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Standard User fradalo
(newbie) Wed 10-Jul-13 12:54:43
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Virgin Media misselling cable services


[link to this post]
 
Hi all,
I have read several posts about VM retention period and disconnection fees.. Please find below my story..

I relocated to thee UK last August and, after finding an house, I had to look for broadband services.

After some research I almost decided to go for VM, but I was not really convinced of the contract length. Therefore, I called them and a very nice guy assured me that if I was ever going to move in an area where VM cable services weren't available, I would have not be forced to pay any disconnection fee... He told me he was going to add this information on my account and blah blah..

After few hours I was a new happy VM customer...

Now, after 12 months, I need to move house.. My new house is in an area where VM cable services are not available.. So, I thought, let's call them to double check and, in case, to cancel the contract..

First person I spoke with was keen to accept my request, she offered me to consider ADSL VM services, but she said that, if I didn't want to accept, she would have cancelled my contract. Unfortunately she told me she needed to call me back to finalise this action..

After not receiving any call, I called them back the day after.. The second person had a different approach.. I soon found out that he wasn't very keen in accepting my request.. he told me it wasn't possible to cancel the contract and he apologied for what I was told by his colleague the day before and by the account manager who convinced me to sign the contract..

I told him that his apologies were very nice, but in regards to the account manager, convincing a client with lies is not only a bad practice, but a criminal offence..

To make a long story short, he didn't want to proceed with the termination of my contract, he passed me through his supervisor, who apologied and confirmed they weren't going to terminate my contract without a disconnection fee..

Anyway, I've learned some interesting information about VM contact center..

1- They are based in Manila, Philippines.. Therefore they store and process UK personal data outside of EU. This is in contrast with the Data Protection Act 1998.

2- They record and store all the phone calls to check what has been said - Therefore they store and process UK sensitive data (for example I gave sensitive information about myself during the call) and they don't record calls only on a random basis in order to improve the quality of the service, as they declare when you call them.

3) The supervisor admitted and adknowledged that, sometimes, account managers give incorrect information to clients in regards to disconnection fees.

I am going to report them to the Information Commissioner's Office, Watchdog and Ombudsman.. but, in the short term, I'm trying to find a solution to my problem (avoid paying the disconnection fee)..

Reading posts on this subject I found the following ideas:

1- upgrade my current virgin services and then cancel within a few days as it constitutes a new contract.

2- move to the new house, sign a new ADSL broadband contract, and then cancel within a few days.

What do you think?

Many thanks,
Freddy
Standard User kwikbreaks
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Wed 10-Jul-13 13:06:06
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: fradalo] [link to this post]
 
As I replied to this exact same post on another forum...

I think you are on a hiding to nothing. In an ideal world the verbal contract you made with the original salesrep would stand and you'd be able to cancel without paying the early termination fee.

In the real world VM will wriggle out - perhaps by pointing out that there is no disconnect fee but there is an early termination fee or maybe some other way - for instance I doubt you have any proof of the verbal alteration to their standard contract.

Still in this world if you don't pay they'll pass on the debt to a credit collection agency and your credit record will be trashed.

My advice is pay up. Don't mess with any scheme to accept and cancel a new contract as that will just increase the cost.
Standard User broadband66
(fountain of knowledge) Wed 10-Jul-13 13:51:49
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: fradalo] [link to this post]
 
IF they record everything, as you suggest, then ask for the recording and prove your point.

Surely any company with an overseas CS service has to allow them to access a database of your details!

Was Eclipse Home Option 1 & VM 2Mb
Now O2 standard


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Standard User Daemon66
(regular) Wed 10-Jul-13 14:50:05
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: fradalo] [link to this post]
 
A couple of points of clarification:

Lying to obtain a contract is not a criminal offense it is a civil matter. However, if you could prove that they did lie then a civil court would no doubt agree that the contract could be considered null and void. Beware of taking any action on this, if the court doesn't think you have sufficient evidence then you could end up paying both yours and their legal costs.

The Data Protection Act does not prohibit the passing of your details to other parts of the world, there are just a number of rules that have to be followed. If you wish your complaint to get anywhere then you'll need to be clear exactly which of those rules you think they have broken.

As others have said, you are unlikely to get anywhere, just pay up and get shot of them.
Standard User fradalo
(newbie) Wed 10-Jul-13 15:00:12
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: broadband66] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by broadband66:
IF they record everything, as you suggest, then ask for the recording and prove your point.

