPI should be removed altogether. I’ve visited O2’s Head Office in Slough with a view to talking to the directors (worth a try 😉 Very nice place with a massive video sculpture in the main reception, it’s clear to see where all that money goes.

Now lets be nice and stop posting assumptions and speculation with regards to mine and others contracts. I’m not here to boast, I was here long before I got the resolution I did. I simply want others to get the same. I don’t think it is fair that I’m the only one to escape while others could be doing the same. Stop putting this down to luck. You’ve no idea how much time and energy was spent trying to win this battle. I’m relatively lucky that I’d got a goodwill gesture to cover some of my wasted travel expense to Slough. Maybe that bit was genuine luck 😉

There’s always more than one way to win a fight, mine was reading my original contract. I’d have been as stuffed as everyone else if I’d ignored it but this was O2’s error when the suggested I read my contract rather than deal with the missold fixed price contract. Way to go O2 😉

Mission Accomplished says:
5 July 2013

Hi Patrick,

Maybe his posts got held back for some reason but the above post you responded to on my behalf has now been reposted again at 5 July 2013 at 12:20 am, further down under a reply to another poster. Duplicate error maybe but we now have two of the same post less your response to the original post. As a result, I reposted my reply again. Sorry Patrick

pmunc6 says:
1 July 2013

Anyone got any idea when we might get a decision from Ofcom?

This issue seems to have taken such a long time to consider. To my mind, there is no ambiguity, if, at the time of signing a ‘fixed’ contract you ask the question “will the monthly charge be increased over the duration of my contract?” and the response you get is a catagoric “no”, when it happens, the phone company should not be in a position to hold you to that contract.

Simples!

My experience is that you won’t get a favourable decision from OFCOM.

As stated above, 02 broke their own Terms and Conditions, denied they had done so yet amended their Terms & Conditions after the fact.

All the while OFCOM, the Ombudsman and the OFT (all fully aware of what was happening) stood sheepishly by.

pmunc6 says:
4 July 2013

I can, quite clearly, see that your contract was worded such that you had the perfect opportunity to enforce O2 to release you from that ‘contract’. I wish mine was as straightforward. I applaud you for sticking to your guns with them, not an easy task as their reps are quite arrogant.

So when are we going to hear anything more about the sanctions imposed by OFCOM on the mobile phone providers/any response at all!!!

This has desended into farce, most people effected probably are or very soon to be, out of contract anyway.

It should of been a super complaint, action insisted upon immediately & to be left hanging indefinately with no updates as to what is keeping us waiting for further information is the final insult.

Could someone please ask OFCOM when we are going to get closure on this issue or/and when are we going to get any more information at all. It said 3 months, it’s 4 now?

hurrdurr says:
4 July 2013

Completely agree fordy, should have been sorted out by now. Ofcom couldn’t care less. I am about 2 months away from being out of my contract, so Three have successfully taken their extra money from me without any problems. I want to see Ofcom allow us to claim back the extra from these networks, but I wouldn’t imagine that would happen in my lifetime.

pmunc6 says:
4 July 2013

This was also my question yesterday. It is so frustrating not to have this info as my case has been put on hold by O2 pending the results of the investigation. I would have thought that Which could put some form of update on this forum, nobody there seems to be that interested which is surprising considering the initial input from them I, for one, am anxious to hear anything which might enable me to resolve my issues with O2.

hurrdurr says:
4 July 2013

I think the best, and probably only, action we can take as consumers is to vote with our wallets. When you leave your contract, move to a network that cares (and is cheaper in the first place!), like GiffGaff etc.

I have personally stopped all of my friends from joining Three by sharing my experiences with them. They are by far the most disgusting company I have dealt with, their attitude (and their servive) is appalling.

I think the RPI story is a load of poo, I see many of these networks spending huge sums of money for 4G (another rip off) and Three have redesigned all their stores. Gee, wonder where they got the money from…

I try to see it now as when I join GiffGaff shortly I will be saving over £25 a month on my mobile bill. Three have done me a favour by exposing how one sided these long term contracts are and what bad value they are.

The option I wanted listed in the ballot was to be put back to the agreed status quo when I signed up to the contract, & subsequently be repaid the over-payments I have made. It wasn’t listed as an option!

I am also 2 months from the end of my contract with THREE, & that is a 24 month contract!!

I just would of thought a monthly update would of sufficed!! I was beginning to think the issue had closed & I missed it!

hurrdurr says:
4 July 2013

I too am on a 24 month contract, they have had their extra money out of me for almost a year now I think (I honestly forget how long it has been). And yes, I would love to get repaid the extra money I have been forced to pay.

It is just disgusting when you think they can increase the price like that and you have no choice at all, if you try and leave you get the bailiffs coming round. Shoddy business practices by some of the largest businesses in the UK. Can’t wait to tell them to shove their retentions where the sun doesn’t shine soon!

And yes, I too thought I had missed out, but there hasn’t been a word. It’s July now, where is the answer.

Mission accomplished says:
4 July 2013

I’m glad you understood my contract. May I ask, did you take out your O2 contract via a Tesco Phone Shop, instore or did you sign directly with O2, via another 3rd party or online (via any)?

To the best of my knowledge, it was only those that signed via at a walk-in Tesco Phone Shop that would have been given a copy of that juicy contract which Tesco and O2 eventually changed in Feb/March 2013. Anyone who took out their O2 contract in a walk-in Tesco Phone Shop, would have got the same contract I did.

The reason I made such a big issue was because both O2 and Tesco assured me that fixed, really was fixed and in the case of Tesco, they really believed it. In the case of O2 this was a clear case of deception, especially considering they had gone on record in the media as claiming they hadn’t and wouldn’t changed the price mid contract yet they did just that, within just weeks of me signing the contract. That is why I made such a big deal and had it come to it, I would have quite happily taken this to small claims is for me at least, I had them over a barrel.

Even now (not one to leave something alone), I keep checking the phoneshops periodically and they are still peddling that same lie. I don’t understand how Ofcom can be so lax. I’ve even been told that Ofcom gave them the idea behind the RPI scam.

I wish all those who had the same contract as me could have the energy to fight as I did. No better message than watch O2 lose new customers by the thousands 😉

Who told you “…that Ofcom gave them the idea behind the RPI scam”?

Billymac10 says:
5 July 2013

I vaguely remember something in the consultation from OFCOM that said we do not feel that the allowed RPI increase (but only I it doesn’t cause material harms) is not protecting consumers enough.

Basically the providers have had an easy ride on this – I pointed out to OFCOM in said consultation that until this rule was introduced by the toothless regulator I had never in 20 years of having a “fixed” contract seen a mid-term rise.

And yes WHEN ARE WE GOING TO HEAR FROM THEM

hurrdurr says:
5 July 2013

But most of us affected by the first wave of price rises will be out of our contracts by then. The companies will have had their extra money out of us for too long, why are Ofcom so slow?