Mobile phone companies could be making up to £90m a year by legally using ‘hidden’ contract clauses to raise the cost of what should be fixed-rate tariffs, the consumer group Which? warned today.
The organisation has filed an official complaint to regulator Ofcom after an investigation found that 70% of people on fixed contracts did not know that network providers could increase prices during the lifetime of their contract. It has launched a campaign, Fixed Means Fixed, calling for an end to price increases on mobile phone contracts, arguing they should stay the same price from start to finish of the contract.
Richard Lloyd, the executive director of Which?, said: “These hidden price rises mean millions of people are forced to pay more than they expected at a time when household budgets are already squeezed. They are then trapped in a contract, unable to switch to a cheaper provider without paying a hefty penalty.
“Ofcom must intervene now and stamp this out.
“Consumers must be confident that fixed really does mean fixed.”
Ofcom said it had been investigating the practice across all networks since January after receiving complains and said it would look at information submitted by Which?