Virgin Media warned over mid-contract price raises

Virgin Media has been warned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over a couple of broadband and phone deals, which they ruled were misleading.

The operator could raise the cost above what they promoted, whish is a breach of the watchdog's rules on mid-contract price hikes.

Two customers, which have signed up to Virgin's 12-month broadband contracts, have been told that their monthly charges would increase during the minimum term. They thought it was misleading and they filed complaints.

Virginmedia.com offered two 12-month broadband packages, one for “just £4 a month for six months then £17.50 a month plus Virgin Phone line (£16.99 a month)“ and another for £25 a month for 12 months then £32 a month. Virgin Media said it might increase prices such as line rental occasionally which would affect the majority of customers, including those who had signed up for a 12 -or 18-month contracts, The Guardian wrote in a report.

However the operator stated that “they did not know if, when, or by how much a customer’s core price might rise at the start of the contract” and so could not state it in the advert,

Introduced last year, new Ofcom's rules allow users to leave their telephone and internet provider mid-contract if their bills are increased.

The ASA said that although both the contracts in question were variable, consumers would understand that the price of a package was fixed during the minimum term of the contract unless it was otherwise made clear.

ASA Ruling (REF: A14-288386)