Mobile Phone Shops Misleading Customers

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When is your fixed price phone contract not fixed price? When the mobile phones companies
decided it’s time to raise the tariff

A report by consumer magazine, Which, has found that over 80% of mobile phone shops are
misleading their customers. Buyers are being supplied with incorrect information about the
price rises.

What does this mean for you? Quite simply, the “fixed” price on your monthly tariff can
actually rise. What’s worse is that you’re powerless to do anything. In fact, some
customers who decided to break their contract in protest at the rises ended up paying hefty

The practise, which uses hidden contract clauses, is regularly used to bring in extra income for the mobile phone industry. Potentially, the industry can earn as much as £90 million a year from these clauses.

Over the past 12 months, at least four out of the five biggest mobile operators have raised their prices. Recently, Three raised the price by 3.6%. In October, Vodafone delivered a stinging price rise by doubling rates for internet traffic and rounding contracts up to the nearest 50p.

Orange and T-Mobile raised their prices by 4.34% and 3.7%, respectively.

Vodafone allowed customers whose bills rose by over 10% to terminate their contract free of charge. On the other hand, T-Mobile and Orange charged their customers an early termination fee.

Which, whose Fixed Means Fixed campaign aims to ensure pricing remains fixed, has called form greater transparency.

Mobile operators are being encouraged to tell customers that they face potential price rises.

The watchdog is also recommending that customers be allowed to terminate their contract freely is prices do increase.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which, said, “There should be no nasty surprises after signing a mobile contract. People must be confident that fixed reall does mean fixed.”

Which has also lodged a complaint with Ofcom who have confirmed that they have been investigating the pratis since January following complaints.

The Ofcom review will examine how providers handle changes to fixed price contracts and present a series of recommendations.

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