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paul_h1
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Debt collection debacle

I really would appreciate any advice.............

An elderly relative was offered an upgrade in 2010 and Virgin Mobile sent out the new phone - she kept the phone number that she had always had.

Months later, she was informed by her bank that she had gone overdrawn - this was because Virgin was taking large amounts via direct debit. This was investigated and it turns out that 2 other phone numbers had somehow been included as part of her account and these numbers had run up the bills. She got the money back via her bank.

Virgin insisted that she had taken out these numbers and that she now owed a significant amount of money. Despite numerous requests, Virgin offered no proof that these numbers belonged to her and continued to demand the debt. One very helpful customer services person even rang one of the disputed numbers and it was answered by someone who confirmed that they were responsible for that number - still Virgin insisted the debt was owed. Letters written to Virgin were pretty much ignored.

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, Virgin continued to demand the debt and passed it on to a debt collection agency, who started to chase/harrass my elderly relative. After numerous letters written on her behalf by family, the debt collection agency accepted that they had no proof of the debt and told us verbally that there would be no further action (this was in 2012).

A few weeks ago, my relative lost her phone and purchased a new one via Virgin and was also put onto a new contract. Within a few days, she received 2 letters from Virgin both demanding that she pay this "debt" from 5 years ago. I have tried contacting customer services, who sound very concerned and helpful, but seem unable to do anything about the situation. She has now received a letter from the debt collection agency once again demanding the debt.

I have contacted the debt collection agency who were "appalled" this had happened, as Virgin had led them to believe that this was a new debt.

My relative is in her late seventies, is recently widowed and is currently undergoing chemotherapy for a recurrance of cancer. The renewed harrassment from Virgin Mobile is making her very stressed just at the time when she needs it least. I have tried to explain all this to Virgin, but am hitting a brick wall.

I have never before come accross a company that refuses to engage with its customer and just insists in a "computer says no" manner that they are right. Does anyone have any idea who I can write to who has the the authority to deal with this as Virgin is currently causing a huge amount of distress. 

Sorry about the rant, but any advice would be gratefully received.

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paul_h1
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Re: Debt collection debacle

Hi

Anyone got an email address for anyone in authority at Virgin Media?

Have spent too way much time with telephone support staff, who are lovely people, but do not have the knowledge/authority to attend to my issues. From past experience, our letters get pretty much ignored, so I am struggling to have any meaningful communication with Virgin Mobile.

The way things are going, I think the only way we will stop the harassment is if we issue court proceedings against Virgin Mobile.

How a supposedly legitimate organisation can treat any customer, let alone a vulnerable, elderly person in such a vile manner is beyond me.

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marrtin
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Re: Debt collection debacle

I'm afraid this is how it is these days.  Don't think that Virgin Media is any better or worse than any other of the large institutional companies because it isn't.  Real customer service just doesn't exist anymore and because of that, it is often ineffective at sorting problems such as yours.

I changed my bank details in May this year, and since then Vodafone don't seem to be able to set up a direct debit so the account goes in to arrears each month.  I've spent hours on the phone, written letters, received apologies from them yet the problem persists.  In fact, I've just had a threatening phone call off them in the last 5 minutes.  It's just appalling.

Why don't you report the issue to the Ombudsman Services?  They may take the issue up on your behalf and save you the stress.

http://www.ombudsman-services.org/communications.html   

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HughJarsse
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Re: Debt collection debacle


paul_h1 wrote:

Hi

Anyone got an email address for anyone in authority at Virgin Media?

Have spent too way much time with telephone support staff, who are lovely people, but do not have the knowledge/authority to attend to my issues. From past experience, our letters get pretty much ignored, so I am struggling to have any meaningful communication with Virgin Mobile.

The way things are going, I think the only way we will stop the harassment is if we issue court proceedings against Virgin Mobile.

How a supposedly legitimate organisation can treat any customer, let alone a vulnerable, elderly person in such a vile manner is beyond me.


Paul, the mods on this site WILL NOT let you post e-mail or postal addresses for anyone within VM management, they get removed.

(perhaps they are too ashamed to let people have them??)

I have PM'd you....Hope this helps..

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paul_h1
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Re: Debt collection debacle

Many thanks for the PM HughJarsse.

Interestingly, the email address had been removed from your PM, but I found it from the link. It's a pity VM don't spend more resources sorting out their mistakes rather than censoring "private" messages and harassing vulnerable people.

Cheers.

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HughJarsse
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Re: Debt collection debacle

Maybe a mod would like to explain WHY a PRIVATE MESSAGE has been 'edited' please??

I was led to believe these were 'PRIVATE' and NOT open to scrutiny by mods?? (that's why they are 'private messages'!!)

I would also have liked the mod to have informed me that a message had been 'edited' as a matter of decency, rather than letting me find out from the person it was sent to...

We are expected to show 'respect' to the mods, yet they appear not to do the same for us!

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Superuser
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Re: Debt collection debacle


HughJarsse wrote:

Maybe a mod would like to explain WHY a PRIVATE MESSAGE has been 'edited' please??

I was led to believe these were 'PRIVATE' and NOT open to scrutiny by mods?? (that's why they are 'private messages'!!)

I don't think there's any legal requirement for online message boards to provide any promise of confidentiality with their private message function.

I've sent you a private message with an email address. If it gets through to you intact, you'll know your message was edited manually or automatically after being flagged as containing content of interest. If it comes through without the address, you'll know that Lithium is just deleting email addresses in PMs automatically.

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paul_h1
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Re: Debt collection debacle

Hi Marrtin

Thanks very much for the info about the ombudsman - thought you might be interested in how it worked. I followed the link to the ombudsman and then linked through to the ombudsman-backed service "Resolver". Set out my complaint via Resolver and immediately got a reply email back from Virgin Mobile saying they do not monitor that email account any more. Turns out they no longer accept complaints from Resolver and are not now a member of the ombudsman service (although hundreds of other communications companies are).

It would appear that Virgin Mobile no longer allow email as a means for their customers to contact them with a complaint. This seems strange for a communications company and I would suggest it is a deliberate policy to make it as difficult as possible for its customers to complain effectively.

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marrtin
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Re: Debt collection debacle

Sorry, I should have checked they were a member but I just assumed.

Guessing that VM would have some sort of adjudication procedure, I did a bit of research on the VM site and found this wepage help.virginmedia.com/.

There is a link to a pdf and the adjudication service they are a member of.

http://www.cedr.com/cisas/

Hope this helps. 

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Superuser
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Message 10 of 10
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Re: Debt collection debacle


HughJarsse wrote:

Maybe a mod would like to explain WHY a PRIVATE MESSAGE has been 'edited' please??

I was led to believe these were 'PRIVATE' and NOT open to scrutiny by mods?? (that's why they are 'private messages'!!)

I would also have liked the mod to have informed me that a message had been 'edited' as a matter of decency, rather than letting me find out from the person it was sent to...


Just had an official response to this. Some content (such as certain email addresses) is filtered automatically even in private messages. The moderators and forum team are not able to read or edit private messages of other members. Because there's no person involved - there's no thought process prompted along the lines of "Maybe this user would like an explanation as to why it's been edited."

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