Mobile phone stores are 'misleading' on prices, says Which?
Wednesday 15 August 2012
The vast majority of mobile phone stores are misleading customers about the possibility of price increases on so-called fixed contracts, according to a watchdog.
A mystery shopping investigation by Which? last month found that 82% of staff in the stores it visited gave incorrect information about "fixed" deals, even when asked directly if the price would stay the same for the duration of the contract.
The group visited 39 stores for O2, Orange, Three, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Phones4U and Carphone Warehouse in the Midlands, North West, South, North East and the South East.
All shop assistants, when prompted, claimed that the number of inclusive minutes, texts and data would stay the same throughout the contract.
However the consumer group said that in the past year four of the five main phone operators - Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and Three - had taken advantage of a "hidden clause" allowing them to increase prices on contracts that appeared to be fixed.
Recent Which? research found that 70% of people on fixed contracts did not know that mobile phone companies could increase prices during the length of their contract.
The watchdog, which recently launched the "Fixed Means Fixed" campaign calling on companies to ensure prices and all other aspects of the deal remain unchanged for the full length of the contract, said the practice is potentially netting the industry up to £90 million a year.
It is calling on operators to advertise the possibility of price rises upfront and allow customers to switch contracts without penalty if they do increase.
It has also complained to the regulator Ofcom.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "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.
"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."
- 1 Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
- 2 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
- 3 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
- 4 News agency criticised for describing Amal Clooney as 'actor's wife' in coverage of human rights trial
- 5 David De Gea to Real Madrid: Real finally get their man with £29m bid for Manchester United goalkeeper
Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
News agency criticised for describing Amal Clooney as 'actor's wife' in coverage of human rights trial
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...