UK's second largest mobile provider?
They're not the UK's second largest mobile provider, they are the *world's* second largest mobile provider.
Vodafone will jack up its prices next month, it said today. Standard call charges will rise from 15p to 20p per minute for pre-pay customers and contract minutes outside monthly inclusive packages. Calls to non-geographic 0871 numbers will cost 35p per minute from September, compared to 25p currently. Non-geographic 0870 lines …
From the FT: "Vodafone is the second largest mobile operator in the UK, behind O2."
You lot pay to call 0800 numbers? Fecking hell! Anyone affected by these changes: the increase in charges is a change in the contract and must be approved by both parties. You are perfectly within your rights to refuse to accept the increase in charges or terminate the contract early.
I'm sure they'd like to blame someone else and the EC are an easy target. However, the truth is that they, and most mobile companies, haven't really understood that the market has changed now that anyone who wants a mobile has got one.
In their hay day they were a marketing lead sector who could almost not fail to make money. The business was immature and money was thrown around like it was going out of style. To an extent this is natural when being first could suck in another million customers.
The problem is the times have changed but the mobile companies are struggling to mature and are lurching around from one silver bullet to the next without the desire to take a close look at themselves.
Of course losing all that money on 3G hasn't helped either.
I imagine that they'll eventually understand that the market has moved on and that they'll have to run like a normal business......
"You are perfectly within your rights to refuse to accept the increase in charges or terminate the contract early."
Be that as it may, how many people entered into a contract in order to get a shiny new handset either free or at a knock-down price?. Terminate your contract early and you have to return the handset surely....something which I expect makes the "just tell them to stuff it" option less palatable to a lot of people.
Vodafone have always been expensive, but this takes the biscuit.
I'm on PAYG and I got a text the other day with all the new charges. Local 0845 calls and 'free' 0800 numbers have been pushed right up.
In only went with them because T Mobile had no decent phones at the time. I've noticed credit with Vodafone has been vanishing all too quickly over the last few months - I thought WAP had accidently become activated or something in my pocket, but it can't be done.
Looking forward to ditching Vodafone at Christmas and moving back to T-Mobile.
An iPhone Nano would affect any plans though :-)
What IS the legal / contractual position of cancelling a contract on Vodafone early? I've just got a HTC Touch Diamond out of them, for free, on a £20 a month tarrif - which IS a good deal, but I'd still like to be able to say to them "yeah, I'm cancelling my contract, what are you doing to do about it?"
If I remember correctly (and I may not) o2 have more customers but vodafone make more money out of theirs since they chase higher margin customers and have a bigger Business userbase.
So they gladly let O2 hoover up all their low/no margin customers.
@Matt - How is that not acting like a 'normal business'?
With a limited knowledge of contract law (ie none) I'd say that if they give you the phone for "free", then you keep it, even if you are paying a higher monthly rate for your contract to cover the cost of the phone. If they actually said "this contract is £25 with a phone or £15 without" then it'd be different but the use of the word "free" tells you that they're giving you the phone at a loss and recovering the cost from your contract.
Secondly (@Charlie Clark):
In many contracts I've signed, there's a tiny little phrase that states that the company is within its rights to change the contract without notice. The phrase often comes without any qualifiers but i believe that any changes must be "reasonable" so only really covers call charges. Therefore you probably cannot cancel your contract without paying any cancellation fees purely because they've changed the call charges.
Feel free to correct me, but that's my understanding of it (it seems perfectly reasonable to me and if I'm wrong then they should change the whole legal system and every contract until I'm right.)
What I'm trying to say is that having worked in government, finance, manufacturing etc I noticed that in my ten years with a mobile firm they were getting money hand over fist in the early years so didn't bother controlling the spending, for example. Some of them didn't even know or care where the money was going because they were making so much.
I've never worked in such a disorganised ill-thought-out sector in my life :-) Given that I worked for the UK government that's saying something.
The phone may not be part of the contract, but the subsidy that paid for the phone is. Cancel early and you may be liable for a termination fee or lose out on cash back deals or similar.
