On 23rd January 2014 a ruling from OFCOM came into effect giving consumers the right to reject mid contract price increases on new contracts sold after this date. Heavily campaigned for by consumer groups such as Which this ruling was seen as a major victory for the consumer and ended a year or two period of every single major UK network increasing the cost of mobile subscriptions in the middle of a contract. Most UK networks have agreed to accept the ruling and will no longer unexpectedly increase prices in the middle of a contract.
O2 however have taken a rather different position. As of the above date, all contracts sold by O2 include a clause making you agree to a compulsory annual rise in your monthly tariff. Contracts sold before this date are not covered by the OFCOM ruling so O2 can still increase them too. So in one fell swoop O2 have stuck two fingers up at OFCOM and their customers.
Unhappy customers have taken to Twitter, Facebook and O2’s own customer forums to complain with O2 mainly providing copy and pasted standard responses and demonstrating an inability or unwillingness to answer simple questions when put to them. Questions such as why if O2’s costs in providing a service increase in line with inflation haven’t their costs in providing a Pay As You Go service similarly increased? – PAYG pricing remains the same. The answer of course is quite simply that PAYG customers are completely free to leave although I’m sure O2 won’t admit that!
Also in less than a day 1300 unhappy customers have, through a form set up by Which, emailed O2’s CEO to express their unhappiness at this. The form can be found HERE or you can email him direct by sending your email to firstname.lastname@example.org
At the moment, O2 isn’t allowing any customers to cancel over this, however some customers may still have cancellation rights. O2 have also increased the cost of out of bundle minutes and MMS messages. If you regularly use these features and the new prices cause your bills to increase by more than 10% you can cancel. Also any customers out of contract can cancel. As can any customers on O2 refresh who pay off or have already paid off their phone plan which is exactly what I plan to do!