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Virgin Media Forced Cancellation - Cancellation Fee


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I have just emailed Virgin Media the following:

 

"Dear Mr Mockridge,

I am writing to make a formal complaint on behalf of my mother, Mrs

C******** *******k. I have taken this matter into my own hands as she

is, frankly, no longer able to cope with it due to the distress it has

caused her. She has contacted Virgin Media Customer Services to inform

them that I have her authority to discuss her account with you.

 

My mother became a Virgin Media customer upon moving into temporary

rented accommodation in September 2013. I read the information on

Virgin's Home Mover website, which made a future move and transferral of

services seem entirely straightforward. In February of this year she

bought a house 1.6 miles away from her rented property.

 

On 5th February my mother phoned Virgin Media to inform you of her

intended house move, and to arrange transferral of services. Having been

a loyal customer thus far, and having intended to remain so, she was

shocked and upset to be told that, as Virgin would be unable to provide

any services to her new address, she would have to pay a severance fee

of £173.00. In other words, she wished to retain the service, but was

told that it was not available, and transferral/retention of the service

was not an option. Furthermore, she would be financially penalised for

this. The lack of availability of this service, however, is down to

Virgin Media, not my 71 year-old mother, and this is a forced

cancellation, carried out by Virgin Media, not her. Regardless of your

T's & C's this is plainly unfair.

 

On the same day, my mother wrote to Virgin Media Customer Services

outlining the above complaint, disputing the severance fee, and also

pointing out recent correspondence from Virgin stating that, as the

price of services would be increasing from 1st February 2014, customers

were entitled to cancel "without penalty". (The same correspondence

states that "the process to be followed is set out in our terms and

conditions at virginmedia.com/legalstuff" - my mother is not a broadband

customer, and does not own or use a computer or the internet, however I

was unable to find any information on "the process" at this web

address). She also asked for your help and advice, and stated that the

matter was causing her to feel depressed. (My mother has been treated

for severe mental illness since the death of my father, and my divorce,

which has caused her to lose all contact with her three grandchildren

for several years).

 

On 18th February my mother wrote again to Virgin Media Customer Services

regarding her imminent house move, the forced cancellation of services,

her distress, to inform you that she had cancelled her direct debit, to

enclose a cheque in payment of her most recent bill dated 7th February,

to state - again - that the matter was in dispute, and to request -

again - "as a matter of courtesy", a response to her letter dated 5th

February 2014.

 

On 4th March, my mother moved to her new address, an ex-council house in

need of new windows, re-replumbing, re-wiring, and so on. In other

words, all she could afford - she subsists on a modest pension and

disability allowance.

 

On 17th March, she wrote to Virgin Customer Services for a THIRD time,

regarding your bill dated 7th March for £60.92, (billing period 19th

March to 18th April, i.e. commencing over a fortnight since she had left

the rented property), and referring you to her previous to letters.

 

On 9th April, she phoned Virgin Customer Services. She discovered that

correspondence was still being sent to her old address, despite having

informed Virgin of her change of address weeks previously, and that the

services for which she was both being charged a severance fee AND being

billed (despite being unable to make use of them) were still active at

the old address. She was also assured that she would receive a written

response to her previous three letters.

 

I visited my mother recently. She broke down in tears whilst trying to

explain the situation to me. Clearly, she was extremely anxious,

distressed and upset, as was I to see her in such a state. I instructed

her to forward all further correspondence from Virgin Media to me, for

me to deal with, as I didn't wish her to suffer any more upset or

anxiety.

 

To date she has still received NO reply to any of her letters. She

continues to receive bills for billing periods during which the service

was not in use by her, AND for which she has simultaneously been charged

a severance fee. She has also received your "We're sorry to hear you've

decided to leave us" letter/final bill reminder (dated 30th April),

followed less than 14 days later by a default notice - on an account

which is in dispute! I am only relieved that, as yet, my mum is unaware

of this. She is an old-fashioned lady, and has never received a default

notice or indeed any blemish whatsoever on her credit record in her

entire life.

 

I respectfully request that Virgin Media waive all outstanding charges

(if indeed they can even be accounted for), all subsequent enforcement

action against my mum (she did put the account in dispute months ago -

as I understand it, enforcement action, including a default notice

cannot therefore be taken), and immediately remove all adverse data from

her credit file, with all credit reference agencies.

