Posts Tagged ‘virgin mobile’

A couple of Virgin Mobile customers (thanks to avid readers Andrew and Toby) have tipped us off to the network’s changes in pricing for local and national calls from 28 June. Customers have been receiving texts pointing them to this online statement:

Picture 41 500x122 Price changes mean you can cancel your Virgin Mobile contract

A quick check against the current standard charges shows these changes to be an increase of 60 per cent:

Picture 52 Price changes mean you can cancel your Virgin Mobile contract

We’ve been asked if these changes are grounds for customers to cancel their contracts free-of-charge; the answer is yes, but only in specific instances. Here are the relevant clauses from Virgin Mobile’s Terms of Service for Pay Monthly customers:

5.3 Significant changes: We will notify you at least one month in advance of any change coming into effect that (in our reasonable opinion):

(b) is a change to your Agreement, your Contract Allowance, the Services or any Additional Services you are using, or to the Charges for any Services or Additional Services you are using, which is likely to be of material detriment to you.

5.4 Non acceptance of changes: If you do not accept a change that falls within clause 5.3 you may cancel this Agreement by writing to us within 1 month of us telling you about any change, to let us know that you want to cancel.

What this means is if you call local and national numbers enough that the charges you pay are significant (Ofcom’s rule-of-thumb is 10 per cent of your overall bill), then you have grounds to cancel your contract without penalty. How this is calculated is more open to interpretation; some mobile providers assess your eligibility based on the previous month’s bill, some on the previous quarter.

If you think you might be eligible and want to cancel your Virgin Mobile contract, then be prepared before speaking to customer services. Review your last three itemised bills, and highlight all calls with local and national toll prefixes – there are more of them than you might think, so check the full list here. Add up the charges for all these calls, and if this is more than 10 per cent of your total bill before VAT, you have the right to cancel your contract without paying additional charges.

Have everything to hand when you call customer services, including your bills and the relevant terms of your contract (which you’ll find above). As always, be firm but polite if you choose to cancel; dickish behaviour rarely helps matters. And of course, ask yourself if it’s worth cancelling; check the mobile deals available with cashback on Quidco.

Remember, you only have until 28 June if you want to cancel; after this date, it’ll be assumed you have accepted the changes.

Here’s an American ad that’s so staggeringly shite that we’re astounded that it made it out of the brain of the ‘creative’ who devised it without withering and dying. But no, it somehow crawled on to the table and eventually made it on to the screen.

It’s for Virgin Mobile, a company who many of you have angrily nominated for our Worst Company of 2009 grand voting fandango. This ad won’t endear the brand to any of you, that’s for sure.

Perpetuating the obvious myth that females never shut up ever, this gym locker room scene sees a woman’s mouth detach itself from her face so that it can carry on yammering into the stupid mobile phone while its owner goes off to do some press ups (or whatever the hell people do in gyms.)

There’s no happy ending here. The mouthless woman is going to be stared and pointed at in the gym by the body fascists while the mouth will probably be shot in the face by CIA agents who storm the building after getting a tip-off about an alien invasion.

As for the phone – nothing. Well look at it – who would want to make off with THAT?

Ridiculous.

While covering Orange’s attempts to change your contract, we also published a post about how you could cancel your Virgin Mobile contract for similar reasons. Bitterwallet reader Steve got in touch to tell us about changes Virgin Mobile are making to pay-monthly customer terms. Looking through the changes, they’re likely to effect most customers – in essence, if you call landlines or other Virgin mobiles, or make any other calls that less than a minute, then you’re going to pay more than you originally agreed to when you signed the contract.

Here’s the email that was sent to Steve, that every Virgin Mobile customer should have received:

picture 12 How to cancel your Virgin mobile contract   update

Is this an opportunity to cancel your Virgin Mobile contract? Yep. Virgin’s terms and conditions mention material detriment (i.e. your bill is likely to increase as a result of these changes) which is subtly different to Orange’s terms, which didn’t. That said, the changes are so fundamental they’re bound to effect you. Short of leaving your phone permanently switched off, you’re probably going to be worse off:

  • Call any landline or Virgin Mobile number and calls will cost 20p per minute at all times, instead of 15p per minute for the first five minutes of the day, and 5p per minute after that – so a call that lasts two minutes will cost 40p instead of 30p, a six minute call will cost £1.20 instead of 80p and a 10 minute call will cost £2 instead of £1.
  • Make any calls to any landline or mobile number lasting less than a minute, and you’ll pay for a full minute rather than the actual duration of the call

What to do next

Here are the particular Virgin terms and conditions relevant to your situation. Have a read through so you’re aware of what you agreed with Virgin:

2.2 Minimum Term: This Agreement will continue for at least the Minimum Term although you may cancel it during the Minimum Term in accordance with Clause 10.

10.2 Your right to cancel: You may end this Agreement immediately in the following circumstances:

(c) if you do not accept any change that we notify you about in accordance with clause 5.3 and you notify us in accordance with clause 5.4 that you do not accept such change.

