/ 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

If it’s a “fixed” contract, and they are now raising prices, does that mean my contract is not “fixed” anymore, and can I end my contract with them, now they have changed it without my prior agreement . .

Sarah says:
17 October 2012

Its the big guys S**ting on the little ones, once again.

Just a suggestion but if all of us as customers decided to cancel our direct debit on Nov 1st, they can’t feasibly take legal action against everyone and it would be a fantastic way to really dump them in it. I’m not sure how to get that kind of consensus but I think it would be great.

devans says:
17 October 2012

They offered me unlimited everything and a pound off the rental for the second mobile. Useless – we never go over existing allowances and ALREADY feel we pay for stuff we dont use to avoid punitive rates if we ever should go over. Who else buys goods/services in this default ‘more than you need’ way – mad.

I’m writing to cancel the contract – defaulting on paper bills and no Passport alone makes them contract numpties. Then we go Giff Gaff

devans says:
1 November 2012

I got a b txt response to my letter citing breach of contract (despite asking for a proper response to a proper letter) and they sent my PAC code and a cost of £300 for early termination. As they are trying to charge me over £150 more pa (deleting Passport etc) what would be my next best step do you think – another letter or the Ombudsman or something?

Russell McCully says:
17 October 2012

Please, please everybody who has signed up to this ‘fixed’ price contract, clearly breached by Vodafone, never ever again deal with these scums. Don’t be shafted twice and don’t buy into any future offers as you now know their word means squat. We will decide their fate now. I hope they go down the toilet.

Ninja Hedgehog says:
17 October 2012

Out of principle, I think that the price increase is unfair, especially given that you sign up to a fixed-term contract.

I know people are questioning whether or not this is a reason to get out of your contract with Vodafone and I’ve just found out that it IS!

I read through the Terms & Conditions and wrote a letter for my friend, who signed it and sent it off. 6 days later, he received a text message from Vodafone, saying they were sorry he was leaving and providing him with a PAC.

You’re more than welcome to use my letter, complete the blanks (or copy and paste) and sign it before sending it to Vodafone, if you want to end you contract.

It’s important to note that I’m not guaranteeing anything. All I’m doing is telling you that I wrote a letter, which my friend sent to Vodafone, who have accepted 30 days notice of cancellation. It may have been a one-off fluke and it may not work for you, but you’re more than welcome to try. If you do use my letter, it’s entirely your choice. I’m not responsible for anything at all.

http://www.ninjahedgehog.co.uk/?p=962

[Hello Ninja, we’ve had to remove a section of your comment as it breaks our guidelines. The link was broken, so we’ve popped in the correct one. Thanks, mods]

...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?

@Vee

That’s settled English Contract law subject to
AND governed by exclusion or exemption
clauses applying…. nothing illegal I’m afraid,
and I wd not bet my money on litigating it or
testing its parameters in Court. (Chitty on
Contracts)

stray_nutz says:
18 October 2012

i have been with them for 14 months now and this has happened i was sold unlimited internet then 3 months down line i was told my trial ran out when i confirmed it was for the whole contract. trying to charge me 15 pounds extra a month, they didnt tell me for the first month. got that back then i stung a manager by getting him to agree to pay it then he found out how long left and tried to get out of it but i had him confirm calls are recorded. so i now get that free, but this increase is a joke yeah its 83p more a month thats not the point and im going to be going to a store to have a word!

Graham says:
19 October 2012

I’ve had one of these texts from Vodafone. It doesn’t tell me what my tariff increase will be, and checking the “My Account” website I can’t find any details of the increase either.
I pay by Direct Debit, and I understood that the terms of the Direct Debt Scheme require the charger to notify you of any change to the payment amounts. I have not been notified.
I called 191, and they very quickly offerred me a £4 credit – the Vodafone lady was on a poor line and sounded a long way away, and despite asking 3 times, I still could not hear, or understand, what the amount of my new tariff would be. I asked her to send me an e-mail setting it out, but the e-mail just confirms the £4 credit – I still don’t know what my new tariff will be.

Bob Wells says:
19 October 2012

A result! I read some of the excellent arguments on this site about Vodas price hike. I copied them to word doc put on my history ie “been with them man and boy etc” all very polite but stated that they were behaving like 3rd rate double glazing Co or even worse a Bank! and not like the world class, blue chip company I loved and cherished doing business with. I then went on their site and copied script to their complaints page on a daily basis sometimes thrice nightly. After 3 days their managers started phoning I repeated arguments, all very polite and patent and voila credit notes resulted. Thank you which and your contributors – Good hunting

Brian Jones says:
22 October 2012

I only signed up for my iphone 2 year contract 10 weeks ago and think its totally unethical (and morally wrong) for the company to increase my monthly charges after selling me a phone on the basis of a “FIXED PRICE CONTRACT” – to use their words!!!! However all I can do unless some legal all controlling body steps in to ban this practice; I must wait until my contract expires and drop using Vodophone for ever in the future. If enough people do this of course maybe this company will get the message!

Celia Mason says:
24 October 2012

This is a simple abuse of oligopoly power – and the knowledge that you can hide just about anything in the small print. Even if a consumer does find this clause and does disagree with it, what are they going to do? Renegotiate the contract? This should be outlawed as an unfair contract.