 

I wish to be able to inform my mum - as soon as possible - that the

matter is closed, and that she can stop worrying or getting depressed

about it. That is my concern and my priority, as she is an elderly,

vulnerable, fragile woman. I, however, am not, and shall be referring

the matter to CISAS, the Telecommunications Ombudsman, Trading

Standards, the Financial Conduct Authority, and my mother's MP, should

the matter not be resolved forthwith.

 

I look forward to your prompt response."

 

Within an hour Virgin offered to halve the cancellation fee, bringing the total cost from £223.40 to £145.46 (cancellation fee plus revised final bill).

 

Job done, or push harder?

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Peachy - interest refunded, default removed

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Peachy - balance written off, default removed

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Hi John

 

Well Done, I would push harder. All she should pay is the revised bill as long as it stacks up. You could add Age UK to your list.

Tell them just because it's in their terms and conditions, it doesn't make it fair, in fact it's unfair.

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Thanks rebel11. I was offered 50% off the termination fee (by Breda Towey, Chief Executive Complaints), "as a gesture of goodwill", to which I replied that I thought they could do better, "in fact I know you can" (denied, of course). I was also told that nothing could be done about a default marker, other than marking it as settled. I thought an account being in dispute put enforcement action on hold anyway?

 

I neither accepted nor rejected the offer, but asked them to put it in writing/e-mail (not received as yet). Should I respond to Ms Towey, or stubbornly persist in addressing Mr Mockridge? :)

247 Moneybox - balance written off, default removed

Cash Genie - bogus default removed

Peachy - interest refunded, default removed

1 Month Loan - interest refunded, data removed

Peachy - balance written off, default removed

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Hi john

 

I would go back to Breda Towey, tell her that if they don't write off the ridiculous 'cancellation fee' in full, you want them to install Virgin Media Services at her new address within two weeks.

 

Here's some info:-

 

http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/scotland/consumer_s/consumer_protection_for_the_consumer_e/consumer_contracts_s/unfair_terms_in_consumer_contracts.htm

 

Tell her that if they don't remove the 'Default Maker', you will lodge a Complaint with the ICO.

 

http://ico.org.uk/

 

Send it to her in writing, don't speak to them over the phone.

 

 

 

Thanks rebel11. I was offered 50% off the termination fee (by Breda Towey, Chief Executive Complaints), "as a gesture of goodwill", to which I replied that I thought they could do better, "in fact I know you can" (denied, of course). I was also told that nothing could be done about a default marker, other than marking it as settled. I thought an account being in dispute put enforcement action on hold anyway?

 

I neither accepted nor rejected the offer, but asked them to put it in writing/e-mail (not received as yet). Should I respond to Ms Towey, or stubbornly persist in addressing Mr Mockridge? :)

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OK, here's a rough draft letter to VM's Collections dept who intend defaulting mumsy on Monday...

 

"Dear Sirs,

 

Re: Account No. xxxxxxxxxx

 

I am blah blah, writing regarding the above account.

 

The account holder, my mum, has both queried and disputed the amount outstanding on several occasions, by telephone [insert dates] and in writing [attach copies].

 

I have made a formal written complaing to VM [attached], also disputing the amount outstanding, to which I received a reply from Ms Breda Towey (Chief Exec Complaints) [attached]. I subsequently phoned Ms Towey and was offered a reduced settlement figure. I have neither accepted nor rejected the proposed figure, pending receipt of Ms Towey's offer in writing, including a full breakdown of billed items, fess, charges etc (not yet received).

 

To recap, this account is in dispute, and has been in dispute since February. If you do not accept this, I state now for the sake of clarity that this account is in dispute as the amount owed is disputed, therefore no enforcement action may take place (and indeed none should have taken place).

 

Furthermore, due to Ms Towey's "good will gesture" offer, the amount stated on the notice of default (which should not have been issued as the account is in dispute) is now incorrect. You may not, therefore, register a default marker, or any other adverse information, on my mother's credit report with any credit reference agency, as:

 

1)the account is in dispute

 

2)the amount stated on the default notice is inaccurate

 

3)any adverse information disclosed to a CRA or other third party will also be inaccurate and thus in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998.

 

May I also remind you that whilst the account remains in dispute you may not take any further enforcement action against my mother, register any negative or inaccurate information with CRA's, or assign or sell the account to a third party.