5.3 Significant changes: We will notify you at least one month in advance of any change coming into effect that (in our reasonable opinion):

(b) is a change to your Agreement, your Contract Allowance, the Services or any Additional Services you are using, or to the Charges for any Services or Additional Services you are using, which is likely to be of material detriment to you.

You’ll have a better chance of cancelling your contract if you a) know the relevant terms and conditions (which you do, because they’re above) and b) go through your last three bills and are aware of several examples per month of calls which will cost more once the new price structure begins – so any calls to landlines or Virgin mobile numbers of any sort, or to landlines or mobiles that last less than a minute. By doing this you’ll have clear proof, based on your billing history, that the new prices are likely to be of material detriment to you.

Judging by the comments in the original thread, readers are finding it far easier dealing with Virgin Mobile customer services than they ever did with Orange.  One recurring trend is that customers are being told they can’t cancel until the date of the changes in September. This is incorrect – as clause 10.2 states, it’s your right to cancel immediately once notified of the changes; more importantly, if you don’t inform Virgin Mobile within 30 days of being notified, it’ll be assumed you accept the changes and your right to cancel will be void.

Above all else remember to be polite and calm with operators at all time – treat them with disrespect and you’ll probably find that any goodwill and helpfulness suddenly dries up. As before, support other readers by telling us how you get on. Good luck!

Yesterday we told you how Orange were making substantial changes to their basic mobile charges that allowed customers to cancel their Orange contracts. There’s a flurry of activity in the comments section, and we’ll bring you a round-up of what’s happening later in the week.

Meanwhile Bitterwallet reader Steve let us know that Virgin Mobile are also planning changes to their call charges for pay-monthly customers. Customers have been emailed the following notification:

picture 12 Now you can cancel your Virgin Mobile contract

Is this an opportunity for Virgin Mobile customers to end their contracts early? We’ve had a pick through Virgin Mobile’s terms and conditions for contract customers:

2.2 Minimum Term: This Agreement will continue for at least the Minimum Term although you may cancel it during the Minimum Term in accordance with Clause 10.

10.2 Your right to cancel: You may end this Agreement immediately in the following circumstances:

(c) if you do not accept any change that we notify you about in accordance with clause 5.3 and you notify us in accordance with clause 5.4 that you do not accept such change.

5.3 Significant changes: We will notify you at least one month in advance of any change coming into effect that (in our reasonable opinion):

(b) is a change to your Agreement, your Contract Allowance, the Services or any Additional Services you are using, or to the Charges for any Services or Additional Services you are using, which is likely to be of  material detriment to you.

This contract is subtly different to that of Orange; whereas Orange clearly stated that a customer could cancel if their rights were detrimentally effected, Virgin are stating there is only a case for cancellation if such changes have a detrimental effect on how much you pay.

So where does this leave you? Well, if you call just a handful of landline numbers every month, you’re going to be far worse off – your first ten minute conversation of the day will double in price, from £1 to £2. And if you make a handful of short calls a month, you’ll be paying more than you are now, because any call lasting less than a minute will be rounded up and you’ll be charged for the full minute.

You’ll have a better chance of cancelling your contract if you a) know the relevant terms and conditions (which you do, because they’re above) and b) go through your last three bills and highlight several examples per month of calls which will cost more once the new price structure begins – so any calls to landlines, or to landlines or mobiles that last less than a minute. By doing that you’ll have clear proof, based on your billing history, that the new prices will be of material detriment to you.

Three further points:

  • you don’t have to return the handset, despite what the agents may tell you:

2.4 Your handset: This Agreement only covers the provision of the Services by us to you. It does not cover any handsets or other devices you may have received with your SIM or as part of a package, either directly from us or through a third party retailer.

  • the contract states that you can only cancel in writing. You can argue that the point and you’ll probably be successful, but be aware you signed an agreement that states:

5.4 Non acceptance of changes: If you do not accept a change that falls within clause 5.3 you may cancel this Agreement by writing to us within 1 month of us telling you about any change, to let us know that you want to cancel.

  • the changes don’t come into effect until the 28th September; if you do cancel your contract on the grounds of detrimental change, you probably won’t be released form it until this date.

As always, let us know in the comments below how you get along. Good luck!

virgin mobile logo 01 300x158 Virgin Mobiles new 30p per day unlimited web access£9.12 a month for mobile web access sounds like a lot if yours is bundled into your contract. But break it down into a daily amount – 30 pence – and you have yourself a headline. Pity Virgin Mobile allowed their marketing monkeys to play fast and loose with it.

So yes, Virgin Mobile has a new 30p deal for customers on contract, that sounds stunningly affordable:

From the 8th December, you can get unlimited* web access for one simple price – just 30p a day. That’s up to 3 times cheaper than most other networks. What’s more, it costs the same whether you’re browsing our site or any other site online… with unlimited* web access for just 30p a day – you’ll never need to worry about the cost again.

You’ll have noticed the keen use of the asterisk alongside the word unlimited, because despite numerous news reports pointing out that mobile (and broadband) deals rarely mean any such thing, companies continue to advertise them. So let’s consider dictionary.com’s definition of unlimited: Read the rest of this entry »