The price of SIM-only and pay monthly packages will rise for millions of Virgin Mobile customers from July. See how you'll be affected, and what you can do to dodge the latest round of hikes.
Virgin to hike prices from July: how to fight back
Millions of Virgin Mobile customers will see their bills rise by 1.5% from 1 July after being notified of the price hikes in early May.
The telecoms provider has told customers that prices for SIM-only and pay monthly packages will increase by 1.5% (in line with March’s RPI measure of inflation) if they took it out before 5 May 2021.
At the time of writing, one of the cheapest SIM-only deals costs £8 a month. If you took this out before 5 May, the price would rise by 12p a month or around £1.44 a year from July.
If you have a more expensive pay monthly contract costing £30 a month, your monthly bill will increase by 45p a month (or £5.40 a year) from July.
The extra amount you’ll pay from July depends on the price of your plan and when you started your contract.
Explaining the price hike, a spokesperson for Virgin Media said: “We want to offer our customers the best, most innovative mobile services possible, and to continue delivering the flexibility, speeds and products our customers expect from us, we occasionally need to review our pricing."
If you took out your SIM only or pay monthly package on or after 5 May, the price you pay won’t change.
Pas As You Go customers will also be unaffected by the price hikes.
How to fight back
Unfortunately, inflation-linked increases are written into Virgin Mobile’s terms and conditions, so you won’t be able to cancel free of charge unless you’re out of contract.
Usually, you have the right to cancel any services penalty-free, provided you do so within 30 days of your provider telling you about the hikes.
The bad news, as we highlighted in this piece on BT's price hikes, is this cancelling penalty-free only applies to the specific products that are being hiked in price. So, if you have multiple services and not all are rising, you can't just cancel all your policies at once.
While you might not be able to fight this price hike (depending on when you bought your phone contract), there are ways to cut your Virgin bills, which we’ll reveal below.
But before we get into the specifics, we should stress that anyone who has been a Virgin customer for a couple of years or more will likely save far more than any of the tips below if they simply take the time to shop around for new broadband, TV, landline or mobile deals.
As we wrote about here, broadband customers could face hikes of up to £192 a year once their initial cheap deal expires.
It means you need to be switching pretty regularly or risk wasting hundreds of pounds a year.
When shopping around, you have a number of options available to you.
We should stress that these are sites that we have affiliate deals with, so we'd earn a small commission on any deal you applied for.
The most important thing is to compare available deals in your area then choose the cheapest one. And of course, if you can earn cashback on top of that particular deal, all the better!
Cut down your package
One easy way to cut your bill is to trim down your Virgin Media package. You may be paying for things that you don’t actually need, particularly when it comes to the TV side.
For example, you could get a ‘M500 Fibre’ combined TV, broadband and phone package for £57 a month on a 18-month contract, which then rises to £95 a month.
The package boasts over 190 channels, possibly including more obscure shows fewer people may watch.
You could switch to the ‘Big’ bundle for £33.99 a month for 18 months before the price increases to £64 per month – and still get access to over 100 channels while saving lots of money.
Or if you find you don’t watch that much TV, you could get a Freeview box once your contract is up.
It's not just TV though. You may be paying more for faster download speeds that you don't really need, or for an inclusive calls package that you might be able to live without.
To downgrade, ring 150 from your Virgin Media phone or mobile. Alternatively, you can call 0345 454 1111 from any other phone.
If you haven’t had a go at haggling, try it! It can be quite addictive once you get going.
Pick up the phone to get started. Here are the numbers you need:
Virgin Media Cable
Virgin Media phone or mobile: 150
Any other phone: 0345 454 1111
Mobile customers: 789
Mobile customers calling from any other phone: 0345 6000 789
How to haggle with Virgin Media
First of all, those who aren’t confident on the phone should note down what they’re going to say before they make the call.
Make sure you get your timings right and wait until you are nearing the end of your contract before you get in touch.
As for the actual time of day to call, avoid the busiest times: Mondays, lunchtimes, the end and beginning of the month, as well as 5pm-6pm are generally the worst times.
Be charming, but not aggressive or entitled. You don't want to put the person you are speaking to on the defensive.
Threatening to cancel is a key part of the haggling game. The aim is to get passed on to the customer services’ retentions department as they’ll want to hang on to you as a customer.
They may also be able to do more for you deals-wise than the rest of the customer service team.
Try telling them that what you’re currently paying is too high or that you’ve found a cheaper deal with another provider.
Make sure you do your research beforehand so that you can name examples of better deals if you’re asked.
If it doesn’t work, try again a few days later.
It could just be that the person on the other end of the phone reached their discount quota that day, or they simply may have been in a bad mood.
Get more tips at How to haggle and save a fortune.
Hello Adam, disappointing to hear you're thinking of switching providers. We do value all our new and existing customers and aim to give the best deals possible. You can check out our existing customers deals here https://t.co/3wBUefdoNs some exciting offers. ^JS— Virgin Media (@virginmedia) July 3, 2019
Bag some extras
If you can’t get any money off, try getting some extra stuff thrown in free of charge.
Go for paperless billing
You could save £21 a year through paperless billing with Virgin Media.
Just sign into your My Virgin Media account, click on profile at the top of the page, scroll down to the eBilling section and click Switch to eBilling.
Get the best deals as a new customer
Unlike Sky, who won’t accept you as a new customer until you’ve been away for a while, Virgin Media considers you a new customer if you’ve been disconnected for three months.
So, you can leave for a few months, and then come back on one of the best offers!
Refer a friend
It’s a short-term fix, but if you refer a friend, you get up to £50 cash.
Just fill in the form and when your mate signs up, you’ll both get up to £50.
Switch your bank account
Some bank accounts pay cashback on your Direct Debits, including money spent on broadband, TV and phone packages.
So, you can earn a few quid back thanks to your bill every month.
The NatWest Reward Account, Royal Bank of Scotland Reward Account and the Santander 123 Account pay up to 3% cashback on such bills.
*This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently.
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