Virgin Media customers have reacted with anger at the announcement of a forthcoming price increase, particularly the news that the per month cost of the TiVo service is to go up by 66% for new subscribers.
The cable operator sent out an email on Tuesday afternoon to customers announcing a series of price hikes to its broadband, telephony and television services.
According to information at the Virgin Media shop, prices have gone up between £1 and £3 across various packages. On average, customers will see an increase of around £2.68 per month.
Subscribers to the large (10Mbps) broadband packages must swallow an average price increase of more than £25 per year. Large broadband taken without a line rental was previously £21 a month, but that will increase by 7% to £22.50 after April 1.
The cable operator is also upping some call charges by 12%, and altering its time slot for free calls from 6pm - 6am to 7pm - 7am.
On TV, the large package will increase by £1 a month from £18.50 to £19.50, while a bundle of large TV and large broadband will increase 8% to £39.50 per month.
The price increase announcement has stung customers as it comes within months of Virgin Media's pledge to double broadband speeds 'at no cost' for all its customers.
But some of the biggest controversy has come around the price hike for the TiVo converged television service, which launched in late 2010.
Top Size XL TV Pack Tivo customers will have to pay £5 a month from April 1, rather than the previous £3. Any TiVo boxes ordered by either new customers or existing customers from February 28 will come with the £5 TiVo fee. This marks a 66% price increase.
Existing TiVo customers will not be affected by the price bump, but any subscribers purchasing an extra TiVo box will have to pay the £5 monthly cost.
Writing on the DS Forums, one user said: "I am quite astonished... 66% price hike, they must be absolutely mad."
Another said: "I've got Tivo, TV XL, 20Mpbs broadband, Talk Unlimited and a couple of add-ons (anon call rejection etc). Also a loyalty discount which has been cancelled out by this. It seems way above inflation, I'm not sure how they can justify the increase.
"They're pushing everyone towards TiVo boxes and getting them to pay for the privilege as well, I would have thought they were doing okay out of us already. I'm sure it'll cause a lot of people to simply downgrade packages."
Posting on CableForum, another Virgin Media customer said: "Big mistake at a time when a lot of people's disposable income has been cut, pay-TV is getting far too expensive.
"It will be interesting to see what happens at Sky in September. The XL with TiVo will become £29.50 now... when took with a phone, seems steep to me. (sic)"
In a statement, a Virgin Media spokesperson said: "As part of our on-going review of services, we're making some changes to our cable pricing from April and we're writing to those customers affected now to explain what's happening.
"On average, customers will see an increase of around £2.68 per month. However as part of our review, we've also managed to provide some customer savings and frozen prices such as our phone line rental. We will be proactively contacting existing customers in the coming weeks to make sure that they are on the best value package for them.
"We believe our services provide great value and we're continuing to improve them, bringing customers faster broadband and introducing new and exciting ways to watch even more entertainment.
"In the last year, we have launched Sky Anytime on Virgin Media which means customers can watch their favourite Sky shows whenever they want, our broadband now comes with up to six months free Spotify and we also provide customers up to 23 HD channels available at no extra monthly cost."