Surely any company with an overseas CS service has to allow them to access a database of your details!


Thank you for your reply..It is not my assumption.. I was told by the VM supervisor that they record every call.. Surely they have system in place to share information around the globe... I'm not sure they are 100% compliant with UK law then.. the ICO's investigaton will clear this up!! wink
Standard User fradalo
(newbie) Wed 10-Jul-13 15:01:43
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: kwikbreaks] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by kwikbreaks:
As I replied to this exact same post on another forum...

I think you are on a hiding to nothing. In an ideal world the verbal contract you made with the original salesrep would stand and you'd be able to cancel without paying the early termination fee.

In the real world VM will wriggle out - perhaps by pointing out that there is no disconnect fee but there is an early termination fee or maybe some other way - for instance I doubt you have any proof of the verbal alteration to their standard contract.

Still in this world if you don't pay they'll pass on the debt to a credit collection agency and your credit record will be trashed.

My advice is pay up. Don't mess with any scheme to accept and cancel a new contract as that will just increase the cost.


(thank you for replying on many forums smile I will post this answer on both as well)

You are right, I won't stop paying or messing around with my credit record..

As I said, maybe at the end I will pay the early disconnection fee, because of my foolishness..

In an ideal world no VM account manager would have mis-sold a service to clients..

In a real world you should check terms and conditions in any contracts and you shouldn't believe to account managers (now I've learned this).. but you also should fight for your rights and do whatever is possible to get justice..

I come from a country where everyone thinks that "in this real world", even if you are right, you won't get anything if you start fighting against big companies or against the government burocracy... that it is just better and easier to accept abuses and miconducts.. Despite this, I have always fought for my rights..

I won't stop now.. wink

Edited by fradalo (Wed 10-Jul-13 15:02:43)

Standard User fradalo
(newbie) Wed 10-Jul-13 15:08:42
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: Daemon66] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Daemon66:
A couple of points of clarification:

Lying to obtain a contract is not a criminal offense it is a civil matter. However, if you could prove that they did lie then a civil court would no doubt agree that the contract could be considered null and void. Beware of taking any action on this, if the court doesn't think you have sufficient evidence then you could end up paying both yours and their legal costs.

The Data Protection Act does not prohibit the passing of your details to other parts of the world, there are just a number of rules that have to be followed. If you wish your complaint to get anywhere then you'll need to be clear exactly which of those rules you think they have broken.

As others have said, you are unlikely to get anywhere, just pay up and get shot of them.


Thank you very much indeed for your reply!! Very clear and very helpful!

I will not go to court.. not for a 150£ early disconnection fee .. You are right, it is a civil matter, and I'm not going to tangle myself in useless court actions.. but I will report them to ICO, Watchdog and Ombudsman..

I work with ICO and I know quite well about DPA.. I'm quite sure that, from what I've collected, an investigation will start after my complaint wink

Anyway, thanks again for your sensible reply!
Standard User Bob_s2
(experienced) Wed 10-Jul-13 15:11:17
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: fradalo] [link to this post]
 
Far to mail people now place contracts by phone. It is always preferable to do this by snail mail or email. They should in theory send you copy of the agreed contract but frequently will not. You should always insist on a copy of the contract before agreeing to accept it. Never trust what you are told verbally always get the contract in writing and check it.
Standard User pcoventry76
(knowledge is power) Wed 10-Jul-13 15:16:07
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: Bob_s2] [link to this post]
 
They do. However the contract sent is void because it's only the contract on the phone that matters. As per the current consumer selling laws.

Most people (me included) don't sign it. The agreement is already done.
Standard User ukwiz
(fountain of knowledge) Wed 10-Jul-13 16:51:15
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: Bob_s2] [link to this post]
 
This is why I am in the habit of recording any calls that I make to CS departments. A softphone and voip are very useful!

David

BT (poor) -> Zen (excellent) -> O2 (started well, went downhill -> IDNet (No complaints)
Standard User pcoventry76
(knowledge is power) Wed 10-Jul-13 17:13:30
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: ukwiz] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by ukwiz:
This is why I am in the habit of recording any calls that I make to CS departments. A softphone and voip are very useful!