 

You are also obliged by the Data Protection Act to remove any negative information registered on my mother's credit report since the account was disputed on 5th February 2014, as this information is inaccurate. Any failure on your part to fulfil these obligations will result in a formal complaint to the ICO.

 

Please cease all contact or correspondence with my mother with immediate effect, and refer all future correspondence to myself.

 

Regards etc."

 

Am I there or thereabouts?

247 Moneybox - balance written off, default removed

Cash Genie - bogus default removed

Peachy - interest refunded, default removed

1 Month Loan - interest refunded, data removed

Peachy - balance written off, default removed

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Many thanks. :)

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Just had a reply from Ms Towey, as follows:

 

"Thank you for your email dated 22 May 2014 regarding your mothers recent

house move to a non serviceable address. As discussed I am now

confirming our position as requested.

 

I must apologise that you have had cause to contact us to highlight your

concerns regarding your mothers account. I can understand how this

impacted you and your mother and given what you have told us I am glad

you have brought it to our attention. I am sorry for any anxiety and

upset we have caused your mother during her recent house move which is

always a stressful time.

 

I confirm we received a call from your mother on 5 February 2014 to

advise of a pending house move to a non serviceable address i.e. 34

M***** ****, Rochdale OL** ***. I am sorry a disconnection was not

booked with 30 days notice in line with the agreement that your mother

made with us when she joined on 19 September 2013. I do understand that

you may not have these to hand, the section I am referring to is in the

section named. ?----- Moving house-------, I have copied a link for you

below. These can be found on our web page www.virginmedia.com and scroll

down to the bottom of the page and click legal stuff.

 

http://store.virginmedia.com/the-legal-stuff.html?buspart=Portal_HP_footer_6_1

 

As discussed the services were disconnected on 15 April 2014 and a final

bill was produced dated 16 April 2014 for £224.59. This balance is made

up of £117.35 from bills dated 7 March 2014 and 8 April 2014 as well as

£155.87 Contract Termination Fees. In addition a total credit of £48.63

for advance service charges billed from 15 April 2014 to 18 May 2014

were evident on the final bill as above.

 

As a request was made to disconnect services due to a house move on 5

February 2014, the disconnection was due to take place on 7 March 2014

in line with the 30 day notice period required as above. I have applied

a credit of £57.30 to the account today to cover service charges billed

from 7 March 2014 to 14 April 2014. A credit of £1.19 was also added to

the account to cover call charges on bill dated 8 April 2014 as agreed.

The revised outstanding balance on the account is £166.10.

 

By way of resolution I offered to apply a credit of £77.94 to the

account as a gesture of goodwill. This credit covers half the contract

termination fees applied to the final bill. I note you refused this

credit and referred to a letter your mother had sent quoting the

February 2014 price increase as her reason for cancelling services with

us. As above the request to cancel services was provided on 5 February

2014 as per a pending house move to 4 M***** ****, Rochdale OL** ***.

 

I confirm I am unable to offer any further credits to the account."

 

I've highlighted the text in red as:

 

a)I DID NOT REFUSE the credit of £77.94 - I asked Ms Towey to put it in writing and in detail to enable me to consider it!

b)I'm not really sure what she's getting at with that second sentence! :???:

 

Incidentally, by my calculations, the final revised bill is now £10.23, plus an eye-watering £155.87 disconnection fee, which hasn't - in my view - been satisfactorily quantified (in terms of monthly package costs multiplied by number of contract months remaining, or indeed any other formula...).

247 Moneybox - balance written off, default removed

Cash Genie - bogus default removed

Peachy - interest refunded, default removed

1 Month Loan - interest refunded, data removed

Peachy - balance written off, default removed

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Also, hasn't she basically admitted in there that VM breached their own contract??!

 

:lol:

247 Moneybox - balance written off, default removed

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Peachy - interest refunded, default removed

1 Month Loan - interest refunded, data removed

Peachy - balance written off, default removed

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I think shes saying that the price increase is reason for cancellation, although moving has also been mentioned as a reason.

 

You mum wanted to take the services with her. They say in their T & C's that the services can be taken to the new home.

 

But the services aren't available in the new area of relocation. That simply can not be your mothers fault.

 

They've effectively cancelled the agreement because that area has no services.

 

They expect your mum to pay a cancellation fee because that area has no services.

