Ofcom ensures free exit strategy if mobile networks hike prices mid-contract

Ofcom ensures free exit strategy if networks hike prices mid-contract
Users will be able to break ties with networks who raise their bill

Ofcom has today ruled that mobile and internet users, who are subject to mid-contract prices rises, should be able to cancel their agreement, without having to pay early termination fees.

Under new plans, networks and ISPs hoping to up fixed contract fees will have to give customers 30 days notice, during which time they'll be able to walk away from their contract early.

Until now, users have been to swallow incremental price rises if they're in the middle of those long 18-24 month contracts.

The new rules will come into effect on January 23 2014. After that customers entering into mobile, landline or broadband contracts will have an easy get-out clause.

New deal

"Ofcom is today making clear that consumers entering into fixed-term telecoms contracts must get a fairer deal," said Ofcom's consumer group director of Claudio Pollack. "We think the sector rules were operating unfairly in the provider's favour, with consumers having little choice but to accept price increases or pay to exit their contract.

"We are making it clear that any increase to the monthly subscription price should trigger a consumer's right to leave their contract – without penalty."

The announcement comes following a long campaign, spearheaded by the Which consumer rights website, which claimed an overwhelming victory for the campaign's 59,000 supporters.

"Thanks to you," the site wrote on Tuesday, "millions of mobile phone, broadband and landline customers will benefit from new rights. Now if mobile providers want to hike prices on fixed contracts, you can show them what you think by cancelling without having to pay a penny."

Which also has a handy guide to how you get out of your contract if the prices do go up: you can check it out here.

Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and TechRadar.com. He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.