When is a contract not a contract?

The answer is when it is with O2. Like millions of others I have a mobile phone ‘contract’ with O2, whereby I agree to pay them a fixed sum of money each month and in return they provide me with a service and a set number of minutes, texts and data each month. The length of this ‘contract’ is 24 months, after which I am free to look elsewhere. What could be simpler you might ask? Well the problem is that O2 in their wisdom have decided to increase the monthly cost of my contract by 70p per month and there is nothing I can do about it unless I want to pay a huge penalty to cancel the contract which still has 18 months to run. I don’t think this is fair and neither do OFCOM who have brought out a new rule that allows subscribers to cancel their contract without penalty if the service provider increases the price. The only bugbear is that O2 have decided that this will only apply to new customers and not existing ones who have been loyal to O2 for many years. You may think that the increase is such a paltry amount that it is not worth worrying about, which is a valid point, however with an average increase of £1 per month, O2’s 8 million customers will be ploughing an extra £96 million into their profits. O2 should do the decent thing and back pedal on this unfair act or they may find that a significant proportion of those 8 million vote with their feet when contracts come to an end.

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