Virgin Media could charge you up to £240 to cancel early - your rights explained

Tuesday, 24th November 2020, 3:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th November 2020, 3:56 pm

Virgin Media customers can be charged up to £240 to cancel their contracts early - even those moving house to an area where a Virgin Media service isn’t available.

Despite previously being fined by Ofcom for overcharging its customers with its early-exit fee, Virgin Media customers are still being hit with large cancellation bills.

The company states that the cost of its early-exit fees depends on a number of factors, including things like services taken and the duration left on the contract.

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A spokesperson for Virgin Media said, “Our contracts are designed to apply over a specific period, so we urge all of our customers to consider the length of a contract before entering into it.

“Details of the early connection fees are clearly set out on our website.”

You can see more about the terms and conditions of Virgin Media’s early cancellation fees, and information about how to calculate what your early disconnection fee might be on the Virgin Media website here.

Is there any way to get around the fee?

If you want to avoid an early-exit fee, your first port of call should be to get in touch with the Virgin Media customer service, which you can contact by phoning 0345 454 1111.

This line is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, and Saturday, 8am to 6pm.

Speaking to This Is Money, a former customer who got around the fine after moving house said, “I fought and fought, not letting go, using channels such as social media, and finally they relented and refunded by excessive exit penalty.

“You can get the money back if you push - I even asked them to check their sales calls - and argued the point that I had been misled because I was told I would be able to move and wouldn’t be penalised.”

Another ex-Virgin Media customer explained that he managed to avoid the fee by phoning Virgin Media’s customer service centre and asking for an address for where he could make a complaint.

He wrote to the address and explained that he had been a long time customer and felt that the fee was unfair. He received a letter back stating that he would not be charged.

If none of this works, you can escalate your complaint to the Communication and Internet Adjudication Scheme (CISAS), which is managed independently by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution.

Before complaining to CISAS, you’ll need to make sure that:

You’ve already complained to the company you’re issuing your complaint aboutAt least eight weeks have passed since you first complained to them, or you have received a deadlock/ADR letterYour complaint is not in relation to fraud, property damage, discrimination or data protectionYour complaint is not the subject of court action and does not exceed £10,000You understand that it is your responsibility to ensure that you had read the Scheme Rules, Guidance notes for customers and process guide, which you can find hereYou are based in the UK and not the Republic of Ireland

You can start your application online here, on the CISAS website.

If you have any questions, you can get in touch with CISAS for guidance from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, on 020 7520 3814.

Virgin Media previously fined by Ofcom

Virgin Media had previously been fined by Ofcom for overcharging phone and broadband customers who wished to exit their contracts early.

Ofcom explains that phone and broadband compares are permitted to charge customers who decide to leave their contracts early, however, under these rules, those charges must be made clear to customers and also cannot make switching to another provider too expensive.

The Ofcom investigation found that almost 82,000 Virgin Media customers were overcharged a total of just under £2.8 million, and that the company failed to make the charges clear to customers who wanted to end their contracts early.

Gaucho Rasmussen, Ofcom’s Director of Investigations and Enforcement, said, “Virgin Media broke our rules by overcharging people who ended their contracts early. Those people were left out of pocket, and the charges amounted to millions of pounds.

“This is unacceptable. These fines send a clear message to all phone and broadband firms that they must play by the rules, in the interests of their customers.”

Due to the high early-exit charges, Virgin Media customers were disincentivised to switch to another provider, which is against Ofcom’s rules.

In 2018, Virgin Media was fined £7,000,000 for its failings, and an additional £25,000 for providing incomplete information in response to a statutory information request.