Virgin Media to hike prices by 13.8% for millions of customers – but you can leave penalty-free
Millions of Virgin Media broadband, TV and home phone customers will see their bills increase this spring by an average of 13.8%. The telecoms provider has also announced that its prices will rise above inflation in future. But affected users can cancel penalty-free this year – here's how to beat the hikes.
Update: 20 September 2023: Virgin Media has confirmed that next year's price increases will be based on January's Retail Prices Index (RPI) figure, as announced in February. The first of these inflation-based price hikes will take place in April 2024.
Most Virgin Media customers were notified of this change earlier this year and given 30 days to cancel their contracts penalty-free. A small number of people are still within this 30-day window, which varies depending on when you joined the firm, so do check if you're unhappy about the move.
Some customers who have a single contract covering both Virgin Media and O2 services, which are now part of the same group, have also been given 30 days to cancel. Virgin Media told us these customers should contact O2 directly if they want to cancel their contract, including their Sim.
Planning to switch? You can compare prices using our Broadband Unbundled tool.
Virgin's not the only provider hiking prices this year – BT, EE, Plusnet, Shell, TalkTalk and Three have all announced April price hikes of up to 14.4% for mobile and broadband customers. Sky Mobile is raising prices for out-of-contract customers by 9%.
Below is a round-up of how Virgin's prices are changing, when the increases take effect and what you can do about them. If you're thinking of switching, use our Broadband Unbundled and Cheap Mobile Finder tools to compare the latest deals and see how much you could save.
Who's affected by the price hikes
The price increase will affect most Virgin Media cable customers in the UK – those with broadband, TV or fixed-line phone packages. This includes those with both bundled packages of more than one product and those with just the one product, such as broadband.
Your price rise will take place on either 1 April or 1 May 2023 – Virgin says it's spreading out the rises across two months to ensure it can "best serve customers during this period". The provider says it'll tell you which date applies to you when it gets in touch about the rise.
However, the following customers WON'T see prices rise:
- Mobile-only customers. If you have a Virgin Mobile plan but NO other Virgin Media services, you won't be affected by this round of price hikes. Instead, your price rise will be confirmed later, as it's based on January's Retail Prices Index (RPI) figure, which is published in February, plus 3.9 percentage points. Virgin Mobile users with a Volt or Oomph bundle – where you buy cable and mobile services together – will see prices rise.
- Those on 'Essential' broadband packages. These are Virgin's social tariffs for people on universal credit.
- Those on 'Talk Protected' phone plans. This is a special phone-only tariff for people over the age of 65 with certain accessibility needs.
- Other vulnerable customers. Virgin says it considers a range of factors here, including where you've told the firm you have additional needs or where it has reason to believe you may be financially vulnerable. If you think you might fall within this category, contact Virgin – it says it may be able to provide additional support or different packages to better suit your needs.
How much prices will rise by depends on which package you have – but the average will be 13.8%
Virgin Media wouldn't confirm the smallest and largest price increases cable customers face, but said the average rise will be 13.8%. It's writing to affected customers from today to confirm their new prices.
For Virgin Mobile-only customers, January's RPI figure, plus 3.9 percentage points, will be used to calculate price rises. The total increase won't be known until that RPI figure is released by the Office for National Statistics in February.
Future price rises will be based on the RPI rate of inflation plus 3.9 percentage points
In addition to the price rises for this year, Virgin has also announced that it's introducing annual inflation-linked price rises, starting in April 2024.
These will be based on the Retail Prices Index figure plus 3.9 percentage points. We asked Virgin why it had chosen to use RPI instead of the more commonly used – and generally lower – Consumer Prices Index (CPI) figure. It told us RPI was a "widely recognised" measure that "customers are familiar with".
Until now, Virgin had been one of the only major broadband firms not to include annual inflation-linked price rises in its contracts. The change means that, in future, Virgin customers will likely lose the right to cancel penalty-free if their prices rise mid-contract.
Virgin Media came out top for haggling with in our recent poll, with a whopping 85% of customers who tried it having some success. And the coming price hikes are a great opportunity to try to bag a better deal – your right to leave penalty-free can be a powerful weapon.
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.
- 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 unhappy about the price hikes you CAN leave penalty-free
If Virgin won't play ball, vote with your feet. The provider has confirmed that ALL customers affected by the price increases can leave their contracts without paying any early termination charge – this includes those with bundled services. You'll need to contact Virgin Media within 30 days of receiving notification of the price increases to do so.
Remember, new customers normally have the pick of the best TV, fibre broadband and line rental deals and there are other providers out there. However, there's no point in leaving in a huff if your current deal is still the cheapest out there and bear in mind that other providers may up prices too. Check rival providers' prices using our Broadband Unbundled tool.