I hope you inform each time - otherwise you might as well not bother as you can't refer to any of it legally.
Standard User fradalo
(newbie) Wed 10-Jul-13 17:20:59
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: pcoventry76] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by pcoventry76:
In reply to a post by ukwiz:
This is why I am in the habit of recording any calls that I make to CS departments. A softphone and voip are very useful!


I hope you inform each time - otherwise you might as well not bother as you can't refer to any of it legally.


You are absolutely right!!
However, it makes me chuckle.. smile Next time I call them, I will start the conversation saying "This call may be recorded for further legal action.."
Standard User ukwiz
(fountain of knowledge) Wed 10-Jul-13 18:12:25
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: pcoventry76] [link to this post]
 
I generally do inform them.

David

BT (poor) -> Zen (excellent) -> O2 (started well, went downhill -> IDNet (No complaints)
Standard User pcoventry76
(knowledge is power) Wed 10-Jul-13 19:40:07
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: fradalo] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by fradalo:
In reply to a post by pcoventry76:
In reply to a post by ukwiz:
This is why I am in the habit of recording any calls that I make to CS departments. A softphone and voip are very useful!


I hope you inform each time - otherwise you might as well not bother as you can't refer to any of it legally.


You are absolutely right!!
However, it makes me chuckle.. smile Next time I call them, I will start the conversation saying "This call may be recorded for further legal action.."


If you do then you can forget using that recording. You must say it as it's meant to be said.Otherwise it won't be counted.

The only situation where you can record a call without someone's permission and have it automatically included is in family court. I've got a whole Iphone full of my ex wifes poison.
Standard User WWWombat
(fountain of knowledge) Thu 11-Jul-13 21:51:40
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: pcoventry76] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by pcoventry76:
I hope you inform each time - otherwise you might as well not bother as you can't refer to any of it legally.

It doesn't matter about using it in court if the issue never gets to court.

If the mere act of recording it, and later playing it back to a Virgin superviser (or even just threatening to) is enough to get them to change position, then job done.
Standard User pcoventry76
(knowledge is power) Thu 11-Jul-13 23:43:06
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: WWWombat] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by WWWombat:
In reply to a post by pcoventry76:
I hope you inform each time - otherwise you might as well not bother as you can't refer to any of it legally.

It doesn't matter about using it in court if the issue never gets to court.

If the mere act of recording it, and later playing it back to a Virgin superviser (or even just threatening to) is enough to get them to change position, then job done.


That's very true.
Standard User therioman
(knowledge is power) Mon 15-Jul-13 18:38:17
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: fradalo] [link to this post]
 
1- They are based in Manila, Philippines.. Therefore they store and process UK personal data outside of EU. This is in contrast with the Data Protection Act 1998.


Sorry what?

In what way does the Data Protection act bar a company from processing data anywhere?

Virgin Media's DP registration clearly states "Worldwide" as where they process stuff.
Standard User fradalo
(newbie) Mon 15-Jul-13 22:51:57
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: therioman] [link to this post]
 
Principle #8

http://www.ico.org.uk/for_organisations/data_protect...
"Personal data shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the EEA unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data."

You might think that Philippines is a territory that ensures an adequate level of protection... but that is not the case...

Which countries have an adequate level of protection?
The European Commission has decided that certain countries have an adequate level of protection for personal data. Currently, the following countries are considered as having adequate protection.

Andorra
Argentina
Canada
Faroe Islands
Guernsey
Isle of Man
Israel
Jersey
New Zealand
Switzerland
Uruguay

And please have a look at this..
http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/document...

as far as I'm concerned they can process data "worldwide".. they are a global company and they surely have customer all around the world..

But they cannot process UK data "worldwide" only because they wrote a nice statement on their website..

Hope this helps..
Standard User yarwell
(sensei) Mon 15-Jul-13 23:09:53
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: fradalo] [link to this post]
 
what was the minimum term of the original contract ?

--

Phil

MaxDSL - goes as fast as it can and doesn't read the line checker first.

MaxDSL diagnostics
Standard User weesteev
(newbie) Mon 15-Jul-13 23:18:49
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: fradalo] [link to this post]
 
I like your thinking Fradalo but your logic is flawed I think. The policy you refer to is around the "transfer" of data from one country to another... no data is technically "transferred" here as the staff working in Manilla/Bangalore or wherever else are working on a secured connection on the same databases that UK staff are using, there would be no more of a risk to data than having someone on the Isle of Mann access your records. Worth noting that Virgin Media is not by far the biggest fish in the Philippines with many companies identifying the cost benefits of using offshore call centre's. IBM virtually pioneered this and have offered outsourcing services from India for years... yet India don't appear on your list.

