EE out-of-bundle price rises - consumer advice
Customers who’ve found themselves with materially higher bills following EE’s recent out-of-bundle price increases will be given extra time to decide whether they want to leave the contract without being penalised, following intervention by Ofcom.
In June 2018,EE increased its out-of-bundle prices for some services, including standard UK calls, international calls and international text messages. EE also increased the price of the access charge for calling numbers starting with 08/09/118 and for sending picture messages.
These price increases particularly affect customers that often exceed their plan’s monthly allowance and/or those who regularly use the affected services.
During May 2018, EE identified a group of customers who would be particularly disadvantaged by the price rises and contacted them by letter or email about the changes.
However, in Ofcom’s view, this correspondence was not clear enough about the impact of these price increases and the rights of customers who were affected. Therefore, customers may have been uncertain about whether they were able to exit their contracts without being penalised.
Following complaints from EE customers, Ofcom raised concerns with EE about the lack of clarity in its communications to customers.
In response to our concerns, EE has agreed to:
- on 16 August 2018, send another email or letter to each of the customers it has identified as likely to be particularly disadvantaged by these price increases, that clearly informs them of their rights and gives them 30 days, from the date of the new email or letter, to exit their contract without penalty if they choose to do so; and
- refund any of these customers who choose to exit their contracts, the difference between the old price and the new increased price, for charges incurred as a result of using any of the services affected by the price rise since June 2018.
Customers who are concerned that they have not received an email or letter but have been materially affected by the price increases should contact EE.
Ofcom rules on contract modifications
Ofcom had concerns that EE had not fully complied with our rules that require providers to give customers 30 days’ notice of any contract changes that are likely to be of ‘material detriment’ and allow them to exit their contract without being penalised.
We have also provided guidance about this rule (PDF, 55.3 KB), which says that providers should ensure customers’ exit rights are made clear to customers.
If consumers have a complaint about contract changes, they should contact their provider in the first instance. For more details, see our guidance on contracts.