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itemised phone bill & phantom calls

forret86
On our wavelength

I don’t have a fully itemised phone bill (which is part of my issue here) but recently I noticed we had large usage charges for landline phone calls on our bill, yet there is no phone attached to the landline! The charges, inc VAT, amounted to around £14.00 in October, for around 60 calls lasting a total of 12 mins - which means phoning around twice a day but for less than 20 seconds. I looked back and realised that the charges started at least as far back as January (I’ve been a customer for around 10 yrs and had largely stopped bothering to check the bill) but then they were only around £5.00 for the month, and they’ve been gradually increasing since. And just to remind you - there is no phone attached to the landline!

I have contacted virgin repeatedly via their awful chat service but have found it incredibly frustrating and wish I could speak to someone. They won’t even tell me which number I’m alleged to have called (apparently that’s against company policy!) and I’ve requested a full itemised bill listing the number or numbers but they haven’t even been able to do that.  I’ve also asked them to block the number (whichever number it is) but again nothing. So guess what, a new bill arrived for November with even more usage charges (64 calls this time) amounting to £15.12 inc VAT. They did suggest sending out an engineer to look at the line so I said ok, I’ll try anything, but when he arrived he had no idea what he was being sent to look at. When I described the problem he was very sympathetic, agreed it sounded like a fraud / scam, but said there was nothing he could do and went off without even getting his tools out. And I’ve just discovered that I will have to pay £25 for that enlightening visit.

Can someone please help me?I feel totally trapped, unable to stop these charges as they keep on rising, and just don’t know how to resolve this. I’ve been a customer for about ten years but this has been such an ordeal I would have happily cancelled if it wasn’t for the fact that I was trapped in a contract. Can someone identify which number I’m supposed to have called and then help me establish that these are phantom calls so I can get a refund. Thanks

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions

goslow
Alessandro Volta

@forret86 wrote:

It’s a conventional wall socket


In which case you may well have a 'crossed line' where the connection for your line/number is linked in someway to another line/number which is running up the charges against your account. The visiting VM tech is supposed to check that no such interconnections are happening so it is a poor show that they did no investigating from what you have described.

If you plug in a phone to your line (borrow one from a friend, family member, neighbour if you do not have one) do you have dial tone on the line? Can you ring out?

If you dial your landline number what message or tones do you hear?

I would suggest you speak to OFCOM for advice on what billing info VM should provide you with in a case like this.

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/contact-us

VM has an obligation to provide billing info for free which allows you sufficient information to identify and monitor call charges (C3.7 below)

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/232064/annex-3-revised-general-conditions-unoff...

The default reply from VM staff on here has been in the past that they can only provide the info to identify the calls if a court order is provided (an answer which I am somewhat incredulous about).

You might get some information from a DSAR but I don't know what level of detail that goes into for the call charges

https://www.virginmedia.com/help/dsar

Do you get to see any of the numbers being called which are generating the charges or are they all lumped into the sub-50p category?

Phantom call charges typically follow certain patterns of number dialling which make it easy to identify them if any of the numbers are showing.

Finally, do you have any other items of equipment connected to the line which might be running up charges? There have been past topics on here where devices such as security or personal alarms, health monitors, audio visual or computer equipment, other telecoms devices such as call blockers have been dialling out unexpectedly and generating call charges.

See where this Helpful Answer was posted

24 REPLIES 24

goslow
Alessandro Volta

Is your VM landline provided a conventional telephone wall socket or is it provided from the back of the VM hub?

Matthew_ML
Forum Team
Forum Team

Hey forrest86, thank you for reaching out and I am so sorry to hear about this.

We wouldn't really send detail reports out like this with your phone bill, I can see you've been speaking to people and also you had a visit.

I cans see from this and the logs it looks like they looked into this this for you, did they help at all?

If so what did they advise? 

What did the tech advise when they come to the property to check this out for a crossed line? 

We would only charge if it was for breaking one of these T&C's;

•    The customer is not present for the technician visit (aka a missed appointment) .

•    The fault is due to customer's own equipment.

•    The fault is due to damage caused by someone at the customer's premises which we were not aware of.

