Zvonok, i think you have missed the point that a lot of those affected won't ever have considered themselves to be VM customers or VM account holders. A lot of these cases date back to the dark ages of dial up days.
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alas common sense has been lacking on both sides; for the reasons mentioned above and for Virgin Media letting the situation fester for years or decades in some cases.
When orphaned email addresses became an issue for Virgin Media the “common sense” approach (IMHO) would have been to:
analyse which orphaned email address had not been used in the last 90 days and purge them
email the remaining orphaned email address holder and invite them to either rejoin Virgin Media or make appropriate alternative arrangements before pending purge in say N days
I completely agree with all of that. It seems really strange to me that an organisation in the communications business would not adopt that kind of approach to resolve their problem with orphaned email addresses.
You take over an existing business (Virgin Media).
You conduct a review of that business.
What do you do next?
You exploit your resources in other parts of the UK/Europe etc to save on staff and hardware costs (you use a team at Ziggo in the Netherlands to run the email service for example).
You identify and eliminate unprofitable overhead costs (such as providing free email services for thousands of former customers who no longer contribute anything to company income for example).
“Slash and Burn” comes to mind. This is originally an agricultural term which has been adopted by the business community to describe events following (usually) large corporate takeovers. This usage seems to have drifted across the pond from the USA. Companies in the US are not noted for their kid-glove handling of ex-customers, or anything else which doesn’t contribute dollars to the bottom line. We Brits would be instinctively more considerate about this issue of orphan accounts but VM is now part of a US company and is managed by a non-Brit who has probably been told to JDI.