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Virgin Mobile - Signed me up for a contract when I asked for PAYG

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Hiya,

 

This is a long story, so I'll cut and paste the important bits from my complaint emails to Virgin. They are utter *********. I'm keen for your feedback on this, as Customer Service, and Complaints are useless.

 

Ok, here goes...

 

I have been a customer of Virgin since it's takeover of Telewest in 2006 - we get all our broadband, tv, landline and (until recently) mobile services from you. Last Christmas I called your sales number to purchase a pay as you go mobile for my elderly mother. I spoke to one of your employees in India who set me up with the mobile I wanted and gave me two options to pay - one with me paying for my mum by Direct Debit, and the other with my mum paying for the sim as she goes. As this was a gift I initially set this up with a Direct Debit payment and was advised that to stop this all I had to do was cancel the Direct Debit with my bank. This was not a contract, I did not want a contract, I wanted pay as you go - this was clear during the conversation. After the first month my mum wanted to pay it herself, I cancelled the DDI, and didn't think anything else of it.

 

Later while looking into billing of my own mobile phone (on a Virgin contract), I spotted that I had money outstanding on my mum's number. I called Customer Service who advised me her phone was a contract and I had been missing payments. This was news to me, I advised your Customer Service I expressly requested PAYG, not a contract, I hadn't signed anything, hadn't received contract paperwork, and hadn't received any emails. At the time your adviser agreed there had been some kind of miscommunication and mis-selling on the part of the first Virgin employee I spoke with and agreed to cancel the contract, remove the outstanding amount and he assured me there would be no impact on my credit file.

 

My credit file for the last 12 months has shown 3 missed payments.

 

Since that conversation I have spent the remainder of the year getting the run-around by Virgin Customer Service on getting my credit file corrected. I have had members of your Collections call centre cut me off in mid conversation to transfer me back into the same call centre (so that the call went to one of their colleagues to deal with to save them the bother), I've been promised call backs which haven't come, I've requested to be put on hold to speak to a manager to be told a flat out 'no'... literally, just a 'no'.

 

When I have actually managed to get to speak with managers, I have had it acknowledged that this has been mis-sold, and I've had commitments from them to get this rectified. Virgin have confirmed this is the case on several occasions over the phone. One manager in Collections when I spoke with her in July said she would rectify this for me and to allow 3 months for my Credit File to be fixed. I am still waiting.

 

In the 6+ years I've been with Virgin, my bills have been paid on time. I would not elect to pay our £70+ per month bill on time plus my £13 mobile bill on time, but fail to pay a tiny £5 mobile on time if I knew it was on Contract and would impact my credit.

 

Complaints say they have evidence that I knew there was a contract because they emailed me Ts&C's - I have said on numerous occasions any emails sent to me (including the T's&C's) were not received by me - it appears at the time they were filtered into junk mail, and it was only at the point of my first call to you with my complaint last spring that they were located. If that is your sole means of proving that I agreed to a contract by not invoking my cooling off period, then you should be ensuring that I received the T's & C's and click/return something to agree to them. If you wish for access to my credit file to set up a new credit agreement and to set me up with a contract I would require you to have my authorisation to do so. Sending me an email does not give you that authorisation and as repeatedly stated you did not get my verbal authorisation. Complaints last week said they could not discuss this case with me over the phone, as they needed something in writing from me to enable them to access my credit file - if that is the case, I would like you to provide me with a copy of my initial instruction when this new credit agreement was set up, giving you the access to my credit file? You did that without my authorisation in writing or verbally then?

 

Virgin accepted at the time you removed the contract and cancelled any outstanding monies that this contract was mis-sold. If you disagreed then you would not have cancelled the contract and wiped the charges. Verbally I have had it confirmed to me on SEVERAL occasions that my credit file would be corrected. Now you refuse to do so because you have not recorded those calls? How utterly appalling - what sort of justification is that? I'm penalised because your call recording facilities are not good enough? Surely you should not be selling contacts verbally if you cannot record confirmation that your customer agrees to a contract?

 

 

That's the basis of it! So sorry this is so long - if you're reading now thanks for your efforts!

 

Apparently there is a letter on the way to me from Complaints saying they will not correct my credit file. To me, this is a clear case of Slamming and I do intend to escalate this to the regulators.

