Posts Tagged ‘cancel your contract’

Affected by the Vodafone price increase?

September 15th, 2011 32 Comments By Len Dastard

Bitterwallet Len Dastard featured4 Affected by the Vodafone price increase?Hola amigos. It is I, Len Dastard, retired (and imaginary) Mexican lucha libre turned full time litigation executive. I have just spent two week on the streets of Tijuana helping the Policía Federal keep things in order. Now,  I return, and I have been greeted with some rather unsavoury consumer news…

News has reached us this week at BW HQ that Vodafone are going to be increasing some of their mobile tariff charges. However, they also say that they are going to be reducing the price of calls to “08″ numbers. It might disappoint many of you out there looking for a way out of your contract but it might all be above board and legal.

Before delving in to the T&Cs you need to know what the increase is and exactly how it will affect you. You will need to consider the Terms of your individual contract with Vodafone. However, looking at the Terms on their own website, they stipulate:

7. Changing charges and terms

a) We may occasionally change or introduce new charges. If we believe any change in our charges will not disadvantage you, we may include it without telling you. However, if we increase our charges, we’ll give you at least 14 days’ notice.

Now, you need to consider their Terms in greater detail. The following is an excerpt taken from their Terms and in particular deals with cancelling your agreement when there are price increases:

11. Ending this agreement

a) Either you or us may end this agreement by giving the other 30 days’ notice in writing. Your notice must include your mobile number and the signature or appropriate security details of the account holder. You must pay the charges during the notice period.

b) You may end this agreement by writing to us if:

- we tell you that there will be an increase in the line-rental charge by more than the increase in the retail price index (worked out as a percentage) since the last line-rental increase and you write to us before the increase applies;
- we increase your charges in the UK which have the effect of increasing your total charges (based on your usage in the previous month) by more than 10% and you write to us before the increase applies; or
- we change this agreement to your significant disadvantage including changing or withdrawing services (we will tell you if this is the case) and you write to us within one month of us telling you about the change. This does not apply if the change or withdrawal relates to services which you can cancel without us ending this agreement.

So, it seems that the all important figure is a 10% increase of your bill based on your previous month’s usage. You can check their increases here.

If you are convinced that this price increase will affect your bill over 10%, you should write to Vodafone before 11th October 2011 at this address:

Vodafone Customer Care
Vodafone House
The Connection
Newbury
Berkshire
RG14 2FN

I cannot stress enough how important it is that you are convinced that this increase affects you to the extent that their terms allow you to cancel. Communication providers tend not to think twice about suing customers for balances on unpaid mobile phone contracts. If they let people cancel without adequate reason and not follow it up, they will see many of their customers following suit. Therefore, be entirely convinced that you are able to cancel your contract without penalty and possibly get their unequivocal confirmation that that is definitely the case.

Affected by this increase above 10% or not sure and you would like us to look in to this for you? Get in contact with us – hello@bitterwallet.com

Adios!

A couple of Virgin Mobile customers (thanks to avid readers Andrew and Toby) have tipped us off to the network’s changes in pricing for local and national calls from 28 June. Customers have been receiving texts pointing them to this online statement:

Picture 41 500x122 Price changes mean you can cancel your Virgin Mobile contract

A quick check against the current standard charges shows these changes to be an increase of 60 per cent:

Picture 52 Price changes mean you can cancel your Virgin Mobile contract

We’ve been asked if these changes are grounds for customers to cancel their contracts free-of-charge; the answer is yes, but only in specific instances. Here are the relevant clauses from Virgin Mobile’s Terms of Service for Pay Monthly customers:

5.3 Significant changes: We will notify you at least one month in advance of any change coming into effect that (in our reasonable opinion):

(b) is a change to your Agreement, your Contract Allowance, the Services or any Additional Services you are using, or to the Charges for any Services or Additional Services you are using, which is likely to be of material detriment to you.

5.4 Non acceptance of changes: If you do not accept a change that falls within clause 5.3 you may cancel this Agreement by writing to us within 1 month of us telling you about any change, to let us know that you want to cancel.

What this means is if you call local and national numbers enough that the charges you pay are significant (Ofcom’s rule-of-thumb is 10 per cent of your overall bill), then you have grounds to cancel your contract without penalty. How this is calculated is more open to interpretation; some mobile providers assess your eligibility based on the previous month’s bill, some on the previous quarter.

If you think you might be eligible and want to cancel your Virgin Mobile contract, then be prepared before speaking to customer services. Review your last three itemised bills, and highlight all calls with local and national toll prefixes – there are more of them than you might think, so check the full list here. Add up the charges for all these calls, and if this is more than 10 per cent of your total bill before VAT, you have the right to cancel your contract without paying additional charges.

Have everything to hand when you call customer services, including your bills and the relevant terms of your contract (which you’ll find above). As always, be firm but polite if you choose to cancel; dickish behaviour rarely helps matters. And of course, ask yourself if it’s worth cancelling; check the mobile deals available with cashback on Quidco.

Remember, you only have until 28 June if you want to cancel; after this date, it’ll be assumed you have accepted the changes.