September 02, 2008
Cell Phone Dispute in England
According to The Independent, Vodaphone, England's second largest provider of cell phone services, has announced plans to increase its charges for telephone services by as much as 40% per call. But no need for the Brits to keep a stiff upper lip in this case. Vodaphone's contract with its customers provides an out: "You may end this agreement immediately by writing to us ... if we increase call or other usage charges which have the effect of increasing your call or other usage charges by more than 10 per cent."
'At's a lo' o' bangers 'n' mash for rabbitin' on the dog 'n' bone! Or with words to that effect, some Vodaphone customers seeking to rely on this contractual out are being told that there is a charge of £500 or more to escape from their agreements with the service provider. Consumer advocates are up in arms, accusing Vodaphone of blatant dishonesty, unacceptable behavior, and breach of contract. Vodaphone claims that it will honor its contract and release customers whose bills increase by more than 10 percent. But that sounds like Vodaphone is attempting to escape the plain meaning of the out provision, which seems to afford protections whenever usage charges increase by 10% without the need to show that the total bill has increased by that amount.
I wonder why there is the sudden need to jack up the prices. I know England is not exactly on the cutting edge of new technology, but do their cell phones run on gasoline?
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Europe has fair-competition laws that are designed to allow consumers choice, and Vodaphone might be able to make that work for them. And in any case, we'll be seeing unlocked iPhones in France in two weeks because of a French law requiring carriers to offer unlocked as well as locked phones.
Posted by: Kelly | Sep 9, 2008 11:10:11 PM