On the first anniversary of Orange’s announcement to increase prices on fixed mobile phone contracts, Which? estimates this price rise has cost Orange customers £41m so far.
On 28 November 2011, Orange announced a 4.34% price increase for 3.6 million customers who were locked into fixed contracts.
To help visualise the £41m added to its customers’ bills – this would represent 78k iPhone 5s, 379k bottles of Dom Perignon and 137m oranges, as our Orange infographic illustrates.
Every month millions of people are paying more for their mobile phone contract than they originally budgeted for, and are unable to cancel their contract without paying a hefty penalty.
Orange contract price increase
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘Millions of Orange customers are being forced to stomach a price increase on a contract they thought was fixed at a time when household budgets are already squeezed.’
He added: ‘Mobile phone companies should be made to drop hidden clauses in their contracts that allow them to hit consumers with millions of pounds worth of unexpected price increases.’
Ofcom to launch consultation
Four out of the five main phone operators – Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and Three Mobile – have taken advantage of clauses buried in their terms and conditions to increase prices on contracts that appear to be ‘fixed’. Which? estimates that this practice sets the industry on course to take an extra £104m from customers over a 12 month period.
In response to thousands of complaints, Which? launched its Fixed Means Fixed campaign calling on Ofcom to put an end to price increases on fixed contracts. We believe that all aspects of fixed mobile phone deals must remain the same for the minimum term of the contract. If there is a chance that prices may rise, operators must allow people to switch providers without penalty.
In October, Ofcom announced plans to consult on how to protect consumers from unexpected price increases within fixed contracts across mobile, broadband and landlines.
Which? wants Ofcom to act swiftly and listen to the 33,500 people who have already signed up to its Fixed Means Fixed campaign. You can help us keep the pressure up by pledging your support.
- Have you been affected by Orange’s mobile price rise?
- Pledge your support for the Fixed Means Fixed campaign
- Fixed Means Fixed campaign progress – a timeline of price rises