Virgin Media to hit customers with 4.5% price hike
Virgin Media has announced it is hiking prices for five million broadband, phone and TV customers by an average 4.5% – but you can leave penalty-free. Here's how to beat the hikes.
The telecoms giant will write to customers between now and the end of September outlining the changes, and has confirmed all customers can leave penalty-free by providing notice within 30 days of receiving the notification.
The changes include price hikes of up to £48/year for those with broadband, phone and TV packages, or a rise of up to £36/year for broadband-only customers.
Bills will go up in either October or November and will be confirmed in your notification letter or email.
This news comes after a disagreement between Virgin Media and UKTV meant customers lost 10 channels, including Dave and Gold, for roughly three weeks in late July and early August, though Virgin stresses this is unrelated to the price hikes.
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How will prices rise?
Here's a list of the main price increases:
- Broadband only – up to £3/mth
- Broadband and line rental – up to £3/mth
- The Player bundle (b'band, phone + TV package) – by £3/mth
- The Mix and Fun bundles (b'band, phone + TV package) – by £3.50/mth
- The Full House bundle (b'band, phone + TV package) – by £4/mth
Only those who signed up to Virgin Media after 1 August 2018 won't see their prices increase.
How to beat the hikes
Depending on whether you want to stay with Virgin Media, here are your options:
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 or email between now and the end of September – you've then got 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.
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: "Increasing prices is not a decision which we take lightly. We work hard to keep our prices competitive while continuing to invest in our network and improve the services we offer our customers."
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