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Tuning in

I am writing here today to detail why I have lost my respect, trust and my absolute lack of faith in Virginmedia as a company and with their customer care and support.

A few months ago around the end of July, my father-in-law, who is almost 80 years of age, received a letter from Virgin media notifying him that his contract renewal price for broadband and phone line would be increasing by around £40 per month. Fair enough, this was expected, once the offer period expired, the price would spiral, no such thing as loyalty to customers these days as we know.

We contacted them by phone to cancel the existing contract when it expired, they offered a discount for broadband only as the phone line was no longer required, but it was still too expensive and a much better deal could be had elsewhere. We were then told it could not be cancelled until 30 days before it expired without paying an early cancellation fee, so we waited.

At the same time, my father-in-law, not being very computer literate, also sent a letter to them at their Sunderland address confirming that he would not be renewing the contract. The letter received no reply.

We contacted them again, several days before the '30 day' cancellation period, again being told it was too early to cancel without incurring the early cancellation fee, after enquiring how much the fee was (around £10) we decided to pay the fee rather than take the chance of running into the next month at the increased price, after discussing this with my father-in-law to check if he wanted to proceed we called back to go ahead with the cancellation. We were then informed that they were experiencing a problem with their system and could not put the cancellation through on that day, asking us to call back the following day. I was a little skeptical at this point but called back the following day.

After getting through to them we went through the cancellation process and were given the disconnection date, we were also told that a letter would be sent confirming this and that the wifi hub had to be returned and a prepaid package would be sent for us to do so.

No letter was received, no package was received.

On the day of disconnection the landline phone was unplugged and the hub disconnected ready for returning. Two days later his new contract with BT commenced.

A couple of weeks later we called to enquire why we had not yet received any confirmation or package to return the hub. We were then informed that the account was still active and was not due and never had been due for disconnection, furthermore we were now on the increased monthly price and we would have to pay for that month before they could consider ending the contract and disconnecting the service!
At this point I thought it prudent to start taking names and notes and logging calls (although all calls are stored in my mobile history anyway).

Since this has happened i have called repeatedly to try and resolve this, but I am getting nowhere, each time I call, I have an average waiting time of around 25-30 mins before getting through to anyone, I then have to spend another 10 mins trying to explain the situation to what I assume (from their accents) is a call centre on a different continent, where English does not appear to be their native language, before eventually being transferred to the same person, a gentleman (with a Scottish accent) supposedly called Gregor, who (after i enquired) works from home, but the conversation continually goes around in circles with the same reply, saying the contract cannot be cancelled until the bill is cleared, from the tone of his voice it sounds to me as if he takes delight in this, I have also lodged a complaint with him and he said it would be acknowledged by letter, I could then raise a formal complaint through CISAS.

To no suprise, no letter has been received. I am now unsure whether or not the complaint has even been logged.

To put our frustration into context here I will add that 2 months ago my mother-in-law sadly passed away. There were many things that had to be sorted out, death certificates, wills, joint bank accounts, pensions etc, all of these were considerably easier to do than this current farce with Virgin, also worth a mention, cancelling her mobile phone contract with EE, was a compassionate and completely stress free experience.

Tonight I received a phone call from my father-in-law who was distressed after receiving an email from Virgin claiming they were terminating his services, which by the way have not been used since the 'bogus'disconnection date (surely they can see this?) and the outstanding amount may be passed on to a debt collection agency.

We now have a bill for 3 months of unused services that should have been cancelled 4 months ago.

How can a company like Virgin be this incapable, or is it intentional?

Disorganisation followed by dishonesty followed by threat and bullying.

I will be calling CISAS tomorrow for legal advice and fully intend to make a claim for compensation for the continued stress this is causing in a time of grief.

Please feel free to post this on any social media platform, blog or website of interest as i will be doing so.

Shame on you Virgin media.


Alessandro Volta

It saddens me when I see stories like this, but the persistence with which they crop up confirms that Virgin Media think their customer service is entirely acceptable and there is no need for change.  And as such this is intentional.

Within the events described, there's so many breaches of regulation, contract and statute law that I won't bother to elaborate all of them.  As next steps, you should certainly contact CISAS and ask how to proceed when the company has been asked for but not provided a deadlock letter, as that is another failure to comply with the Ofcom complaints code.  In my experience with another adjudication service, they would happily accept complaints if the company in question did not abide by their own process and industry regulation.

CISAS can offer advice on their own complaints process only.  They can't offer legal advice, but Citizens Advice can and will.  Additionally do a short summary complaint to Ofcom, but stick to the basics (even re-use the text of your post here) because Ofcom do monitor complaints but are pretty useless and don't do much about them.

It is now normal for the forum staff to offer to resolve complaints reported here, and that will be quicker and easier for you/your dad.  However, the company are absolute misers when it comes to settlements. so bearing in mind that there are multiple very serious failings in the events described, and these are aggravated by your father's vulnerability, and by VM's persistent errors and failure to fix, you'd be looking at not only the refund of any payments taking after trying to cancel, but also compensation of several hundred pounds.  If you really want VM to be held to account, reject any forum staff offer to investigate, because with CISAS and independent professional adjudicator will assess the whole case.  If VM resolve it, you'd have to trust a company that sees its own performance thus far as entirely acceptable (despite the hand-wringing apology that you'll shortly get in this forum along the lines "this is not the standard of service we aim to provide".  It clearly is the standard of service the company aims to provide, because it keeps happening. 

Alessandro Volta

@tmc123 wrote:

I am writing here today to detail why I have lost my respect, trust and my absolute lack of faith in Virginmedia as a company and with their customer care and support.


Can't improve on the good advice from Andrew-G. Sadly, similar stories have been recounted on here many times in the past. They recount behaviour by VM with is totally unacceptable such as refusing to accept 30 day notice to cancel and starting new contracts which should actually have been cancellations etc. etc.

You could also get your father-in-law to put in a DSAR to access his account info for any records on the account

but the timescales you mention mean you might be on the limit of VM's stated retention periods for phone calls (180 days).

One of the VIPs or a moderator may move your topic out of 'Community Natter' and into the 'Account Management - Cable' forum as the VM forum team don't routinely reply in the former but do in the latter.

Thank you for the helpful advice. It is indeed saddening that many companies seem to be going down this route of dishonest practices which appears to be getting worse all the time.

I will look into these points and also give citizens advice a call on the legal side.

Again some good advice, thank you.

I will look into the DSAR link right away as I have specifically asked them each time I've called if they've noted the discussion. I'll also repost in the account forum in the hope it won't be deleted as a double post.

Very Insightful Person
Very Insightful Person

Hi @tmc123 

I've already moved your thread to the account forum so no need to repost.

I don't work for Virgin Media.
I'm a Very Insightful Person, I'm here to share knowledge.
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Great, thanks Dave. I've just filled out the DSAR form.

Seems I've ticked the problem as solved, which it certainly is not! My error.

Alessandro Volta

You can untick "helpful answers" to remove the "solved" tage.  Although since this is a known forum problem it won't stop the staff taking a look and replying.


Ahh, thanks Andrew, I'll try that.