My Mobile Phone Bill Has Gone Up – Can I Cancel My Contract?
Getting a phone bill that’s higher than you’ve agreed to pay in your contract can be a pain, but whether or not this is cause to cancel your contract is a bit of a murky issue, depending on why your bill has gone up and on when your contract was signed.
Why is Your Bill Higher?
There are two reasons that your phone bill might have gone up. The first is that you’re using more services. If your mobile contract gives you, say, a hundred calling minutes and over the last few months you’ve been calling a lot and exceeding this limit then your bill can soar dramatically. This is because any extra minutes you use outside of your contract will be charged at premium prices. If you have been using extra services then you won’t be able to use this as an excuse to cancel your contract penalty free. What you can do, however, is talk to your mobile operator about changing your calling plan to something that will fit your needs better. Most operators will let you do this, and whilst there might be a small fee involved it could be worth paying in order to get a lower monthly bill.
The second reason that your bill might have gone up is because your mobile operator has increased their prices. If this is the case, then you might be able to cancel that contract, though that’s going to depend on a couple of things.
How Much is the Increase?
There’s something in economics called RPI, which stands for Retail Price Index, and this is basically a way to measure standard consumer costs. Currently in the UK RPI is 3.1%. A mobile operator may be allowed to raise their prices to match the current RPI rate, although there are limits on this as we’ll discuss in a moment. If your operator has increased prices to more than the current RPI you can challenge this and potentially get out of your contract penalty fee, though first you’ll need to take a close look at your mobile contract and see whether that contract allows the operator to increase prices to more than RPI. If you feel that you have grounds for cancelling your contract in this way, then you should write to your operator (not call!), and present your case. Don’t forget to keep a copy of all the emails, just in case you need to refer back to them later.
When Was Your Contract Signed?
When you signed your contract is also important information, since laws have recently changed. If you signed your mobile contract on or after January 23rd, 2014, then you can cancel your contract penalty free for any price increase at all, with the exception of you using extra services of course. It doesn’t matter whether that price increase is in line with RPI or not, any kind of price hike on the behalf of your mobile operator is grounds for cancelling your contract. If a mobile operator wants to retain the right to increase prices in keeping with RPI then you must be told this when you are signing a contract. If you haven’t been told, then you’ve got a get out of jail free card.
If your contract was signed before this important date, then you’ll probably find that you don’t have grounds for cancelling your contract. In this case, you’re just going to have to sit tight and wait for your contract to end, or pay some hefty cancellation fees to get out of that contract.