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Terminating broadband contract with Virginmedia


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I have twice renewed my broadband contract with virginmedia. Each time it was at the end I called them up to cancel as they were moving the price to almost double. But in order to retain me they kept the price just about where it was before.

 

This January, a month after I had renewed my contract and assured of a fixed price for the rest of the duration of my contract, they sent a letter to say they would be increasing the cost from £29 to £32.50. I ignored it since I knew we had a separate agreement. Today I have seen a direct debit presented to deduct from my account on Monday.

 

Today I rung them up and challenged them. They say I have lost my right to dispute it because they gave me 3 months to exit without any charge and now I would be legally obliged to stay according to my terms and conditions of contract with them.T

 

I told them I would not pay any termination fees or any costs whatsoever and that I want the contract ended forthwith. They said that if I do not pay then they would be handing my account to collection agencies and it would affect my credit rating.

 

I told them that I would not pay them a penny and would fight them till I die and would stand up to them in any court!

 

Any ideas where I could be headed with this?

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Posted (edited)

Someone with more experience will no doubt be along shortly.

 

Do you have evidence that Virgin Media agreed to a fixed price for the duration of the contract, either by way of a recorded phone call or written contract?

 

I suspect what has happened is Virgin Media have applied an annual inflation rise to the contract as has become normalised industry wide. It has to be said that if that is what happened then 12% is an interesting interpretation of current inflation.

 

The crux of the matter is whether this was categorically waived when you renewed your contract and can be proven with evidence.

Edited by FruitSalad1010
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This was the email they sent me....

Thanks for making those changes to your Virgin Media package. We've attached your new contract reflecting these changes to this email and a handy snapshot below. Please take a moment to review both and make sure you're happy with everything.
Quick recap of what you now enjoy:
Your new package now includes:
No new services have been added
We've removed:
No services have been removed
Here's how your changes affect your next bill:
Your next bill will be generated on 30th January 2021
Your next payment is due on 17th February 2021
Your new monthly bundle cost is: £29.00*.
Your next bill will be £28.34* which includes CR £0.66 to cover your changes up until your next bill period.
Your attached contract contains full details of your new package, plus all details and costs.
Any questions along the way? Find the answers fast in My Virgin Media. You can also view your contract any time you like.

Kind regards,

The Virgin Media team
* Just to let you know, this cost doesn't include any call or Pay per view costs. It doesn't include any outstanding balance, payment handling or paper bill fees either. Just your basic cost.
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Posted (edited)

The e-mail refers to "Your attached contract contains full details of your new package, plus all details and costs. "

 

Was the contract attached and does it provide any details as to annual price rises?

 

It is noteworthy that the price increase was timed to be implemented after the 3 month cooling off period had expired. Perhaps this is a coincidence, does the contract refer to any specific dates/timelines for any price increases?

 

The way the contract was agreed to may also be relevant but I would defer to someone with more experience regarding this aspect.

It may be helpful to explain how the contract was agreed to, perhaps by verbal agreement over the phone or by an electronic signature, or by simply allowing the cooling off period to expire.

Edited by FruitSalad1010
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I have now attached the attachment that the email refers to and hopefully redacted it properly.
They did send a letter yes to say they were going to increase the monthy costs but as I knew that we had an agreement to override any costs I just ignored it until today when I see they are actually increasing my costs in spite of what I had signed up for!

Broadband contract - reducted.pdf

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Hi Npap,

 

I did exactly the same - renewed my contract to avoid them monthly cost almost doubling.

 

I also rec'd notice of a small increase which I ignored as my renewal confirmed the price was fixed.

 

When I looked at my last bill, it said the cost was higher than I expected so I made an online complaint, telling them to sort it before the DD was taken. This was NOT done as they are so useless and they took the higher amount.

 

I'll have to speak to them to sort this and hope they agree to refund the overcharge. I had to email their |CEO Twice last year to resolve a complaint - they really suck when it comes to Cust Svs !!

 

Don't let them get away with this on your a/c.

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On a more helpful note, the reason I was not concerned about the small increase applying to me was -

 

I went online, clicked on lastest bill, clicked the top View Contract and this showed my contract remained at the level I agreed when I renewed last year.

 

Have a look on your a/c and see what you can find.

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So ......... after speaking to a v helpful CS Rep then a further CS Rep over 40 mins, I was told they would :-

 

1. Apply a rolling credit to my a/c from now up to May 2022 so I would be charged the extra £3.50 each month but get a credit to balance it.

 

2. Refund the £3.50 taken for the March bill.

 

This is a great result as the renewed contract was actually for £34 only until June 2021, then to £37 until May 2022. But now I'll pay just £34 right through to May 2022.

 

Well, at least that's what I've been told - just have to wait and see if the system reflects what I was told. I asked the CS Rep to confirm this in writing - here's hoping.

 

Check and see if your VIEW CONTRACT tab in the Bills section can help you in the same way.

 

Good luck

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Posted (edited)

The contract you posted does not refer to any price increases but nor does it explicitly indicate it is a fixed price.

 

The summary section of Virgin Media's terms found here states the following:

 

Quote

 

Changes to prices, terms and conditions and the services we provide to you – See Sections K and N

-  We may increase our charges under this agreement at any time. We may also change these terms and conditions and the services that we have agreed to provide to you.

