Some time ago I contacted UPC and asked for a price reduction as they were charging me nearly twice the price they were advertising. They refused to do anything for me, so in January 2012 I told them I wanted to close my account. I was transferred to the customer retention team who agreed to provide broadband and digital TV for 44 per month incl VAT. I agreed and they went through a whole rigmarole to ensure I understood that this was a fixed contract for a defined period (12 months) and that I could not change it once I had agreed to it.
As soon as the next bill arrived it was for the original amount, i.e. far more than 44. A battle ensued for a couple of months, and they eventually reduced the bill to 44, which then increased immediately with an increase in VAT.
All well and good till yesterday when I received the following email
Someone said :
Unfortunately, due to factors outside of our control our costs have increased over the past year. As a result we have to make some changes to the price of your UPC services which will come into effect from your next bill in August 2012.
Increase to your bill
Digital Television and Broadband : 2.11 inc. VAT per month
Auto Pay allows you to pay your bill by Direct Debit which is the most convenient way to pay your bill. As you do not currently avail of Auto Pay a payment administration fee of 3.75 per bill will be applied from August.
So the bill will be increasing by nearly 6 per month, which is an increase of 13.3%.
If we agreed a fixed contract for a defined service, for a defined price and for a defined period, how can they come back now and increase the price in the middle of the contract? This is especially galling as they warned me of the penalties I would incur if I downgraded or moved to Sky during the contract period.
Surely I have some consumer rights here?