When you signed up for your fixed mobile contract, you probably felt pretty secure, right? After all, in today’s rollercoaster economy, knowing exactly how much your phone service will cost each month is a big help. Once you sign up for a fixed-rate plan, that plan can’t change until your contract expires. At least…that’s what the mobile companies want you to think.
Contract Rip Off
In a report published by consumer watchdog group Which, it’s been reported that mobile networks stand to pocket an obscene £90 million over the next few years, all by slowly raising the rates of their “fixed” mobile plans. A few companies in the spotlight include Orange, Vodafone, T-Mobile and Three.
How Can UK Networks Do This?If you’re like most consumers, you didn’t read the small, tiny, impossible-to-read-without-a-microscope print at the bottom of the page. In this tiny print are the terms and conditions of your contract. In plain English, this translates to “the stuff they don’t really want you to know about.”
Hidden deep within the terms and conditions of many mobile contracts are loopholes which allow companies to raise prices – yes, even on fixed rate plans – if certain conditions arise. A common condition is RPI or rate of inflation. Last year, mobile giant Orange raised their rates by 4.34%, and this year “budget” network Three hiked theirs up by 3.6%.
This may not sound like a lot, but it adds up over time. Not just for you the consumer, but for the mobile companies themselves. So far, the big mobile networks have raked in something close to £34.5 million. If this practice continues unabated, the mobile companies stand to make an extra £90 million by the end of the year.
Contract Rip Off – What You Can Do
Unfortunately, for those already locked into a “fixed rate plan”, leaving usually means paying a hefty chunk of penalty change. With prices creeping upward and the economy nowhere near stable, this isn’t something the average mobile user can afford to do.
If you’re not already tied into one of these phony fixed-rate plans, you can do your part by staying far, far away from them and the companies which offer them. Before you sign up for any contract, make a point of reading the entire contract, top to bottom, including the fine print. Sadly, many companies out there are not above tricking their customers, so you have to be your own advocate.
You can also put your name on consumer-watchdog petitions, letting UK networks know that nobody will stand for these underhanded practices. If enough voices band together, the UK networks will have no choice but to listen. Do your part and add your name – let mobile companies know that tricking their customers is hardly a good business practice, and that if they continue, they’ll lose business for it instead of pocketing your hard-earned money.
Author: Peter Roberts recently discovered that his mobile network was part of the Contract Rip Off and has decided to share as much information about it with other consumers.
Main Image: Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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