Industry regulator Ofcom has said it will not investigate Orange’s controversial pay monthly price hike as it is ‘not likely’ to breach legislation.
The regulatory authority had been contemplating an investigation into the operator after Orange announced in November that it was increasing its pay monthly contract prices by 4.3% from 8 January 2012.
Orange left customers outraged after it informed them of the changes via text.
The operator said rising inflation was behind the decision but pointed out that the hike was below the 5.4% Retail Price Index measure of inflation, which tracks the changing prices of commonly used goods and services.
Speaking to Mobile, an Ofcom spokeswoman said that while it acknowledged ‘many’ consumers felt unhappy with the changes, it did not believe there was a case to answer.
She said: ‘Having assessed the complaints against the relevant consumer legislation, Ofcom has decided on the evidence available not to proceed with an investigation at this time as this price rise is not likely to be a breach of current legislation.’
The spokeswoman said the regulator felt the UK benefited from a competitive market. She advised customers to use two Ofcom-accredited mobile price comparison sites, mobilife.com and billmonitor.com, if they were seeking a new mobile deal.
However, customers could contact Orange if they felt they would suffer ‘material detriment’ as a result of the price increase, but would need evidence to support any claim, the spokeswoman said.
If customers feel Orange has not met its terms and conditions, Ofcom can contact the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (Cisas) resolution body on their behalf. However, a Cisas spokesperson told Mobile that it had not received any complaints to date.