I recently reduced my Virgin Media bill by almost half. Virgin are surprisingly tough to deal with, so I thought I’d share how I got my bill down.
I was on a 125Mbps+TV+Landline plan costing £95/$117 per month (yes, you read that right, £95 p/m! I don’t quite know how it got that high). I ended up on a 300Mbps+TV+Landline plan costing £50/$62 per month.
How Virgin Media Pricing Works
Virgin Media pricing works the same as most Insurance companies, cheap to start and then they hike the price, but Virgin are even more blatant about hiking prices. When you first look around for a broadband provider, you’re moving home etc. you will see that for ‘new customers only’ they are very competitive.
For example, if I were a new Virgin customer I could get 250 Mbps Broadband+Landline+TV for £29.99/$37 (according to a quick Uswitch search I’ve just done). However, this price only lasts for the 18 months of your initial contract then the price goes up, significantly.
Virgin rely on customer inertia. They know that most people aren’t that on it and will just live with the price hike.
Get a comparison quote
The most important step, before you contact Virgin Media, is to go in armed with an equivalent comparison price from a competitor. Use a price comparison service such as Uswitch, MoneySupermarket etc. and find out the cost of the best deals available.
In my case, the best deal available was from 500Mbps+TV+Landline from Sky at £54 per month.
Virgin will ask you if you’ve got a competitor quote and you are in a much stronger negotiating position if you can say yes and this is the deal I can get.
Get ready to change from Virgin
You can end you somewhat stuck with Virgin if you’re not careful. In my case, we have only ever had Virgin since we moved in 6 years ago. Therefore we do not have another line going into the house (e.g. an OpenReach one), we don’t/didn’t have an aerial point and we don’t have a way of recording TV shows other than by using the box provided by Virgin Media.
And yes, to any millennials reading this, I’m old, we still watch live terrestrial TV, record TV shows and even have a landline. I know this is outdated these days.
So I hatched an escape plan. An OpenReach engineer came out to install a new connection in a neighbour’s flat a few months ago and whilst he was there I got him to talk me through where they would run a new connection into my flat.
Armed with this info, when I was next doing some major DIY on the flat, I ran some conduit (40mm PVC pipe) that allowed me to run some coax for a terrestrial TV point and will provide an easy route for the OpenReach cable to be installed to where I need it inside the flat.
This step is obviously optional, as it can be a hassle. But I am now in a position where if I ever do move away from Virgin completely it would be easy.
What to expect when trying to reduce your Virgin Media Bill
- Expect a circa 30min phone call or chat via WhatsApp
- Expect to have to really push them to get a good deal
- Expect them to try and wriggle out of offering you a quicker internet connection
- Expect them to try and knock some of your add-on services such as Weekend calls off
- Expect to get locked into another 18 month contract
- Don’t expect to get the same price they offer to new customers
Whoever trains the cancellation team has done a good job, the agents really are difficult to get them to significantly lower your price. You’ll get there in the end, particularly if you are simply belligerent like me and say match this competitor’s deal or I’m off and don’t think I’m kidding.
Play hard ball and if they don’t offer you a deal that is as good as or better than you can get elsewhere, then leave.
What’s the absolute best approach to reducing your Virgin Media Bill
To get the absolute best deal available, either follow the advice above or leave them. The very best deals from all the providers are for ‘new customers only’, so, if you can be bothered, changing provider every 12-18 months will mean you are treated as a new customer.
Get through to the Cancellations Team
To start negotiations you need to get yourself through to the cancellations team. They are the ones with the most latitude to reduce your price. I contacted them via the My Virgin Media App that I have on my phone to manage my account.
Diarise for 18 months time for round 2
Assuming after all this you have negotiated a new better deal with Virgin then you’ll be on a new 18 month contract. After that 18 months is up, Virgin Media will up your price again so diarise the date now and be prepared for round 2 of haggling.
Having read this Reddit thread it looks like I can get the price down even further next time. Some people are only paying circa £25 p/m for the equivalent service and it looks like you actually need to reject their initial offers, go ahead with the cancellation and wait for them to call you. Useful info for round 2.
Final thoughts on reducing your Virgin Media Bill
There is some effort involved, particularly if you end up changing providers every 18 months. But given Virgin’s aggressive pricing policy, where your bill goes up significantly then it’s worth the time involved. I’ve saved £810/$1,000 over the 18 month contract period.