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O2 dodges Ofcom's contract price-hike guidelines

Customers will have to agree to yearly price increases
Thu Jan 23 2014, 14:19
O2 logo with bubbles

BUBBLY MOBILE OPERATOR O2 has already found a way to dodge Ofcom's latest contract price-hike guidelines by issuing an update to its terms and conditions.

Mere hours ago, Ofcom revealed that customers can now escape a mobile, broadband or landline contract free of charge if they receive an unexpected price increase.

While Three and Virgin Media welcomed Ofcom's new guidelines in statements sent to The INQUIRER, O2 clearly isn't so pleased and has already found a way to get around them.

Before Ofcom's new guidelines were revealed, O2's contract said in its terms and conditions that it could increase a customer's monthly subscription fee every 12 months in line with inflation, which is still the case for anyone who signed up to an O2 contract before today.

O2 has now updated its terms and conditions for those who sign up to its network from today to require that customers must agree to annual price increases.

The terms read, "An increase of this kind does not entitle you to end your agreement mid-contract. As set out above, our terms for customers signing up both pre- and post- 23rd January allow us to apply a price increase to reflect RPI."

An O2 spokesperson elaborated in a statement sent to The INQUIRER. He said, "Ofcom's Updated Guidance clarifies that consumers will be free to enter a contract which includes a price change each year in line with a measure of inflation like RPI - provided the relevant price term is clear and prominent so that the customer clearly agrees to this at the outset. Where this is the case a customer will not be able to end the contract when a price change is applied.

"Inflation has an impact on our costs and this clarification will help us to continue to invest in our network and the services that matter to our customers while still offering great value for money."

While this isn't great, O2's change to its terms and conditions does not breach Ofcom's latest guidelines, so we might see other mobile operators following suit. On the other hand, O2's competitors might instead see this as opportunity to attract its unhappy customers by offering better deals. µ


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