From yesterday, budget ISP TalkTalk has raised the annual cost of its Fibre 35 and Fibre 65 broadband plans by £30, despite advertising a “fixed price guarantee” for customers in contract.
The price hikes, of £2.50 per month, impact customers who signed up to a Fibre 35 or Fibre 65 broadband plan before 1 March 2021.
The latest hikes follow a raft of similar price increases, of up to £36 per year, that took effect for other customers from April. At the time, those who signed or renewed contracts between 10 November 2020 and 1 March 2021 and those on the Fixed Price plus tariff were spared.
Many of those customers are now seeing their bills rise—in violation of the fixed price guarantee TalkTalk sold them, they say. The guarantee was supposed to protect customers from price increases for the duration of their 24-month contracts.
Maria Plumb tweeted at TalkTalk: “When is a guaranteed fixed price contract not a fixed price contract? Answer - when you take out a 24 month contract with @TalkTalkGroup.”
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) confirmed that it is formally investigating a TV and email advert from TalkTalk referencing this fixed price guarantee. However, because the investigation is ongoing it couldn’t comment further.
The watchdog did say that, in principle, ads shouldn’t state prices are fixed for a contractual period if the business plans or imposes price changes within that period.
Regardless of the ASA’s ruling, customers can, under Ofcom rules, leave their TalkTalk contracts without penalty because the price hike exceeds the rate of inflation. You’ll need to inform TalkTalk you’re departing within 30 days of receiving the notification of the price increase.
TalkTalk attributed the bill increases to increased traffic on its network over the last year.
“Over this extraordinary last year, we’ve seen broadband usage soar by 40% and we've had to invest heavily in our network as a result. Unfortunately, this has meant that, alongside other ISPs such as BT, Virgin and Sky, we have had to raise our prices,” a spokesperson said.
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