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Si-manda
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85 year old woman has been left to die as Virgin refuse to fix telephone line

  1. On Wednesday 5th May I called Virgin Media on behalf of an 85 year old woman who lives on her own, is severely disabled and has vascular dementia.  Her phone line wasn’t working. She is by definition a vulnerable customer, but most importantly  a customer whose life depends on a working telephone as it is connected via an an alarm to an emergency call centre.  An engineer visit was arranged for 7th May between 8am and midday.  
 
At 18:09 on 7th May, the engineer had still not arrived. I called Virgin twice yesterday and on both occasions was told that under no circumstances could they share any information with me regarding this account.  The account holder does not remember her passcode, nor her answers to security questions. The account holder has vascular dementia. The account holder did not remember them on Wednesday either, and yet we managed to book the engineer’s visit and arrange for a new passcode to be sent out as a priority postal item.
 
I was on the telephone to virgin for 1hour and 20 minutes in total yesterday, for the most part on hold, I was finally put through to a manager who promptly and deliberately cut me off.  
 
I now have no idea when an engineer might be arriving (if at all) and am therefore unable to arrange for somebody to be with this lady for the appointment.  Furthermore the reason I cannot be given this simple, yet essential piece of information, is because, according to your staff, it would be a breach of security and raise a data protection issue. I work in an organisation that is also very strict regarding protection of personal data.  This is not a personal data issue,  I am not asking for any personal information, I am not breaking any GDPR compliancy issues.  I am simply asking WHEN I can expect an engineer to visit to fix a phone line.
 
I want to emphasise that this complaint is not a grumble about poor customer service, nor is it made from somebody whose internet has gone down for a couple of hours, or who can’t get a channel on their TV.  This is a really serious complaint and plea for help on behalf of a vulnerable, disabled 85 year old lady, suffering with vascular dementia who relies and pays for a working telephone line, and who currently could die, because if she falls over, her alarm won’t work and emergency services will not be called. This is a serious complaint about the extreme lack of care and abuse of power that members of your staff openly exhibited yesterday. 
 
Virgin Media’s Accessibility and vulnerability policy updated on on March 10th 2020 states that 
1) Virgin Media is committed to UNDERSTANDING the needs and preferences of customers in vulnerable circumstances and those with accessibility requirements.  At no point yesterday were we shown any form of understanding or care.  This is a safeguarding issue and one that your staff and in particular your manager dealt with in an extremely poor and offensive manner.  
Furthermore your policy states that 
1.4 it recognises that businesses can exacerbate the effects of vulnerability or create barriers for disabled customers through poor practices. We seek to MItigate this at each and every stage a customer interacts with us.  Yet at no point has anyone sought to mitigate barriers.  In fact the insistence that virgin is protecting the account and personal data is actually being used to build a deliberate wall between us.  No-one yesterday actually bothered to listen to the account holder’s story and assess this situation on an individual basis using common sense, care and sensitivity towards a vulnerable and disabled customer.  The practices displayed by your staff were indeed extremely poor and and have caused extreme anxiety and concern for those of us who are trying to make a safer environment for this lovely lady to live in.   
 
2.1 We are committed to ensuring both vulnerable and disabled customers get fair and appropriate treatment.  So far we have received unfair and inappropriate treatment without any formal recognition of the account holder’s vulnerability. 
 
Finally it says
Both new and existing customers will be able to more easily opt for a friend or family member to manager their account and package on their behalf.  At no point has this been offered or discussed with us. 
 
Anyone any ideas how I can speak to an organisation that refuses to speak to me?  I have sent this message to Virgin’s CEO and their press department.  I am also sending by post a copy of it to their complaints department, but currently none of that changes the fact that this woman still has no working phone line and therefore no connection a life saving alarm.

 

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Gareth_L
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Re: 85 year old woman has been left to die as Virgin refuse to fix telephone line

Hello Si-manda

Thankyou for bringing this matter to our attention on the Forums

This is not good at all and I am shocked and saddened to hear what has happened

I will send you a private message to get the relevant account details for this Poor Lady

Things can be resolved from here, please don't worry 

If you can check the purple envelope top right of your screen that would be great 
Regards     
Gareth_L

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Re: 85 year old woman has been left to die as Virgin refuse to fix telephone line

Hello 

Si-manda

I have got the details thanks for that 

I have just been in contact with a Service and Reginal manager for Audreys area 

I also gave them your contact number to call and arrange a visit to fix the Line 

The Account is now flagged as Vulnerable so in future any faults we can aim to fix them with in 4 hours 

Can you please let me know once you receive a call 

I have let my manager know about this as well 

Gareth_L

 

Si-manda
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Re: 85 year old woman has been left to die as Virgin refuse to fix telephone line

Dear Gareth, 

Thanks so much for this prompt response and action.

I am so grateful that you also thought to elevate her status to vulnerable, without me even having to ask. 

Much appreciated and I will let you know as soon as I hear from a technician. 

Thanks once again and best wishes

 

Simone

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Gareth_L
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Re: 85 year old woman has been left to die as Virgin refuse to fix telephone line

Hi Simone

Happy to help as much as possible

To be honest this should have never got this 

I have just had an update asking for an engineer to attend today 

Please just keep an eye on your mobile 

We will get this sorted out don't worry 

Gareth_L

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Gareth_L
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Re: 85 year old woman has been left to die as Virgin refuse to fix telephone line

Hello Simone 

Just had a message to say we have been out and fixed the issue 

Hope all is okay 

Can you pass on my apologies to Audrey please 

Gareth_L

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Si-manda
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Re: 85 year old woman has been left to die as Virgin refuse to fix telephone line

Hi Gareth, 

Will do and thanks again.  The technician, Antonio was superb.  

 

Have a good weekend. 


Simone

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Gareth_L
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Re: 85 year old woman has been left to die as Virgin refuse to fix telephone line

Thanks Simone

Have a good weekend too 

Gareth_L

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