Well what do you know – Vodafone is putting its prices up again for existing pay-monthly contract customers. It was almost a year ago since it last put prices up. This is turning into a recurring nightmare.
If you signed up to Vodafone before 7 September 2012, check your inbox. You’ll likely find a text telling you that from 1 November your monthly line rental will increase, but ‘less than inflation’. It’s certainly nice of them to let you know…
Prices are going up by as much as 2.4%, which is less than the Retail Prices Index rate of inflation. If the price rise is less than RPI, their contracts allow them to hike them up on a yearly basis. Vodafone writes on a page titled ‘changes to your price plans’:
‘Like most businesses in the UK our costs are rising. So we need to review our prices now and again. We’ve made every effort to minimise the impact and have kept this increase below inflation.’
Vodafone’s line rental price rise
Last year Vodafone rounded up contract prices to the nearest 50p for a potential 3.7 million customers tied into their contracts. I’m surprised Vodafone has been so cheeky to do a second price rise, especially following the customer backlash the first time around and the launch of our Fixed Means Fixed campaign.
That price rise was announced in September 2011, and we estimate that in that time Vodafone has made up to £10.5m in revenue from it. So, Happy Price Rise Birthday to Vodafone, it’s nice of you to make your customers pay for your birthday present.
So how big is this present going to be? On an individual basis it’s not much. At 2.4% you’re going to be looking at an average of around 59p per month for the majority of Vodafone customers, or £7 a year. Sure, it’s just a few pints, but it’s the principle of the thing. If I sign a two year contract for a certain monthly payment, I expect Vodafone to stick to that payment.
I guess you’ve got to give mobile providers some credit – they’re certainly determined to stick to their guns. In fact, only one mobile company, Utility Warehouse, has agreed to back our campaign by promising not to raise prices for existing customers, and has rewritten its contract T&Cs to reflect this.
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As for the companies that have put their prices up – Orange, T-Mobile, Three Mobile and Vodafone (and Vodafone again) – we estimate they’ve raked in up to £53m to date from these ‘small’ price rises alone. And we reckon they’re well on course to making up to £90m for the whole year – just think how many cakes you could buy with that!
I might sound like a broken record, but it’s the mobile companies that won’t change their tune.
They’re determined to put prices up on ‘fixed’ contracts, and most of the time their customers have no idea it can happen, as shown in our undercover investigation of mobile shops.
If you’re with Vodafone are your prices going up again? Your views are more power to our elbow – our Fixed Means Fixed campaign seeks to stamp out these nasty surprises. We’re determined to change the industry – Ofcom must intervene, especially now that mobile companies clearly don’t have the courage to stand out from the crowd.
— Which? Action (@WhichAction) September 28, 2012