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Standard User unjust
(newbie) Mon 27-Jan-14 13:33:11
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Maybe contractual but unjust


[link to this post]
 
I have just witnessed Virgin Media bully a struggling single mother and demand a sum of money she cannot afford because they cannot provide her with a service.

In the interests of full disclosure I will give a brief summary of the background to this so you may draw your own conclusions as to weather I am over reacting or not.

My friend, I will refer to her as E, is a single working mother of a 6 year old, she works 16 hours a week for minimum wage at a pre-school. She is also studying at collage to get her child care qualifications in the hope she can get a full time position. This will enable her to support herself and her son with no need for working tax credits or housing benefit, her ultimate goal.

She recently switched to a Virgin Media broadband only package, as she could not afford TV or line rental this was ideal for her. She requires internet for he course and this really isn’t a luxury for her. As she had no option but to sign up for an 18 month contract, and knew she would be moving in the next few months for a chance at a better job, she enquired what would happen when she moved. She was informed that it wasn't a problem as she could take the service with her.

A few months go by and the move goes ahead as planned, E promptly phones the number given by Virgin Media to assist those moving home. When she phones she is told, “Sorry we can't offer any services at that address” swiftly followed by “There will be a penalty of £120 for cancelling the contract”. Obviously this causes some consternation to E as she does not have that sort of money just lying around. After enquiring if this is applicable, when it is not her cancelling the service but Virgin Media being unable to provide the service. She is told it makes no difference and she has to pay.

E, somewhat distressed, says she doesn't have the money and enquires as to what options she has at this point. The operator then suggests that if she knows who is moving in then she could get £50 by referring them to Virgin Media. E then asks if she could talk to a supervisor or manager as paying £120 isn't an option on her budget. She is told “No and anyway they would just tell you what I'm telling you”. At this point E is quite flustered and enquires what sort of payment plans she could arrange and is informed “None, if you are not a customer then payments in instalments isn't possible”. There follows another 5 minutes of conversation with E asking to speak to someone higher up and the operator refusing and offering no options but paying £120.

I was sitting next to E during this whole conversation and heard every word, I am quite frankly amazed at the poor treatment. She is now in a situation where she will have to get into debt which, in this day and age, could easily spiral out of control. I have known E for a while now and have seen her work hard to drag herself and her son off benefits and to a better life.

This whole episode has made me really quite angry I would not touch Virgin Media with a bargepole now.

On the very slim chance that someone from Virgin Media who cares or has the power to help reads this then please feel free to PM me here.
Standard User RobertoS
(sensei) Mon 27-Jan-14 14:48:07
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Re: Maybe contractual but unjust


[re: unjust] [link to this post]
 
A very unpleasant story frown.

I suggest she writes a formal complaint letter, (maybe you should help her because she may be distraught but that's up to her), to this address:- Complaints, Virgin Media, PO Box 333, Matrix Court, Swansea, SA7 9ZJ. Recorded or Special delivery so it gets signed for.

Don't forget to photocopy the letter if hand-written, or print a hardcopy if word-processed.

That comes from Page 3 of this document. In the same position I would steer clear of email or the online webform, as you may not get an acknowledgement.

Page 4 has details of how to proceed if they don't try to be more helpful. Though I see it also has details of how the phone reps should handle complaints, including referral to a Manager and then a Senior Manager if necessary. Maybe another try by phone, being able to quote that, may work rather than writing straight away. It could be a lot more stressful than writing, or it may work a dream.

I wish her well over this.

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Standard User unjust
(newbie) Mon 27-Jan-14 15:37:32
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Re: Maybe contractual but unjust


[re: RobertoS] [link to this post]
 
Thank you RobertoS,

I will pass on your advice and wishes, she is somewhat distressed by the whole thing. If there is any resolution to this I will be sure to post an update here.


