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Virgin doubles your speed, but could it lead to a new contract?

Virgin Media Logo Black

When it comes to internet connections, I think speed is everything. So when Virgin Media offered to double my speed for free, I leapt at the chance. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite that simple…

If you’re with Virgin Media, you’ve probably seen the adverts, emails and letters proclaiming the good news: Virgin has embarked on a huge project to double the broadband speed of its UK customers.

It’s no mean feat for the company, and I was really excited to hear about the project. According to the instructions on my online account, all I needed to do was select a time for an engineer to come round and swap my old router for the new ‘Superhub’. Then, I’d get twice the speeds without paying any extra.

Unfortunately, as it got closer to the installation, I realised they’d booked me in for the wrong day. So I phoned to change the date, and that’s when the confusion started.

My free 12 month contract

‘No problem,’ said the cheerful guy in the customer service centre. ‘We’ll schedule you for a different day. Your new contract won’t start until it’s installed.’

‘I’m sorry,’ I said, ‘a new contract? I thought this was just a free speed upgrade?’

‘Well, it is,’ he said, ‘but when you get the free upgrade, you’ll start on a new 12 month contract.’

I scratched my head and asked him to cancel the upgrade. Even though I was excited about the double speed broadband, I wanted to give it some thought before I locked myself into a new contract.

Personally, I had no idea there was a new contract until I called the customer service team. So, if I hadn’t phoned, I might be locked in for another 12 months without even realising.

The cost of a free upgrade

When we spoke to Virgin Media about this issue, it told us that no one who’s upgraded as part of the free speed doubling programme should be locked into a 12-month contract, even if they’re supplied new equipment.

We’d love to hear from you if Virgin Media has contacted you about the free upgrade, as we’re investigating whether there might be a wider problem. If you took the upgrade, were you locked into a 12 month contract and, if so, were you warned about it first?

Chris E says:
21 March 2015

I should add that I have also had the problem with incremental price increases. During the last 14 month my bill has gone from £33 to £48 (with no changes to my services during the period, apart from the broadband speed upgrade which was supposed to be free). There has been 5-6 change with the bill going up £1-£3 every couple of months, which doesn’t really makes sense unless the purpose is to make it less noticeable to the customer. In addition, my broadband speed did not increase with the alleged upgrade with landed me with a new 12 month contract (without telling me). For the last 12 months the broadband has been poor in particular after 6pm in the evening, something I have complained repeatedly about with Virgin but no improvement.

I am waiting for the upgrade to 50MB which they said was going to happen last year! then my bill went up, still no extra speed, then they tell me the extra speed will happen this year, and again my bill went up, so this 20MB to 50MB was to happen this month August, its now the 20th and still no better, yet they have had eight months of higher monthly payments from me,
Also had two guys phoned as i have been with them 8 years as a reward if i upgrade to 50MB broadband, tv etc it will only cost me another £5.00 month, I replied can’t afford anymore and what about the free upgrade, if i say yes the extra speed you will get now, but if i don’t upgrade you will have to wait,
They are just a bunch of cowboys!

Virgin are really cheeky as a supplier.

As shown in their CEO’s blog entitled:

“Superfast broadband customers shouldn’t be stuck in slow lane”

on these pages they claim they are leading the market in terms of value and service. However, the reality appears to be somewhat different.

I have friends in Swindon who are signed up to the “Superfast up to 152Mb fibre optic broadband” service.

In reality, their measured speed has never exceeded 50Mb. The latter is only equivalent to the slowest service band offered by Virgin, so arguably they should only have been offered (and charged for) that service, if it is the best that Virgin can actually deliver in their street.

My friends have now started to compile a log of speed test results and will be using these to support a complaint to Virgin about their under-performing broadband connection.

On the 9th February 2016 I was offered and upgrade from L package to XL package for the same price of about £55 (with NO MENTION of a new contract) so of course I jumped at the chance, who wouldn’t?
Toady, 29th February 2016, I logged into my My Virgin Media account online only to see my monthly package price was £61.99.
Highly confused I rang Virgin Media to ask why for them to tell me why it was this price with their reply was stating their prices had risen again then arguing for a bit about how I did not agree to this price.
Then while I was there I asked how long I have left on my contract as I was sick of them rising their prices when they felt like it! For the man to tell me it doesn’t end till February 2017!!! I was in so much shock I asked how this was possible as I joined April 2015 (I thought contracts were only 12 or 18 months) then for him to say I agreed to a new contract on the 9th February 2016! I certainly did not! Yes, I agreed to an upgrade from L to XL for the same price there was no mention of a new contract!!
He then spoke to his manager to come back and tell me to e-mail their home office to find out this didn’t work so I called them again for this new person to tell me the e-mail no longer exists!
So after explaining the whole issue to this new staff member he told me the call might not even have been recorded and if this is the case the contract will stand until the contract end date!

They called me back to confirm they listened to the 9th Feb call and proven I was right!!
I did not agree to a contract. So be warned guys!!!!

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