/ 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
Andrew Johnson says:
8 October 2012

How can a price on a contract change ?! When I signed my 12 month contract I committed to pay them a fixed amount every month plus any additional charges I made on the account. This is abysmal! So if I feel like paying them less can I give 14 days notice to them ?! How can this be so one sided. Ofcom needs to intervene. It’s not about the money, I personally can afford it – though I’m sure in many cases some people can’t afford the increase.. For me it’s about the principal.

Patricia says:
9 October 2012

I have 2 mobile phone contracts with Vodafone which are not even 6 months old. I spent a lot of time ensuring the price was right for me as I have to budget. I have every intention of getting my money back when they want me to renew. My first step will be to negotiate a new call plan – once I have the best deal I will refuse to renew unless they give me the money back that I think they are fraudulently going to take from me. You would be amazed at what the will do to keep existing customers.
Current contracts are:
£10.50 for 600 mins, unlimited text (this is set to increase by 45p) – Phone Nokia C3
£12.00 for 300 mins, unlimited text, 500MB data (Not confirmed but expecting similar hike) – Phone Samsung Galaxy Ace

B White says:
9 October 2012

I have just moved from payg to a contract with Vodafone. I have, in writing, their web chat record, where they agreed to offer me a discounted line rental, to transfer £25 credit from my payg and to text me when I got to 80% of my call credit. (I am unused to the system of checking credit.) They have done none of the above and I received a warning that I had exceeded my call limit by a significant amount weeks after it had occurred.
I have spent a further £11 on my mobile (11/2 hours) trying to sort this out, so I have had to pay for their incompetence. They have now transferred my credit and tell me that they will give me the discount as a ‘goodwill gesture.’ They will not do anything about my mobile call overrun, despite not giving me the warning. They say that this warning service had been discontinued, even though it was offered to me and accepted.
In addition they seem to be charging me for VAT in addition to my monthly VAT inclusive deal. I am trying to get to the bottom of this.
Yesterday, to cap it all, they texted to say that they are increasing my fixed price contract. My background is in commercial contracting and I have never come across anything quite as bad as this. I am shocked that a company such as Vodafone feels it can treat its customers as badly as this. I shall do everything I can to recover every penny and make known how they treat customers.

Barbara says:
9 October 2012

Vodafone talk about clear pricing and being a responsible business. It says on its website:
We’re committed to clear and straightforward pricing and marketing – so that customers always know what they’ll pay but Vodafone in the UK is doing exactly opposite to what they claim clear and straightforward.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-Al9TuhpSA

Bob Wells says:
9 October 2012

I am just a few days into a new 24 month contract so this change of price makes me very angry. I have been with Vodafone 14 Years, always got a good deal and service so my defences were down. I am looking for ways to get them to honour contract or get out but in future I will be much wiser and probably look elsewhere first

I just don’t understand how that can be written into a contract. That’s like signing something which effectively gives Vodafone a free reign to do anything. It’s like marrying someone and say, I will be faithful to you, but I have the right to have affairs!
How can a contract like this be legal;? Surely, someone with an acumen in law could take this up to the courts?

I’m new to Vodafone and signed my contract barely a month ago. I was really annoyed about this price increase. Vodafone say that the price increase is less than RPI inflation, which means we don’t have a right to terminate under their terms and conditions. However, I don’t see how that’s correct taking into account that I signed my contract only recently. Vodafone have applied a year’s worth of RPI inflation to my line rental, but I’ve only been with them for a month. I don’t see how RPI inflation during the full year before I signed up is relevant – they should have already taken that inflation into account in the price I agreed with them.

Geoff says:
10 October 2012

Well thats a result and a half….
Phoned Vodafone to complain. they gave me a the rubbish about the government telling them to increase charges to 24month contract etc etc etc.
I told them it was rubbish and i would be leaving after my contract ends (been with them for over 20yrs).
The Vodafone guy then offered me a £50 credit on my account!!!!! no if’s no butt’s.

If you talk to them nicely they will back down.
Give it a go.

Bob Wells says:
10 October 2012

Brilliant, well done – now got scent of blood will follow your example. Cheers B W

This price rise is really annoying, I’m 10 months into my contract now, I do remember agreeing to pay £15.50 per month for 24 months. Why should I now have to pay more 10 months down the line with no extra services too, If I had known they would hike their prices up I would have stayed on my t-mobile payg.

It’s not the money I’m complaining about, it’s the principle. They found another way to extort more money from me with a payment admin fee charge of £2.94 (exl VAT) for not paying by direct debit (their fault because they were taking double payments every month) resulting in bank charges

I did try charging them my own payment admin fee because it is me that has to sit at my desk and manually pay them Apparently that will not be possible

I can’t wait for my contract to end, if I don’t stop my payments before then

Matt0767 says:
10 October 2012

It’s not just the price hike that Vodafone have thrown at me, it’s the loss of passport and data traveller. I’m in Europe at least 10 times a month due to my job as airline crew, and this service has been great. Now replaced by euro traveller my bill is set to double. Am desperately trying to get released from my contract, but can’t even get the call centres to understand what my problem is! Have now written to head office, let’s see if that helps!

D Evans says:
11 October 2012

So agree – plus they stopped sending me bills mid contract too. Shysters

Laura says:
10 October 2012

I was furious to get a text message informing me of the rise.. Like everyone I thought this cant be right.. I have agreed my contract amount and that is set for 2 years. I have 2 contracts with Vodafone so already paying £90 per month.. I called Vodafone to ask why they think it is acceptable to move the goalposts after I have agreed how much my monthly payments are.
I was told it was unavoidable and that Vodafone tried not to it. I made clear I was furious and if this had been made clear at the beginning I might not have renewed. The chap I spoke to was so condesending and told me that yes there was a “small” rise but vodafone are entitled to do this as long as it isnt more than the RPI. He even had the cheek to tell me “its only a few pence”
I have been a Vodafone customer for quite a few years and this will certainly be the last contract I have with them. I want out now but I am too early into a 2 year contract so I am stuck with them as my only way out is to pay off the remaining months and its far too expensive.

