Mobile phone operators in the UK could be using the “hidden” contract clauses to legally raise the cost of fixed-rate tariffs to make more than £90 million every year.
A consumer group Which? has already filed an official complaint to regulator Ofcom in the UK after they found out that there are hidden clauses in the so called fixed-rate contracts which allows the operator to raise the prices during the lifetime of the contract.
Richard Llyod, 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.” He also added, “They are then trapped in a contract, unable to switch to a cheaper provider without paying a hefty penalty.”
At a time in the UK when the budgets are getting tighter, the phone bills are on the rise. Consumers have to face the wrath of these “hidden” clauses in the future during the lifetime of the contract. Three, a leading mobile operator in the UK, has announced a hike of 3.6pc on the fixed-tariff prices. Other big operators including Vodafone, T Mobile and Orange are also raising the prices.
Consumers have the right to know any changes of prices and the operators must not use ‘fixed-rate’ based advertisements to deceive people. Also, consumers should be allowed to switch to cheaper operators without penalty.
“Our terms and conditions allow us to raise prices in line with inflation so that we can cover our business costs”, a statement by Three on the recent hike, shows how the mobile phone providers are using the hidden clauses to make money.
Is it fair for mobile operators to mislead the consumers?