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Standard User jelv
(knowledge is power) Mon 27-Jan-14 17:17:19
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Re: Maybe contractual but unjust


[re: unjust] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by unjust:
As she had no option but to sign up for an 18 month contract, and knew she would be moving in the next few months for a chance at a better job, she enquired what would happen when she moved. She was informed that it wasn't a problem as she could take the service with her.
This part needs to be emphasised. She only signed up on the basis of false information given at the time of the initial contract. She should have been told that she would only be able to take the service with her if she moved to a cabled area. I'm guessing that information would have caused her to reconsider her options.

jelv

Plusnet user since November 2001 - not sure for how much longer
Standard User noppix1
(learned) Mon 27-Jan-14 17:20:18
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Re: Maybe contractual but unjust


[re: unjust] [link to this post]
 
I have had problems with Virgin due to a poor fiber hybrid connection for years and in my view and my opinion the normal customer care and home move team are useless. The only way I got anywhere was to E-mail the ceo office with my complaint. Every time I have made a complaint this way I have had a phone call the next day.
As Virgin kept moving the date for the repair to be made to the network (over the space of a year) I asked them for a dead lock letter and they instantly agreed to end my contract early so I could leave virgin.
I`m not trying to argue with RobertoS in any way as his advice is very good but I would send an email to CEO.Office@virginmedia.co.uk explaining the situation in full. If they still refuse to help then make a complaint again asking for a dead lock letter but ask them to respond by mail only.
This has always worked very well for me in the past.
It may also be worth giving them the link to this thread.
My main argument with them would be that your friend was lied to at the start of the contract and that she informed them at the start of the contract that she would be moving house and virgin said it would be fine.
Standard User vimto_girl
(member) Mon 27-Jan-14 17:38:34
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Re: Maybe contractual but unjust


[re: unjust] [link to this post]
 
Not all women or mothers blindly think cable is available in every home and I find this implicit premise to substantiate the unjustness quite insulting.

The payment is not a penalty, it is in favour of the customer as an alternative to paying out the whole of the contract which would be a lot more. Paying off unspent contracts or cancellation fees or transfer fees is all part of the cost of moving house which any woman or single mum is perfectly capable of factoring in, thank you.

The move was known about before entering the contract, everything was done voluntarily and planned, the amount is not excessive or unjust and was not hidden and is reasonable when comparing to termination fees from BT etc, so I honestly don't see the unfairness that you do. When you take out cable knowing you're going to move, you obviously run the risk of having to cancel and not committing to your end of the 18 month deal.

Anyway, I know you are only trying to help your friend but please think about exactly what you are saying and what is implied. If pursued further, I'm sure you can get most or all of it waived, and I wish your friend luck. The better operations understand the importance of customer service, flexibility and long-term custom, but Virgin obviously don't.
Standard User johnjburness
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Mon 27-Jan-14 17:52:18
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Re: Maybe contractual but unjust


[re: vimto_girl] [link to this post]
 
If we are to take the OP, it would appear that VM were made very clear of the circumstances when she took out the Contract & VM (apparently/allegedly) accepted the Contract on that basis!

Under that basis (providing these facts can be substantiated) then it would appear that VM has NOT complied with the "Agreed" Contract.

Regards,
John
Standard User vimto_girl
(member) Mon 27-Jan-14 18:13:14
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Re: Maybe contractual but unjust


[re: RobertoS] [link to this post]
 
Bob, how much is Virgin broadband only per month anyway? And how hard is it to find an ADSL package, pay the £120, and still come out ahead...

Or does this 'course' need fibre optic speeds I wonder...
Standard User vimto_girl
(member) Mon 27-Jan-14 18:39:26
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Re: Maybe contractual but unjust


[re: johnjburness] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by johnjburness:
If we are to take the OP, it would appear that VM were made very clear of the circumstances when she took out the Contract & VM (apparently/allegedly) accepted the Contract on that basis!

Under that basis (providing these facts can be substantiated) then it would appear that VM has NOT complied with the "Agreed" Contract.
You can tell your whole life plan to Virgin, it doesn't form the contract. From the info given, she did not ask what would happen if cable wasn't available at the new home, and she was not misinformed about this scenario. There comes a point where it is safe to assume a reasonable person knows that a cable service can't be transferred to where there is no cable, that gas cover can't be transferred to a house that doesn't have gas and so on...
Standard User kamelion
(fountain of knowledge) Mon 27-Jan-14 18:45:49
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Re: Maybe contractual but unjust


[re: vimto_girl] [link to this post]
 
The OP is implying nothing, merely stating facts. I don't know why you're being so aggressive. Just because your understanding of technology is broader than someone else's, there's no need to go on a feminist crusade.

If you had read the original post you would realise that money in that particular household is quite tight. £120 might be chicken feed to you but to a person bringing up children on a restricted budget, £120 can be a huge sum.

Bob's advice is quite cogent, given the information in the first post, I suggest the OP relays it to his/her friend.

BeUnlimited
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