Martin Lewis has issued important advice to Virgin Media customers on what they can do to keep their bills down ahead of price hikes in the spring.
The MoneySavingExpert founder shared the news as the provider confirmed that bills will increase by 13.8% on average in April, a move which will affect most customers with broadband, TV or fixed-line phone packages with Virgin. Other providers including BT, EE, TalkTalk, Three and Plusnet have announced similar measures, with the cost of mobile and broadband set to shoot up by as much as 14.4% in the coming months.
However, Virgin customers don't have their hands tied when it comes to these changes. Martin wrote on Twitter: "Virgin Media customer? It's announced it is putting up most prices by an average of 14% this spring, but watch out for the letter, as it means you can leave penalty free or haggle."
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Going into further detail on the MSE website, Martin explained that customers will see their bills increase on either April 1 or May 1 this year, with Virgin spreading out the rises across two months to "best serve customers during this period". The provider will get in touch with customers to confirm from which date they can expect their bill to go up.
The amount that your bill will increase depends on what package you have, the MSE website explained, with Virgin not confirming what the biggest increases will be but saying that the average rise would be 13.8%. On top of this, Virgin also announced that it will be introducing annual price rises linked to inflation levels from April 2024.
"Until now, Virgin had been one of the only major broadband firms not to include annual inflation-linked price rises in its contracts," the MSE experts explained. "The change means that, in future, Virgin customers will likely lose the right to cancel penalty-free if their prices rise mid-contract."
However, as things stand, those with Virgin are able to haggle to get their bill down this spring - with Martin recommending this as one of the best courses of action. According to a recent poll from MSE, 85% of customers with the provider had some success when haggling, making Virgin one of the best companies to try it with.
The money experts recommended researching deals elsewhere so you can ask for a realistic discount before you pick up the phone to haggle, and if they won't budge it's worth asking for any extras such as a boosted TV package to be added into your contract as a compromise. They added that requesting to be put through to the retentions, or disconnections, department can lead to success - this team's main job is to hold on to you as a customer, so they are often more likely to cut your bill down.
If you decide that you want to leave Virgin because of the price hikes and go with another provider, you are able to leave penalty-free, Martin advised. According to MSE, Virgin has confirmed that all customers affected by the changes will be able to leave their contracts without paying any early termination fees.
To take advantage of this, you will need to get in touch with Virgin within 30 days of being notified that your bills will be going up. As Martin urges, "watch out for the letter" confirming the change to ensure you don't miss your opportunity.
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