In response to Vodafone’s announcement to its customers that it will increase prices on its ‘fixed’ phone contracts on November 1 by up to 2.4%, Which? executive director Richard Lloyd says:
“One year on from a price increase which we estimate has already cost Vodafone customers up to £10.5 million, it’s shocking to see them hike their bills yet again.
“There should be no nasty surprises after signing a mobile phone contract, but millions of Vodafone customers are going to be forced to pay more than they expected at a time when household budgets are already squeezed.
“Ofcom must intervene now and stamp out hidden price increases on so-called ‘fixed’ phone contracts. People must be confident that fixed really does mean fixed.”
In the past year, four out of the five main phone operators have taken advantage of a hidden clause that allows them to increase prices on contracts that appear to be ‘fixed’. Which? estimates that this practice sets the industry on course to take an extra £90m from customers over a 12 month period.
Which? estimates that Vodafone has so far made up to £10.5 million in revenue from price increases to its ‘fixed’ contracts. In October 2011, the phone company increased prices by rounding bills to the nearest 50p.
Which? is calling for the price and all other aspects of fixed mobile phone deals to remain the same for the minimum term of the contract. If there is a chance that prices may rise, Which? believes operators must allow people to switch providers without penalty .
Which? has submitted an official complaint to Ofcom and has received over 28,000 pledges of support from consumers. People can pledge their support for the Fixed Means Fixed campaign.