Five million Virgin Media home phone, broadband and TV customers will be hit with price rises of up to 5% from November – but follow our tricks to beat the hike.
The telecoms heavyweight started sending letters to customers today outlining the changes, which include a hike of up to £48/year for those with broadband, phone and TV packages, plus a rise of up to £36/year for broadband customers on 1 November 2017.
It follows a similar price rise in November last year, but as we explain below, it's possible to beat the hike.
How will prices rise?
Virgin Media's changing the price of its packages across the board, with those who have the fastest broadband seeing some of the biggest increases.
If you're on a special deal, Virgin Media says you'll get the same monthly discount but with the increase added on top. So for example if you get £10/month off standard pricing, your bill will go up by the amounts below; if you get 50% off, your bill will only go up by half the increase.
You should notice the changes on your first bill in November (if you pay in advance, this will be your October bill). Here's a list of the main price changes:
Virgin Media price changes
|Package||Current price||Price from 1 Nov||Increase|
|Broadband only||50-100Mb £32.25/mth||£33.24/mth||£1.99/mth|
|Broadband and phone||50-100Mb £40/mth||£41.99/mth||£1.99/mth|
|Player bundle – b'band, phone, 70+ channels||£45-£60/mth||£48.49-£63.49/mth||£3.49/mth|
|Mix bundle – b'band, phone, 150+ channels||£52-£67/mth||£55.99-£70.99/mth||£3.99/mth|
|Fun bundle – b'band, phone and 32 channels||£57-£72/mth||£60.99-£75.99/mth||£3.99/mth|
|Full House – b'band, phone, 230+ channels||£68-£83/mth||£71.99-£86.99/mth||£3.99/mth|
Virgin Media says there'll be a rise of between £1.99 and £3.99 on other bundles.
How to beat the hikes
Here are your options, which depend on whether you want to stay with Virgin Media...
1. Switch provider – you CAN leave your contract penalty-free
If you're affected by the price hikes and still within your contract's minimum term, Virgin Media says you can choose to leave – and walk away without paying an exit fee.
Virgin Media's formally notifying customers by letter – you've then 30 days from receipt to let Virgin know if you want to leave. From that point there's a 30-day notice period, meaning you'll have to pay for this many days as a minimum. If you've paid for a year's line rental upfront you also won't be able to get a refund, unless you signed up within the last 14 days.
You should only leave if you think you can find a better deal elsewhere (or you no longer want Virgin Media). If so, see our Cheap Broadband, and Digital TV guides for top picks.
2. If you're happy to stick with Virgin Media – haggle away
The top deals are usually reserved for new customers, but since you've the right to leave without penalty, this puts you in a good position to haggle yourself a better deal.
See our Haggle with Virgin guide for detailed tips. Here are a few to get you started:
- Benchmark the best deal elsewhere so you ask for a realistic discount.
- Get through to the retentions (sometimes called disconnections) department. They have the most power to slash costs, as their job is to keep you.
- Use charm and be friendly. Aggression or anger will just put their back up.
- Don't panic if they call your bluff and say they'll disconnect you.
- Problems mean discounts, so if you've had issues with Virgin Media in the past – eg, slow broadband – politely tell it when you haggle.
- You may find that your Virgin Media customer service rep will only offer a small discount at first, but if you don't agree with the price use phrases like: "I've worked out my budget, and my absolute max is £[insert price here]/month"; "[TalkTalk/Sky/BT] can do it for less"; "I need to think about it".
- You should never go with the first offer. Chances are, it's not the best deal they can do. Remember, be firm.
- The salesperson may push you to agree because it's a 'limited-time offer' – don't feel pressured into agreeing to the new price or deal unless you're certain.
- If they won't slash the price, see if they can include any extras, such as free calls or a boosted TV package.
- Vote with your feet. If you don't get what you want you should seriously consider leaving.
What does Virgin Media say?
A Virgin Media spokesperson said: "We do everything we can to balance keeping our prices competitive while investing to meet the ever-increasing appetite for broadband and content.
"Online usage increased by more than 35% in the last year and streaming now accounts for nearly 60% of the total traffic on Virgin Media's network.
"We're investing more in our ultrafast network to continue offering the UK's fastest widely available speeds. This all comes on top of must-see TV programming – from Virgin TV exclusives to the only place where you can watch all of the live football action from both Sky and BT Sport in a single package."