 

Any suggestions/ideas?

 

Thanks,

SWMBO

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Who did you send your complaint to? Did you head it Official Complaint ?

 

I will flag your thread for others on the site team - this is quite disgraceful.


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Thanks Citizen B...

 

I have been right round the houses - literally BEGGING staff to take ownership.

 

I started with Collections who put the 3 missed payments on my Credit File (my thinking if they can put it on they can take it off). A manager there is the one who said she'd do it in 3 months.

 

I then went through Retentions, and have had so many call back promises / I'll refer it for you promises etc which have led nowhere. Early in Dec I spoke with someone whom I refused to get off the phone from, and insisted she dealt with it there and then. She finally asked for a complaint in writing (I had been trying to do this in urgency, without writing as I don't want a letter disappearing into the ether). We agreed on an email which went to Underwriting, and the girl I spoke with. I gave underwriting an ultimatum of Christmas to deal, but they refused to do anything as I was sent Ts&Cs (as outlined above and that meant I accepted the contract). I then emailed the CEO (Oxenby) and had an email back from Sophie Boshell who said she was referring it through the CEO's office complaints service for urgent attention. I then had a call from Lisa who said she was from the CEO's complaints office (but when I checked with her colleague she advised lisa was from Mobile Complaints dept) - she also said they emailed me T's & C's and DD due letters so although they cancelled the contract AND outstanding monies they wouldn't correct my credit file. She says that is their final stance. :mad2: I doubt she even read my complaint.

 

I have advised them I will be going to Cisas, Ofcom, the FO and BBC's watchdog.

 

I also thought I'd speak with you guys cos you knows-your-stuffs.

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Oh, I have also posted on the Virgin forum, where one of there tech team looked into it for me. She emailed me today to say Complaints say a letter is on it's way to me. No further help at all.

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Hi

 

Now as this contract was supposedly entered into during your initial phone conversation - well I do hope they can back that up with the phone recording of that conversation as it would have to match their version of events that you entered into a contract.

 

I would be requesting a copy of that phone recording from virgin and if they say their is none then how could you have entered into a contract.


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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

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They don't have it Stu, or any of the recordings after that- with the guy who cancelled the contract and said there'd be no ramifications on my credit file, or with any of the people I spoke with thereafter who confirmed they'd follow up on it and chase up the correction on my credit file.

 

I'll get the letter tomorrow or next week, but their evidence is that I did not invoke the cooling off period following receipt of my Ts&Cs by email. I've told them repeatedly I did not get those emails, that they went into junk and were only located later at the time of my complaint.

 

I'm sending off a SAR request to include transcripts of the calls they do have on file, but the longer they faff with it the longer I have to put up with my crap credit record. Virgin Mobile have no sense of urgency on this. Their attitude stinks.

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Hi

 

Well IMO as this was entered into over the phone (now I am no legal expert at all) they would have to keep a copy of that recording to verify that a legal contract was entered into verbally as well as them sending you their T&C and a copy of the contract.

 

IMO only if they do not have that recording then their is no evidence to back up their stance that you entered into a contract during your phone conversation with their sales department rep.

 

* How many complaints have been made about contracts dealt with by that Rep you spoke with?

* Has the Rep responsible for this error been investigated?

* Are Virgin Mobile Sales Reps on a commission basis?

* Was the Sales Rep that dealt with this fully trained by Virgin Mobile?

(Just some question I would be asking them)

 

Also I would be asking for a copy of their Sales Departments policy and Procedure For Phone Contract whether contract/payngo when called by a customer.

 

This is just my opinion only as I am no legal expert but others will be able to advise if I am correct or not.

Edited by stu007

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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

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So this "alleged" contract was entered into only last year ? They should still have the recording I would have thought. Even if they dont, then there should be a record of the call on their communication logs (which should be kept for 6 years) along with some notes on the call. See what the Subject Access Request turns up.

 

It is very frustrating that they have been giving you the run around, sadly this seems to be the norm with mobile phone companies :(


Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

Uploading documents to CAG ** Instructions **

 

Looking for a draft letter? Use the CAG Library

Dealing with Customer Service Departments? - read the CAG Guide first

 

1: Making a PPI claim ? - Q & A's and spreadsheets for single premium policy -

HERE

2: Take back control of your finances -

Debt Diaries

3: Feel Bullied by Creditors or Debt Collectors?

