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Paulyboy
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Phone line switchover.

Hi, I run my 90 year old Mother's Virgin account for her, and recently she received a letter stating that she needed to book an engineer before the 3rd Sept to organise the change .So I called customer services, who immediately  noticed that she didn't have Broadband. I said she has no use for broadband , just TV and landline . I also explained that she needed the phoneline to connect to her Lifeline, which hangs around her neck and is used in case of emergencies, so getting the phoneline changed on time was a priority.

I was told that she would need Broadband as the new phone line upgrade uses the internet connection to work so she would need to pay extra for Broadband  So I quoted the wording on the website that states that it wont cost a penny to make the move from analogue to digital phone. They agreed, but said she would need to pay a £35 install fee to have Broadband fitted. 
Is the experience I've had similar to anyone else ? It seems unfair to charge pensioners a fee to upgrade to something when all she wants is a phone........she'll never use broadband so why should she pay ?

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Ashleigh_C
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Re: Phone line switchover.

Hi there @Paulyboy 

 

Thank you so much for your post and I am so sorry to hear this has happened, I can understand how frustrating this must be. 

 

Unfortunately the Hub and Ebul, a back up battery for the phone that can provide a working phone line if the internet goes down, will need to be installed for these new phone lines. I am so sorry that this is an inconvenience. You  can raise a complaint to dispute this online here, or if you would rather I can raise one on your behalf. Though I cannot guarantee this will result in the install fee being comped. Just let me know. 

 

Thank you. 

Ash_C
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goslow
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Re: Phone line switchover.

@Paulyboy

There are many aspects of this telephone changeover which seem to be left to the muddle of VM random outcomes and mis-communications. This seems to be one of them.

I am sure in the past I have read a post (can remember if it was from one of the VIPs or a forum team member) which suggested that if the customer required telephone only they would have the VM hub/router device installed but it would only be used to provide the phone service. No broadband required (although you would need the VM hub for the 21CV phone service)

There have been a few topics recently where customers have been advised (not entirely accurately) that they have to get cordless phones to use the new service. IMHO VM needs to to some 'tidying up' of the processes around the switchover especially for those (usually older) customers who don't fall neatly into the cordless phone category nor want to change their phone arrangements.

With regard to your mother's 'lifeline' device, check out the information (if you are not aware already) on the limitations of when the new 21CV connection will work/not work

https://www.virginmedia.com/help/home-phone/virginphone#whatishappening

VM also offer an emergency backup unit for vulnerable customers but this only allows callers to dial 999 and if the customer can actually get to the box to use it.

The providers of the lifeline devices seem to be a little bit behind the curve in responding to these changes but there are now care devices which work via mobile signals. There are also add-on devices which allow the lifeline to work via landline under normal conditions but which automatically switch to a mobile connection if the landline fails. I think the lifeline provider will have to advise further on those options.

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Paulyboy
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Re: Phone line switchover.

Thanks for the reply. To be honest, Its more important to my Mother that the phone line is installed on time, and works with the Lifeline. If she has to pay a one off fee, then we can live with that, but I think the wording on the webpage needs tweeking. I spent an hour trying to arrange the delivery of a Broadband router with customer services, something my Mother could never have done on her own, so I feel for the thousands of elderly vulnerable Virgin customers, in the same position as my Mother but dont have someone like me to arrange the switchover. There phoneline is sometimes there only means of communication so it is vitally important the service isn't interrupted in any way.
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Akua_A
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Re: Phone line switchover.

Thank you for getting back to us @Paulyboy

 

We further apologise that you experienced this in regards to the Landline Switchover. Were you able to resolve this issue when speaking to our team? Do you require any further help?

 

Many thanks,

Akua_A
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Paulyboy
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Re: Phone line switchover.

Hi, I have been told a Broadband router will arrive tomorrow.I will then need to call again (🙄) to arrange for an engineer to install the hub and back up phone line. Lets hope that phone call is shorter and less complicated than the last one. I will update this thread on my progress. Thanks for the reply .

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Akua_A
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Re: Phone line switchover.

Thank you for letting us know @Paulyboy.

 

Please keep up updated on this and let us know if you need any further help.

 

Many thanks, 

Akua_A
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Paulyboy
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Re: Phone line switchover.

Hi again. 

I received the broadband hub the other day so all was good until my mother had a letter from Virgin containing a new contract, which details her new service and the charges she'll pay. So her current payments will remain the same, but go up in 18 months from £69 to £90 per month. 
So her "free " switchover is now not only costing her a £35 installation fee, but then in 18 months will go up by £21 / month for broadband which she'll never use. 
Then to add to it all, I called her Lifeline provider who cannot guarantee that the new fibre phoneline will be compatible with their equipment ! 

I feel like this changeover to fibre is a moneymaking scam by Virgin. Getting everyone , especially elderly people who have no requirement for it, to sign up to broadband and mis inform them that it is "free" when it obviously isnt. 

Could I ask for some guidance on here, as i'd rather resolve this with Virgin before I take the complaint to OFCOM. 

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goslow
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Re: Phone line switchover.

I did find a previous post which mentioned phone-only customers from @BenMcr one of the forum VIPs and a VM employee

Message #25 here

https://community.virginmedia.com/t5/Tech-Chatter/Combining-phone-and-V6-line-in-one-modular-box/td-...

which mentions that the customer would get a hub but not have to use/pay for broadband.

Unfortunately, the link he quotes is the same link as I used above. In another recent topic (ref phone extensions), the VM forum team confirmed that the information contained there cannot be relied on. Sadly, another case of what VM say/do being two different things.

I think your difficulty is slightly compounded in so far as your existing package of TV/phone is not one which VM seem to promote and the last time I looked is disadvantageously price compared to TV/phone/BB.

As you say, it is a backdoor route to simply moving customers onto one of the bundled packages at higher cost.

Might be worth finding out from you mother which of the TV channels/services she actually makes use of. An alternative route might be to look at ditching VM and trying to put together an alternative package or using something like Freeview with an aerial or Freesat.


The lifeline alarm company should be able to offer some solutions to deal with the move away from POTS landlines. Many offer mobile technology as an alternative means of connection, inc. personal devices the user wears but the up-front cost for these can be high.

The emergency backup line which VM offer (999 calls only) is based on mobile technology like the ones at the link below. Devices such as the ones below

https://www.burnsidetelecom.com/terminals

allow access to the mobile network using fixed handsets. Some models allow a fail-over connection so that if the landline goes down, the device automatically switches to a mobile service. The lifeline company should be able to offer something with a similar.

I think if I was in your situation, I'd use the 18 months your price is fixed the same to investigate the alternatives and then give VM the boot and switch to an alternative provider or providers.

Ayisha_B
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Re: Phone line switchover.

Hi @Paulyboy

 

Thanks for popping back with an update. I am glad you received the hub. In regards to price change once the contract period ends, you can negotiate a new price with us. 

 

Was the lifeline provider able to offer any alternatives?

Ayisha_B
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