Virgin Media has announced a price hike of up to £54 per year for millions of its customers in 2021.
This is 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 pandemic. As a result, many of its cable customers on 18-month contracts may not have seen a price increase for the duration of their subscription.
Due to take effect from 1 March, the rate of increase is well above the current consumer price inflation (CPI) rate, which means affected customers will be allowed to cancel their subscription with Virgin Media penalty-free, should they wish to do so in response to the news.
The CPI rate is the total percentage of which the price of goods and services rise or fall in the UK, so if prices rise above that standard rate, it’s not considered in-line with inflation and telecoms customers can therefore leave without penalty.
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?
Every Virgin Media customer with a cable broadband, TV or home phone connection will be affected, except for the following three groups:
- Those who opened their current contract with Virgin Media after 29 June 2020
- Customers who are deemed ‘vulnerable’
- Out of bundle calls services
The reason subscribers who joined after 29 June 2020 will not see the increase is because they are already paying the latest prices for their Virgin Media package, so it’s more a case of older customers catching up to the same prices as them.
‘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 are only taking place for cable customers, so those using out of bundle call services, which rely on copper wire technology, will not be affected by the changes.
Virgin Media customers who do not fall into either of these categories will see the cost of their package rise.
How much is the price increase?
Customers will see between £2.50 and £4.50 per month added to their monthly bills from 1 March 2021, depending on the package they’re signed up to.
While Virgin didn’t confirm the exact price increase for each of its services, it said it will be emailing or writing to customers to tell them their precise numbers, so make sure to check your email inbox or post to see if you’ve received a communication from them.
Explaining why the price hike had to take place now, a Virgin Media spokesperson said: “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.”
What can consumers do?
Since this price hike averages at 4%, affected Virgin Media customers can cancel their contract for free and start looking elsewhere for a cheaper deal, given that it is 13 times higher than the consumer price inflation (CPI) rate.
This is unlike other providers such as BT, Plusnet and EE, who have added an annual price increase of 3.9% above the CPI rate to their terms and conditions before customers sign up, which means those customers can’t cancel their contract for free after their bills rise.
If you’re a Virgin Media customer and would like to cancel your contract in response to the price hike, you have 30 days from when you first received your notification of the increase to do so. Your other options would be:
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
Try the Uswitch Broadband Network Checker to see the broadband speeds and packages you can get at your home, not just your local area.
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 here.
- 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