Vodafone hikes prices to 37.5p/min – and lets angry customers flee

Grudgingly hands users keys to Ofcom-mandated escape pod

Vodafone loves the price of 37.5p/minute. So much so that pretty much everything which is outside a standard bundle is going to cost exactly that.

37.5p is what Vodafone already charges for excess minutes over and above a subscriber's package.

The move to introduce that rate for virtually any non-bundle activity sees some prices – including for 070 “follow me” numbers – come down, but in the main it’s a price increase.

Notably, 084 numbers, used by some doctors' surgeries, rise from 19.17p a minute to 37.5p. It’s a good job that doctors’ receptionists never put you on hold.

Full details are available on the Vodafone website, but the interesting line is the one which says “We appreciate this may mean your monthly bills increase by more than the Retail Price Index of 0.9 per cent, so we’re giving you the opportunity to end your agreement with us without charge. To do this, simply write to us within 30 days of the receipt of this communication at Vodafone Customer Care, Vodafone House, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2FN.”

This isn’t Vodafone being kind-hearted – the ability to opt out of your contract if the mobe network shifts the goalposts was mandated by Ofcom from January 2014.

Vodafone says that the move has been made to rationalise pricing. It follows an Ofcom ruling which changed how premium rate numbers are flagged up. Previously, this included what BT landlines charge along with a note that others may charge more. Now a more general warning separates the operator leg and the premium leg of the call – which are known as the Access Charge and the Service Charge – but only gives the price for the service charge.

Whereas prices used to say “calls cost XX from a BT landline; prices from other operators may vary”, they now say “calls cost XX plus an access charge from your operator." You might argue that this makes the cost less obvious because before the change you had some idea of a total cost. Vodafone has different access charges depending on which tariff you are on, so while the new off-tariff rate of 37.5p might make some things simpler, there is still a way to go.

Not all numbers cost 37.5p: one premium-rate number we tried gave a cost of 80p/minute, plus the access charge. ®




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