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Here we go again, T-Mobile hikes prices for existing customers

Man angry on mobile

One of the UK’s major mobile operators has decided to hike its prices – even if you’re on a fixed contract. Sound like déjà vu? Orange did this last year, but now T-Mobile wants more pennies from your pocket.

T-Mobile has decided to raise prices for its contracts by 3.7% – this applies even if you’re on a fixed contract. There are a couple of contracts that are exempt: the Full Monty and You Fix tariffs are relatively new, so prices on these will stay the same. But millions of other T-Mobile customers will see their next bill rise.

T-Mobile says the price rise, just under £1 per month for a £25 contract,  is down to ‘the rising costs of the business, linked to inflation [and] our desire to continually invest in our network and propositions to provide the best service for our customers.’

But if Orange’s price rise is anything to go by (T-Mobile and Orange are both part of Everything Everywhere) talk like this is unlikely to calm the storm of customers calling to cancel their contracts. The problem is, if you’re in a contract, you can’t cancel…

Is this a breach of contract?

Well, the last time this happened we spoke to Ofcom to see if there was any way customers could complain or reject the price rises. Unfortunately, Ofcom concluded that ‘[Orange’s] price rise is not likely to be a breach of current legislation’.

How can that be? Surely if you’ve paid for a product (in this case, a phone contract at agreed fixed rates) the company shouldn’t be able to charge you more for it later on. Unfortunately this isn’t the case – mobile contract T&Cs often state that they may raise prices within the RPI, and there’s not much you can do about it.

What can T-Mobile customers do? Not much, unfortunately. When Orange’s price rises hit, some customers complained and got small payments as a gesture of goodwill, or were allowed to switch to a slightly cheaper contract.

However, this is not guaranteed, and T-Mobile is not obliged to offer people anything. T-Mobile customers will, understandably, be angry about this. The rule on below-inflation price rises is not well-known or publicised. I think this is one of the biggest problems here.

Don’t hide your T&Cs

OK, no one likes price rises, but in many situations we can see why we’re paying a bit more – if there’s a shortage of wheat we can understand the price of bread rising, for instance. But crucially, we know what price we will pay at the time that we make that purchase. The bread costs 99p – no one will turn up at our house a week later asking for an extra ten pence.

Usually we see mobile contracts in the same way. We ‘purchase’ at the point of making the contract. So I think that if it’s likely contract prices will rise, mobile phone companies should be pointing out that the ‘contract’ price isn’t absolutely set in stone.

This information shouldn’t just be buried in the terms and conditions, on a piece of paper that no one reads – it should be right up-front, in big, fat letters. Because, after all – the price is one of the most important factors in buying something.

Some people are diligent and read through the (sometimes epic) terms and conditions for any contract they make. But many don’t – in our poll on this topic, 94% of 1,036 people didn’t realise that mobile contracts weren’t at a fixed price.

Are you affected by T-Mobile’s price hike? Or are you worried that your mobile operator might be next to raise prices?

Comments
Phill says:
29 March 2012

I have just recieved my notice from t-mobile informing me of the price rise, I think that they should offer you if you ring up a change in plan on the basis that if you reduce the amount you are paying, back to the original agreed amount, you would get less for your money. Although not ideal it means that you are paying the same and shows some flexability on there part.

I expect you might get some luck with this if you do ring up, you may even get a goodwill payment as Nikki says. The main problem is that people honestly don’t seem to be a ware that a fixed mobile contract can go up in price. Well, how could it, it’s a fixed contract isn’t it?

Is it double standards? Shouldn’t you be able to say back and say – well, I’d like to pay £1 less a month now?

Perhaps that’s slightly different – but the term needs to be flagged when customers sign up – or maybe these price rises should only be implemented for new customers, rather than existing ones?

Mish says:
29 March 2012

The contract rises are reasonable compared to pay as you go. I have been given a 25% rise on texts and about 30% on calls.

