VAT outrage over mobile bills... or is there?

An angry mobile customer, earlier today

If you stopped for longer than a second to think how much money you paid in tax, you'd probably cry. Or start drinking. Or both. Or just fuck off somewhere hotter that lets you keep a little more of your hard earned coin.

So there are a few people upset to learn that the mobile service providers have been charging people the new rate of VAT on services provided before the 20% rate was introduced on 4th January.

Orange, Three, T-Mobile and Virgin Media are the guilty culprits according to the BBC. But before we all jump on the bandwagon and pronounce them Captain Bastard, it's worth pointing out that they don't get to keep the money and, according to Virgin Media at least, they've been consistent in their billing - when VAT dropped from 17.5% to 15%, customers received their new bill at the new lower rate.

Actually it's all a little more complicated than that, since most bills consist of two element; the minimum monthly tariff, paid for in advance (customers will have paid for their January tariff in December at the lower rate)  - and the additional calls and services charged after the fact.

Orange suggest that only around 15% of their customers are affected by the time-shifting, VAT-rising head-spinning bollocks of it all. Listen, if you want to work out exactly how much you're out of pocket by, let us know. Sone of you avid readers will be good at maths and can probably figure it out. It's too much for us. We'll be crying and drinking.


  • Marketing W.
    I was expecting my £10 broadband to go up in January to £10.21... but it hasn't. Big thumbs up to O2 from me.
  • kfcws
    Don't worry though. Vodafone won't be paying the VAT anyway.
  • Outraged P.
    Seeing that (pictured) poor old timer targeted by these colossal phone companies really makes my blood boil. Ill wager that when they flogged him that handset they told him it was 'cutting edge' technology. Upgrade my arse.
  • Steve O.
    VAT is always charged at the time you *bill* anyway. If someone installed your double glazing last year and only just got around to invoicing you they have to add VAT at the new rate. Or take cash-in-hand, obviously, the avoiding bastards.
  • Not m.
    Steve O - splendid analogy- or it would be if double glazing salesman werent thieving, lying turds with the possibility of them withholding their invoice for several months being about as likely as Andy Gray being made an honorary feminist.
  • mein c.
    Over 40% of your wages goes to the government in one way or another. Your income tax is 20%, your national insurance is 11% - that's 31% of your raw income gone without you even seeing it. Then assuming you're not subsisting on bread and water while cycling everywhere, you're paying 20% VAT on most goods - or another 11.8% of your raw income, bringing us up to a shocking 42.8%. This doesn't even factor in special cases, like fuel with it's exorbitant duty, or fun things like fags and booze.

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