Vodafone warns customers of hidden catch in mobile cap plans

Vodafone Australia is warning customers to "read the fine print" before signing for capped mobile phone plans.Vodafone said there was an increasing number of "bucket style" capped pricing plans being released recently, which lock customers into contracts.

Vodafone Australia is warning customers to "read the fine print" before signing for capped mobile phone plans.

Vodafone said there was an increasing number of "bucket style" capped pricing plans being released recently, which lock customers into contracts.

"Some customers are still at risk of being lured into lock-in contracts through 'too good to be true' deals, or into capped call plans which contain a series of hidden catches," Vodafone said.

A spokesperson from Vodafone told ZDNet Australia  that majority of the mobile phone cap plans offered by Optus, Telstra and Hutchison either lock the customers into a contract or have hidden catches that might give the customers a "bill shock" at the end of the month.

According to Richard Sherwood, general manager mass markets at Vodafone Australia, "Lock-in contracts mean customers risk missing out on the opportunity in the future to take advantage of further lower prices and better mobile deals. Contracts also restrict the ability for consumers to change their mobile options to suit their lifestyles at different points in time".

"In addition, some new capped mobile plans on the market are destined to give customers bill-shock when they realise at the end of the month that they've been charged extra for basic services such as voicemail, text and picture messaging on top of their capped value," he added.

The Vodafone spokesperson said customers should check whether the mobile phone cap plan requires them to buy a new handset, charges all calls by the second or in 30-second blocks, includes other services such as text and pictures messages in the bundle or if the service provider penalises them for switching to other networks.

Independent research company PhoneChoice said the war for the best mobile price puts consumers in the best position to take advantage of cheaper mobile phone rates.

"Christmas has come early for mobile customers. Other recent PhoneChoice research revealed that some capped mobile plans are now so cheap that for nearly one in five households it is more cost effective to make a complete shift to some capped mobile plans rather than keeping a landline. Australian consumers are the real winners from this mobile price war," Reg Robertson, PhoneChoice spokesperson, said.