Virgin Media to hit millions with up to £54/yr hike – how to beat it
Millions of Virgin Media customers will be hit with price hikes of up to £54 a year in the coming months, the telecoms provider has announced today. But affected households can cancel penalty-free as a result – here's how to beat the hike.
Update 1 March 2021: Virgin Media customers had 30 days from receiving notification about the price hikes, which take force from today, to cancel free of charge. A small proportion of customers are still within this window as they were notified in late January, when Virgin Media says notifications ended, while others may also be if letters and emails were late arriving. But most now need to wait until they're out of contract to cancel penalty-free. Use our Broadband Unbundled tool to compare prices and see our Haggle with Virgin Media guide for tips if you want to stay.
We round up who's affected, how prices are changing, when the increase takes force, and what you can do about it below. Plus if you're thinking of using this an an opportunity to check if you can switch and save, see our How to get Cheap Broadband guide.
Which Virgin Media customers will see price rises?
The price increase affects all UK cable customers – those with broadband, TV and fixed-line phone contracts – who signed up to their current contract with Virgin Media before 29 June 2020 who aren't considered 'vulnerable'. Vulnerable customers, which includes those on Virgin Media's new 'Essential' broadband package for people receiving universal credit, as well as 'Talk Protected' landline customers, are excluded from these prices increases.
Virgin Media wouldn't tell us how many people this impacts, but did confirm it would be "millions".
Customers who signed up to their current deal with Virgin Media or took out one of its new bundles from 29 June 2020 onwards are not affected as they already pay the provider's latest prices. Virgin Media adds that this is its first cable price change in 18 months.
How are prices changing?
Virgin Media wouldn't confirm the smallest and largest increase customers face, but said 99.5% will see bills rise by no more than £4.50 a month, and most will see increases of between £2.50 and £4.50 a month (£30 to £54 a year) depending on the exact bundle they have. The average increase is 4%, or £3.63/month (£43.56/year).
Out of bundle call costs are not rising, and it's worth pointing out that Virgin Media only serves cable customers and not those on copper lines.
When does the increase take force?
For those customers on a fixed-price promotion, ie, who are still within the minimum term of their contract, the price change will take force once their promotional period ends. Those who are not within their minimum term, ie, those who are on a monthly rolling contract, will see their price change from 1 March 2021.
Virgin Media says it's currently writing to its UK cable customers to inform them of the price hikes.
If your bill's going up and you're in contract, you CAN leave penalty-free
Virgin Media has confirmed that if you are affected by the price increase, you can leave your contract without paying any early termination charge. You'll need to contact Virgin Media within 30 days of receiving your notification of the price increase to do so.
But there's no point leaving in a huff if your current deal is still the cheapest out there – so check rival providers' prices using our Broadband Unbundled tool, and remember other providers also increase prices from time to time.
If you want to stick with Virgin, you're in a great position to renegotiate a better deal. Our February 2019 poll found 75% of Virgin customers who tried to haggle got a discount.
Check out our Haggle with Virgin guide for full tips on how to do this, but for starters here are a few...
- 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.
- If they won't slash the price, see if they can include any extras, such as a boosted TV package.
Out of contract? Haggle or switch
If you're out of contract, you're likely to be paying over the odds anyway, so check if you can find a better deal using our Broadband Unbundled tool – you don't need to wait for notification from Virgin Media of the price hikes to do this.
Alternatively, if you want to stick with Virgin Media you're also in a great position to renegotiate a better deal. Check out our Haggle with Virgin guide for full tips on how to do this.
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