When you take out a mobile plan, you promise to pay a certain price each month. But sometimes that price goes up mid-contract. What the heck?
The good news is that Ofcom is on your side here. A price increase above the rate of inflation means you're entitled to cancel your contract without incurring a big penalty fee. Here's the lowdown.
Why has my bill gone up?
There are three main ways a monthly mobile bill could go up:
- Due to inflation, in accordance with Retail Price Index (RPI)
- Because of changes in taxation or VAT
- Because of a general shake-up of prices - whether that's because the mobile network has changed its tariffs, altered the services it offers, or just brought costs up to the current industry standard
Either way, your network will give you 30 days' notice before the price changes take hold.
There's also the chance that you've got a higher bill than usual because you went over your allowance and had to take on extra charges. Check that this isn't the case before you do anything drastic.
I'm not happy with the increase. Can I cancel?
If your standard monthly bill has increased by more than the Retail Price Index, and not due to tax changes, then yes, you are entitled to cancel your mobile contract without incurring a penalty fee.
If it's increased in line with inflation or due to tax, however, cancelling will incur a penalty. Likewise, the rule only applies to yourstandard monthly bill- not to price increases on things like add-ons or charges outside of your bill.
If you're on a 30-day SIM plan, you can cancel at any point and for any reason whatsoever - whether you don't like a change to your plan, have found something cheaper, or just don't like the network's logo.
If you're on a tiered contract, where you sign up to pay one price for the first few months then another for the next few, cancelling will incur a penalty. These kinds of contracts aren't very common for mobile plans, though.
How to cancel your contract
Different operators prefer you to go different routes to cancel a contract, and they have a tendency to make it tricky to find information on what to do. But generally, you can cancel by calling the network's usual customer service number. Some, such as Vodafone, will also let you cancel your contract online.
Call up the customer service number, and tell the representative you want to cancel. Quote the price increase as your reason and ensure you won't get lumbered with a big penalty fee. They'll try and entice you back in with other offers, but if you're sure you want to cancel, stick to your guns.
When your cancellation is confirmed, jot down the date of when your last bill will be - bear in mind that most networks ask for 30 days' notice, so there's probably one more bill in the works. And ask for a PAC (porting authorisation code) if you want to transfer your phone number over to a new contract.
Next up, you'll want a new plan to replace your cancelled one. We know just the place to find one. Compare deals on our mobile site, whether you want a SIM-only or contract deal, or take a look at our best SIM-only deals this month.