Orange contract price hike angers subscribers

Inflationary increase

Orange

Orange has announced a price hike on UK pay monthly contracts, with fees rising by 4.34 per cent. Customers are not impressed.

"Due to recent increases in inflation, we will be increasing the price of our monthly tariff plans by 4.34 per cent from the 8 January 2012," the company told customers this week.

However, "call, text and data rates will not be changing", the operator pledged.

"The increase in the price plan charges is less than the 5.4 per cent rate of inflation as measured by the Retail Price Index (RPI) in October 2011," a company spokesman told Reg Hardware.

"Our pay monthly terms and conditions allow us to increase charges by up to the RPI figure in any 12-month period."

Customers on £15 a month will now pay £15.64, while those on £20 each month are up to £20.86.

There are exceptions, though. Those who took new price plans from September onwards will not experience a change because the plan had already taken into account inflationary rises, Orange said.

Pay-As-You-Go, Orange Home, SIM-only customers, Mobile Broadband and Business customers will not face the increase, either.

The one hope for affected users is Ofcom. The regulator's rules say any change in contract must not only be made clear to customers in plenty of time, but must also come with a free opt-out option.

Orange insists that this rule does not apply because the increase was catered for within existing contract Ts&Cs.

We eagerly await Ofcom's pronouncement on the matter. ®

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