Read Here

4: Staying Calm About Debt

Read Here

5: Forum rules - These have been updated -

Please Read

 

 

BCOBS

 

2: Does your Bank play fair - You can force your Bank to play Fair with you

3: Banking Conduct of Business Regulations - The Hidden Rules

4: BCOBS and Unfair Treatment - Common Examples of Banks Behaving Badly

5: Fair Treatment for Credit Card Holders and Borrowers - COBS

 

 

 

Advice & opinions given by citizenb are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

 

PLEASE DO NOT ASK ME TO GIVE ADVICE BY PM - IF YOU PROVIDE A LINK TO YOUR THREAD THEN I WILL BE HAPPY TO OFFER ADVICE THERE:D

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Yes - well, November 2011. My point exactly! They should have the call recordings as that's their confirmation that a contract was entered into. I think they don't have it because it shows I did not agree to a contract. However I guess if their staff know the calls aren't being recorded then they can say one thing on the call and note another thing on the file. It explains why all the staff don't give a hoot - it doesn't look like they have to adhere to any call scoring as part of their performance management - it must all just be down to number of sales.

 

This has been a thoroughly exhausting experience - no-one takes ownership at Virgin, and looking at the Virgin Forum it's a common complaint. Customer Service are reluctant to provide a service and everything you ask anyone to do there, they will 'send a message' to the dept who deals to action it. You get no-where!

 

The whole time, my credit file looks rubbish with these 3 missed payments. It just makes me :-x

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So, they have had ample opportunity to rectify this, Would you be willing to take court action? (it will take a fair chunk of your time, and you could claim for quite a lot!) Read http://swarb.co.uk/kpohraror-v-woolwich-building-society-ca-10-jan-1996/ Screwing someones credit file up wrongly you would have a strong case against them in court. if you were prepaired to put in the work

 

 

1st step is a letter before action, good template here


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So, they have had ample opportunity to rectify this, Would you be willing to take court action? (it will take a fair chunk of your time, and you could claim for quite a lot!) Read http://swarb.co.uk/kpohraror-v-woolwich-building-society-ca-10-jan-1996/ Screwing someones credit file up wrongly you would have a strong case against them in court. if you were prepaired to put in the work

 

 

1st step is a letter before action, good template here

 

EEEEK! I'd totally be up for going after them but the idea of legal action TERRIFIES me! I wouldn't know where to start with putting a £ on it - and as part of the action I would need them to correct it as they've previously promised to do. How do you quantify it?

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Well the case I linked to, I believe you can claim up to £7000 without having to prove you suffered financial loss, although personally I would ask for £4999 to keep it a small claim... however if all you want is the default removing I would write 1 last letter before the LBA to the Virgin Mobile registered address

 

VIRGIN MOBILE GROUP (UK) LIMITED

MEDIA HOUSE

BARTLEY WOOD BUSINESS PARK

HOOK

HAMPSHIRE

RG27 9UP

 

And tell them to remove this default in a timely matter else you will seek damages in the local county court, and if they want to check similar case law, they can read about "Kpohraror -v- Woolwich Building Society" online.


If in doubt, contact a qualified insured legal professional (or my wife... she knows EVERYTHING)

 

Or send a cheque or postal order payable to Reclaim the Right Ltd.

to

923 Finchley Road London NW11 7PE

 

 

Click here if you fancy an email address that shows you mean business! (only £6 and that will really help CAG)

 

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Is it normal to pay for a pay as you go tariff by direct debit? That isn't PAYG, that is paying each month regardless. Surely paying as you go mean sometimes you need more credit, sometimes you need less, paying by direct debit doesn't match this. I've only ever payed by direct debit on contract phones.

 

How much did the phone cost out of interest?

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There are several PAYG arrangements like that - you get extras for a month.

 

With PAYG / pre-pay, you can cancel the DD at any time ...

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On a contract you wouldn't expect to pay for a smartphone, never mind a basic phone. Even on PAYG they are subsidised quite a lot (my wife's phone was free on PAYG, my smartish phone on PAYG was £20) so I think that paying that amount for the phone reinforces that you were expecting PAYG and not a contract

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