Lauren says:
21 October 2012

Hi Laura, I am having exactly the same issue except I only have one contract luckily enough. I phoned up vodaphone today to tell them I was unhappy with their actions and got a very nice guy on the phone offering me to pay £42 per month (what I would be paying anyway with the price rise) to get unlimited minutes, txts and 2gb of internet instead of 1. I thought this was a good deal but the other option he offered me was to terminate my contract completely free of charge. I thought this was a fantastic deal as you would! So I said ill go off and phone my dad for advice and get back to him. He said that I would have to write a letter to vodaphone saying that I wished to cancel my contract because of the price rise and quote that the advisor said it would be completely free of charge and they will terminate the contract from then. I would have to do this before the 1st november in order for it to be cancelled before the scheduled price rise.

I phoned back an hour or so later and got 2 different advisors saying that I couldn’t possibly have been offered a termination free of charge because its against their policy!! As a sorry for all the anger I was throwing them down the phone they gave me a grand total of…..£10 credit off my next bill.

The way they treat all their customers is absolutely disgusting and they should be trying to keep them not get rid of them! I shant be renewing either!

Hope you get your issue sorted soon!

Kind regards

Lauren

Laura says:
11 October 2012

Also.. When they said that I couldnt terminate the contract (Unless I bought it out) I asked them to reduce my tariff as I dont use as much txts or minutes as I used to.. I was told the only time this would be done was 70 days before my contract is due to end and I am renewing! Absolutely ridiculous! But there are more than happy to INCREASE it at any time!!

I did see the piece on Watchdog this evening and I have sent my concerns to OFCOM so hopefully they will take notice.

D Evans says:
11 October 2012

They certainly are redefining ‘fixed’ – and for the worst. They have:
Increased my costs on a FIXED contract
Stopped sending me bills
Uninterested in sorting an iPhone that constantly drops reception (just fob offs)
Communicate big things by txt like some teenager
Deleted my handy built in use abroad allowance (now its £3 a day)

What a bunch of shysters – do they know what CONTRACT means?

Drop them like they are hot.

Try GiffGaff

redstringuitar says:
11 October 2012

I’m just over halfway through a 24 month contract and am absolutely disgusted by this flagrant disregard for customer service and contractual agreement on the part of Vodafone.

My broadband provider pulled exactly the same stunt via email notification a few months ago. It was only after a heated phone call that I was informed, by a somewhat shirty customer service rep, of the option to cancel my contract within a specified period,

Given the length of time the network infrastructure has been in place, I don’t see how Vodafone can legitimately claim rising costs as a reason for these illegal price hikes.

These in-contract price increases are nothing short of blatant, dishonest profiteering. Vodafone should beware, it they pull their own house down all they’ll be left with is a pile of bull$#!+!!

Gabriel says:
11 October 2012

This price-rise is absolutely disgraceful and akin to me walking into work and saying, “My salary has now been increased by 2.4% – take it or leave it. Actually you don’t have the option to leave it. Take it.”

I’ve gone into further, slightly ranting detail on my blog :p http://gabrielquotes.org.uk/2012/10/11/twenty-thousand/#nonsussex

Jason says:
11 October 2012

I have no problem with Vodafone putting up prices – we’re in a recession after all. But I completely object to them not telling me this would happen, despite only signing up for a new contract a few weeks ago. It’s common decency. So I emailed them today saying that after 17 years I will not be renewing my contract at the end of this term. Let’s all do the same.

And I paid ALL my income tax this year…

Rudgemeister says:
11 October 2012

It would be interesting to ask Vodafone about their view on business ethics and specifically the difference between the spirit and the fact of business conduct, especially for businesses of size and correspondingly with market power which means they can do more of what they want.
Perhaps business ethics have always been highly variable (probably) but as market power is increasingly concentrated, this matters more. Free enterprise is often in conflict with ethics and the greater the prize the more ethics are discounted as the scale of the result justifies the means.
That is why regulation is vital. Over to you Ofcom.

D Evans says:
11 October 2012

If you tweet do tweet #VodafoneFail

I lost:

The agreed 24m deal cost
My bills on paper
Professional contractual communications – just txt me 4 now bredrin…
Accurate bills with no dumb rounding
My (once superb) inclusive Euro use allowance (now they want £3 a day)
Any nous to resolve the accepted iPhone 3GS reception issue – just timewasting & fobbing off till we tire.

Drop them like they are hot & Tweet about it etc.

Bunch of shysters – damage them back.

I received this reply to my complaint letter to Vodafone re: the increase in their prices, today, in the form of an email from customer services which basically said that there will be an increase of 2.222% on my monthly line rental and:

‘ We are doing this keeping in line with the inflation. We have to do this as costs have risen and to keep providing with our services. We have done our best to limit these impacts to our customers and delay making the change as long as possible. Three, Orange & T-Mobile have put their prices up by larger amounts in the past 12 months and we have done our best to delay as long as possible and reduce the impact to our customers. I apologise but if you still wish to cancel the contract the early termination fee will be applicable’.

In other words ‘your stuck with this contract so pay up and shut up’

Remind me never to go with Vodafone again!!

Bob Wells says:
12 October 2012

Vodafone price hike! A result – P P & P ie Patience + Perserverance = Prevail by this method I got £20.00 credit to offset the hike. After being with them 14 years I will watch them like a hawke on renewal. I used the many excellent arguments outlined on this site and PP&P. Go fot it and good hunting. Bob