Mobile phone sales staff aren't being straight with you about price hikes
Sales staff being sly arseholoes. That's not exactly news. However, when we find out they're doing stuff that isn't exactly legal, we need to share it with you.
And so, new research has unearthed which shows that over 80% of staff in mobile phone shops provided incorrect information about price rises on fixed phone contracts at the point of sale, which of course means that most customers were unaware that the cost of their “fixed” price plan could feasibly increase.
According to Which?!?!?!, phone companies sometimes use hidden contract clauses to raise the cost of what is supposed to be a tariff that stays the same price, and then, those who are unaware are unable to do a thing about it once they find out. This makes the mobile industry around £90m a year, so it is little wonder they've been keeping quiet about it.
4 out of the 5 major phone operators raised fixed contract prices too, so this is a real problem. Only last month, Three increased their tariffs while Vodafone put their prices up last October, as well as doubling internet rates. Orange and T-Mobile raised prices and the customers saw that their hands were tied and facing early termination fees.
“It’s totally unacceptable that people aren’t being told the full story about potential price rises when signing up to contracts in mobile phone shops,” said Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which!!!!! “Shockingly, even when we asked directly about price increases, the vast majority of staff denied this could happen. There should be no nasty surprises after signing a mobile contract. People must be confident that fixed really does mean fixed.”
Ofcom are looking into it too, with a spokesperson saying: “We understand why consumers in fixed term contracts are sometimes disappointed to find that the particular contract they have signed up to allows price rises. While current rules allow for contracts to include price increases in certain circumstances, after receiving consumer complaints on this issue, Ofcom launched a review in January 2012. The review is examining requirements on Communications Providers relating to consumer contracts, including provisions covering changes to contracts.”