Ofcom is launching an investigation into mid-contract price rises in a response to complaints made about changes to terms and conditions for post-pay customers.
The consultation, which will also examine landline and broadband as well as mobile services, is expected to be published by the end of the year. It will look at whether changing the price during the course of a contract is appropriate and whether operators are being transparent about the likelihood of this happening with customers. Several weeks ago Vodafone announced it was raising its prices by 2.4% and follows mid-contract price increases by the three other operators during the past 12 months.
Earlier this year, the regulator launched a review into the fairness of contracts. It examined 1,644 complaints received about changes to terms and conditions during September 2011 to May 2012, in addition to evidence from consumer watchdog Which? Some consumers said they felt companies should not be able to impose price increases during a contract and if they do, a person can leave a contract without penalty.
Claudio Pollack, consumer group director at Ofcom, said: 'Ofcom understands the frustration that consumers feel when faced with price rises in what they assume to be a fixed contract with a fixed price. 'Having considered the large number of consumer complaints, we will soon consult on ways to address consumer concerns and ensure they are being treated fairly in this area.'
Editor: Graeme Neill