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Mid contract price rise guidance live from 23rd January
Wednesday 22 January 2014 15:53:32 by Andrew Ferguson

While the majority of broadband, mobile and telephone providers do follow previous guidance on notifying consumers about price rises, the new guidance from Ofcom should hopefully improve the level of notification for consumers and ensure that suppliers are fully aware of a consumers right to cancel the contract.

There is a simple consumer version of the new advice, which avoids most of the industry speak of the original announcement.

  • Previously if you were in the fixed term period of a contract the supplier could make small price rises without triggering the right to cancel, as of 23rd January any price rise to a core component will trigger the ability for you to end the contract without penalty.
  • We believe that if hardware (e.g. YouView box) was supplied as part of the contract, then this may be charged for, or the supplier may simply want it returned if you break contract over a price rise.
  • The core components would be for example, voice line rental and/or the broadband subscription.
  • Areas exempt could include the price of international calls, but this is not a hard and fast rule, since if you international calls were a key part of the service, e.g. a call bundle then the new rules would apply.
  • At least one months notice should be given of any price rises.
  • The notification of the price rise should also make it clear that you have a right to terminate the contract.
  • If for example the period for inclusive evening calls was changed from 6pm-6am to 8pm-5am, Ofcom consider this the equivalent of a price rise, and thus triggers your ability to exit the contract.
thinkbroadband summary of changes

The maximum contract that a consumer should be able to have on a telecommunications product is regulated to 24 months, but a pattern has emerged where upgrades to speeds or other elements of a service are used to tempt people already in contract to extend their contract in return for the improvements at little or no cost. This can result in people being confused about how long they have remaining after one or two upgrades, what we would like providers to do is when notifying their customers of price rises to make it clear what the term left on the contract is.

The best advice is a bit boring, but always read the terms and conditions rather than blindly clicking the acceptance box and it is often worth printing a copy for your records when signing up for long and expensive contracts.


Posted by otester over 3 years ago
Doesn't the 330Mbps upgrade require a 36 month contract?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
At the wholesale level yes, but apparently so long as they get paid Openreach don't mind. So in retailing to consumer sector, its 36 month price squeezed into 24 months.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
Yes, for FTTPoD, but that's in a contract between Openreach and the ISP, so isn't a consumer contract.

The ISP is free to choose how to cope with the risk in passing terms on to its customer (whether business or consumer), but the Ofcom restriction is often quoted when explaining why FTTPoD isn't seen as a consumer product.
Posted by audioslim over 3 years ago
This isnt new although its handy that Ofcom have reminded the mobile phone sharks of basic contract law.
The price of a fixed price contract is a core condition of the contract and cannot be altered without agreement from both parties.

I've done it before with T-Mobile when they attempted to change download allowances and they backed off pretty quickly and left them alone.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
Previous guidance was that price rise had to be MATERIALLY DETRIMENTAL now ANY price rise triggers the get out clause.
Posted by EnglishRob over 3 years ago
Does this just cover consumers or does it cover businesses and charities too which were signed into crazy 5 year contracts?
Posted by pcoventry76 over 3 years ago
Does it cover virgin who seem to be lying to people saying they aren't getting a price rise so they can't leave only to find out they actually do? There seems to be a lot of this going on right now and VM are getting into hot water over it
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