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Virgin Mobile customers furious over pay-as-you-go shake-up

Thousands of pay-as-you-go Virgin Mobile customers face paying £6 a day for sending a single text, making a single short call and using any data, when they're moved to a new tariff. If you're affected, switch and save now.

From Monday 18 November, some pay-as-you-go customers will see the following amounts deducted from their credit balances:

  • £2 for the first 200 minutes of calls each day.
  • £2 for the first 200 texts every day.
  • £2 for the first 200MB of data used each day.

Phone calls are then charged at 1p a minute, texts at 1p each, while data will cost £2 for each 200MB used throughout the day. As any usage below 200 minutes, texts and data is charged at flat rate of £2, costs can rapidly soar, particularly for lower users.

Virgin Mobile is refusing to say which pay-as-you-go customers are being moved onto this hugely expensive plan, but anyone affected will be sent an email.

If you're affected, it's likely you'll be massively overpaying once the price changes hit – check our Best Pay-as-you-go Sim Deals and Sim only deals to find your best deal.

I'm on pay-as-you-go with Virgin Mobile – what's changing?

According to an email we've seen from Virgin Mobile, and an update buried in the Security section of its website, it's the calls and texts that are changing. Virgin Mobile already charges £2 per 200MB you use on pay-as-you-go.

Here's the email people have been receiving:

Of course, if you are planning on making one 200-minute phone call a month, or sending 200 texts on one day of the month, or using 200MB of data on one day in the month, it could work out well at £2, but most will be vastly overpaying.

'People depend on low cost pay-as-you-go'

Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go customers have been emailing and taking to social media to vent their anger:

Hit by the hike? Switch now to save

The best thing you can do if you've been sent this email is to switch firm or grab one of Virgin Mobile's monthly JAM packages. If you receive an email and do nothing, you'll automatically be moved to the new tariff.

  • If you want to stay with Virgin Mobile, the provider's JAM packs start at £5, giving 250 minutes, 250 texts and 250MB. They refresh automatically every 30 days provided you have enough top-up credit in your account.

  • If you want to switch, you can keep your number. All you need to do is get your 'PAC' code, which you give to the new provider. It will then arrange for the switch to complete in just one working day. To get the PAC code, simply text 'PAC' to 65075 and Virgin Mobile should respond with your code within a minute.

    If you're looking for a 'true' pay-as-you-go alternative, both O2 and Three offer the same rates. They simply charge 3p/min for calls, 2p a text and 1p/MB of data – so if you're an infrequent user on a daily basis, this should work out much cheaper.

For the cheapest options, see our Best Pay-as-you-go Sim Deals. Or if you're willing to move over to a monthly contract, check Best Sim only Deals for the top plans – though be aware you'll likely be credit checked with this type of contract.

Can I claim any credit back if I switch?

Yes, if you don't want to be moved to the new tariff and decide to switch, you can call Virgin Mobile on 789 for a refund within 90 days of being moved onto the 'Daily Plan'.

'Many will see this as an outrageous penalty for infrequent use of their phone' energy and utilities editor Gary Caffell said: "This will come as a huge shock to those who don't use their phones that much and rely on pay-as-you-go plans to avoid pricey contracts and to manage their budget. It could leave some paying a staggering £180 a month just for sending one text a day, making one quick call, and sending one email via their mobile. Many will see this as an outrageous penalty for infrequent use of their phone.

"If you're affected, act now. You can either buy one of its bundles of texts, minutes and data to keep the costs down, or simply move to a cheaper provider. New rules make switching and keeping your number even easier – you can now leave your current network just by sending a text message, so don't overpay when you don't need to."

What does Virgin Mobile say?

A Virgin Mobile spokesperson said: "We're making adjustments to some of our pay-as-you-go tariffs. Customers impacted by any changes will be notified of alterations to their mobile plan in a clear and timely way."

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