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Phone company raising their rates for a small business - can we use the "Unfair terms Directive"?

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Phone company raising their rates for a small business - can we use the "Unfair terms Directive"?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Phones & TV
2 replies 506 views
rainiorainio Forumite
44 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Phones & TV
Hello,
Sorry about the length of this post.

Our small business hired a phone company in 2016. The contract states the duration is for 7 years, with the first years maintenance contract free.

The last two years they have increased the bill by 10%.

I have asked where it says in the contract that they can raise it by 10% each year - they were very slippery and didn't try to answer but eventually said clause 4 of the terms and conditions.

**"4. VARIATION OF MAINTENANCE CHARGE
The Company may vary the maintenance charge payable here under by written notice to the Customer provided that no such variation shall take effect earlier than one year after the commencement of the term of this Contract or less than one year after a preceding variation."".**

I told them they have not given us written notice. They have said that the invoice that they give is their written notice.

I disputed this and said the invoice did not state that the rate had increased. I told them that it seems that the onus is on the customer to realize that there is an increase - by reading the T&Cs at each invoice and comparing one years bill to the last.

Also, my reading of Clause 4 seems to be that they can occasionally increase the yearly maintenance rate with written notice, though this will be infrequent (though unfortunately it doesn't state that they have to give a reasonable reason and amount).

What they are doing is raising the rate by 10% each year with no written notice, and have decided that the rate will increase by 10% each year. Rather than including this prospective rate increase clearly in the contract they are using a clause to sneak it in.

A friend who works overseas selling phone systems looked into this and mentioned that

**"This is typically an “Abusive Clause” or “Unfair Terms” when small prints refer the right to change the spirit of the contract."**

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unfair_Terms_in_Consumer_Contracts_Directive_1993

Could someone give us a direction that we could fight this?

Thanks a lot.

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