Hundreds of Utility Warehouse mobile customers will have their unlimited data allowance cut when the perk is scrapped for Gold customers in January.
Utility Warehouse last week sent letters to "a few hundred customers" telling them they'll be on the 'standard ValueMax' tariff from 1 January (see our Mobile Phone Cost Cutting guide for ways to save).
Those affected are 'Gold customers' (meaning they have multiple services with Utility Warehouse) on the firm's ValueMax SIM-only or handset tariff.
The tariff comes with 2GB data, but for Gold customers it previously offered unlimited data. From January, the data allowance for these customers will be capped at 4GB.
One Utility Warehouse customer emailed us to raise their concerns, saying: "Just been told by Utility Warehouse that I won't get unlimited data from 1 January 2015. Letter says it's to bring it in line with its current offering for new customers, treating customers fairly so existing members pay exactly the same standard charges and receive the same benefits as new members.
"This will leave me vastly out of pocket. How can cutting my unlimited data be the same benefit as 4GB?"
Utility Warehouse confirmed it's making the move so both new and old customers pay the same price for the same services. It adds that the amount of minutes and texts users get with their tariffs will remain the same, while the price will also not change.
Utility Warehouse, which sells home phones, broadband, mobiles, gas and electricity, works by giving additional discounts to customers when they take out more products. It also gives customers vouchers for referring friends and cashback at over 1,000 retailers.
Can I leave my contract penalty-free?
Utility Warehouse has confirmed that affected customers can leave penalty-free as a result of the move. Here's what you need to know:
- SIM-only contract using own handset. You can cancel your contract penalty-free. Normally you'd need to give 30 days’ notice to cancel, but Utility Warehouse says it's waived this in this instance.
- Utility Warehouse-owned handset and SIM. If you pay for both the price plan as well as a separate handset tariff from Utility Warehouse, where you are still in contract on the handset you can leave penalty-free by returning the handset. Again you'd normally have to give 30 days' notice to cancel the contract, but this has been waived in this instance.
'We cannot justify continuing to offer unlimited data'
A Utility Warehouse spokesperson says: "We do not believe it is fair for customers who join at different times to pay different prices for our services, or receive different benefits.
"Unlike other suppliers, we do not keep existing customers on expensive legacy tariffs when we introduce new tariffs, and cannot justify continuing to offer unlimited data to a small group of legacy customers when this is not available to new customers."