Price changes mean you can cancel your Virgin Mobile contract
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:
A quick check against the current standard charges shows these changes to be an increase of 60 per cent:
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.