Fixed should mean fixed. I agree to pay them for 2 years, whatever happens to prices; they agree to keep the price the same. If I broke my side of the contract, we all know how they would enforce it. Consumers should have the same rights.

grahamb says:
1 November 2012

After three weeks of fighting with Vodafone customer sevices I have just received an email saying that they will refund my contract price increase. It was the usual “as a a valued customer and as a one off,” but its a success!! Their response to my complaint was to explain that it was only a 2.2% rise and only a small amount (70p per month in my case, but its the principle) I based my complaint on the fact that the term they were using to increase my contract price I considered to be an unfair condition. As they did not offer a resolution to my complaint I requested that they escalate to the next stage of the complaints procedure as I wished to take my complaint to arbitration and ultimately take it to Ofcom. After this e mail I received the offer to refund the price increase up to the end of my contract ( 14 months)
Just persevere and threaten to go to arbitration until they offer a resolution

WeRememberPoorCR says:
20 November 2012

I have a slightly different scenario to the above; Vodafone changed my whole contract without my knowledge or consent. Apparently they are rationalising tariffs as they have over 1500 of them…. I was told by Mr Manager that I had been sent a Text confirming they were terminating my contract and putting me on a new 12 month contract, not a letter or even an email, a Text !? I am sure they have that tied up in their T&C’s as well.

Mr Manager went to say ( reading from script ) that most customers have upgraded anyway so there were just a few left. Yes indeed! The majority of those few knew they had a good deal and wanted to keep it.

I mentioned the grief Vodafone are receiving online at the moment. He commented that nobody writes good things online only complaints….. Mmmm let me dwell on that for a moment..

The 12 month tariff that I been moved to bore no resemblance to my usage, as they just looked at the total spend not taking into account foreign usage. The loss of the Passport service is a big deal and has cost me money as I have been abroad using the phone.

Vodafone were totally intransigent with their position, ‘ take what they offer or have an immediate line termination’. Just to think I was contemplating moving my business phones to them!

All Vodafone needed to do was put me on a 30 day Tariff with the 12 month usage allowances. That would have equated (ish) to what I already had but no, they wanted the 12 month commitment, why? when I had been with them forever. No one has the discretion to do that anymore apparently……..

Now having had a brief look at Sim only tariffs from all the major providers, where is the competition? Whoever mentioned oligopoly above, you are correct.

copesy says:
24 November 2012

ive had the mid contract price hike on 2 vodafone mobiles. I find it absolutely outrageous to be perfectly honest. But whats even worse is the 3rd rate shoddy customer service that you are met with when trying to tackle the issue. Nobody wishes to speak to me about it, its all emails and texts, trotting out the same old nonsense of costs rising, well im sorry vodafone, but your business plan should incorporate projected costs over a 2 year period as a matter of course. Most self respecting businesses have a 5 year plan and excellent customer service, do i need to go on?!….

Dick Elliot says:
12 June 2013

It’s not just price hikes you need to look out for. Your fixed price contracts contain an Automatic Renewal Clause. Unless you give them 30 days notice in writing they will automatically change your contract over to a rolling contract at the end of the term and carry on charging you. When you object they will then detail the “early cancellation fees” you must pay. All earlier comments about grown up communication apply, they require written notification but no way are they going to write or email you saying they are about to put you on a new contract.

I am refusing to pay them any monies after my original contract end date (I had stopped using the account months before). Communications are becoming progressively more bloody minded. Let’s see how far they take it.

d evans says:
12 June 2013

Well I cost Vodafone over £350 as I fought them over changing a contract mid-contract and without my consent. However much they like to think a contract isn’t a contract most of us have a clear idea of what a contract is/means. Sock it to them.

I then went to Virgin on a SIM only deal for a cracking (and limited) £12 a month 1000 x mins & Mb & txt. Foreign use is unuseably expensive and I miss voicemail not ringing to tell me I have a message, but other than that it is FAR BETTER. You get Orange and TMobile networks and so I get HSDPA at my parents in N Wales rather than no data at all.

Vodafone think they are cleverer than us and better than the rest. They are neither. Treat them with contempt back.

d evans says:
12 June 2013

I proved to them that changing my terms mid contract would have increased my bill by more than their ‘reasonable’ amount. This was mainly due to the loss of Passport – this made them stand out and was very useful to have an inclusive 25Mb data abroad, They culled it and so became an also ran.

Chandrani says:
10 August 2013

I used twin vodafone numbers for over long years.only last digit was different.but due to non recharge of one number timely,it was out of order and voda gave the number to another.can i get back the number again?if not then can i get nearest number of my choise?then how?

I was in the middle of my contract and Vodafone didn’t even tell me they was putting the prices up so now i have to pay more because of this now ofcom i would like them to stop this happening when you should be on a fixed price or let u leave without pay a penny more

This will be the new way of making the profit for Vodafone. They are selling a huge stake of Verizon for around £130 billion. Verizone paid them a big dividend every year. But for now on the company will not have much to profit from its business. For years they did not do much. Their service worsen every year. I left them a few month ago because they increased the tariff last year. It was principle, as they should not treat its customers like they can do what ever they can with them and I do not regret it. They could take money from people, its legal according their agreement small print, but not from me any more.