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Virgin Media to be investigated after customers report difficulties cancelling contracts – here's what's happening

Virgin Media is being investigated by telecoms regulator Ofcom, after the watchdog received a worrying number of complaints from broadband, home phone and TV customers who said the firm had made it too difficult to cancel their contracts.

Complaints from customers included struggling to get through to an agent on the phone, calls being dropped mid-way through, and being put on hold for long periods, according to Ofcom. Many others also reported their initial request not being actioned, meaning they had to ask to cancel multiple times.

This latest woe comes after Virgin Media suffered a widespread email outage last month, leaving users unable to send or receive emails.

If you're looking to switch providers, use our Broadband Unbundled tool to compare the latest deals. 

Virgin Media could be fined and ordered to pay customers compensation as a result of the issues

Ofcom's investigation will look into whether Virgin Media has breached the regulator's contract termination rules. If it has, the firm could be fined and made to change its procedures – as well as being ordered to pay customers compensation. However, this is far from guaranteed, as the investigation is still at a very early stage.

The regulator will also review Virgin Media's complaints handling process, and whether customers were "appropriately informed" of their right to escalate their complaint to an independent ombudsman.

A spokesperson for Ofcom said: "Customers need to be able to make the right decision for them, which includes switching away from their provider without experiencing difficulties in cancelling."

How to cancel your Virgin Media contract

Virgin Media lists the following options for cancelling your contract:

  • Phone: Call 150 from your Virgin Media home phone or 0345 454 1111 from any other phone.
  • Online chat: You should see the option to start a chat on Virgin Media's website.
  • Post: You can send a letter to Virgin Media, Sunderland, SR43 4AA. Make sure to include your name, address and account number so Virgin Media can identify your account.

Struggling to cancel or had other service issues? You can complain

If you're finding it difficult to cancel, you can raise an official complaint using the same details listed above, or using Virgin Media's online form.

If your problem is still unresolved after eight weeks or you get a deadlock letter, you can escalate your complaint to the free, independent Communications Ombudsman.

Happy with Virgin? It's still worth trying to haggle

Virgin Media came out top for haggling with in our recent poll, with a whopping 85% of customers who tried it having some success. See our Haggle with Virgin guide for full help, but here are a few tips to get you started...

  • Benchmark the best deal elsewhere, so you ask for a realistic discount. Use our Broadband Unbundled tool to compare rival providers' prices.
  • Try to 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.

If you're struggling to pay for your broadband, Virgin Media is one of a number of providers offering a social tariff for those on low incomes. Check if you're eligible for a social tariff, which could significantly reduce your internet bill.

What does Virgin Media say?

A spokesperson for Virgin Media said: "Complaint rates relating to 'difficulties leaving' have halved over the past year, showing the progress we're making, and we will keep working with Ofcom throughout its investigation, while making further improvements in how we handle customer complaints to provide a better overall experience."

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