/ Technology

Another price increase on Vodafone’s ‘fixed’ contracts

Vodafone

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.

Back our Fixed Means Fixed campaign

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.

Comments
robbiethedj says:
29 September 2012

I have been with vodafone for 20 plus years now, going back to the days when it used to be Racal-Vodac. I have shown my loyalty to them for all of these years. If they are not going to return that loyalty then i will look around for the best deal and take my business elsewhere.
If every vodafone customer takes the same action then it would put a big dent into their bodywork.

Even if customers vote with their feet they will drift back when other companies treat them badly. It’s a game of musical chairs – like choosing car insurance, except that there is more choice with car insurance.

There’s not many companies that reward loyalty these days.

I’ve been with them for 15 years but intend to take my custom elsewhere. I come out of contract next month and this news, on top of their tax dodging, peculiar notions of rewarding long term customer loyalty and poor customer service has finally prompted me to take action.

Paul Trimmer says:
29 September 2012

I am running a small business which does work elsewhere in Europe and US.
The 1 Nov increases include calls to US from within Europe going from 24p/min to 79p/m.
Calls to US and Europe from UK go from 12p/min to 17p/min and they change to charge by minute from charge by second.
These are extortionate increases of 50-200%. Inflation has not been that bad!!
No wonder small business can’t get ahead.

Matt Tingey says:
2 October 2012

Hi Paul, never comment on pages until I saw your post and signed in just to reply to you. I’m in the same boat but you should sign up to a Skype World package for about £9 per month. I have 6,000 minutes to countries I call daily (including to mobiles) including Singapore/Malaysia, China, America and Canada plus landlines throughout Europe. Skype is a god send to me me I save literally thousands a year. You can even buy a phone number so people see you calling from a country of your choice. Hope this helps!

C Jones says:
29 September 2012

Greed is what I call it. They’re tax dodging millions – money that could pay for quite a few more nurses or used to build houses for the thousands on waiting lists. I’ll be pulling out of my contract as soon as I can, They’re making millions out of the public sector as many locall authorities and hospitals supply mobile phones for their which use the Vodafone network. They’ve obviously got no scruples about what’s right and wrong – just pure greed.

It would be nice of Ofcom came out immediately saying whether of not this would constitute a materially detrimental change to some customers therefore allowing them to cancel without penalty.

And where’s the notice that customer can cancel without penalty. Doesn’t that breach a Ofcom rule, General Condition 9.3.

And reading the Ofcom rule, it also seems possible to cancel without penalty if the change is not acceptable to them, but that is probably just very poor wording by Ofcom ( the word also is the key in that sentence). See 2nd sentence below,

“Under General Condition 9.3, communications providers must provide customers for whom a change is likely to be of material detriment with one month’s notice of the change.
Customers must also be informed that they are entitled to terminate their contract without penalty if the change is not acceptable to them.”

Taken from http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/2011/01/can-a-telecoms-provider-change-the-terms-of-your-contract/

And if I’m right could Which? let know know their right to cancel without penalty.

The answer is simple, be proactive and boycott the companies concerned and take your long term contracts to those networks who have chosen to act more ethically and NOT to join in with the bandit networks responsible for adopting and supporting these price increases. O2 and Virgin are not listed in this article as having done so for example.

Failing that switch to monthly rolling contracts or PAYG, and have more freedom to switch and change quickly should you find your network acting unethically and raising prices unnecessarily and unfairly for those trapped in long term contracts with them.

It has been a year since Vodafone last acted in such a manner as is detailed here, and almost six months since 3 announced there plans to indulge themselves at their customers’ expense also, and yet still all Which? can do is repeatedly report on the matter, and wave the brave “campaign flag”, despite assurances that they have the ear of OFCOM… and yet still NOTHING is realistically achieved or reported as being tabled to be enforced in the telecoms sector to put an end to these practices once and for all for the good of the consumer.

So don’t rely on organisations to do the work for you as you may be waiting a very long time!

Show your anger and retaliate against those networks involved and punish them for their uncompromisingly greedy behaviour… hit them where it hurts and and take your custom elsewhere.

If money is all they understand… start speaking in their language!

And I don’t know why Which? are repeatedly promoting Utility Warehouse!

If you Google their name you will be met with a host of customer complaints about them too!

I will suggest again that if companies are going to increase prices during a contract they should describe them as VARIABLE PRICE CONTRACTS. That way, the customer will be aware that the price may increase.

I am not advocating that companies should increase their prices during a contract and support the Fixed Means Fixed campaign.

KarenA says:
2 October 2012

This kind of practice stinks. I signed up to a 2 year fixed price deal only a couple of months ago. I won’t do that again and neither will I be recommending Vodafone again.

Neil Treloar. says:
3 October 2012

I am in the same boat as you.I took out a contract as it was a good deal,FIXED.Now it changes,it’s not fixed,the price is altered by them to make more money.People are saying,switch to someone else.I don’t want to,the deal is still fairly good,but I just don’t like it if somebody breaks a promise,it’s simply dealing with Bullshitters,they have more money than me,if they feel they need to make more cash,honour our deal,and try stinging me after my remaining 22 months is up,and see if I don’t move somewhere else then!

Rassel says:
2 October 2012

I am on a £41 monthly contract, so price increase is 95p.

However vodafone give me a £16 a month discount, so in effect the price of the contract is £25. A 95p increase on £25 contract is a 3.8% increase which is in excess of RPI. Is this allowed?

Phil R says:
3 October 2012

I have a similar ‘friends and family discount and believe my increase will also be in excess of RPI.

Gary says:
2 October 2012

To last poster about discount an higher percent of increase.

You haven’t got a leg to stand on as Vodafone will always turn and say thesis count is a good w offer and cannot be taken into account with anything like this. You view it at the normal price.

We used to have to explain to customers wanting to cancel a Contract at the discounted price. It’s our good will gesture to help you keep the contract running. If cancelled its at full price…

Leave ASAP.

Debbie says:
2 October 2012

Well Vodafone, after your rubbish service the past 18 months, in Jan 13 when my contract expires I will be leaving and getting a sim only contract with another provider. There are many around to choose from these days. The days of ripping me off are over. Goodbye!

Mark P says:
2 October 2012

another irate vodaphoney customer here showing his support for a solution to this ‘scam’ .

char01 says:
2 October 2012

hi,

I’ve have just had the price increase text from Vodafone. Can they really just do this, the agreement I signed states that I accept the monthly charge as agreed, but I can’t see anything in the agreement about price increases and that this is something I just have to accept.

I have a year left on my contract so am not too happy about this….as

P Turner says:
2 October 2012

What stops them putting it up again and again. It’s wrong, hidden in small print which you don’t get chance to read in store. They still advertise on their website price with no * ref to potential rises.

Hardingfamily says:
3 October 2012

I contacted Vodafone yesterday and was told by the adviser that the increase was down to the government for raising inflation. Sounds like they are trying to deflect blame. I have 4 contracts and intend to move each one as they become up for renewal.

hottoffee says:
3 October 2012

I have been with vodaphone less than a month, is there a limit on how soon they can increase your line rental?

Raheem says:
3 October 2012

Always been with Vodafone,more than 10 years , and they are acting like common thieves stealing from their ‘loyal hard working customers’ well in June next year this customer will look for a new contract elsewhere.

Boomclart says:
3 October 2012

Interesting… time to comb through some regulations and my contract.