•    The fault is due to theft, loss, or removal of equipment. Cheers 

Matt - Forum Team


New around here?

forret86
On our wavelength

It’s a conventional wall socket

goslow
Alessandro Volta

@forret86 wrote:

It’s a conventional wall socket


In which case you may well have a 'crossed line' where the connection for your line/number is linked in someway to another line/number which is running up the charges against your account. The visiting VM tech is supposed to check that no such interconnections are happening so it is a poor show that they did no investigating from what you have described.

If you plug in a phone to your line (borrow one from a friend, family member, neighbour if you do not have one) do you have dial tone on the line? Can you ring out?

If you dial your landline number what message or tones do you hear?

I would suggest you speak to OFCOM for advice on what billing info VM should provide you with in a case like this.

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/contact-us

VM has an obligation to provide billing info for free which allows you sufficient information to identify and monitor call charges (C3.7 below)

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/232064/annex-3-revised-general-conditions-unoff...

The default reply from VM staff on here has been in the past that they can only provide the info to identify the calls if a court order is provided (an answer which I am somewhat incredulous about).

You might get some information from a DSAR but I don't know what level of detail that goes into for the call charges

https://www.virginmedia.com/help/dsar

Do you get to see any of the numbers being called which are generating the charges or are they all lumped into the sub-50p category?

Phantom call charges typically follow certain patterns of number dialling which make it easy to identify them if any of the numbers are showing.

Finally, do you have any other items of equipment connected to the line which might be running up charges? There have been past topics on here where devices such as security or personal alarms, health monitors, audio visual or computer equipment, other telecoms devices such as call blockers have been dialling out unexpectedly and generating call charges.

Thank you for confirming this @forret86 

Are you also able to provide the answers to in the information requested by my colleague so we can support further on this for you?

Here to help 🙂
Virgin Media Forums Agent
Carley

Thanks for replying Matthew. I have to say they’ve been incredibly unhelpful. At first (when I got the January bill) I got somebody on the msg system who asked me to msg him on the virgin WhatsApp and I thought he had resolved it. He looked into it and said he would refund me back to January for the £80 charges. But I never received the refund, and then November’s bill had the same issue. So I went back to the message system, spent a couple of hours on it only to be finally told they couldn’t help. I then saw someone on the virgin communities had had a similar phantom call issue resolved on here - but he had itemised calls - so I went on the message system to try and get the itemised calls ( surely I’m in my rights to know what calls I’m being charged for?!) but again they said they couldn’t help over the message. They promised to email an itemised bill but it never arrived, and also promised to mail one but it hasn’t arrived.

I don’t know what the reasoning is for the call out charge, I just got told by the person on the Virgin message system that I was being charged £25 on my next bill for the visit. The engineer did exactly as I described above. He came out not knowing why he was coming out, I explained, and he said it looks like fraud but there wasn’t anything he could do. He did ask if I knew my neighbours and whether it was worth checking their lines but said I knew my elderly neighbours well and they wouldn’t be up to anything, so with that he just casually went off without ever getting his tools out.

jpeg1
Alessandro Volta

You need to start the formal complaint process, because you are clearly not getting any help here.  If you don't get a satisfactory response to the complaint you can go to the Ombudsman.

It's particularly unreasonable that you were charged for the technician visit when the fault is VM's and not yours.

- jpeg1
My name is NOT Alessandro. That's just a tag Virginmedia sticks on some contributors. Please ignore it.

forret86
On our wavelength

Just to take November’s bill as an example - it says 60 calls were made for a duration of 12:18 - that’s basically 2 calls a day lasting an average of 12.3 seconds! Who uses a phone like that? And why are they so expensive that the total adds up to £15.12 including VAT? And more importantly, why won’t Virgin tell the number I’m supposed to have called?

goslow
Alessandro Volta

Unrealistic dialling patterns and call durations are a characteristic of phantom calls. Lots of calls of very short duration at all hours of the day or night. Conversely, some past topics have described calls lasting many hours.

If you go back through your bills where you have been charged, do any of them show any of the numbers called at all?

0123 000 0000 is a number that often appears, calls to the speaking clock, calls to multiple random numbers of short duration all on the local dialling code, calls to certain 08# and 09 numbers, international calls and even calls to 999