One2One PAYG users faced a big rise in costs when T-Mobile took over ten years ago. That’s when Vodafone gained me as a customer, albeit not a very good one.

anon the mouse says:
29 March 2012

I switched away from Orange after their price hike.
Got to love Everything Everywheres weasel words over the Orange debacle…. “We have no plans to increase prices this year”
http://www.mobiletoday.co.uk/News/13341/Angry_customers_besige_Orange_after_major_price_hike.aspx

But my personal favourite is still this great quote from Everything Everywhere on their website “Don’t worry though, nothing else changes, you’ll still get the great service from Orange at the price that you’re paying today.” I can’t find the T-mobile equivalent sorry.
http://orangeworld.co.uk/p/helpandcosts/eeterms

Michael says:
29 March 2012

I had my letter this morning informing me of the price rise – fortunately I’m just out of my 18 month contract so I called customer services and cancelled my contract, much to the disbelief of the retentions drone I spoke to to get my PAC,

John Fairlamb says:
29 March 2012

There is one simple response to T-Mobile’s intention to increase prices, do as I intend to and cancel my contract tomorrow. I am fortunately at the end of my contract period but have been a loyal customer for many years, not missing one payment. They will have teams of customer service advisors waiting for calls like mine but they will have to offer me an exceptional deal to retain my custom. Walk away and find a better deal with a shorter contract length and they will see the error of there ways, it’s harder to retain a loyal customer than to seek new business…do it tomorrow it will make you feel better, honest !

tzagnasti says:
29 March 2012

T-Mobile have lost a customer…i took the contract after looking at the competition and they were cheapest by ….well not a lot really but they were cheaper so i went with them. if i had known that T mobile were going to increase the contract price i would never have took out the contract. i thought i signed for 24 months at a fixed price + vat.
i will make it my mission to tell everyone that TMobile are scam artists and will rip you off!

James says:
29 March 2012

I do think this is a scam
I feel I have been missold.
This should have been pointed out explicitly when took out contract.

Can one not get them under mis-selling?

Robert says:
30 March 2012

This is almost certainly misrepresentation whatever ofcom says.
The advertising makes no mention of this clause and clearly lets you infer that it is a fixed price for 18 months.
I havn’t even had my phone 12 months yet!

Neil says:
30 March 2012

This is the final nail in the coffin for T-Mobile as far as I’m concerned, I’d already made up my mind to go to a “better” provider as the T-Mobile network performance has deteriorated significantly and unacceptably since the so called merger with Orange, therefore all they’ve done with this ridiculous unacceptable price hike is confirm that my decision to move asap is 100% right!

Andy Roy says:
31 March 2012

WOW
This company really knows how to lose loyal customers firstly they screwed me over on international calling still not rectified. I have a 24 month iphone contract and no iphone Ive been informed by apple that 15 months was average for the life of an iphone so thats why they give 12 month gurantees, and yesterday they put my bill up by £1.37 a month roll on October when I can wave them goodbye for ever. Still I have only been with them and there many guises for 16 years so I dont expect loyalty.

Rachel says:
30 March 2012

If 94% of people did not know – me being one of them.

Anyway this is what I have sent to them nit that it’ll achieve much but anyway:

T- MOBILE PRICE INCREASES:
I was appalled to discover you are able – and find it acceptable – to change my contract mid term. Of course , cleverly, a very unpublicised clause was written in to make it nice and legal.

I believe I have been a T-Mobile customer for many years, and have always had a FIXED monthly fee for a FIXED term. I have been mis-sold my contract as I was NOT aware that you could increase prices mid-term. What is the point of having a contract if you can vary it? I want to leave T Mobile now but I certainly am not prepared to pay an extortionate fee to do it.

As far as I am concerned you have changed my contract and therefore I should have the option to leave. FOR FREE.
At the time of renewal i was totally unaware T Mobile was mid takeover by Orange. If I’d known this fact I would also have never renewed.

I want a call agreeing to release me from my contract as soon as possible. It will be ended anyway on 04 November 2012 and you can take this as written notice at the very least.

I have also cancelled my Direct Debit and will pay each bill seperately in the future. Why? Because I no longer trust you as company.

Needless to say, for what it matters, I am disgusted with a business that formerly I held in very high regard. I certainly will not recommend T Mobile to anyone.

[This comment has been partially edited due to potentially libellous statements. Thanks, mods.]

I am pay as you go and have also have been warned of really high changes in our fees as from June, so I shall be migrating as soon as I have run down my credit with them, probably to Asda who seem the cheapest and most liked as opposed to Talkmobile who are cheaper but not much known. I feel these companies these days just do not care about loyalty anymore and that is how the customer should treat them too. I have been with T mobile for years but time to move on.

