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Vodafone promises to keep fixed contract prices fixed

Vodafone store

In good news for millions of mobile customers, Vodafone has announced it will follow the spirit of Ofcom’s new ‘fixed means fixed’ rules. No more mid-contract price hikes from Vodafone… ever.

Vodafone has announced a ‘fixed price contract promise’, confirming to its customers that they will not face price increases on their monthly line rental for the entirety of their contract.

Vodafone increased prices for its pay monthly customers in 2011 and again in 2012, despite customers being locked into ‘fixed’ contracts. Thanks to the 60,000 supporters of our Fixed Means Fixed campaign, Ofcom changed its guidance to encourage phone providers to keep prices fixed or else let customers exit penalty-free.

Despite this, both O2 and EE have written yearly price rises into their customers’ contracts, which we feel goes against the spirit of Ofcom’s rules.

A deal’s a deal

Vodafone joins other providers, including Three, Tesco Mobile and Utility Warehouse, in promising that fixed mobile phone contracts will stay at a fixed price. And the extra good news with Vodafone’s promise is that it will apply to all pay monthly customers, not just those signing up after 23 January 2014 when Ofcom’s rules came into effect.

Vodafone says it may still change prices outside of your bundle, such as calls to premium rate numbers.

Cindy Rose, consumer director at Vodafone, commented on the announcement:

‘We asked our customers what they thought was fair when it came to charging, and the clear majority told us that it was unacceptable to increase monthly prices during the contract term. So from now on, when you sign up with us, a deal’s a deal, and we promise the monthly price you pay will stay the same for the period of your contract term, provided you stick within your allowance.’

Come on O2 and EE

The pressure now really is on O2 and EE for being the odd ones out. After more than 5,000 customers emailed EE’s CEO Olaf Swantee about the company’s new price rise policy, we’re pleased to say that Olaf has now agreed to meet with our executive director Richard Lloyd. Richard will be telling Olaf that his customers won’t stand for these price rises – fixed should mean fixed.

O2 newspaper adWe’ve also turned the screw on O2 too – we complained to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) about this advert from O2 that we think is misleading. In an ad from January 2014, O2 advertises a £14-a-month contract, despite the price only applying for one month of the two-year contract. The ASA is currently investigating the ad, and we’ll let you know as soon as we hear back.

It’s great news that Vodafone has decided to the right thing for its customers. And we hope people will now choose providers who play fair and offer fixed contracts that really are fixed.

Comments
Member

I had a very good whinge about phone companies putting up their prices before I took out a one year contract with Vodafone. They did assure me that they would not increase the price unless there was a VAT increase. I feel happier to have this confirmed.

Thanks for all the effort by Which?

Let’s sort out O2 and EE. 🙂

Member

A month or so ago I did email the CEO of Tesco suggesting that with so many unhappy EE customers about they should advertise they’re not upping prices and supply a easy way to get out of the EE contract. I guess they’ve missed the boat now that Vodafone have done this.

Makes you wonder if some companies can do this why some can’t, greed springs to mind.

Member

Tesco did do some newspaper ads that said “There’s nothing funny about mid contract price hikes. That’s why we don’t do it”. I’ve got a copy on my desk 🙂

Member

I have seen a similar ad on a bus shelter. We don’t say very much positive about Tesco, but credit where it is due. But we need EE and O2 advertising that they are treating customers fairly too. 😉

Member

What do you think about O2’s ad above?

Member

Unfortunately I can’t make out the small print, but it does leave me wanting to ask more questions that it answers.

Member

Sorry, let me see if I have a bigger version (presume you clicked to enlarge?)

Member

Yes but I couldn’t enlarge it any further, I guess I could download it and zoom in that way.

Member

OK I see what you mean now, that pesky small print. It’s amazing what companies hide in there, shouldn’t stuff like that be in a much larger font.

Always reminds me of the fake ad I’d like to put out, “Lottery predictors £1k, small print, requires time machine, sold separately, currently out of stock, awaiting someone from the future to bring me back a few.”

Member
bobcorm says:
10 May 2014

I was with 02 until they hiked up the price again, second time in about a year, phoned to complain and was offered a reduced rate contract when my present contract runs out. Advised them this was not what I was wanting, I wanted my present contract to remain at the same price, but was refused. Contract has now run out, I have moved to GiffGaff and a happy bunny, still on 02 network but on much cheaper rates than 02 could offer for similar bundle (02 is best signal in my area). If enough customers make the move to another provider, then they must sit up and listen eventually.

Member
David B. Taylor says:
11 May 2014

Hi!
I just had reason to complain to Virgin broadband about their lack of quality in film streaming when Their agent mentioned I was paying £24 pm when I thought I was on £22.50pm deal! Apparently they had sent me a letter in Nov 2013, which i have no knowledge of at all!! Anyway I persuaded the CS team guy to lower my monthly bill to £19 pm, which has pleased me no end. The issue of raising the rates during a contract strikes me as ‘FRAUD’ and BAD PRACTICE’ and should be made illegal by our complacent and compliant leaders inParliament! Lets get ‘WHICH’ to support such a bill to end this iniquity immediately!

Member

In June 2012 we signed a contract with Vodafone via Phones4U for 24 months and have a hard copy to that effect. Since that date Vodafone have consistently charged more and insist that they have never had a tariff at that rate. I have spent a year and a half fitting this via phone calls,e-mails and internet chats to no avail. We have been long standing Vodafone clients but when this contract finish’s no longer.

Member

Vodafone may not be putting up their prices mid-contract, but they are certainly putting up prices for services not included or in excess of what is included in the contract. 🙁

We should all be careful and monitor our use of data etc.

Member
M Penfold says:
14 June 2014

Just received a letter from Virgin. They are increasing prices of contracts mid-term. Just as the furore has died down they sneak-in a price rise. Disgusting.

Member
indiajack says:
16 December 2014

Vodaphone has not increased its price but has been charging me for ghost calls since March this year probably because I have a low cost pay-monthly contract. There seems to charges for calls fro my mobile to my landline which are not recorded on my mobile phone and made even when I am at home. The charges are usually for short calls – seconds but are charged at a full minute.

A Vodafone store in Hammersmith told me that they have changed their pricing policy such that all calls up to a minute will be charged for a minute – I was not informed of this change or aware of it till then. It uses up free minutes as a 20 second call is deducted as a minute.

Additional in November I was charged for mobile internet access when I have not set it up on my phone and have deactivated this on my handset since 2011 anyway.

I have tried ringing Vodafone but it is now more difficult to get them on the phone or on-line. They do not have e-mail correspondence and will only engage over the phone – probably because there is not written record for a start point if someone wanted to engage the regulator on the matter.

Vodafone are insisting that their system cannot be wrong. But we have seen that even highly maintained bank computer systems and even the Bank of England system which is even better can go down.

I have written to the CEO after finding an e-mail through a search but got a phone call saying that they will only address this via the phone. I have responded again writing to same e-mail and they wrote back that they will investigate. But when I requested that they contact me in 30 days to up-date (because they have said at the early stages when contacting customer services over the phone that they will get back in 2 weeks but nothing happens – that is after passing you around and coming back to where you started), they said that they cannot – which means that the whole thing is just ‘lip service’!