I am sure you are not the only one considering leaving - will the alternative providers be any better though?
The most annoying thing about this LRS issue is not that they have "withdrawn" the product - that's their prerogative. It's the way they have done it, which boils down to:
(a) You've been on these forums or otherwise managed to ring up at the right time and talk to the right person - congratulations! You have WON and may have LRS for another year...or more...
(b) Sorry, you expected the renewel letter just the same as every one of the past umpteen years, but you didn't get one. You missed the deadline, so you LOSE and will never, ever enjoy the benefits of LRS again! Here's a higher monthly bill as a Christmas present!
Presumably they want to phase out LRS completely but have belatedly realised that they "have" to renew some people who do it in advance - possibly for contractual reasons, inconsistent messages on their website - who knows? Over time I guess fewer and fewer people will be able to renew (or maybe they'll stop all renewals) and then they'll have got their wish.
It's certainly no way to treat loyal customers - but then so many businesses seem to target new customers only these days, giving their existing users uncompetitive renewal deals etc. Prior to this I have had good service from Virgin and have no immediate plans to leave - but recently we have had increased internet, even landline(!) outages and it does not inspire confidence.
The other unintended consequence is that it draws attention to just what a big chunk of money the landline actually costs every month. Previously this was sort of "hidden" because I'd pay LRS once a year and just forget about it. Now I can see what my monthly bill is more clearly it makes me more motivated to reduce my package...perhaps I don't need that TV service after all. ;-)
Your final point is spot on - paying the line rental upfront hides the true cost and is why the price rise to me feels much higher than it really is. Also, LRS went some way to locking me in to Virgin for 12 months even though I was otherwise outside contract. I am surprised they missed this trick.
The actual BB, TV and phone services have been great - my issues have been billing issues and, in particular, Virgin Mobile. I have two phones and I wanted to change the package on one of them (meant a new 12 month contract on that one, which was fine). Despite emphasising which one I was changing, and despite the operator checking back with me a couple of times, they managed to change the wrong one. When I phoned to point this out they agreed to correct it, however, when the bills arrived they hadn't done so. I phoned again and was told that they could put the correct phone on the new contract but they couldn't put the wrong one back on it's original contract as that was no longer available. In was told I would have to accept the new package and pay the higher fee even though this was their error. Of course I objected and eventually they applied a discount so I got the new (unwanted) package on the other phone at the same price I had paid before, however, both I had to accept a new 12 month contract on that one too. They even at one point suggested that I should try correcting everything myself on their website! I pointed out that the reason I couldn't do so is because my account shows that I have a very old handset that doesn't handle 4G, and therefore the required package doesn't show as being available to me which is why I had to phone in the first place. Bizarrely you can only amend your handset in your account if you bought the handset from Virgin. If you bought elsewhere as I did then you can't change it apparently. Madness!
For what it's worth, I've been questioning why I hadn't heard about renewing my LRS when it expired in November. I checked the website and looked for an email form (or address) as I can't stand ringing their call centres for hours on end - but couldn't find anything at all, so put the matter to one side, assuming it would be resolved the next month. Of course it wasn't, and then after trying to search their FAQs etc, I stumbled on this Community thread (I haven't been here for years!).
It looks as though I've been shafted by not knowing that I had to make a call (and threatening to leave) by an unadvertised date!!!!!!!!
Surely if VM had decided to change their policy in this way (which they are clearly entitled to do, subject to Ofcom rules on such matters), they owed their loyal customers the courtesy of a letter or email explaining their decision and how it would be implemented - in time to take advantage of renewal (even if for one last year). Just keeping quiet and hoping that no-one would notice (unlikely when the next bill showed the horrible truth) is very poor practice and cannot be called 'customer service'!
I too have fallen victim to Virgin's callous treatment of their customers.
I didn't receive a reminder to renew my LRS (or any indication whatsoever that it was to be withdrawn) but it expires today, so I duly called up Virgin Media and waited patiently for 20 minutes to speak to someone, only to be told that I needed to renew it a month ago, that it no longer exists and can't be re-instated on my account. When I asked how I was supposed to know any of this I was told that the information was on my previous bank statements. That was a complete lie. I've checked my bank statements and there is absolutely nothing about it at all. And from reading other people's comments there was no warning about it on the website either.
So without any communication, explanation or warning I am now expected to pay Virgin an extra £32 a year, on top of the price hike of £36 a year which came into effect just 3 months ago. Can somebody at Virgin please explain to me how this is fair?
The line rental saver doesn't look like a particularly good deal at £228 a year anyway? Did this include unlimited calls?
I don't have a phone service with virgin so wasn't really up to speed with the prices, but my father asked me to take a look at his virgin bill the other week - he's been with Virgin for years, only has a phone line, and has not renegotiated the price in the last 5 years. He was paying £31 a month for line rental plus free weekend calls. Quick call to retentions got this down to £12 a month for unlimited anytime calls (talk more anytime) - that's much cheaper than the line rental saver package was unless I am missing something?
Perhaps it was originally £31/month for weekend calls inclusive of phone line (i.e. £19 line rental, £12 weekend calls).
Now he's getting the anytime calls for £12/month, which is obviously a better deal but then still has the standard £19 line rental on top of that - so it's still overall £31/month, but with more free calls.
An all-in cost for line rental & anytime calls of £12/month seems much more of a discount than VM can normally never give, especially on what's relatively speaking a low-ish total monthly payment (compared to those with full TV packages, broadband, etc.)