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24 Month Contracts - fair or unfair trading? Opinions please

Level 2: Apprentice
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I recently after much haranguing changed my contract. I decided my beloved Blackberry is not the future (nor is it orange, it was black) and so as my previous O2 contract was over I thought it was time to get a new phone.

'Upgrade' or 'Renew'... Whatever terminology you want to use - all I wanted was a new phone but now I had to pick 'Airtimes' and 'Phone' separately on a phoneplan. Come again?..... Seems like a con, certainly a way to fool those bad at math into buying a (so-called) bargain. 

Anyway I bided my time, I-phone 5/5s were just released recently so I'll try for an I-phone 4/4s they are bound to be a bargain. Well, not if you troll through the web site trying to get one. The cost was rather on the high side for a now discontinued I-phone (O2's description not mine) so I decided to call on live web chat for assistance.

Amazing what 2 hrs of persistent haggling on chat can get you. Nothing up front. Phone at the door 19hrs later. The only niggle is this:

WHY DO WE HAVE TO HAVE A 24 MONTH CONTRACT? I would have preferred a12 month one. Like I always used to have. Is this not a strong arm tactic relevant of shark loans? Does anybody else object to 24 month contracts? I'm sure this contravenes some law. I'm looking as I plan on going further with this. Locking people into a forced 24 month contract with no chance of changing terms (we lose jobs, lower income, die) as my daughter has just discovered having lost a third of her hours and a tremendous wage drop. O2 are not interested and she has 17 months to go yet (I was not aware she had re-signed up for a 2 yr contract).


So, bit of a rant..... or am I just the trickle before the deluge of revolt?  Any thoughts/comments would be appreciated. 

Be safe, Be Happy, Izzy xxx

You don't visit a cannibals' house and not expect to be on the menu
Message 1 of 8

Not applicable

The 4s is not discontinued afaik.

The iPhone 5 is.

You could have purchased a phone sim free and stayed on a 30 day rolling contract.

Also sometimes the independents such as cpw can offer better deals.

Having a long contract comes hand in hand with a subsidised or free phone I'm afraid.
Message 2 of 8

Level 94: Supreme
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2 year contracts have been around for a long time - It makes the £600+ phone cost easier to digest and makes your monthly payments £30 ish rather than £70 ish.
No one is forced to take a 2 year phone + contract as there are one month or 12 month sim only deals available.
It all depends on your wants/needs/financial status.
Many of us here just take sim only and buy out own phones which is the cheapest option if you have the money to buy a phone upfront.
I have no affiliation whatsoever with O2 or any subsidiary companies. Comments posted are entirely of my own opinion. This is not Customer Service so we are unable to help with account specific issues.

Currently using:
OnePlus 6 (O2 & Sfr), Z3 Tablet (Three UK), iPhone 8+ (EE)
Message 3 of 8

Level 21: Regular
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O2 refresh provides a degree of compromise allowing customers the freedom to upgrade to a new handset whenever they want as long as they have paid for the old one. It also gives people like myself the freedom to leave if O2 makes any commercially suicidal business decisions

I personally feel that 2 year contracts are too long. Wasn't too long ago that mobile providers could subsidise a handset on a 12 month contract and give you the freedom to choose any tariff you like and switch tariff should you need more/fewer bundled minutes etc

Those were the days!

Message 4 of 8

Level 78: King of Kings
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All the networks offer 24 month contracts. It contravenes no law. No one forces you to take it. If you don't like it you can buy a phone sim free and take a monthly sim only contract or use Pay & Go.

There will be no 'deluge of revolt'.


Message 5 of 8

Level 26: Upbeat
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My previous contract was a 12 month one but there was a much higher upfront cost for the handset. There's always the option of 12 month SIM only (or 30 day rolling if you're not fussed about 4G)  with the handset bought SIM free, which would also have the benefit of not waiting for upgrades to the OS.

iPhone 12 Pro (O2 ), Note 10+(EE), iPad Pro LTE (EE), .

Reviews: iPhone-X-first-impressions ¦ Blackberry Classic ¦ Blackberry Z30 ¦ Nokia Lumia 1020 ¦ Samsung S4 Mini Part 1 ¦ Samsung S4 Mini Pt. 2
Message 6 of 8

Level 2: Apprentice
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I appreciate the good comments - thank you all. I am so glad I kept a copy of my online chat with o2 as I was not offered the option of sim only or other options despite mentioning them (I went and re-read the transcript). I just feel that for most customers who are not 'savvy' with all the ins and outs of sim only/ 30 day rolling contracts - well that they are being preyed upon for ignorance not necessarily of their making as the options are not as highly advertised.

Be safe, Be Happy, Izzy xxx

You don't visit a cannibals' house and not expect to be on the menu
Message 7 of 8

Level 94: Supreme
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I remember the furore on these boards when the iPhone (4 or 4S?) was launched and could only be taken out with a 24 month contract whereas previously 12/18 month contracts were the norm. Plenty of threads at the time if you search.

The networks have all profited from locking people into 24 month contracts and I'm afraid people don't think about the consequences long term, they just want a shiny latest, must have now phone.

I certainly would never lock into one of these contracts as personal circumstances are subject to sudden changes, sometimes beyond our control. The problem now is that we aren't innocent victims in this. If people didn't take out these contracts then maybe the networks would have been forced into rethinking their business strategy.

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Message 8 of 8