Orange Hikes Pay Monthly Prices, Avoids OFCOM Investigation

Orange will be upping the price of their pay monthly contracts in the new year, with prices increasing by 4.34% from January.  Orange are blaming “20 year high inflation” for the changes to existing contracts,  and although many users have expressed their dissatisfaction with the increase,  Orange will not allow customers to end their contracts early as it’s terms and conditions state that they can carry out inflation linked price rises up to the RPI (Retail Price Index) figure in any  12-month period. 

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“Unfortunately, we’ve had to re-evaluate prices for the first time and are sorry to say there will be a 4.34% increase in monthly plan prices from 8 January 2012.

Out of plan charges, such as calls, texts and data will not be changing.”  Said Orange in a statement.

Are you affected?

Customers who signed up to a pay monthly contract before the 1st October will notice their monthly deal  rise, anyone who has signed up since this date will already be paying the inflation adjusted price and won’t see an increase.

As some of our readers have told us via our  Twitter page @gadgology they aren’t pleased with the rise, using the #saynotoorange hashtag to express anger at the change.  They also speculate that the increase is to fund parent company Everything Everywhere’s investment in 4G infrastructure;  Twitter user f5f5f5 said:   “That must be why #Orange feel the need to increase their prices mid-contract. #saynotoorange” ,  while  another user,  _chalkie_ said: “So thats why my bill is going up almost 5% in January then”,  both responding to our tweet about the 4G investments.

When will my bill increase?

Most affected customers will see their  monthly bill go up from the 8th January, although some will see prices rise in February if they took out their contract between April and September 30th this year, or if their billing date is earlier than the 8th each month.

Ofcom Investigation

Well, basically there’s not going to be one.   Ofcom say that Orange is acting within the rules and as such will not be carrying out an investigation into the changes to the contract pricing.  Ofcom said:

“Ofcom acknowledges many consumers feel unhappy with these changes. However, 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 in breach of current legislation.”

So what can you do about it?

Although Ofcom say they don’t believe that Orange have broken any rules,  that will not prevent anyone who feels the hikes constitute a “material detriment” complaining to the company in order to be released from their contract without a penalty.

Ofcom’s rules state that:

“Providers shall give subscribers adequate notice not shorter than one month of any modifications likely to be of material detriment.  Providers must allow subscribers to withdraw from their contract without penalty upon such notice.”

If you feel you should be allowed to end your contract early without penalty you should complain directly to Orange.  If enough users express their feelings over the matter Orange may see sense, or at the very least not do it again!

The inflation–based price clause in the terms has existed for 10 years without being invoked so why use it now when consumers are feeling the pinch the most?- especially when such a massive investment is being made elsewhere.  Poor show Orange.

Are you an Orange customer?  What are your feelings on the matter?  Let us know in the comments below.

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2 thoughts on “Orange Hikes Pay Monthly Prices, Avoids OFCOM Investigation”

  1. Gadgology says:

    f5f5f5_chalkie_ If you have complained to Orange about the price rises let us know how you got on! Either comment here or tweet us.

  2. Gadgology says:

    We’ve done a little digging into the UTCCR (The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999) and found a section that seems relevant:

    (l)providing for the price of goods to be determined at the time of delivery or allowing a seller of goods or supplier of services to increase their price without in both cases giving the consumer the corresponding right to cancel the contract if the final price is too high in relation to the price agreed when the contract was concluded;

    It seems an unfair price increase as the consumer is not made aware at the time they sign up to a contract that it could be increased. Whether this is correct from a legal standpoint we’re not qualified to say. Orange stand to lose a lot of customers at contract renewal time if they keep this up.

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