Why I left Virgin Media for Sky

I left Virgin Media for Sky to save £720, even though Virgin Media paid me £224 to settle a complaint. Why and how did I do it? I have been a Virgin Media customer for over seven years. My flatmates and I are all heavy broadband users, So we really loved VM’s fibre-optic broadband, and we stayed with the company despite the bill going up on a yearly basis.

My issues with Virgin Media

Here is a brief summary of my Virgin Media saga:

  • 21/12/2019 – I called VM to discuss my contract. They said my contract was coming to an end and they could n offer me a discount. I agreed to renew my contract for £51.50 on the promise that all the packages will be the same, including any add-ons. The moment, I hung up the phone, I found that I couldn’t watch the add-on channels (The Indian Mela), which means that VM had removed the package from my account.
  • 24/12/2019 – I called them back again. A VM manager said the customer service representative didn’t promise me the correct bill (. They said they couldn’t give me a free Indian Mela package, but they would give me a discount, and that it would appear in the contract. The Virgin Media website said my contract was £51.50 and I had a promotional offer which would end on 20 December 2020.
Virgin Media Bill Online
Virgin Media Bill Online
  • 31/01/2020 – My bill came to £63.50, but my VM account was still showing my contract fee as £51.50. I called VM customer services again and they said that my contract shown on the website did not include the Indian Mela package. They claimed that at some point they had sent me an e-contract which I didn’t receive, which meant that I had agreed to the contract, so I had to pay an additional £12 for the package.

Fed up with VM, I checked Sky TV and Broadband packages, I found a similar package (slightly slower broadband) for £47 a month, and with £85 cashback from Quidco. Yesss! So I decided to move to Sky. I called VM to give a contract termination notice. This time the customer service lady tried all kinds of tricks to persuade me to stay, and it worked. She offered me my entire old package for £47 per month, just £2 extra every month. I was very happy and agreed to stay with VM. This time I called Sky to cancel the installation. Surprise, surprise – they offered me the package for £35 per month, with an additional £50 credit on my account. I had to call VM again and this time I didn’t listen to their persuasive techniques and cancelled the contract. They said I was one day late to cancel the contract for a 30-day notice, which meant I had to pay for an additional month. I couldn’t be bothered to argue and so I agreed. Finally, I have moved away from the misery of Virgin Media.

The Complaints

During my VM saga in January, I complained about their handling of the case to the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CISAS). I described the misery as above and asked for a total of £224 compensation; £200 for wasting my time and lying to me, and £24 for the 2-month subscription to the Asian Mela package which was mis-sold to me. I didn’t expect that this complaint would go anywhere, but I took a chance anyway. Earlier this month, I received an email from CISAS informing me that Virgin Media had accepted their fault and wanted to settle the case as per my conditions. Wow! The complaint system really works!! I can see the £224 credited to my VM account now. If you are suffering a similar situation with your TV and internet provider, don’t hesitate to complain about their mishandling. There is no point in suffering, and paying them astonishing monthly subscription fees.

The Calculation

All phone, TV and broadband providers increase their bills every year, but for this particular calculation, I will not be taking this into consideration. So, let’s see how much I will be saving in the next 18 months by moving from Virgin Media to Sky.

Virgin Media Contract Summary

Virgin Media would have charged me £63.50 per month for the next 12 months, and the bill would go up to £75.50 until the 18th month. So the total cost of acquisition (CoA) would be £1,215 after 18 months, or £67.5 per month. Even if I were to consider the discounted offer that VM offered me at the end, the CoA would be £1,047, which is about £58 per month.

Sky Contract Summary

Let’s calculate Sky’s bill. Sky offered me an 18-month contract, whereas Virgin Media said they don’t offer any 18-month contract. At £35 per month, I would be paying £630 over the next 18 months. In addition to this, I would get £85 cashback from Quidco and £50 credit to my Sky account. So my total bill would be £495 for a year and a half-long contract. 

That works out at around £27.5 per month! I didn’t even add the compensation. Isn’t that an amazing saving!

Lessons Learnt

  • Don’t become a prisoner. It’s always worth checking offers from different service providers.
  • Bargain with your existing providers. Tell them you are leaving and ask them to offer you better deals.
  • Don’t forget to use Quidco or similar cashback websites. It’s just a click away from getting a big cashback.
  • Finally, don’t tolerate your service provider’s misbehaviours. Feel free to complain to related ombudsman services.

Let me know if you have faced a similar problem, and what you have done to resolve the situation. I would love to hear from you and help you with finding a better TV and broadband deal. Don’t forget to follow my money-saving tips section.

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