Hello Sololobo Just to let you know that I've just successfully backed up my old VM email account via Mailstore on to my PC. Tomorrow, I'll back up the emails on to an external hard drive. Thanks again for your good advice - I'll sleep easier tonight.
Just some summary advice to anyone with a virgin.net email address who has been following this thread:
1) Back up your important emails in that virgin.net email account now (there is useful guidance from community members earlier in the thread on how to do this)
2) It is not possible to link your virgin.net email account to a Virgin Media broadband account. Virgin Media views the virgin.net email service as a 'legacy' operation that could be removed at any time with no notice.
1) There were the original virgin.net email addresses, set up on the very old Virgin dial-up service, where the user was charged on connection but the email address was never actually associated with any Virgin account.
2) Then there were the virgin.net email addresses, set up on the Virgin ADSL National service, which were associated with a Virgin account.
(When Virgin sold off their ADSL service to Talk Talk the existing virgin.net email address remained active for 30 days if the customer moved to an ADSL service other than Talk Talk. If the customer did move to Talk Talk the virgin.net address remained active for 12 months. After these periods the email address should have been closed.)
3) However, if the customer chose to move to the Virgin cable service (if available), then providing a "move and transfer" was requested (this did not happen by default) the virgin.net email address could be associated with the new cable account.
In your situation I would assume that your virgin.net email address was set up under the original dial up service (scenario 1), where you never actually held an account with Virgin.
That being the case, it would be extremely difficult for Virgin to provide you with access to an email account without sufficient proof that you were the original user. Without any historical account data to prove you are legally entitled to use a legacy email address it will be close to impossible for Virgin to comply with Data Protection Regulations.
The disconnected account and active broadband account must have the same account holder
It must be the account holder who contacts us
Full DPA must be passed on both accounts
As you are unlikely to have an active Virgin account relating to your original virgin.net email address you will not be in a position to comply with at least one of the criteria noted above.
There are cases, even fairly recently, where a legacy virgin.net email address can be associated with a new Virgin cable account, but this does result in the loss of all other virginmedia.com email addresses associated with that account.
So it's still possible for VM to transfer email addresses to a different account, sadly just not in your case.
It's What I Do. I Drink and I Remember Things.
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I'm not entirely sure under which scenario my virgin.net email address was set up - it was a very long time ago! I think you're probably right that it was under the original dial up service (scenario 1), but at some point I did somehow acquire a Virgin account reference.
I was probably generalising too much from my own experience in saying that you cannot link a virgin.net email account to a Virgin Media account. However, Virgin Media has never suggested to me that this is because of Data Protection considerations. Their 'justification' has been on the basis that the virgin.net email service is a 'legacy' operation that could be removed at any time.
At least this episode has given me the stimulus to reduce my reliance on an uncertain service.