Back in December, Three UK had an advertisement banned by the Advertising Standards Authority because it hadn’t explained the possibility of monthly charges rising during a fixed-term mobile phone contract - and now Vodafone’s web site has been hit in the same way.
A tariff promoted as costing “from just £10.50 a month” caused a complaint from a member of the public who pointed out that the monthly price could be increased during the contract.
Vodafone said full details about the price plan were available from a link and were also shown to the customer before they committed to the contract. The company admitted that it could change its ‘line rental’ in line with any increase in the Retail Price Index but felt that information about the agreement was provided in a clear and unambiguous manner.
The ASA acknowledged that full details about the potential for a price rise were shown in the terms and conditions. However, it considered that stating a monthly price would lead customers to understand that the price would remain fixed for the contract term. As this wasn’t the case, the ASA ruled that the ad breached the Committee of Advertising Practice code’s rules on Misleading advertising and Qualification.
Consumer organisation Which? is campaigning for mobile networks to guarantee fixed prices throughout the initial term of ‘pay monthly’ contracts. Last month UK regulator Ofcom responded to these concerns by launching a formal consultation.