Few people actually seem to understand that their "free" phone is nothing of the sort.
There appear to be moves by the operators now to bring subsidies to an end anyway, and instead people will have to pay for their phones up front. I expect a lot of complaints about this, despite the fact most people will actually be paying the same overall, if not less, especially on high end phones. Better still they can buy sim free phones with no lock downs including operator branding that turns off features or limits firmware updates, and bundles rubbish instead.
Item 7 and Item 8 state something along the lines of (paraphrasing here) :
"we may from time to time decrease/increase call charges"
"you may cancel your contract if...these charges cause you call charges based on previous bills to increase by 10% or more than the Retail Price Index, whichever is greater...and you write to us before the charges come into effect".
Looks as though you will have to prove that you are adversely affected by these charges (>10%) to have any joy. It's a bit ambiguous as to whether it is a 10% increase in any one month or on average over the life-to-date of the contract.
It does not appear to be, however, a change in the terms and conditions of the contract (unless your call plan consitutes part of the contract - I could not find this in the text).
From the Vodafone/O2 terms and conditions:
8) You may end this Agreement ... if:
a) i) We increase in the UK and under clause 7a (which relates to them giving customers 14 days notice of price changes) call or other usage charges which have the effect of increasing your call or usage charges by more than 10% (or more than the RPI)
If you end the contract under the above clause, you are not liable to pay the remainder of it's time. IANAL, etc, but to me this sounds like every Vodafone customer in the country now has the right to just walk away..
Firstly, not every clause in a contract is actually legally valid which is why there is always the salvatory clause at the end.
Basically any change to contract terms must be agreed to by both parties. The knuts have gone over to changing the contracts and assuming your agreement if you do not provide a written objection. This worked so wonderfully well for them with the roaming charges that they're trying it on with standard charges. My understanding is that a simple refusal to the change should suffice and not necessarily entail a termination before the contract expires.
This is probably excellent fodder for consumer affairs programmes and hopefully someone will take it to the courts. Serve the greedy bastards right.
@Charlie - that plan didn't work out so well for Vodafone when they took away my bundled MMS without telling me 14 days in advance (I'd only been a customer for 10 days at that point!)
Hello, £10/month lifetime discount.
Then they took away my bundled data allowance, again without informing me in advance.
That'd be another £5/month lifetime discount.
I love vodafone. They keep breaking their own terms and conditions like this and they'll end up paying me to use their network...
Perhaps people will now think a bit more before they whip out their phone.
One of my biggest gripes is people who are on the phone whilst walking aimlessly about. I've had a couple of them turn and walk right into me which always ends with them on the floor as I'm twice the size of your average bloke.
I don't care as I rarely even use my monthly minutes anyways.
I'll just stop phoning 08xx numbers from the mobile and won't miss it at all.
This all really makes me laugh. 20 years ago nobody had them and now we feel we can't live without them. They are useful under certain circumstances but they are hardly vital.
I've been a Vodafone contract customer since 2002 and have nothing but praise for them. Every time I've needed to contact them, their staff have been more than helpful and in most cases sorted out issues that I've had immediately. I have no affiliation with the company, but compared to pretty much all other telco's that I've had to deal with, they are head and shoulders over the rest. I like the company, dealing with them is a pleasure and personally I wish them the best. Having a good GSM900 service available is also a benefit
I'm on Vodafone's cheapest price plan (£20 per month) and normally get 75 minutes and no text messages included. Just phoned to complain about price rises to 192 and they offered me 150minutes included and 500 free text messages. Took them up on that offer as I rarely go out of my included minutes :)
No increase in contract price, no increase in contract length. These are good enough for me!
I was in the same boat as johnnytruant, 11 days into an 18 month contract they took my MMS away. I got told to **** off not a £10 discount for life :(
This was in Sept 2006, this is STILL with Othelo, the ADR scheme. Eventually I will have to take VF to the small claims court to get any compnesation. This really isnt worth the hassle.
Either pay the increase, or move to a less dishonest provider. Only a county court summons will help your arguement.
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