We won! Together we convinced Ofcom to take action on mobile phone price rises. The regulator today announced the results of its consultation, which was as a result of our campaign.
Ofcom opted for our preferred action – to let you exit your contract without penalty if your mobile provider wants to hike prices. These new rules will apply to contracts signed after 23 January 2014. Ofcom’s Claudio Pollack said:
‘Ofcom is today making clear that consumers entering into fixed-term telecoms contracts must get a fairer deal. We’re making it clear that any increase to the monthly subscription price should trigger a consumer’s right to leave their contract – without penalty.’
Working together to convince Ofcom
After heavy lobbying from the mobile companies, there was a very real threat that nothing would be done at all. However, Ofcom has stood firm and done the right thing.
We’ve been working hard to convince the regulator to make the right choice. This year our research confirmed that most of us don’t understand ‘RPI’ price rises, and our undercover mystery shopping demonstrated that mobile phone shops aren’t being all that upfront. And you’ve been busy too, signing our petition and spreading the word.
It takes time to turn an entire industry around, but with the support of more than 58,000 of you, we convinced Ofcom to take action on unfair mobile phone contracts.
The birth of a campaign
Back in 2012, thousands told us that you were confused and annoyed about price hikes from your mobile company. We agreed – the mobile industry wasn’t playing fair and so we launched our Fixed Means Fixed campaign.
We’ve witnessed mid-contract price rises from all the big mobile companies (Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile, Three, O2). This resulted in their customers having to collectively pay £123m more than they’d budgeted for.
The big kicker is that you can’t show your dissatisfaction by voting with your feet. Many were stuck with months left to pay, with your provider expecting you to pay it all up if you wanted to leave. All the while they pointed to little-known terms in the small print. That’s about to change.
Your support secures victory
Thanks to you, millions of mobile phone, broadband and landline customers will benefit from new rights. If mobile providers want to hike prices on fixed contracts, you’ll be able to show them what you think by cancelling without having to pay a penny.
The new rules should also be an incentive to stop providers from increasing prices in the first place – so that they can keep their loyal customers.
This is your victory, so make sure to share it with your friends and family. We’ll be keeping a watchful eye to make sure these new rules are implemented swiftly. Congratulations!
— Which? Campaigns (@WhichCampaigns) October 23, 2013