Friday, 29 August 2014

Virgin Media - my sorry story

1.        Returned from holiday to find a Virgin mail drop “The 12 month price drop” (Aug14_DD04).
2.       On 27th August, I phoned to change my broadband/phone/TV bundle to “Big Bang”, which was giving 100MB Broadband (v 30 now) and a Sky Sports season ticket for just £150 / 10 months (v. £250 on my previous contract).  These bundles were available to existing customers as well as new ones.  The process was not as simple as one might think but the customer service advisor successfully switched me to the new bundle.
3.       The same leaflet suggested “add mobile SIM for just £5 a month for 250 MB of date, unlimited minutes, unlimited texts”.  The customer advisor said it was a monthly contract.   As I was currently on a Virgin Mobile monthly SIM-only contract costing £10 per month for exactly the same service I asked to be put on the new tariff. 
4.       I was told I could not have the new tariff unless I had it added to the broadband bundle.  I had no problem with this.  I was then passed to another person to deal with this.  During the next 60 minutes I spoke to at least 4 different members of your staff onshore and offshore, covering “Virgin Mobile”, “Media Sales”, “Customer Service” and possibly other 3 on departments.  None seemed to understand what I wanted; most tried but failed.  Most clearly only understood part of your operation and did not know what was possible and what was not.  Some even suggested I would have to have a new number and receive a PAC code to move my old number across.  Eventually I was passed to a gentleman called Ian who correctly assessed my request and said he would have to send me a new SIM, with a new phone number, that would be associated with my Virgin Media bundle. On receipt, after 2 days,  I was to call customer services and they would transfer my old number to the new account.
5.       At 17:26 on 27th August I received a text “It has arrived”  Your 250MB Big Bundel Exclusive – VM 5 tariff is all set up and ready to use.  We’ll renew your allowance on 27/09/14.  Enjoy!
6.       The new SIM arrived today (29th August).  I inserted it in my phone and rang Virgin on my land line.  I selected the option to upgrade or cancel my contract and after 15 minutes was put through to someone who said that I did not need a new SIM but she was in Customer Billing and could not deal with my request, so would pass me to someone who could.  I waited a further 10 minutes or so and the Lady who answered, who said she was in the Customer Services department, seemed to understand the problem immediately.  She said she would set up the new SIM-only contract on my old number and I should re-install the old SIM in my phone, which I did.
7.       At 17:13 on 29th August I received a text “We’ve cancelled your tariff for you.  Calls and texts are now charged at standard rate.  To add a new one go to or call 789 from this phone”.
8.       Shortly after I received another message “Its arrived!  Your Virgin Media Boost Your Minutes SIM Only – VM 5 tariff is all set up and ready to use.  We’ll renew your allowances on 29/09/14.  Enjoy!
9.       Shortly after that I received a further text: “ We’ve cancelled your tariff for you. Calls and texts…. (etc… see 7 above)”
10.   Alarmed I called 789 as requested and confirmed that you have assigned me to a completely different contract with 200 minutes of calls and 100MB of data.   Your service rep did not understand what it was I wanted to do, and asked if I would stay on the line while she consulted.  After 90 minutes of this nonsense I declined and asked for an e-mail address so I could put the problem and my request in writing.  At this point the line broke up and I could not hear anything further so I hung up.
11.   In the meantime I have tried to find a customer service contact e-mail on your web site and after spending 5 minutes going round in circles with your pretty useless “FAQ” screens, gave up.  I tweeted to @virginmedia and received a reply within minutes asking what the problem was.  As it is too complicated to tweet, I am writing this note.
What I want
1.        I would like to receive the same service as I have had until today at a cost of £10 per month, for the price of £5, that is quoted in your sales brochure. 
2.       I would like to keep my own phone number, which is 07899818420 and is still associated with my Virgin Media account.

I am also inclined to bill you for the 4 hours of my time wasted so far on this trivial transaction (but will refrain from doing so if you resolve the matter with immediate effect).

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