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mphippen
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New Contract - Now a Loan - No Thanks!

I've been a Virgin Mobile (and Virgin Media for broadband, TV) customer for many years, quite happy with the tariffs and services, and happily upgrading every two years.

 

I recently had the green 'upgrade now' strip appear on my account online and decided to call to see my options. The automated menu system also checked my account and said I was able to upgrade.

 

When I got through to the (very pleasant) lady on the phone she said, at first, that I wasn't able to upgrade until next month. I pointed out that the website and telemenu both told me I could, hence the call. She checked and suddenly I *could* upgrade now. So we discussed the available phones (I went for an iPhone 6) and tariff (she found me one that wasn't listed on the site and was more suitable). So far so, OK...

 

Then the bombshell - new contracts are split into two (with two direct debits to match). The call/text/data tariff is one and the other is for the phone - and the phone contract is now a LOAN. You enter a credit agreement, you BORROW MONEY to pay for the phone - it shows up as credit against you. NO THANK YOU.

 

"I think you'll find that most mobile companies work like this" she said. Well NO, no they don't. They don't force you to take out a loan for the phone. You pay one all-in tariff and they supply a phone on a fixed-term contract. I have at least one other contract with another provider, I know how this works!

 

I'm absolutely disgusted with this change of business model. I will not take out a loan to get a phone on a contract. I'm not having that show up on credit checks - I don't want to enter a credit agreement.

 

This is supposed to provide 'flexibility' for the customer. That's not what I want. I want a fixed term, at a fixed tariff, and I want the phone bundled in.

 

I DO NOT WANT A LOAN.

 

You've lost a long term customer, and I've a good mind to move to Sky for my TV and broadband too, I'm that peeved.

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enlli
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Message 2 of 15
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Re: New Contract - Now a Loan - No Thanks!

Sounds like a scheme O2 have brought out called Refresh where you can upgrade your handset when you like as you pay separately.

 

Didn't know Virgin did it though

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mphippen
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Message 3 of 15
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Re: New Contract - Now a Loan - No Thanks!

Yep, sounds similar. The problem with Virgin is that you are pretty much forced to do this if you want a decent phone. I am with Three too, and I'll be moving this number to them too - a fixed cost, for a fixed term, including phone and no loan.

Watch out everyone - don't just accept a new contract on these terms. It'll affect your credit rating - particularly if you are REFUSED credit.

Not good, Virgin. Appalling in fact.
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Superuser
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Message 4 of 15
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Re: New Contract - Now a Loan - No Thanks!

The old system was, from a legal perspective, "Commit to buying the service for two years at this cost - the handset is included free" and was specifically designed to avoid the implications of credit agreements.

 

This sort of thing has been in place since I got my first mobile in the early 90s. The downside is that it's pretty easy for the customer to get out of the agreement if the mobile carrier fails to keep up their side of the bargain. For example, the Virgin sales rep promised me 1gig of extra data when I upgraded to a Samsung S4 2½ years ago. The data never materialised and it was an uphill battle getting VM to honour the deal. I could have just told them they were breaking the terms of the agreement, quit, and I'd have been able to keep the handset. However, I wasn't recording the call, and strangely enough Virgin's recording "couldn't be found".

 

The new system bypasses all that by turning the handset aspect into a credit agreement. It's not without its problems though - there are people struggling to get an upgrade even with perfect credit scores.

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enlli
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Message 5 of 15
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Re: New Contract - Now a Loan - No Thanks!

Then if you are buying the phone on credit it really should  be an unlocked generic version without bloatware.

 

Personally, I have bought SIM free phones for the last 6 years and gone for 30 day SIM only contracts. I have always been in pocket after 2 years compared to taking out a contract. Also, getting out if something goes wrong is so easy.

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grahamking
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Message 6 of 15
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Re: New Contract - Now a Loan - No Thanks!

Thanks for posting this.... My contact ends in 3 months and even though I bought a 2nd Gen Moto G at Christmas with the intention of going SIM only, I've still found myself eyeing up the contract phones now I'm potentially getting to the point where they've offered me early upgrades in the past.

 

I assumed that the whole "freestyle" thing was just them spelling out what many knew anyway - your tariff each month covers the cost of the phone and your airtime/allowances, and that Freestyle lets you alter the allowances part.  Which you could do anyway.

 

Certainly would explain why so many people are complaining of failed credit checks.  Not too enticing when I can get 2GB plus unlimited everything else for £12 SIM only.  Tariffs seem to have gotten more expensive since my last contract - 500MB used to be the lowest they offered, now it's a paltry 250MB, resulting in the price for anything reasonable being bumped up!

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Superuser
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Message 7 of 15
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Re: New Contract - Now a Loan - No Thanks!


enlli wrote:

Then if you are buying the phone on credit it really should  be an unlocked generic version without bloatware.

 


Well I can only speak from my own experience, but the S4 I got was unlocked and full of bloatware from Samsung, not Virgin. If I'd bought it from the Samsung shop and got a SIM only from Virgin, I'd have been in the same situation regarding the software I can't remove.

 

Luckily I'm out of contract now, so I can root my S4 and stick a different ROM on it. It's just finding the time to be bothered with it all.

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Forum Team
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Message 8 of 15
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Re: New Contract - Now a Loan - No Thanks!

Hi mphippen,

 

Welcome to the community and thanks for posting. I'm disappointed to hear you don't like our new freestyle contracts.

 

A full explanation of the benefits can be found here. I personally like the fact the bill drops automatically once the handset has been paid off effectively leaving it as SIM only.

 

Please let us know if you have any further questions.

 

Thanks


Rich
Forum Team
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Royliv
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Message 9 of 15
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Re: New Contract - Now a Loan - No Thanks!

Virgin are not what they used to be, customer service is crap, sales people always trying to screw more money out of you, everything is too complicated. Thats why I am dumping them, and I have been a customer since Blueyonder days.Virgin have turned into right Sharks!

 

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mphippen
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Message 10 of 15
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Re: New Contract - Now a Loan - No Thanks!

Thanks for replying, Rich.

 

I am not at all surprised that you like the Freestyle contracts! I have read up on the 'benefits' and nothing here reverses my decision or dilutes my point - the basic fact remains that this is now a LOAN. If we want a decent phone from Virgin we are now forced to take out this loan. Well, I have two contracts with you, and, then they end, I am going to move both of them to another provider I already use for the other phones in the house who do NOT require a loan to be taken out. After many years this is very disappointing.

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