 

Call CAB explain the situation to them, ask them for a Ref No.

'I note you refused this

credit and referred to a letter your mother had sent quoting the

February 2014 price increase as her reason for cancelling services with

us. As above the request to cancel services was provided on 5 February

2014 as per a pending house move to 4 M***** ****, Rochdale OL** ***.'

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've emailed Mark Davidson (Head of Customer Services) the following:

 

"Dear Mr Davidson,

I am writing regarding the above account on behalf of the account holder, my mother, who is mentally/emotionally unable to cope with this matter. I have her authority to do so, and the account password is "R*****".

My mum, has both queried and disputed the amount outstanding on several occasions, by telephone (5th February 2014, 9th April 2014) and in writing (5th February 2014, 18th February 2014, 17th March 2014 - see attached).

I have made a formal written complaint to Virgin Media (22nd May, attached) also disputing the amount outstanding, to which I received a reply from Ms Breda Towey (Chief Exec Complaints) (attached).

I subsequently phoned Ms Towey and was offered a reduced settlement figure. I neither accepted nor rejected the proposed reduction, pending receipt of Ms Towey's offer in writing, including a full breakdown of billed items, fees, charges etc.

I received an email from Ms Towey on 23rd May stating that my mum's final bill has been revised (i.e.corrected), but that I had "refused" her offer of a reduced contract termination fee (this is incorrect - see above and my attached email reply to Ms Towey dated 28th May).

To recap, this account is in dispute, and has been in dispute since February. If you do not accept this, I state now for the sake of clarity that this account is in dispute as the amount owed is disputed, therefore no enforcement action may take place (and indeed none should have taken place thus far). Furthermore, due to Ms Towey's "good will gesture" offer, and recalculation of the final bill (which was incorrect in the first place, as Virgin Media failed to terminate the service in accordance with the terms and conditions of the contract) the amount stated on the notice of default (which should not have been issued, as the account is in dispute) is incorrect.

You may not, therefore, register a default marker or any other adverse information on my mother's credit report with any credit reference agency, as:

1)the account is in dispute

2)the amount stated on the default notice is inaccurate

3)any adverse information disclosed to a CRA or other third party will also be inaccurate and thus in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998.

May I also reiterate that whilst the account remains in dispute you may not take any further enforcement action against my mother, register any negative or inaccurate information with CRA's, or assign or sell the account to a third party.

You are also obliged by the Data Protection Act 1998 to remove any negative information registered on my mother's credit report since the account was disputed on 5th February 2014, as this information is inaccurate. Any failure on your part to fulfil these obligations will result in a formal complaint to the ICO.

A legal notice to your Data Controller under the Data Protection Act 1998 to cease processing of my mother's data is also being issued.

Please cease all contact or correspondence with my mother with immediate effect, and refer all future correspondence to myself.

Regards"

 

Yesterday my mum received a letter from Moorcroft DCA... :-x

247 Moneybox - balance written off, default removed

Cash Genie - bogus default removed

Peachy - interest refunded, default removed

1 Month Loan - interest refunded, data removed

Peachy - balance written off, default removed

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Hi Johnhn

 

Write to Moorcroft, explain that the account is in dispute with Virgin. Tell them that any calls or further letters will be deemed as harassment as they are now aware that the account is in dispute.

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  • 2 months later...

Hello and welcome to CAG.

 

We don't recommend advice by private message, I'm afraid.

 

I suggest you start your own thread and tell us your story, otherwise it would be helpful if you would advise on this thread. :)

 

My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Powertothepeople i would like to hear your experiance with VM. Could you please start a thread? :)

 

johnhn is there any update?

 

----------

 

It's a bit long & drawn out but to sum up:

 

My Grandma started having dialysis so I had to pop in more to help her her out & take her to & from appointments.

 

I decided to cut back to accommodate her as I couldn't bare to take her offered funds.

 

I called virgin in jan 14 & downgraded my package. I was advised the package would be less moving forward.

 

However, the bills got higher and higher.

 

I emailed asking why. No reply.

 

I emailed again & they replied 3 weeks later saying they've been trying to phone me. No reply to a single point in my email.

 

I wrote a letter to customer services asking for the package to be cancelled & enclosed my initial emails asking for a reply. 1 month later and no reply.

