** !! LOST LANDLINE !! ** -heading to legal redress
I am a brand new customer, having joined VM Broadband on Jan 6th 2022. I joined by calling the UK Sales Team. I shall endeavour to keep this as civil as I possibly can, considering what I have gone through hitherto, and my hours upon hours of calls with no assistance whatsoever to VM Broadband, and no remedy. My next steps beyond this Community Forum asking VM Senior Management for immediate help, will be a lawyer, the CISAS Ombudsmen, and OFCOM. This is my last throw of the dice.
VMBB have simply lost my landline, a number my parents have owned for just under 40 years at one home address. A landline that they need as a health and safety matter. They are registered as special needs under VM as household members, and they both suffer from medical ailments (father with his spine, my mother with her heart, the latter of whom only last week underwent a radiation procedure at a Heart Hospital). Both of my parents who are in their 70's, have been missing very important hospital communication from doctors, consultants, surgeons, GPs, who do not always phone mobiles if they cannot get through on landline, or only have the 'lost' home line registered on their respective records. 30 years ago we never had mobile phones, we only had a house number, and over 4 decades these people that have our house number are in the hundreds. I myself have a severely prolapsed spinal disc, and may be on hand for my second spinal neurosurgery to remedy it, and am not able to receive calls in from medical contacts. Banks, Mortgage Consultants, Energy Providers, Accountants, business contacts of all sectors, our entire family members in the tens and tens who reside internationally that cannot afford to call international mobiles to check in on the health and well-being of my parents, cannot call a home number. Losing our home number you already held is not an excuse and is simply not acceptable. It is also not an inconvenience. It is a very serious health and safety matter.
My situation should have been very simple, as I have already explained to VMBB on hours of calls: my brother was the VMBB + VM Landline (VMLL) subscriber and account holder, for over 6 years with VM. He was last month, leaving the parental home to live elsewhere, and he cancelled the contract. As I am still at home, I called as a new customer (same address) and opened a new contract for VMBB + VMLL. I made a specific request to port over the home number that Virgin themselves were holding at this juncture. My brother's contract ended on 5th Jan 2022, my new account started on the 6th Jan 2022 as a new customer. Somehow, through multiple failings on their part, they could not port over a landline number that was already registered with the same address, already logged and with Virgin, for a change of customer in a mere 24 hours of closing one account and opening another! This beggars belief, so I dug even deeper into it. My last call on the 5th Feb 2022 with a Roshna 'Pradha' at the Connections Team at VMBB (India) revealed the following for requests to port:
-7th Jan - via TalkTalk - why TalkTalk?? We were with BT for 30 plus years, then with VM for 6 years!! We have never ever used TalkTalk!! There was not a single mention of the word TalkTalk when I signed up to VMBB/LL.
-8th Jan - via BT
-3rd Feb - via BT
-5th Feb - via BT (met the same day with 3x SMS to me saying we cannot port, use our temp no)
-5th Feb - via BT (again, this time via Roshna, as a "Favour Request" to BT, she tells me)
Today is the 16th Feb 2022. Roshna's colleague on another call dated 7th Feb 2022, said to me that the number has been successfully found and is being transferred over. This is patently yet another untruth, as it has been 11 days since Roshna said it is being successfully transferred, and it is not. Please note, we have no temp number functioning, nor our old landline functioning still, since the 6th Jan 2022 sign-up, and I am paying for the LL that is not being ported over nor even the temp number functioning.
I have read other VM community posts complaining of exactly the same problem from new customers. This seems to be a serious problem that VMBB does not have an effective handle on at all as a business model, and this is extremely worrying to note the prevalence of this issue for potential new customers. I am undergoing a severe case of buyer's remorse, and I should simply have joined another BB provider. Had I known that you would simply be 'losing' a home number that we have had for 40 years, that was in use with VM already a mere 24 hours before for over 6 years with VMBB/VMLL, I would not have signed up as a new customer. We would rather be without internet than home number, it is that serious a matter to us that we have the number.
On the 5th Feb 2022 I made several calls to BT, as VMBB said the number is being rejected as active when they fill out the transfer request forms. They suggested I call BT to find out where the number is, and if it s returned to them and 'active'. I spoke to a very helpful individual named Will in the BT Connections Team for close to an hour, who said this issue is not new to BT from VM customers, they have come across this many times before. He took the matter very seriously based on the medical reasons I stated for having the landline back, and he said he would be personally escalating the complaint to his higher ups within BT. He added that it seems like VM are trying to fob me off with asking BT for help. Our old landline is not registered with BT, Will told me. It may be likely that it is registered still with VM, who had it under my brother's VM account, and have not returned it back to BT. He said the danger we face is that unclaimed returned numbers (after 14 days of not transferring over to the address as requested of VM) go back into the Cloud Openreach 'pool', and there may be a risk of losing that number forever to someone else. He added that that risk was small, but it is significant. He also added that under the Data Protection Act, that number should remain with us (as requested), it is the law, he added. Will also suggested that I ask VM for a "Call Listen" if my case is not being remedied, to itemise everything that has been discussed with them over hours and hours of repeated failures in getting this matter addressed and remedied. The number must surely be active, as VMBB had it for 6 years under my brother, and 24 hours later it is no longer able to be found by VM when I asked for it for the same address, under a new VMBB/LL contract. I signed up to the new VMBB/LL on the 14th Dec 2021, with the contract to commence on the 6th Jan 2022. There was a whole 2 weeks before Jan 6th contract commencement, that VM were aware of my brother as account holder having the landline under his name at the same address with the same provider (VM), and me requesting it on the 14th Dec to keep the LL number VMBB already have in use under the same address.