-  If we do any of these things and the changes are likely to materially disadvantage you we will notify you of this and you can cancel this agreement by giving us 30 days’ notice in accordance with Section N, and you will not need to pay an early disconnection fee.

 

Section N of Virgin Media's terms and conditions indicate that you have the right to cancel if they change the price of your contract, which Virgin Media reserve the right to do.

 

The same terms and conditions also indicate you should be notified of any price increases before they are applied to your account.

 

It appears VM indicated the price would change in January so the qualifying period to cancel was up to 30 days after notification of the price increase. I am unclear as to why VM referred to a 3 month cooling off period as I can only find reference to a 14 day cooling off period once a contract has been agreed.

 

Cancelling the contract at this stage does appear to imply an early termination fee is owed unless it could be clearly evidenced the contract was mis-sold or that VM are in breach of the contract for example by not providing the advertised speeds.

 

 

Slick's suggesting to find evidence on your account indicating the contract is fixed wold be very useful as unfortunately none of the communication that has been posted refers explicitly to a fixed price contract.

 

One option would be to raise a complaint as suggested by slick132, which is unlikely to result in any action in time to prevent the higher direct debit being collected. If the complaint remains unresolved for a period of 8 weeks or a deadlock letter is produced you could then take the same complaint to the Communications Ombudsman. VM are likely to make every stage of the complaint process cumbersome but while the payments continue would have no grounds to move an account to collections or mark a credit file.

 

 

The second option, provided there is sufficient evidence to clearly show the bill (considered by VM to be a debt) is unsubstantiated, is to remain in control of such payments and cancel the direct debit when there is a disagreement in order to not immediately be forced to be out of pocket and in the position of having to demand a refund.

 

In my experience companies can be more responsive when they think you owe them money, than the other way around. This is likely to entrench the company's position and is usually followed by several threatening e-mails designed to cause alarm about accounts being referred to collections and the threat of having credit files being marked.

 

While marking a credit file may affect the consumer it also carries risks for any company that incorrectly marks a credit file as people have successfully claimed against companies should it affect the obtaining of credit in future.

 

Provided there is jusitification, indicating to VM that their claimed debt is unsubstantiated and in dispute should result in a halt of any collections procedures until the dispute is resolved.

 

As a show of good faith you could continue to pay what you think is owed until the dispute is resolved, this would significantly reduce the amount that is in dispute.

 

 

 

 

Edited by FruitSalad1010
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The real issue with VM is they're so totally rubbish at dealing with problems. If OP cancels the DD, it'll lead to major problems that will take major action to resolve. This can be done but it'll be a huge undertaking. See this case when you have time to read it - https://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/topic/428408-virgin-mystery-extra-line-2-judgments-for-data-protection-breaches-so-far/

 

So I strongly suggest OP does NOT cancel the DD for now, for various reasons.

 

 

Having now looked at OP's contract PDF in post #5 above (which I've only just seen), just do the same as I did in post #9 above and do what I did saying :-

 

You confirmed only 3 months ago that my contact would cost £29.00 per month until 13/7/22. You need to honour this to ensure I pay no price increase.

 

Otherwise I will take this as a formal complaint to your CEO Lutz Schuller, about Virgin Media's CS Reps being unwilling, unable or unauthorised to make decisions to correct VM account pricing errors.

 

Any amount overpaid so far due to a higher DD being taken should be refunded urgently.

 

Do this by phone and let us know how it goes.

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I will do as you suggest. Thank you.

 

Mind you that was what I did the previous year when they were going to raise my payments I was ready to leave and they fixed the price for another year. And this January they did the same and also mentioned that they would be a slight increase in March but that would not affect me. That was why I ignored their letter to say they were increasing the tarrif because I did not imagine that they would be trying telling me to ignore and only afterwards actually increase the  price on me... then when I point that out they say I did not call to cancel and complain and hence I am bound by their terms and conditions. I told them I will fight them to my death and take them to court about it if I must.

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Hi Npap,

 

Don't bother telling them you'll "fight to the death or take them to court".

 

Better with the VM CS Reps to stay calm and focused on what you want - ie for VM to stick to the deal they offered and which you accepted. 

 

If the person you speak to cannot help you, ask them to speak to someone who CAN authorise the change you need, or let you speak to that person. Tell them if they fail to assist and resolve your issue quickly, you'll go to the CEO's office.

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I rang and spoke with the CS rep who said they were able to reduce the fee to £31 for me. I said no it must be £29 and I would not accept that since I had a contract to pay only £29. They offered to open a formal complaint for an investigation that would take up to 28 days to be completed.

 

I accepted that the formal complaint be made and to be able to do that they needed to revoke my notice to terminate the contract that I had given on Friday, which would result in me being charged a £200 termination fee.

 

I must now await their next action.

I managed to stay calm and friendly today!

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no such thing as termination fees..

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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I just received a phone call from someone at VM. They said that they are calling to let me know that they are going to honour the contract they gave me of £29 for 18 months with effect from today. I should expect an email to confirm this tomorrow.

 

They will also put a note on the account for me to be refunded the £3.50 charged today against my account but they are not sure that that specific amount for today will be given back but they will put a note about it.

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There you go !!  Great result.

 

Let us know if the email comes through confirming what they said by phone.

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