Tuesday, 19 August 2014


Good evening, Synapse Circuit Readers. How are you? The Sun made an appearance today and there is a little life left in summer after all!

Welcome to Synapse Circuit Consumer Care! In the doghouse is...

#VirginMedia #VirginMobile

Dear Synapse Circuit Readers, I think that I ought to make you aware of my experience with Virgin Media (broadband, TV and landline) and Mobile (handsets, tablets and mobile broadband). If you are planning to go with Virgin Media or Mobile here is a warning...

I had a 24 month contract with Virgin Mobile and when it ran out I went to my local Virgin Media / Mobile retail outlet and got an upgrade. The sales person who assisted with the upgrade assured me that the old contract had been cancelled; to be honest the guy looked shifty and I double checked with him and he reassured me. So, that was that. I had a new handset and the old contract was cancelled or so I thought!

A month later I noticed that a text message came through on the old handset to let me know that credit has been added. Strange! So, with that I called up Virgin Mobile Customer Services and told them if a mistake had been made because the contract was cancelled and I shouldn’t have any texts, calls and Internet access. The customer service assistant told me something along the lines of, “It’s a system error... Don’t worry about it... I will sort that out for you...” I took his word for it.

Fast forward to about a year later when a bank statement came through the letterbox... Normally I don’t check my paper statements as my account is pretty much routine and due to the upgrade with Virgin I did not notice the overlap with the old cancelled contract. It was serendipity that I noticed that the amount being taken from my account was from the old cancelled contract. I was LIVID!!! After double checking with the sales assistant in the shop that the old contract had been cancelled I couldn’t believe it! With that I went to my bank and had the direct debit cancelled and made a note of the dates and subsequently called Virgin Mobile to let them know what I thought of the shop service and for them to return the money taken illegally from my account. The person at the other end of the phone agreed to some compensation. A couple of weeks down the line nothing had happened and I put in another call to Virgin Mobile and got a different person who challenged me on my wanting the money back.

“I noticed that you made a number of calls on that number and you say it was cancelled... I don’t think we can give you a refund...”

“You will notice that I called Virgin Mobile customer services...”

“Oh... OK... We’ll see what we can do...”

So, after probably pretending to speak to a superior he comes back and informs me that I will only get a refund and no compensation. Basically, I should think myself lucky that I am only getting a refund!

Considering that Virgin Media / Mobile likes to charge £10 for what they see as transgressions I thought and still think that compensation was in order because Virgin Mobile took money from my account illegally and they should have paid me £10 (at least) for each month they took money from my account.

Anyhoo, I got my money back and didn’t pursue it any further.

Have you also been taken in by the Virgin Media adverts featuring world class athlete Usain Bolt and sometimes old Doctor Who, David Tennant and the main man himself, Sir Richard Branson. Where do I begin with Virgin Media?

Like many Virgin Media customers I fell for the “fastest broadband speed” spiel! I also like watching a bit of TV and got a package consisting of a cable TV box, broadband and landline. Really and truly I could have done with just the broadband alone but I figured the extras would be worth it... Uh-uh...

Starting with the basic TV package... The basic TV package or Small TV package is not quite up to scratch; you can get many of those channels on freeview set-top boxes, etc. I then opted for the Medium TV package and weren’t impressed with that. I went Large or XL on the TV package just so that I could watch the brilliant series, Dexter. Sure, I can’t blame Virgin Media for the crap TV channels but I can query the amount I was paying for these channels. I asked a representative why I can’t pick out the channels that are of interest to me instead of having a lot of crap channels that I really do not watch the representative told me that there is currently no option to do so. I must admit there were some interesting channels that I would watch late at night to keep me company when working on these articles...

The landline... That was the one thing that Virgin Media could NOT deliver! The landline worked, stopped working, I call out an engineer, landline works for a few months and I call out the engineer again! It got so bad that Virgin Media customer services stopped logging my requests to have my landline fixed and there was a time when I had to call out the engineer to fix the Internet, cable box and landline. Along came two engineers to fix the problems and once the cable box and Internet was working they were about to set off again on their merry way! NO!!! I told them that they had not finished and had to fix the landline. The engineers had no idea that they were there to fix the landline also much to their dismay! So, they eventually fixed it. Then later on the same thing happened again... The landline stopped working! I was in the shopping mall and it just so happened that there is a Virgin Media retail outlet within. I stopped by to make a complaint that the landline has stopped working for the umpteenth time. The sales person told me that this was odd as the landline is functioning well in my area; he told me to check out my equipment. I bought a new phone and plugged it in and still nothing!

I called up Virgin Media customer support yet again and complained about the landline and told them that it is no point sending another engineer around if it’s going to stop working. I told the person that they aren’t even bothering to log my landline complaints, what would be the point?

Oh, man... On the whole Virgin Engineers are quite good natured people but there have been some rather messed up engineers from Virgin that I would have loved to have kicked out of my home...

1. The first time installation 3 engineers came round and an annoying young man asked me where I wanted the broadband terminal installed and before I could answer he started installing the broadband cables.

2. An engineer came around to fix the landline and because I didn’t allow him to charge his BlackBerry phone he became surly and left without fixing it. He made up some excuse about “cabling” and when another engineer came out he fixed it in less than 20 minutes.

3. Yay! May broadband router is being upgrading! Whoohoo! The first engineer came round to give me the new router! “How about something for my efforts? Give me what you can...”

4. My cable box had to replaced (first time around) and the engineer was in such a hurry that I had to reconnect everything back myself. Great!

I do not take too kindly to strangers coming into my home but when Virgin Engineers ask to use my toilet I wonder if they have the decency to wash their hands as I never hear water running. Yes, I am a bit of a germ freak! Lol!

That has been my true experience with Virgin Media / Mobile and if you are currently with them I hope that you’re having a better experience. And if you are still thinking about it maybe you ought to think again!
Virgin Media now offers just the broadband alone and considering that I had been asking for just the Internet alone and I am surprised – shocked even – that I was not given this option – especially as my landline never worked as it should!

You would have thought that a massive company like that would look after its customers but not in my case!

Go with Virgin Media / Mobile at your discretion.

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