Today is World Consumer Rights Day and our friends at Consumers International are using the opportunity to focus on your mobile rights. Time then, I thought, for an update on our Fixed Means Fixed campaign.
To mark this year’s World Consumer Rights Day, Consumers International has launched a new Consumer Agenda for Fair Mobile Services with the goal of highlighting the problems people have with mobiles around the globe.
We’ve been working to improve your mobile phone rights here in the UK, with our Fixed Means Fixed campaign and its 60,000 supporters convincing Ofcom to take action.
Ofcom’s new rules, designed to prevent companies from hiking prices during fixed contracts, came into effect earlier this year. You’ll remember that, to our great disappointment, O2 decided to go against the spirit of those rules by writing yearly price rises into its customers’ contracts. Nearly 8,000 of you joined us in asking O2’s CEO not to go ahead with their plans, but it seems they’re set to continue on that course.
O2 ad complaint
Last month we complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about an O2 ad which claimed customers could get a £14 a month fixed mobile contract, despite the price only applying for one month of a two-year contract.
The small print of the advert, published last month, states that prices will rise by the rate of inflation in March 2014 and again in April 2015. This would mean a customer signing up last month will only pay £14 for one month before a price rise. We thought that was outrageous – you shouldn’t have to scrutinise the small print to know whether you’re getting a good deal. We’re currently awaiting the ASA’s response to our complaint and we’ll keep you updated.
Your phone rights
While O2 isn’t acting the spirit of Ofcom’s guidance, we’re pleased that others have committed to contracts where the price is fixed for the duration or else you can exit without penalty. Three’s even promised not to hike prices at all mid-contract.
We’ll continue to keep an eye on all of the mobile phone providers to make sure they commit to fixed price contracts. Oh, and stay tuned for more work from us to improve your mobile phone rights…
In the meantime, Which? and Consumers International want to hear from you – what makes you mad about mobile phone services? Comment below or join in on Twitter by using #PhoneRights or the amusingly long hashtag #MyPhoneMakesMeMadBecause.