I would urge you to take a detailed look at my account notes, and the hours upon hours I have called VM (see end), which costs me my time and money within working days. We are still nowhere near to resolution on this. It seems as though your staff do not take this matter seriously, as witnessed by the rejection SMS's I very quickly and almost immediately receive after calling to complain and ask for urgent help, which come through on the same day they say wait 4 days, six days, ten days, for this to be successfully implemented. The fact is you are not investigating this matter deeply enough, not taking it seriously enough, and this has lead to my elderly mother (literally) crying last week at the frustration and anxiety of potentially permanently losing a home number that we have had for four decades, and that is a helpline for personal health and safety matters. A neighbour of ours had worked for BT as a Technician, I knocked on his door to ask for advice, as nothing is being done by VM. He too, was of the same sentiment and opinion, that VM is known to not take this matter seriously, and that BT are very aware of how VM can often fail to fulfill porting over landline numbers for new customers, often by not correctly completing the renumber porting documentation correctly (see VM's first attempt to port over by contacting TalkTalk in my case, a firm we have no history of being contractually associated with).
So this is a very serious cry for immediate and correct help, to the higher ups at VM UK Connections Teams. It is not an understatement to say that my parents' health is being jeopardized, by not having a working line, more specifically not having our old number back. If I was still within my cooling off period, I would have left VM if I had known that joining would result in us losing our landline of 36 years. Judging by other posts with similar issues as my own, they have had a positive resolution after posting on this forum. I am hopeful that we will have the same outcome, but I need to hear back from people that will actually not merely push buttons (as I have experienced in the customer service dept of India and the sales teams of India), but people that will investigate this matter properly, attentively and with the requisite due diligence. I am requesting the investigation under the VM UK Connections/Porting/Renumber/I.T teams to take immediate action.
* As a total aside but no less significant, as a new customer, you have completely mispriced my agreed contract upon joining on the 6th Jan 2022. My agreement you implemented as a brand new customer (link herewith: https://www.hotukdeals.com/deals/mse-virginia-media-ultrafast-m100-broadband-phone-3836695) is £23.95pcm BB + £3pcm LL + £100 credit + no installation fee (our VM infrastructure was already in place, we simply plugged in the new hub you posted us). I have called several times following the first bill email PDF dated 26th Jan 2022, to state that I joined under this deal (link above), and you are now charging me £47.64 for my first bill, and £65.75 for my pending second bill. I am also paying for a telephone line that I have not used once since joining on the 6th Jan 2022, a line that does not work, and an existing landline that you have now 'lost'. I have been complaining about this misprice for weeks prior to the bill generation, only to hear from VM India that we cannot find what you agreed upon when joining in the account notes (?!?), and then told we will refund you accordingly (no refund issued). I do not want a refund, I want the deal I signed up to, and I want the contract I signed up to, to be honoured correctly. I was also told by VM India, which is patently an untruth once again, that since I recently joined O2 Mobile (nothing to do with my joining VM), moving from EE Mobile whom I was with for several years, that my new 02 contract (which is now conjoined with VM as a business I was told) erroneously removed my initial agreement with VMBB/LL. This is not only illogical, but it is also an untruth. You generated my incorrect £47.64 bill on the 26th Jan 2022. I joined 02 Mobile on 31st Jan 2022. My joining O2 Mobile has nothing whatsoever to do with my contract being erroneously altered by VMBB/LL, as I joined O2 5 days after you processed my incorrect VMBB bill. In one of my calls to VM India, I was reassured that "a manager will get back to me withing 24-48 hours by calling my mobile." There was no callback at all.
I would also like to point out that you have, without my consent, altered my VMBB contract on 13th Jan 2022, after I received an email with the subject: "Thank you for making those changes! We've removed: Phone: Telephone Line Rental - Talk More Anytime - Free Voicemail." This email was received following my continuing complaint to VM that you have still not reinstated my old landline. I would urge you to listen to my calls on this date - there was no conversation pertaining to removing nor altering my contractual agreement for VMBB+VMLL. For some unknown reason, your member of staff in India, following a call, decided to simply remove my LL contract on their own unauthorised volition. On more than one occasion, the team in India "transfers" me to another department, that simply disconnects the call or hangs, and I have to start the entire story, identity security check, and call process, from scratch.
As you see, this is a comedy of errors and deep deep frustration on-going since 6th Jan 2022, that you are not fixing, nor effectively assisting me with. I have never in my entire life, experienced such problems with a firm that I have subscribed to as a new customer. It is nothing but inconsistencies and conflicts in discussion and broken assurances, and a continual inability to take a matter of seriousness, seriously. I am at the end of my tether now, and I see no resolution to fixing this broken agreement beyond a legal and regulatory recourse, which will include a Data Subject Access Request (SAR) by law, should you fail to resolve this matter and contact me with someone from the higher-ups in the UK Connections Team for my lost landline resolution, and UK Contracts Team for my incorrect contractual agreement and billing overcharge.
I remain hopeful at this stage, that you will still be able to help, and I await your response.
Outgoing Call Times to VM to resolve this matter thus far: