Virgin Media increased its monthly prices by up to £54 per year for millions of its customers on 1st March 2021.
It was the first price hike from the cable provider since 2019, after it froze prices in 2020 to help customers through a year that was rocked by the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, many of its cable customers on 18-month contracts would not have seen a price increase for the duration of their subscription.
Unlike other providers, Virgin Media doesn’t include a yearly price rise in its contract terms, which means affected customers were allowed to cancel their subscription with Virgin Media penalty-free at the time. But the provider only allowed a window of 30 days to do so, so that deadline has now passed.
Are you out of contract?
However, that might not be the only price increase you’ll have to beware of. If you’ve been in your current contract for more than 18 months, you’ll likely be paying much more expensive ‘out of contract’ fees.
This is when your fixed-term contract has ended and your provider is able to increase your monthly prices. In some cases your monthly tariff can go up by as much as 40%.
However, at this stage you’re also free to cancel your contract and switch to a new provider at any time. If your contract with Virgin Media has ended, you should have received an end of contract notification in the post or via email detailing your new charges.
If you’re a Virgin Media customer, read below to find out whether you’re affected by the price hike and what you can do as a result.
Which Virgin Media customers are affected?
Annual price increase
Every Virgin Media customer with a cable broadband, TV or home phone connection was affected by March’s annual price increase, except for the following three groups:
- Those who opened their current contract with Virgin Media after 29 June 2020
- Customers who are deemed ‘vulnerable’
- Customers with out of bundle calls services
Customers who joined after 29 June 2020 didn’t see a price increase because they were automatically put on the higher monthly rate. Therefore the price jump was more a case of older customers catching up to the new prices.
Vulnerable customers include people on Universal Credit who use Virgin Media’s bespoke ‘Essential’ package, as well as Talk Protected customers.
And to confirm, the hikes only took place for cable customers, so those using out of bundle call services, which rely on copper wire technology, weren’t affected by the changes.
Virgin Media customers who do not fall into any of the above categories will see the cost of their package rise once per year.
Out of contract price increase
Any Virgin Media customer whose contract comes to an end will be moved onto increased out of contract fees. However, if your contract is ending soon, you will receive a notification from Virgin reminding you of your end date and details of new plans you could switch to for a cheaper price.
Keep in mind that your contract ending also means you can shop and compare elsewhere for a broadband deal that better suits you, if you so wish.
How much is the price increase?
Customers saw between £2.50 and £4.50 per month added to their monthly bills as part of the annual price increase on 1 March 2021. The actual number depends on the package you’re signed up to.
While Virgin didn’t confirm the exact price increase for each of its services, it would have emailed or written to customers to tell them their precise numbers, so make sure to check your email inbox or post to see if you received a communication from them about the increase.
A Virgin Media spokesperson had this to say about the latest annual price increase: “Through continued investment, improvement and innovation we’re committed to providing great value and a top service for our customers.
“Over the last year our customers have used their connectivity more than ever before, with data use increasing at the fastest rate we’ve ever seen. We’re already investing more than £1bn in our network each year and consistently give our customers more megabits for their money, but to help meet this demand we do sometimes need to review our prices.
“Changing prices is never an easy decision, which is why, unlike other providers, this is our first cable price change in 18 months. We are currently writing to cable customers to transparently communicate these changes and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure we deliver for our customers and keep them connected at a time when it has never been more important.”
Out of contract price increases are much higher
Our latest data shows that Virgin Media increases its out of contract monthly prices by more than any other broadband provider.
According to our price guide in April 2021, the Virgin Media M100 Ultrafast package almost doubles in price from £26 per month to £51 per month after the fixed-term contract ends. And the price of its M500 package increased by 87% from £38 per month to £71 per month.
What can consumers do?
Affected Virgin Media customers were initially able to cancel their contract for free and start looking elsewhere for a cheaper deal.
This is in contrast with other providers, such as BT, Plusnet and EE, who have added an annual price increase of 3.9% above the rate of inflation to their terms and conditions. This means that customers can’t cancel their contract after their bills rise without incurring an exit fee.
Virgin Media customers get 30 days from when they receive their notification of the increase to cancel their contract. This means that the deadline to do this for 2021’s increase has now passed.
If you missed the window to cancel, you are left with two options, but neither involve a guarantee that you’ll be able to reduce your current bill:
- Negotiating the terms of your contract with Virgin Media in the hope of receiving an improved deal
- Sticking with your current deal, if it still happens to be the best value offer that you can find
What if I’m out of contract?
The price increase you’re likely to experience if you stay out of contract with Virgin Media is extremely high. So it should reassure you to know that it also means you can re-contract or switch to a new deal any time to avoid the price hike.
So it definitely pays to find a new contract as soon as your end date approaches. Make sure to watch out for your end of contract notification from Virgin Media and compare broadband deals to make sure you’re getting the best service for you and your money.
How to contact Virgin Media
If you’d like to contact Virgin Media — whether that’s to negotiate an improved deal, double check whether you’re affected or just to find out more information — you can get in touch with its customer services team in a number of ways.
- Phone: Speak to Virgin Media’s customer services by calling 0345 454 1111 for free. Opening hours are Mon-Fri 7am-11pm / Sat-Sun 8am-8pm.
- Website: Sign into your Virgin Media account on its website.
- Live chat: Get in touch with a customer representative at Virgin Media through its Live Chat feature.
- Twitter: Make your enquiry via Twitter by tweeting @virginmedia