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

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. 

 FixedMeansFixed-Celebration

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

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.

O2's existing customers

Ofcom's new guidance only applies to contracts taken out after 23 January 2014. 

Unfortunately, the new rules permit price rises for existing customers and new customers as long as they're told about this at the point of sale. 

As a result, O2 is allowed to raise the monthly prices by RPI for consumers who took out a contract prior to this date. 

O2 announced a mid-contract price hike of 2.7% for its eight million pay-monthly customers, which came into effect in March 2014. 

We were disappointed by this announcement. 

O2's new contracts

People who take out a new O2 contract after 23 January 2014 are covered by the new Ofcom guidance. 

However, O2 has found a loophole - and we're not happy about it. 

The loophole allows O2 to apply annual RPI price rises on the condition that the rise is made clear at the point of sale, and the price rise is guaranteed. 

Although O2's contract variation is within the new rules, we're asking O2 to do the right thing by its customers.