Also worth while pointing out that the legislation you refer to states that the countries identified are merely done so as no "additional measures" are required to transfer data, it does not stipulate that data cannot be transferred to another country without other security measures in place...

"The effect of such a decision is that personal data can flow from the 27 EU countries and three EEA member countries (Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland) to that third country without any further safeguard being necessary ."

To go to your original point though... if your terms and conditions state that you could exit a contract period without penalty, or you have something in writing from the sales agent you spoke with... then its basically hearsay. How many times do you think the staff in disconnections for any Telecomm's firm have heard the line "I was told that my contract wouldnt need to be honoured if I move house/country etc etc". Your argument is nothing new and is the reason why T&C's exist. I do feel your frustration but taking anything for granted these days leads to these situations that you have no legal recourse against. If you do take further action then please keep us posted but I can tell you the outcome already and what Ofcom's response on the matter would be.

Hope this helps.
Standard User Daemon66
(regular) Tue 16-Jul-13 09:36:40
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: fradalo] [link to this post]
 
fradolo, I think you need to re-read that page you linked to, specifically the bit around points 8, 9, and 10.
Standard User broadband66
(fountain of knowledge) Tue 16-Jul-13 11:18:53
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: fradalo] [link to this post]
 
Have you had a BT phone line? Indian CS with access to your data.

OMG how does a large company like BT get away with it?

Was Eclipse Home Option 1 & VM 2Mb
Now O2 standard
Standard User fradalo
(newbie) Wed 17-Jul-13 12:43:23
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: broadband66] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by broadband66:
Have you had a BT phone line? Indian CS with access to your data.

OMG how does a large company like BT get away with it?


Being a BIG company doesn't mean you don't make mistakes .. from an ICO point of view see what happened to Google or Sony.. (or VirginMedia in 2008)... BT in the past also had some problems with ICO...
Standard User fradalo
(newbie) Wed 17-Jul-13 13:57:06
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: Daemon66] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Daemon66:
fradolo, I think you need to re-read that page you linked to, specifically the bit around points 8, 9, and 10.


Hi Daemon,
I see your point..

Please note that mine was a straight answer to the previous post, which speculated that Data Protection Act didn't include anything about processing data outside of EU..

Obviously it is not, there are some requirements and laws to be compliant with.

As well, it is possible to store, process, transfer data outside of EU if appropriate security measures are in place.. these need to be regularly verified, controlled and reviewed.. Data processor and data controller will be defined, each one with its own responsibilities..
I won't bother you with further details.. smile

But I would like to make an example... Sorry if it is a bit of a technicality..

A company put in place a call centre outside of EU and ensures that security measures are in place to be compliant with the standard legislation.
They decide to randomly record phone calls for improving quality of their service.
Therefore, when a user calls, he receives information about information privacy, how the call may be recorded for service quality and for training purposes.

During the call the call centre supervisor states that all calls are recorded for providing evidence, recording complaints and track down information.

This is different from the information privacy message at the beginning of the call. They record all calls for different purposes..

This, for example, is against the 1st principle of Data Protection Act:
1.Data can only be used for the explicit purpose for which it was gathered.

Probably against the 2nd as well:
4.Personal data cannot be kept for longer than is necessary and must be kept up to date.

In addition:
"call recording undertaken and retained by a contact centre – be it for training purposes or for subsequent data entry – could be construed as data that is being ‘processed’. It is therefore advisable for contact centres to protect call recordings in the same way they would protect any digital or written data where the customer can be identified by that information and so are susceptible to a data breach"

Therefore, this could extend the requirements for point #8 - they might have not security measures in place for protecting sensitive and personal stored infomation...
(I can assure you that there is a very long list when requirements are related to storing sensitive and personal information..)

Sorry for my long winded message... This is all related to my job..
Standard User broadband66
(fountain of knowledge) Wed 17-Jul-13 14:22:40
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Re: Virgin Media misselling cable services


[re: fradalo] [link to this post]
 
Shows how companies can try and hide information by throwing in the "Data Protection Act". Most of it is waffle that many legal people struggle to analyse and comprehend.

Was Eclipse Home Option 1 & VM 2Mb
Now O2 standard
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