Millions of Virgin Mobile users are soon to be hit with a price hike on their phone bills, with customers informed about the increase during a major mobile outage.
The company is hiking costs by 2.4 per cent, adding an extra £10 per year to bills.
The increases will see pay monthly and Sim-only users’ bills rise in line with March’s retail prices index (RPI) measure of inflation, with the new rates set to come into effect from 1 July.
The changes mean user’s will pay an extra 86p each month, or £10.37 per year, for those with Vodafone’s £36 a month iPhone XS contract, for example.
However, the price hike will only affect the amount users pay for their airtime plan, which includes data, minutes and texts.
If users’ have their handset on a separate plan, those repayments will remain the same.
Pay-as-you-go customers will be unaffected.
Customers wishing to leave their contract as a result of the increase could be faced with a penalty fee, unless they are already out of the minimum term of their contract.
When Virgin Mobile upped its costs last summer, 1.6 million users were affected.
Under rules set by regulator Ofcom, Mobile providers are able to introduce annual inflation price hikes providing they notify customers at the time of purchase and in their contract.
Virgin Media said the increases will have been made clear to customers, although the news sparked outrage after users found out about the changes during a 10 hour mobile outage this week.
A technical glitch meant users were unable to make calls, send text or go online on their phones.
The issue has now been resolved, but users were disgruntled to find an email about the price increase on the same day as the outage.
Writing on Twitter, customers fumed:
“Wow. So happy I left days before this! After 10 years with Virgin I moved on due to your ridiculous RPI price hike! And also, this isn’t the first time you’ve had an outage recently. Happened all the time in my local area and I was never compensated.”
“@virginmedia got an email from you telling me about a price increase… on the day where my phone hasn’t worked. Nice one Virgin!”
“@virginmedia @virginmobile No mobile signal all day in work. What’s the first text I get, when I connect to wifi? You guessed, “Hi, it’s Virgin Mobile, we’re putting your plan price up”. You couldn’t write it.”
“@virginmedia So network been down all day had no network but then you send me a text saying my prices are going up on the 1st July, are you dizzy blood?”
In response, a Virgin Mobile spokesperson told The Sun: “We continue to invest in the products and services that we offer our customers and do everything we can to keep prices as competitive as possible.
“We make it clear during the sales process, and in our terms and conditions, that there will be an RPI related price increase in July each year to ensure that this is clear to customers.
“Any changes will be clearly communicated.”