Plans becoming out-dated
Summary of the issue
It is common for Scheme Members to vary or cancel plans during the course of a contractual relationship with a Customer. Often these changes provide benefits to the Customer, but at times the Customer may be dissatisfied with the change and consider it to be a breach of the contract.
Usual positions of the parties
The Customer may consider it unreasonable that the Scheme Member changed the plan they were on, which was meeting their needs. The Customer may seek to have the plan returned, the contract cancelled, or compensation paid.
The Scheme Member would normally respond that plans do get updated from time-to-time, and that the terms of the contract allow them to do so.
TDR’s view of the issue
TDR recognises that the telecommunications industry is fast moving, which results in frequent additions of new technologies and services, and the discontinuation of old ones. Pricing is also changeable and may relate to the competitive marketplace as well as the new technologies provided.
It is almost universal for Scheme Members to include in the terms and conditions with the Customer (the contract), a clause allowing them to change services and pricing from time to time.
The Customer Complaints Code (which TDR applies) requires that Scheme Members provide a minimum of 10 days’ notice, but ideally at least one month’s notice, of any material changes to price and services provided under the contract.
Accordingly, TDR will generally uphold a Scheme Member’s decision to change a plan or price for a service, providing sufficient notice is given.
However, if TDR considers the change is a significant deviation from what the Customer had originally contracted to receive, then TDR may order the contract be cancelled, and / or that compensation be paid to the Customer.