Which?’s Fixed Means Fixed campaign has received over 15,000 pledges of support, since its launch two weeks ago, from people who want fixed to mean fixed on mobile phone contracts.
Which? has lodged a formal complaint with Ofcom, asking it to urgently investigate mobile operators using hidden clauses in the terms and conditions of ‘fixed’ mobile phone contracts to increase prices during the contract period. We want the regulator to rule that fixed means fixed and put an end to these price hikes.
We are calling for the price and all other aspects of fixed deals to remain the same for the contract period when consumers are also tied-in. If there is a chance that prices may rise, operators must be more upfront about this in their advertising and allow people to switch providers without penalty.
A recent Which? investigation found 70% of people on fixed contracts did not know that mobile phone companies could increase prices during the length of their contract, a practice potentially netting the industry up to £90 million in a year.
Richard Lloyd, Executive Director, Which? says:
“The regulator and mobile phone companies must not ignore the thousands of people who want them to play fair. Consumers must be confident that fixed really does mean fixed.”
Which? is calling on consumers to support the campaign, to make sure that Ofcom takes swift and decisive action. They can pledge their support at www.which.co.uk/fixed
Notes to Editors:
‘Fixed Means Fixed’ was launched on16 July 2012.
This campaign was originally driven by over 1,700 comments from consumers about increases to ‘fixed’ contracts on our Which? Conversation website.
Which? estimates that as many as 10.5 million customers may have been affected by increases to fixed contracts, with additional revenue to operators so far of £34.5 million and as much as £90 million annually.
Breakdown of Ofcom Complaint:
We want to see prompt and firm action by Ofcom. We think two things should happen:
> During the fixed term, the quality and price must remain fixed; as set out for the consumer at the beginning of the contract: fixed means fixed.
> Mobile phone operators that wish to retain the right to vary terms, including the price, during the fixed term, must allow consumers to end the contract after being notified of such a change without penalty. Any marketing material in these cases must prominently state that prices or other terms may vary during this contract.