Vodafone mobile phone customers have been hit by price rises for certain types of call.
The rises came into force on 1 September and affect calls to numbers that start 05 and 08.
These are non-geographic numbers, including 0800, and aren’t included in any ‘free’ minutes you get as part of your deal, whether you have a monthly contract, or whether you’re on pay-as-you-go (PAYG).
As part of the price rises, the minimum call charge – the minimum price you pay per call regardless of its length – will increase for any calls that are not included ‘free’ as part of your monthly fee.
These are the changes:
- for PAYG customers, the minimum call charge will increase from 10p to 20p, and costs for calling 05 and 08 numbers will increase to 25p per minute
- for contract customers, the minimum call charge for calls not included in your monthly tariff has increased from 5p to 15p. Calls to 0871 numbers will increase from 25p to 35p per minute, while other 08 numbers and 05 numbers will cost 20p a minute – up from 15p.
Whom it affects
Vodafone says it’s the first price rise in more than two years, and says other phone companies have also hiked prices recently. It blames rising costs for connecting calls.
The rise in the minimum charge will badly hit PAYG who make lots of short calls, such as those which go straight to voicemail. Minimum call charges may also affect contract customers who often bust their included minutes limit.
Which?’s advice for such customers is to consider switching to a tariff that includes more minutes.
People who make lots of calls to non-geographic numbers may also see their bills rise.
Which? phones expert Ceri Stanaway said:: ‘Which? has always warned against calling 08 numbers from mobiles, as they’re not included in your monthly tariff and can be extortionate.
‘Costs for calling these numbers are high across many mobile providers, so they’re best avoided if possible. Even 0800, which is free to call from landlines, costs a lot from mobiles.’
Vodafone PAYG customers and contract customers who are no longer tied in to a minimum period are free to switch if they are not happy with the increases.
Customers who are still within their initial contract period and whose bills will rise by more than 10% are legally entitled to get out of their contract without penalty.
There have been reports that Vodafone is refusing to allow such customers out of their contract, but Vodafone denies it has refused anyone.
It told Which?: ‘About 99% of customers will see a less than 10% change to their monthly bill. If a customer thinks they will be affected and that there will be a 10% difference to their bill as a direct result of the price changes, they should call us and we will do all we can to help them find an alternative price plan with us.
‘Customers who are entitled to leave because these changes directly affect them are being disconnected.’