Island customers encouraged to take part in campaign

Western Isles Citizens Advice Service (WICAS) is encouraging those consumers in the Western Isles to take part in the “Fixed Means Fixed Campaign” being run by the consumer group Which?

The campaign has been launched as a result of an undercover investigation conducted by Which? that showed many of the major mobile phone companies were telling customers that their mobile phone contract was fixed, when in fact it was not.

From 2011 to 2012 Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and Three UK all put up the cost of their mobile phone contracts. People who had signed one or two year deals expecting to pay £20 or £30 per month were suddenly told they’d have to pay more. 

What many are unaware of is that mobile phone contract terms and conditions usually allow the companies to increase their prices even for customers on ‘fixed’ contracts, as long as the rise isn’t higher than inflation.

Which? has estimated that around 10.5 million adults have been affected by this so far. The bill increases range from 48p-£1.04 per month. 

This means that consumers -who believe that their contract prices are fixed have already spent nearly £34.5m extra on phone contracts because of these recent price rises. Over 12 months these increases could make up to £90m for mobile phone companies.

WICAS spokesman Ewan Kennedy commented;

“When someone enters a mobile phone contract which they are told is fixed, they do not expect to be told that they are paying more for the length of their contract.”

“Unfortunately, most mobile phone company terms and conditions say that they are allowed to increase their prices on fixed term contracts, as long as they do not exceed the rate of inflation or the Retail Price Index (RPI)”.

“I would echo the call made by Which? that mobile phone companies should be more transparent in their terms & conditions, as well as their prices. Customers should be able to clearly see the manner which they are charged and the terms of their contract should be in plain-English and easy to understand”.

“ I would encourage anyone in the Western Isles who has had a negative experience with fixed mobile phone contracts to log onto the Which? website and pledge their support to the “Fixed Means Fixed Campaign” which already has 24,862 supporters already”.