Three Mobile doubles prices overnight; still claim that O2-Three merger is good for consumers

100,000’s of Three customers just got a letter telling them that their mobile service will stay the same but cost double the price. Three wrote a letter explaining this all, saying that they “plan to transfer you onto one of our new plans which most closely aligns with your current plan allowances.” Which, by the way, happens to cost twice what you’re currently paying.

Three users have risen to Twitter to complain:

This is not a new phenomenon

This is completely legal. Operators use this sort of sneaky method to charge users more ALL the time, it just usually isn’t this drastic or noticeable. In fact, operators are legally allowed to hike their prices up to 5% each year without telling their users. So you could be paying more and not even know it. O2 has done it, Vodafone has done it, EE has done it. Even GiffGaff, the darling MVNO of consumer protection and community, has done it. And these links are just the first results of examples that came up on Google. It happens almost every year for almost every operator.

On top of these price hikes, operators adjust your bills automatically according to inflation. It’s “clearly” stated in complex legal mumbo-jumbo on their websites (see O2’s description of price increases here).

Ultimately, these operators all know that no consumer wants to deal with any of this. You don’t want to try and figure it if and how it affects you. You don’t feel like reading through the legal documents to figure it out. And anyone who’s ever called a provider definitely doesn’t feel like calling them to haggle or finding a new contract.

So most of us just wind up paying more. We get annoyed about it, but we shove it all into the closet of ‘things to ignore’ in our brain and avoid thinking about. And this is what the operators rely on.

The O2-Three merger is already proving dangerous

Three and O2 are merging and while we all know this means price increases, they have been insisting that “nothing is changing” and that consumers will enjoy from the “strength in numbers”. They even created a video explaining how it helped Irish customers, which I can’t imagine even they believed when they wrote the script. You can see the propaganda video at the link below:

Basically, with this new price raise, they are proving that this is all talk and that the merge will raise prices. In fact, even before the merger, they’re already raising them. Imagine what they’ll be able to do when there is even less competition for consumers to choose from.

So if you’re an affected Three user, what you can do?

You don’t have to accept this price hike.

You can switch to a new Three tariff or leave Three for a new provider, penalty-free. But you must contact Three to let them know you want to leave within 30 days (otherwise you’ll be automatically moved to a rolling 30-day contract).

When BetterBill is ready (soon!!), we’ll take care of this for you with just a few clicks. But until then, you’ll have to call them at 0333 300 3333 and take care of it yourself. You can also complain to Ofcom.

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