Telecoms Companies Should Be Banned From Increasing Prices During Contract

Written by Karen Bryan

BT logoI was angry to receive an email from BT entitled “Important Changes to Your BT Services”. I was expecting this, as I’d read that there was a price hike in the offing.

In my opinion, the phrase “prices are increasing” should have been in the title versus the less attention grabbing “changes to your services”.

The first paragraph of the email says “we are always looking for ways to give your more”.

What a load of nonsense when they are increasing prices at a time when the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation is 0.1%. It should have said “we are always looking for ways to charge you more”.

I had to log onto the BT website to get a personalised illustration of the effect of the price increase, which amounted to an increase of 90p a month on the combined cost of fibre broadband and unlimited anytime calls. I’d already paid £169.60 upfront for 12 months line rental though the BT Line Saver scheme, so wouldn’t be affected by the £1 a month increase in line rental.

While paying an additional £4.50 for the remaining five months of the contract from 20 September 2015 isn’t such a big deal, it’s the principle. Telecoms providers should be banned from increasing prices when you are tied into a contract.

It does say at the bottom of the email that if you wish to leave because of these price changes you can give 30 days notice to leave penalty free. However, as the BT Line Saver is non-refundable, I’d be much worse off by leaving BT. The loss would work out at over £70 (£14.52 a month for the five months remaining in the contract).

I was sure that the price of BT’s Line Saver had rocketed over the last couple of years. Sure enough, when I looked at the previous article I wrote on in late January 2014, I’d paid £141 upfront for the 12 months line rental. From 20 September 2015, the price will be £194.28. That is an increase of 37% within 20 months. That’s unacceptable in a such a low inflation environment.

As with most broadband providers you need to have a landline in order to get broadband, the combined price of the landline and the broadband should be quoted. This would enable easier price comparison between providers.

Most ads from providers have the initial reduced price of the broadband in enormous letters, with the standard rate charged for broadband after the promotion ends, and the price for line rental, in tiny letters.

The telecoms regulator Ofcom needs to take a firmer stance with providers by banning price increases during a contract and forcing providers to clearly display the combined price of the mandatory landline and broadband.