Who’s to blame for all these mobile phone price rises? If you’re to believe what some of you have heard from Vodafone reps, it’s Ofcom and the government’s fault. So what does Vodafone have to say for itself?
Quick recap – four mobile companies have increased their prices for customers locked into ‘fixed’ contracts. After more than 2,000 comments from angry customers here on Which? Conversation, it’s certainly an issue that’s stuck in my mind.
Vodafone’s the latest provider to pull a price rise out of the hat, but the excuses Vodafone’s customer service reps have apparently given when you’ve called to complain are a tad alarming.
Vodafone’s reasons for line rental price rise
When Which? Convo commenter ‘Disgruntled’ asked why the price of his contract was going up, he says he was told ‘that the government had instructed all the phone companies to increase the bills’.
Keith Brighton heard a similar story, but this time the blame was laid squarely on the regulator:
‘When I phoned Vodafone, I was told Ofcom told them to increase prices. This is clearly not true.’
The word ‘Ofcom’ was ringing in Paul’s ears after his call to another Vodafone rep:
‘I just phoned Vodafone about the price rises, and was told that Ofcom had ordered them to raise their prices. I thought there was a loss in translation, so I clarified it five times with the operator. Ofcom told them to raise their prices, and had told all mobile operators to do the same. I was staggered.’
I was staggered too after so many of your comments described Vodafone customer service reps blaming its price rise on Ofcom or the government.
We decided to get on the phones too; lo and behold we heard similar excuses. Vodafone customers here at Which? HQ were generally faced with vagueness about why the prices were going up, including excuses that it’s because all the other mobile providers are doing it, to the government and Ofcom making them do it. Anything but Vodafone’s fault it seems.
In truth, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard tall tales like this. When we went undercover into mobile phone shops, one assistant blamed the price rises on Ofcom too.
It was Vodafone’s decision to increase prices
When we took your comments to Vodafone, it told us:
‘Vodafone made the decision to change its line rental prices. This is not driven by Ofcom or the government. We’re very concerned to hear that some customers are being given this information and we are investigating.
‘The training given to staff clearly outlines that the 1 November line rental increase reflected rising costs within our own business and was below the rate of inflation. We always want to ensure that the information given to customers is accurate and we’ve already taken further steps to ensure that this is the case.’
So, hopefully that’s that then. Well, apart from the price rise itself. Make sure you complain to Vodafone – drive a hard bargain as you may be able to get compensation. And if you’re still not happy, make it clear that you’ll ‘vote with your feet’ and consider switching providers once your ‘fixed term’ ends. More power to you.
Oh, I almost forgot; it happens to be the one year anniversary of Vodafone’s last price rise on ‘fixed’ contracts, so if you’d like to wish them a happy anniversary on Facebook, please do by sharing our lovely card. Hopefully they’ll get the message.