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Shops 'mislead punters' over phone contract prices

Survey shows sellers think costs can't change

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Many phone shop staff deceive customers over the potential for price rises during the length of contracts, it has been alleged.

A whopping 82 per cent of sales staff in mobile outlets gave incorrect information about potential price rises when attempting to close a phone-contract sale, consumer information company Which? claimed today after sending out folk posing as ordinary customers.

The organisation sent researchers into 39 O2, Orange, Three, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Phones4U and Carphone Warehouse shops in the Midlands, North West, South, North East, South East during July.

When asked, shop workers generally insist that the cost of a co-called fixed-price phone contract will remain the same over the entire length of an agreement.

This is not the case. Network operators' Ts&Cs allow them to alter pricing if they need to, and almost all of them have done so in recent months.

We agree with Which? - this practice should be outlawed. If you agree to pay x pounds a month for the next two years, you should pay no more than x pounds for that term. Either that, or the imposition of new pricing should come with the opportunity for the subscriber to exit the contract early without penalty.

Which? last month claimed the UK's mobile networks "unfairly make up to £90m a year" thanks to contract Ts&Cs which allow them to raise the price of fixed-rate tariffs. ®

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