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Citizens Advice reacts to Ofcom's announcement on mid-contract price rises

12 December 2023

Responding to Ofcom’s publication on mid-contract price rises, Matthew Upton, Acting Executive Director of Policy and Advocacy at Citizens Advice, said:

“Banning inflation-linked, mid-contract price rises is a much-needed move from Ofcom. Every day our advisers hear from people whose budgets are pushed to the limit. It's so much harder to manage your money with unpredictable mid-contract surges in the mix.

“But these proposals still leave the door open to providers putting ‘prices may vary’ small print in their contracts. While consumers can technically leave penalty free, we know that this is not the reality. Many people - particularly those on lower incomes or with mental health problems or disabilities - find it harder to switch and will end up being hit by these rises. 

“Ofcom must go further to ensure all customers are protected by ensuring fixed means fixed and banning ‘prices may vary’ terms.”

In October, our research into mid-contract price rises found:

  • Thirty six million mobile customers and 20 million broadband customers may see bills rise by a total of more than £1.4 billion in 2024 due to price hikes. This will follow a historically high £2.2 billion that was added to bills in April this year. 

  • Mid-contract payments are cumulatively expected to climb by £770 million, with increases of £660 million for customers who are out of contract in 2024 — £1.43 billion in total

Notes to editors

  1. Citizens Advice is made up of the national charity Citizens Advice; the network of independent local Citizens Advice charities across England and Wales; the Citizens Advice consumer service; and the Witness Service.
  2. Our network of charities offers impartial advice online, over the phone, and in person, for free.
  3. Citizens Advice helped 2.55 million people face to face, over the phone, by email and webchat in 2021-22. And we had 40.6 million visits to our website. For full service statistics see our monthly publication Advice trends.
  4. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 18,500 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.
  5. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 or 0808 223 1144 for Welsh language speakers.