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When is a fixed price contract not actually a fixed price contract?

Melchett01
On our wavelength

I'm coming to the end of an 18 month fixed price contract, paying £24 for a Volt 250 connection.  It's been fine, no problems, just chugs along in the background.

For the past 6 weeks or so I've been receiving emails asking me to renew for £30 then £29/month for 18 months on a fixed price contract.  It very clearly states this price is fixed for 18 months.  But scroll a little further down and it also says this price will go up by an eye watering RPI + 3.9% in April 24 and then again in April 25 during the 18 month term of the contract.  If those 2 increases are close to 10% each, that would mean a 45% rise in contract price by Apr 25 - not very fixed!

I rang Customer, ahem, "Service" to try to understand what was actually being offerend, and why if I was being offered a fixed price contract would the price go up twice during the 18 months. Seemed reasonable given my current fixed price contract was exactly that.  With the level of service I've come to expect, I was basically first told I didn't have an offer for a fixed price, then subject to a spot of gaslighting as the operator tried to convince me that RPI + 3.9% twice was still a fixed price and then told there was nothing to be done when I pointed out City Fibre are offering 900mb for £29, properly fixed.

I know Customer Service isn't Virgin's strong point, but to be blatantly lied to is the next step.  Looks like I'll be cancelling properly this time round now City Fibre have rolled out FTTP on my street.

12 REPLIES 12

newapollo
Very Insightful Person
Very Insightful Person

Hi @Melchett01 

You shoulld post a redacted (minus any personal information such as name, address, email address, phone and account number) picture of the email which states you are being offered a 'fixed price'.

Most contracts are fixed discounts and not fixed prices.

Dave
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Melchett01
On our wavelength

Hi @newapollo,

Good point - should have thought of that one myself earlier.  My last contract was a fixed price, first one I'd had and was quite surprised when it was offered in conversation with Retentions.  This one was via email, said click here, and took me to a portal where all I had to do was click to accept the new contract terms.  

As suggested, some evidence of my predicament.  Had to take it in 2 screen grabs as couldn't get the whole thing on one, but it clearly shows an offer of a fixed price contract for £29/month fixed for 18 months.  And when you take into account that the 250Mb is only because of Volt, then it's even less competitive charging £29 for 125Mb!

 

image0.pngimage1.png

japitts
Very Insightful Person
Very Insightful Person

The asterisk and subsequent disclaimer seems to cover VM in this case - the inflation-linked price increase applies.

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I'm not so sure. As well as the asterix is a very clear and unambigious statement of a fixed price offer.  It can't be both.

But that asterix and following rider is on every email they send out with contract offers on - you just have to look through these threads to see that on other posts. What isn't on every post is the statement of a fixed price.

And in all my other dealings with VM it has been very clear that the offer at the time isn't a fixed price offer by the very absence of that statement 'Fixed for xx months'.  It's inclusion is beyond the routine offer. Virgin may argue as you have, but I won't change my view either.  It may not be a case of bait and switch, but failure to honour the offer would clearly be case of bad faith.

I was going to go with the asterisk line too but now see your point. What on earth is the "fixed for 18 months" line doing there if it ain't fixed? Have a chat with Citizens Advice. 

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Roger_Gooner
Alessandro Volta

VM has imposed price rises every April at RPI plus 3.9 percentage points. You cannot escape these unless an existing customer and was offered the opportunity to get out at no cost (like I was in February 2023).

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My Broadband Ping - Roger's VM hub 5 broadband connection

I would say the Consumer Rights Act 2015 s 50 (1) (a) applies here with specific reference to the statement "Fixed for 18 months". Citizens Advice can advise. 

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Current contract, which is coming to an end is fixed price i.e. no RPI+ price rise, which I know is unusual, but there we are, it's what I was offered.  And regardless of the RPI+ price rise, the offer is clear - it states in black and white Flixed price for 18 months. I'm not making this up - you can see it for your self in the above post.  Hence my question, when is a fixed price contract not a fixed price contract.  Why offer it if you have no intention of honouring it (which is outlawed practice).

Roger_Gooner
Alessandro Volta

I think you are clutching at straws if you think that you won't get a price rise in April every year at the specified RPI plus 3.9% points. VM makes that quite clear. So, look at your options and figure out what's best for you. Note: everyone is raising their prices but it seems as if Sky is less than others (from what I saw some months ago).

--
Hub 5, TP-Link TL-SG108S 8-port gigabit switch, 360
My Broadband Ping - Roger's VM hub 5 broadband connection