Martin Lewis shares 'haggling' tip to millions of Virgin Media customers facing 14% price hike
The financial expert has outlined how customers can "haggle" with the company to bring down the average price rise of 13.8%.
Following a huge price hike in the middle of a cost of living crisis, millions of Virgin Media customers will be worried about paying their bills.
Virgin is among a range of mobile and broadband providers – including BT, EE, Shell, TalkTalk and Plusnet – who have all announced that prices will rise as much as 14.4% from April.
The rises will affect Virgin Media's 5.6 million broadband subscribers, which equates to just over 20% of the UK market, according to Ofcom figures.
Many of the rises come into effect on 1 April but Virgin is spreading them out across two months to ensure it can "best serve customers during this period".
Financial expert Martin Lewis has now outlined how customers can "haggle" with the company to bring down the average price rise of 13.8%.
Lewis said that a poll for his MoneySavingsExpert site found that 85% of Virgin Media customers have had some success with haggling, making it worth the effort to find a better deal.
He recommends searching for the best deal elsewhere before speaking to the retentions – or disconnections – department, who have more power to reduce costs.
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Customers should remain friendly and remember to ask for any extras if they decide not to reduce your prices.
Crucially, Lewis highlights how you are able to leave Virgin without the risk of any penalties.
Ofcom rules state that telecoms providers must offer their customers the right to exit their contract penalty-free if they are subject to unexpected price rises which are not provided for in their contract.
But because mid-contract price rises are written into the terms and conditions of some people’s contracts, Ofcom’s rule is that in those cases the customer does not have the right to exit penalty-free – meaning they have no choice but to accept the new higher price or pay an exit fee to terminate their contract.
However, after Virgin Media announced the rises, the company confirmed that those affected can terminate their contracts early and without charge – as long as you contact them within 30 days of receiving notification of the rises.
Following the announcement of price rises, broadband firms have been urged to drop penalties for customers leaving mid-contract amid concerns of impending “exorbitant” price rises or exit fees of more than £200.
Meanwhile, recent Ofcom figures found that Virgin Mobile are among the most complained-about mobile operators, while Virgin Media continued to generate the most pay TV complaints.