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Virgin Media. Should I wind my neck in?

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I got caught in a bit of a tizz earlier.


I have had a cable telephone line for years and just over two months ago had a cold call asking me to upgrade to the £30 package so I get the television and broadband package.


It was verbally agreed over the phone that my existing direct debit would be used to cover all the services. I got a letter this morning suggesting that I had not been paying for my broadband and television and that they were charging me an extra £10 for non payment. I telephoned to dispute this. They said the direct debit had not been set up for the broadband and the television. They agreed to take off the £10 charge, but when I told them that the the agreement between Virgin Media and me was to have one direct debit payment, once a month, so they should just cancel the offending bill and add it to my existing DD, they advised they could not do this because if the "Direct Debit Guarantee". I have to make a card payment then they can cancel the extra bill and have one DD as originally agreed. I suggested that I had done nothing wrong and that they should be able to cancel the extra bill and add the cost to the direct debit.


The chap I spoke to was quite patronising and I got angry, it suddenly became a challenge to get them to change the billing to suit my convenience and to be as originally agreed.


Should I just pay the bill and put it down to a bad experience. I was told that my problem was a rare occurence and that they have over 7m customers so mistakes can be made. Are they in any breach of contract? I have had no problems with the television, broadband or phone, only with the offence of the standard penalty charge letter, the inconvenience of speaking to a robot with attitude for forty five minutes and my inept technique when it comes to complaining.


What do members think? Am I being over sensitive?

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I should have a list of all the managers names by now, but I'm too brain dead from speaking to Virgin to do it.


I do not see the problem in using the current direct debit. I have made changes to my services and not been asked to sign a new DD (i have to call up each month however becasue they keep on making cock ups).


I would write to them (include full details as an appendix) and insist that they should cover their own mistakes rather than trying to blame you, otherwise you will be off elsewhere.


alternatively, you could try nthellworld.co.uk - user community - a forum which despairing (but consciencious) staff assist with. I have used them a couple of times and got problems (not related to bills) sorted by someone who:

a. doesn't give a toss about company targets and therefore does a proper job by seeing customer service as the most important thing and

b. actually cares about customers.


Good luck.

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Thanks gyzmo. I'll check out the link. I did threaten to close my account. The guy told me because it was after 30 days there would be a fee to pay for closing. This is where I said he was in breach because the terms were not as agreed over the phone. He would not budge.

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I had problems with Virgin too. They was promising half price deals and then cancel them amd dont tell you, take the money from your account without worning etc. The only solution is to just close your account.


They think that people will not bother doing it.


It took one month to change and when the request from BT gone to Virgin for the number transfer I got a call of customer services telling me that "this department should not have agreed to close your account and you are valued customer...etc" offering better prices.


I have just told them how I feel and refused their offer.


Aslo the changed their BB policy and half your speed if you make more than xxxMB downloads between 16:00-00:00.

New supplier BB is 4 times faster and cheaper.


Until I changed I thought Virgin have the best BB but how wrong I was. Also the new provider have more chanels and is cheaper.

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I have written to the director of customer services. His secretary who rang me back was not so retarded as the regular staff. However she would not budge on the £5 despite the lack of evidence regarding what mysterius 'admin' is needed for my payments made online.


After upgrading my package, to keep me as a customer, I was told that they could not remove the £5 charge. Then, after writing to the CEo, the charge that had accumulated was wiped out but the CEO said that this would not be done in future as the £5 charge was coverd by the diso**** I was getting. Strnge since this was negotiated BEFORE the £5 was mentioned by me.


Anyway in case there was any doubt as to thier sheer lack of customer service I have another experience to add. I had to ring up for a customer of mine as Virgin could not find her payment.


I was told, after holding, that I needed to speak to payments. I tried the number given only to be told that this number had changed and to ring through to the main number. I was also told a cheque had been sent out to the lady to cover the amount in question.


I rang back agian and got a lady I could barely understand. Not her fault I just can't get away with the indian accent. As I've siad I know that's not her fault but its not mine either and, as I had already wasted a half hour I was not pleased. Spoke to a supervisor who knew very little.


He couldn't get through to payments and offered me a call back. When I pointed out how disgraceful thier customer service was all he did was apologize. I even said you are a supervisor you should be doing more than apologizing. I said that I was not going off the line as I had been on hold for a long time twice and the lady had phoned up several times and been given different information.


After some time he put me through to payments who made sense of the situation. I thanked the man for his expertise and pointed out that the regular staff, instead of checking out the situation, had simply guessed and that I had been given two or three contradicting bits of information as had the customer.


His response (I kid you not) "You're talking to the wrong person, I'm giving you the correct information. Its not may problem."


That just about sums it up, I asked if he could transfer me back to the main customer services. He said that I would need to dial back on the main number. He agreed that that was not acceptable and said all he could do is apologise.


The service was SO bad I'm going to write a letter again, take them to the court for the chrages I have incurred then go to a different provider. I just don't understand how companies can be so bad unless it is a consious effort they make?

The views I express here are mere speculation based on my experience. I am not qualified nor insured to give legal advice and any action you take will be at your own risk.

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I can't understand how Richard Branson lets them get away with it. If it was me I would have held a board meeting and told them in no uncertain terms that is was 'my name' they are bringing into disrepute and if they didn't sort it they would all be out the door.

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