 

I then wrote to the CEO Mr Mockeridge & again (to my surprise) no replies to the points. Again saying they are sorry I was leaving, sorry for poor service and they hope I would return one day.

 

The package was disconnected and my blueyonder email removed from their server. They usually give 90 days for emails to be retrieved but not in my case. Nobody in the company could explain why it was removed and not disconnected.

 

I wrote again asking why and explaining that I will not pay the final bill and that I was considering issuing proceedings. Also I gave 4 weeks notice in April & they didn't disconnect until June so they owed me money.

 

No reply. I issued court proceedings and they put a default on my credit file & passed it to Moorecroft debt agency.

 

I write to Moorcroft with the letters from Virgin showing the new price given in Jan and their bills that got higher and higher since Jan. I also showed that my credit file stemming 12 years had never had a default until Virgin place on. At no point did I not pay, I simply paid the price in the new contract and not a penny more, especially as nobody in the company knew why the bills were escalating.

 

Moorecroft passed the case back to Virgin who have now written to the court asking for a mediation meeting instead of the case being heard before a judge.

 

I received a copy of that defence today and await the courts to write to me further.

 

It is clear I did all I could & ensured I made payment of the price given in Jan on the phone and in writing. I will not be bullied by Virgin Media Ltd and would love the support from all who have suffered at their hands.

 

Sorry for the brevity & any spelling errors.

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  • 4 months later...
----------

 

It's a bit long & drawn out but to sum up:

 

My Grandma started having dialysis so I had to pop in more to help her her out & take her to & from appointments.

 

I decided to cut back to accommodate her as I couldn't bare to take her offered funds.

 

I called virgin in jan 14 & downgraded my package. I was advised the package would be less moving forward.

 

However, the bills got higher and higher.

 

I emailed asking why. No reply.

 

I emailed again & they replied 3 weeks later saying they've been trying to phone me. No reply to a single point in my email.

 

I wrote a letter to customer services asking for the package to be cancelled & enclosed my initial emails asking for a reply. 1 month later and no reply.

 

I then wrote to the CEO Mr Mockeridge & again (to my surprise) no replies to the points. Again saying they are sorry I was leaving, sorry for poor service and they hope I would return one day.

 

The package was disconnected and my blueyonder email removed from their server. They usually give 90 days for emails to be retrieved but not in my case. Nobody in the company could explain why it was removed and not disconnected.

 

I wrote again asking why and explaining that I will not pay the final bill and that I was considering issuing proceedings. Also I gave 4 weeks notice in April & they didn't disconnect until June so they owed me money.

 

No reply. I issued court proceedings and they put a default on my credit file & passed it to Moorecroft debt agency.

 

I write to Moorcroft with the letters from Virgin showing the new price given in Jan and their bills that got higher and higher since Jan. I also showed that my credit file stemming 12 years had never had a default until Virgin place on. At no point did I not pay, I simply paid the price in the new contract and not a penny more, especially as nobody in the company knew why the bills were escalating.

 

Moorecroft passed the case back to Virgin who have now written to the court asking for a mediation meeting instead of the case being heard before a judge.

 

I received a copy of that defence today and await the courts to write to me further.

 

It is clear I did all I could & ensured I made payment of the price given in Jan on the phone and in writing. I will not be bullied by Virgin Media Ltd and would love the support from all who have suffered at their hands.

 

Sorry for the brevity & any spelling errors.

 

Dear friends,

 

I am moving home and I want to take my virging broadband with me but I found out that there is no Virgin Media cable broadband in the area where I am moving and I have still many months of contract. So there is quite a lot of money to pay according to them without any fault from my side.

 

Apparently, there is no service that they can offer at all and if I want internet connections I will have to pay for another company despite I am already paying for them.

 

What can I do? Do you any have any knowledge of what happen to the stories above? Any update or advise?

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  • 1 year later...

I'd forgotten all about this. Anyway, on 3rd June 2014 I received an email from Michelle McQuigg in the CEO office saying she had been trying to reach me by phone since my email of 28th May 2014.

 

I managed to speak to her on 9th June and without any haggling she said the bill had been written off and the default marker would be removed forthwith - and it was. Result.

247 Moneybox - balance written off, default removed

Cash Genie - bogus default removed

Peachy - interest refunded, default removed

1 Month Loan - interest refunded, data removed

Peachy - balance written off, default removed

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