Out of contract - been paying £50+ per month for 4GB data for years

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Hello

My 79-old father isn't tech savvy.   I've just discovered that he signed up to a 2 year 4 GB contract with Vodafone in 2017.  He rarely uses more than 500MB in a month, has never had an upgraded handset and has been out of contract since May 2019.  He is still paying £53 per month!

I'm going to help him get a much better deal going forward but I was wondering whether there's a legitimate claim for recovering some of the wasted money.  I appreciate that he signed up and may well have missed some text messages but I know that he's never had a letter or email from them about it and they've never looked at the situation and proactively called him or tried to help him.  Do you think he has a case and if so how should we go about claiming?

Thank you

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  • kazwookie
    kazwookie Posts: 13,869 Forumite
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    I would ring up the provider, customer services, when you are with your father, and explain what has happened, put the case to them he would like a refund, the worse they can say is no, but at least you will have tried.

    Get all the fact correct before you ring, and don't get cross with them.

    I suggest you get more involved with your father's contracts and see what else he is paying for that he does not need, and equally that he does need but is over paying.

    What spring to mind is council tax, gas, elec, old standing orders, old direct debits, his he a member of any clubs he no longer goes to but is still paying subs.
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  • cymruchris
    cymruchris Posts: 5,322 Forumite
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    To my knowledge I've never known anyone make a successful retrospective claim for something like this. It's something that when a customer signs up to something, they've always got to keep an eye on the market to ensure they're getting the best deal, and remember roughly when their contract comes to an end. Thousands of people do it - it would be nice if companies did review contracts after a given time, but they're happy enough raking in the money if someone is prepared to pay it. That price does sound like it might have included a handset as well, as I don't recall 4gb a month being that high that recently for a sim-only contract. It again would be nice that when a phone is 'paid for' from the monthly contract, that the cost would drop to a sim-only deal price automatically - but that's wishful thinking. Get him changed - save the money going forwards - if the handset he's using is ok - go sim-only - and then it shouldn't be too shocking if he goes beyond contract date (Some sim-only's are 1 month rolling contracts anyway)
    An ex-bankrupt on a journey of recovery. Feel free to send me a DM reference credit building credit cards from the usual suspects :) Happy to help others going through what I've been through!
  • Thanks for your advice.  I'm helping switch to sim-only so going forward he's good.  In a fairer world, once the handset has been paid off and you're out of contract, the monthly payment would fall - e.g. 5x for 24 months and then x going forward.  Not sure why this isn't an ofcom requirement.
  • Neil_Jones
    Neil_Jones Posts: 8,951 Forumite
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    Thanks for your advice.  I'm helping switch to sim-only so going forward he's good.  In a fairer world, once the handset has been paid off and you're out of contract, the monthly payment would fall - e.g. 5x for 24 months and then x going forward.  Not sure why this isn't an ofcom requirement.

    Well the world isn't fair, and mobile companies are businesses, not charities, and all regulator requirements do is move the goalposts, you'll still be paying the same money, just not necessarily in the same order as before.

    Therefore you need to make the system work for you, not just point out that you (as in the royal you) don't work for the system.
  • ALIBOBSY
    ALIBOBSY Posts: 4,527 Forumite
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    It might be worth asking, explain calmly your Dads age and his issues, they may feel he is vulnerable and offer a good will gesture of some of the money back say the last few months. But I think its unlikely they would refund the lot sadly.
    "Overthinking every little thing
    Acknowledge the bell you cant unring"

  • simax
    simax Posts: 1,959 Forumite
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    There was a new OFCOM ruling that took effect a few years back that compelled networks to inform customers that they were coming to the end of their contracts and advise what options were available…. However it wasn’t retrospective to contracts taken out before that time so your dads contract wasn’t within scope of the new rules unfortunately.
    I spent 25 years in the mobile industry, from 1994 to 2019. Worked for indies as well as the big networks, in their stores also in contact centres. I also hold a degree in telecoms engineering so I like to think I know what I’m talking about 😂
  • getmore4less
    getmore4less Posts: 46,882 Forumite
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    Hello

    My 79-old father isn't tech savvy.   I've just discovered that he signed up to a 2 year 4 GB contract with Vodafone in 2017.  He rarely uses more than 500MB in a month, has never had an upgraded handset and has been out of contract since May 2019.  He is still paying £53 per month!

    I'm going to help him get a much better deal going forward but I was wondering whether there's a legitimate claim for recovering some of the wasted money.  I appreciate that he signed up and may well have missed some text messages but I know that he's never had a letter or email from them about it and they've never looked at the situation and proactively called him or tried to help him.  Do you think he has a case and if so how should we go about claiming?

    Thank you
    sound like the RWG £15 one off option might be a fit.

    100mins 100text 750MB included  for no cost every month  then 5pmin 5p text 1pMB
  • JohnReese
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    Thanks for your advice.  I'm helping switch to sim-only so going forward he's good.  In a fairer world, once the handset has been paid off and you're out of contract, the monthly payment would fall - e.g. 5x for 24 months and then x going forward.  Not sure why this isn't an ofcom requirement.
    I agree. I think this has only recently become a requirement in more recent years. Originally, the monthly payment remained high and as you mention, the Mobile Networks did not inform customers of the end of contract. So an old type of contract still renewing would stay at the high price. 

    No doubt they would hope that a hundred thousand customers simply "carry on" and keep paying the high amount.

    In more recent years, the regulator has stated that for new contracts that the Device plan has to be clearly outlined and is not subject to a CPI increase each year and that new Devices sold have to be unlocked. Thus you have two plans (Device and Airtime) so that when the Device is paid off, that is finished and you're left with just the Airtime bill (which sadly is subject to CPI increases). However, some reseller contracts are still mixed, and on top of that a lot of the Mobile providers still shamelessly increase the price of the Airtime. 

    If you are looking for a Vodafone network based SIM, I would say go with Lebara. They seem to have far better lower prices, fixed prices and short contracts (30 day rolling) whilst still using the exact same Vodafone signal. 

    If you need an actual new device plan, then Tesco Mobile (uses the O2 network) are apparently good. 
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