Watchdogs question legality of T-Mobile’s data cap

T-Mobile is facing a mounting backlash over its decision to slash download caps on its network.

Watchdogs question legality of T-Mobile's data cap

Consumer groups and Ofcom have questioned the legality of T-Mobile’s decision to reduce download limits and said consumers should have the right to leave their contracts without penalty if they are affected by the new data cap.

T-Mobile this week slashed its download limits for some customers from 3GB per month to just 500MB, sparking protests from consumers who had signed up for contracts with the company.

We will be asking T-Mobile to allow customers to leave their contracts early without penalty

In response, both consumer group Which? and the telecoms regulator have queried whether the drastic change to the contract was legal and suggested customers should cancel their contracts if they aren’t happy with T-Mobile’s changes.

“Communications providers must consider whether changes to conditions in their contracts will be of material detriment to their customers,” said Ofcom in a statement.

“If consumers are being notified of a change which is likely to cause them material detriment, the communications providers must provide them with one month’s notice of the change and inform them that they are entitled to terminate their contract without penalty if the change is not acceptable to them.”

“We encourage unhappy consumers to speak with their provider about concerns that they may have.”

Ofcom said it would only investigate the contract changes if it received enough complaints from members of the public.

Which? Mobile also said consumers should be able to leave the service without having to pay a penalty for early contract cancellation.

“Which? Mobile has consulted its legal team and believes that T-Mobile may be in breach of its customers’ contracts,” the organisation said in a blog post on its website.

“Comments from T-Mobile customers on the Which? Mobile blog, and emails we’ve received, also suggest that T-Mobile is refusing to allow customers to end their contracts early, even when they have evidence that the changes will significantly impact the way they are allowed to use the internet.

“We will be asking T-Mobile to allow such customers, and any customers who only recently signed up to their contract and may not have had a chance to build up necessary evidence of their usage, to leave their contracts early without penalty.”

We are awaiting a response from T-Mobile, which said it was preparing a clarification of the situation.

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