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Standard User ashdown
(newbie) Sat 16-Nov-19 19:04:07
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VM charging for alleged non-return of Hub after leaving them


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I terminated my Virgin Media service a few weeks ago. It was all done correctly, out of contract, 30 days notice, etc, and as expected they asked for their Hub 3 to be returned. I did this, using their pre-paid packaging and have a tracking confirmation that the package was received by VM three days ago.

Today, I was sent an email and a text by VM threatening a £40 charge if the hub isn't returned. Note this is three days after they had it back.

There have been complaints before in their forums about customers being charged for non-return even after returning the equipment, so I took the precaution of videoing the packing process, being sure that the serial number was visible and that all cables, etc, were shown being put into the packaging.

Readers without experience of VM's atrocious customer service may think that videoing the packing up is somewhat over-the-top and I wouldn't do it with any other supplier but VM are in a class of their own.

I'm just wondering how much hassle I'm likely to have in escaping VM's clutches. Is the text and email today merely a result of their organisational inefficiency in recording receipt of the returned equipment or the prelude to an unjustified charge and the resulting struggle to get a refund? Has anyone else here experienced this?

Edited by ashdown (Sat 16-Nov-19 19:14:03)

Standard User gary333
(member) Sat 16-Nov-19 19:23:54
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Re: VM charging for alleged non-return of Hub after leaving


[re: ashdown] [link to this post]
 
Yes, I got the same email. When I phoned in they confirmed they had received it back. A couple of days after their incorrect email I got one saying the device had been received back.

The delay on knowing when their equipment is returned is not on really. I have heard (through ex employees) that this email goes out to everyone and only by the next stage will they cross reference.
Standard User ashdown
(newbie) Sat 16-Nov-19 21:45:35
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Re: VM charging for alleged non-return of Hub after leaving


[re: gary333] [link to this post]
 
Thanks, Gary. It's not very friendly of them to send a threatening email to everyone who leaves, regardless of whether they've returned the kit. I'll wait and see what happens next.


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Standard User broadband66
(knowledge is power) Sun 17-Nov-19 11:52:53
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Re: VM charging for alleged non-return of Hub after leaving


[re: ashdown] [link to this post]
 
As long as you have a receipt from the delivery company (post office, etc) then you are covered.

You sent it, if they haven't received the goods it is not your fault.

Was Eclipse Home Option 1, VM 2Mb & O2 Standard
Now Utility Warehouse (up to 16mbps) via Talk Talk
Standard User Duck
(regular) Sun 17-Nov-19 15:20:25
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Re: VM charging for alleged non-return of Hub after leaving


[re: ashdown] [link to this post]
 
I had same experience, sent kit back and 7 days later received text & email saying it had not been returned. Another 7 days and they confirmed receipt. A bit shoddy.

Sky Unlimited
Standard User andy88
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sun 17-Nov-19 19:51:00
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Re: VM charging for alleged non-return of Hub after leaving


[re: ashdown] [link to this post]
 
Provided that you have cut off any Direct Debit instruction....

nothing to worry about.

The amount is too small to chase you to court for
(despite any threat)
And to go that far, they would need hard proof of you not returning it

worst worst is,if they were so foolish as to go to court,
you would just send a reply (though the online portal) saying you have proof of returning, and have supplied this to VM - include the trracking No at that time.

But not worth chasing - costs them more than £40 to do any of the above. - and as noted elsewhere, mainly right and left hand departments not operating in sync.

Think of it more as a rather rude automatic reminder than an actual chase notice.
Standard User gary333
(member) Sun 17-Nov-19 20:00:29
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Re: VM charging for alleged non-return of Hub after leaving


[re: andy88] [link to this post]
 
Why would they go to court. They would just sell the debt to a debt collector and then give you a non payment mark on your credit file. There is no upfront cost in using DC or extra effort apart at maximum making 40p on the £1.
Standard User ashdown
(newbie) Sun 17-Nov-19 20:05:18
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Re: VM charging for alleged non-return of Hub after leaving


[re: andy88] [link to this post]
 
I'd actually relish a case in the county court but it would be the other way round. I gather that the way VM operate is not to pursue a claimed debt through the courts but to register a default with the credit reference agencies. To avoid that, the sensible course of action would be to pay the claimed amount while disputing it and then issue a county court claim for return of the disputed charge. They'd probably settle and refund before any hearing. If not, I'd quite enjoy the day in court, but I'd prefer not to have the hassle.

I suspect the situation is as others have said: that VM issue the threatening email automatically whether or not the kit has been returned and only later do they check whether it's actually been returned. It's a funny way to do business.
Standard User andy88
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sun 17-Nov-19 21:06:41
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Re: VM charging for alleged non-return of Hub after leaving


[re: gary333] [link to this post]
 
Whilst they 'could' sell the debt
- it again would be not worth chasing, as it is based on results.

maybe my naivety but I cannot see how they can record an 'alleged' debt that is not
a) a CCJ (so successfully gone through the courts)
b) been failure to pay a credit agreement (eg monthly plan)

A simple I say this person owes me..... without proof / agreement in place... would open them to damages. ?

but obviously could be wrong..
Standard User gary333
(member) Sun 17-Nov-19 21:59:46
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Re: VM charging for alleged non-return of Hub after leaving


[re: andy88] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by andy88:
Whilst they 'could' sell the debt
- it again would be not worth chasing, as it is based on results.

maybe my naivety but I cannot see how they can record an 'alleged' debt that is not
a) a CCJ (so successfully gone through the courts)
b) been failure to pay a credit agreement (eg monthly plan)

A simple I say this person owes me..... without proof / agreement in place... would open them to damages. ?

but obviously could be wrong..


Using a DCA (debt collection agency) is not usually outcome based for this type of debt. The DCA usually just buys the book. Most utility companies simply sell the debt on at an agreed rate, they get their proportion up front and DCA takes the risk. This debt I imagine would be around 40p for every pound (so VM get £16).

The reason why VM could lodge a DA mark (or other mark if they dont sell on) on your credit file is because the equipment is only leased to the customer. As there is a monetary value to the equipment and the fees are called out the in the T&Cs they can simply issue you a revised final bill and let the CRA ( credit referencing agency) know of the outstanding amount. If no payment is made a D for Default will be logged, this is the most serious credit file mark.

Over the years Ive seen many people down play in their heads how significant it is to ensure accounts are settled correctly, and do silly things like cancelling DD and giving the rods. Many incorrectly think only the courts make a difference. Unfortunately even utility companies can cause long lasting damage to people via CRAs. Sometimes its heartbreaking to hear stories of how people have been affected, even years down the line from that missing mobile payment or gas & electric bill thats now been defaulted.

Edited by gary333 (Sun 17-Nov-19 22:08:23)

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