I have read with some interest the comments about T-Mobile contract rises . I myself have been affected by this . Having been a T-Mobile customer for over 10 years i believe that there action in this matter is very poor . I renewed my contract in February with customer service and was told several times during the conversation that this is a fixed rate contract. Clearly it now isnt my fault for not reading the terms and conditions . I believe now that OFCOMM should now not allow them to call these contracts fixed rate anymore . Its misleading customers and i think its a con . At least i managed to inform my girlfriend of this situation before she renewed her contract .She is now with O2 . Shame on you T-Mobile

Would it be cheaper to leave the network mid term and pay the leaving fees, or wait until the contract ends then switch?

michelle cardno says:
5 April 2012

I agree, totally this is very dodgy ground, if you have been with them years you dont read the new contract when you renew, you certainly dont expect these hikes.. I think Ofcomm needs to seriously look at this. its misleading advertising, there is no fixed term in a increasing contract!

David Baldwin says:
30 March 2012

Surely this borders on the illegal when the contract, as in my case, was purchased through a third party who’s website showed the “effective monthly cost” which was calculated by a series of rebates at set periods during a 24 month contract. I am no longer receiving the “effective monthly costs” that I signed up for and therefore there must be some breach of contract, mustn’t there?

Dave K says:
31 March 2012

I took advantage of T-mobiles misprice last year and ended up with a 12 month contract for £0 per month. I’ve received a letter stating that I will now be paying £10.58
Surely £0 + 3.7% is still £0?

mike h says:
31 March 2012

@Dave K it will still be zero. they are showing you the price before discounts. You may just get charged 58p. i have a discounted contract and have received a letter with the full price, its when you get your bill that you will notice.

Zulfi says:
31 March 2012

Hi

I have just been with them for 6 months and wow recived price rise letter which is not justifiable. How can you trust a company that cannot stick to their price plan for even for a year. A year is a predictable period but seems this company is under a lot of stress and want to get every penny out of customers pockets rather than fixing their own problems themselves. I regret having joined them and have decided not to stay with them after the end of current contract.

Customer services team does not really care and told me straight away that price change will not be reversed. Well they are definitely going to loose their customers. I have been over 4 years with O2 and never received any such letter or communiction at least you know what you are going to pay over the term of the contract.

“Here we go again, T-Mobile hikes prices for existing customers”

And time for it’s loyal customers to become un-loyal?…

SreeP says:
31 March 2012

Recieved the letter today regarding price rise…..If 94% of people did not know of the catch in the contract – I am one of them.
How can the Ofcom let this happen. This is shame on part of Everything Everywhere(Parent Company). This is most difficult times since everyone is struggling with increases, they have hit them with the rise at the wrong time to hurt people’s sentiment very badly. What’s happened to all the “bright” brains @ T-Mobile. Surely they must have had the same backlash when they have done this for Orange last year or so.

I have been with them for over 8 years this would be my last (Forced….) contract with them.
Also I will make sure everyone in my Family will never be involved with Everything Everywhere going forward…

They should have offered the choice to leave the contract without forcing the cancellation charges.
Outrageous – the only word I can think of…….

Anyone know of a petetion or something of that sort regarding this price rise?

Would this not count as unfair trading conditions , in whic the company selling you the product controls the price and the customer has no rights!

The customer has every right to stick two fingers up at them and go elsewhere.

When time comes up to speak with T mobile , OFCOM works like a silent movie !…..
This is clear sign of breach of fixed term contract.
If anyone wants to cancel contract, they have to pay cancellation fees. What a justice ?!…
Everything is happening in front of OFCOM.
We all are very proud of WHICH who really understand and highlights consumer problem.
We hope silent movie will be in action movie soon !…………………………………….

NJones says:
31 March 2012

If all customers affected cancelled their direct debits with their bank, TMobile will have to give in and backtrack. It will be an admin overhead to take action against all doing this. In an ideal world consumer power would overcome corporate greed….isnt it time the Uk consumer market decided to take a stand at unfair tactics!!

sadiq warsi says:
1 April 2012

received price increase letter yesterday, i believe its unjustified, one sided, unbalanced contract, just bought the contract in jan-12, and its a 24 months contract its shame that no one can do any thing about it, what if they ask for another increase???, as many times as they wish till contract lasts???
at least customers should be given option to change or cancel the contract. NO consumer rights
shame T-mobile