I was very un-impressed with Vodafone putting up their line rental. I, like many others, had assumed that as it was a fixed rate contract and that the monthly rate we had agreed was what I would actually be paying for the 24 months of the contract.
I popped into the local Vodafone shop and explained why I thought this increase was wrong, but met quite a forcible rebuff along the lines of it's not that much, we're entitled to add the increase and I should have read the terms and conditions where it is clearly laid out.
Where I differ with the thinking ... and the re-buff, is:
1. When I took on the contract, the salesman reiterated the deal before I signed, checking I was clear that it was a 24 month contract at £X per month. There was no mention of £X being a variable. Regardless of whether it is in the small print or not the salesperson should be up front about charging structures.
2. It may only be 2.4% but each member of my family has a Vodafone contract, it adds up. There is also nothing to say that it will not levy a 2.4% (or more) again next year.
3. Vodafone are free to put their prices up at any time and have a great mechanism for doing that. The deals on offer change and people sign up to the new deal.
4. A deal requires a commitment on the customers side, I believe morally that the company should commit to their side of the deal.
(5. The fact that Vodafone (or at least their representative and the decision maker(s) doesn't get why this change is wrong)
When companies damage the trust placed in them by their customers they are taking a huge risk, much bigger than the 2.4% they hope to gain.
Which Magazine have set up a petition for "Fixed Contract" to mean 'fixed!' which I've signed. You'll find it here
Vodafone aren't the only mobile provider do have done this I should point out. I do feel strongly though that if the contract that you are being asked to sign is only binding on your side and not on the companies it becomes an act of great faith/recklessness to sign. With contracts now being 24 month it is not a short lived penalty.
If this is the trend it is worth stepping away from phone related deals, to SIM and airtime contracts with the likes of GiffGaff who I hear good things about.