The cost of my mobile phone contract has gone up, can I cancel?

If your mobile phone provider makes increases to your fixed monthly price by more than the Retail Price Index (RPI), you should be able to exit the contract if you’re still within your minimum term without incurring a penalty fee.

With the help of thousands of you as part of our Fixed Means Fixed campaign, for all new fixed contracts from 23 January 2014, you can exit without penalty for any price rise at all. This is unless you were told at the point of sale that the price would definitely be increasing.

Read on to find out more.

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Cancel a mobile contract

Generally, the only way to guarantee you’re not penalised for cancelling a contract is to cancel within the cooling-off period.

Otherwise, if you cancel before the minimum contract term is up, you may have to pay an early termination fee. This can be very high.

For example, if you sign up to an 18 month contract and want to cancel in the second month, you may have to pay 16 months' worth of fees.

But you may be able to avoid these fees if you want to cancel your contract as a result of changes made by your operator. 

For example, if your contract allows your operator to increase your contract by more than the Retail Price Index (RPI), you could challenge this clause as unfair.

For more information, see our guide on cancelling a contract

Challenging price hikes

Which? believed it was unfair that millions of mobile phone users were being caught out by unfair price rises. 

We wanted the rules changed so that all people could exit a 'fixed' contract without penalty if prices do go up. 

We also wanted the price, and all other features of a contract (minutes, data etc), to be fixed from the day of agreement to the end of the contract. 

With the support of more than 58,000 of you, we convinced Ofcom to take action. 

Price hike? Cancel without penalty

Under rules introduced by Ofcom in 2014, if you took out a contract after 23 January 2014 and your provider hikes prices on that contract, you can cancel without paying any penalty fees. This is the same for all telecoms providers including mobile phone, broadband and landline contracts.

However, if you were told at the point of sale that the price would definitely be increasing, it may be more difficult to leave without a penalty.

Which? helped push for these changes with the support of more than 58,000 of you who felt it was unfair that millions of telecoms customers were being caught out by unfair price rises.

Together we convinced Ofcom to take action, and as a result fixed contracts mean fixed prices from the day you sign the agreement to the end of the contract.

Mobile contracts and RPI

For contracts taken out before 23 January 2014, there are no clear rules in place that allow you to cancel because of price hikes during your contract.

Your mobile phone provider may be able to hike the price of your fixed contract by the rate of RPI. 

However, for fixed contracts entered into after 23 January 2014, you are able to exit without penalty if your provider does choose to hike up its prices, unless you were told at the point of sale that the price would definitely be increasing.

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Mobile users are collectively losing out on £5.4bn a year by being on the wrong contract. We want providers to make switching easier by telling you when your contract's about to end, giving details of the best deals for you and unlocking handsets for free.
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