Facua Consumidores en Acción has denounced Movistar and Vodafone for carrying out a rise in the prices of your rates without justifying it in “valid reasons”, as established by law. The complaints have been filed with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and the consumer protection authorities of the 17 autonomous communities.
Since last January 12, Movistar began to apply an increase in the rates of Movistar Fusion de two to three euros for fiber television packages and seven to eight for those that include satellite television. Vodafone, for its part, has increased the price of its Mini, Extra, Unlimited, Initial Unlimited and Extra Unlimited rates by three euros for packages combined with fiber and by 1.50 for each additional mobile line.
The association indicates that the increase in the rates of these two companies without justifying it in “valid reasons” implies a violation of article 5 of Royal Decree 899/2009, of May 22, which approves the letter of rights of the user of electronic communications services. Said regulation establishes the right of users to receive the service under the conditions agreed with the operator. Furthermore, Article 9 regulates that “electronic communications service contracts may only be modified for valid reasons expressly provided for in the contract.”
In this sense, Facua considers that the reasons put forward by the two companies cannot be considered “valid” nor do they make it possible to make a unilateral modification in their conditions. The association criticizes that Vodafone has only reported that the price hike takes place in response to its desire to offer “higher profits”, which translate into unlimited data for your mobile lines that has not even been requested by users.
Movistar, according to Facua’s version, has limited itself to indicating to its customers that the increase in rates is due to an alleged “increase in costs dedicated to sizing the network”, to “provide it with better coverage” that allows “to have excellent connectivity in the telecommunications sector, where Movistar plays an essential role ”. However, it has not proven what those alleged costs are or in what way they affect the services provided to users affected by the rise.
Furthermore, Facua denounces that the particular conditions of Movistar Fusión establish a clause that states that the company “may modify the conditions established in the contract and in particular the price thereof” due to “increased costs in the business sector in which Movistar is present and which result in coverage, the quality of the network or the characteristics of the service provided”, among others.
However, FACUA considers that it is the responsibility of the company to maintain the necessary infrastructure to ensure the service under the quality conditions agreed in the contract. Therefore, the increase in costs that the company must assume to fulfill its obligations or the increase in the investments it makes to offer services with greater benefits to new clients cannot be considered as “valid reasons” for the modification of the rates. for the expansion of its infrastructure or for the improvement of its position in the market.
The association understands that the increases imposed by the telecommunications companies meet the requirements to be considered “abusive clauses” according to article 82 of Royal Legislative Decree 1/2007, of November 16, which approves the revised text of the Law General for the Defense of Consumers and Users and other complementary laws, which defines as such those that “Bind the contract to the will of the employer” and “determine the lack of reciprocity in the contract”. In addition, article 85.3 indicates that those that “reserve in favor of the employer the powers of interpretation or unilateral modification of the contract” are abusive.
On the other hand, article 1,256 of the Civil Code indicates that “the validity and fulfillment of contracts cannot be left to the discretion of one of the contracting parties”, while article 1,258 states that “contracts are concluded by mere consent, and since then they oblige, not only the fulfillment of the expressly agreed, but also all the consequences that, according to their nature, are in accordance with good faith, use and the law “»
The association, therefore, has denounced both companies before the 17 autonomous communities and before the General Directorate of Consumption of the Ministry of Consumption. All autonomous consumer administrations have powers to impose financial sanctions on companies for reported irregularities.