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Disabled mother tricked into signing new contract..

On the 21st of February 2020 my disabled mother asked me to "upgrade" her Virgin Media bundle to save money as she's not able to do this without support since she cannot manage this safely as she gets confused easy and is a disabled and vulnerable version. She was paying £76 roughly already.

I wanted to get her the current deal that included the free setup (https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2020/02/virgin-media-uk-drops-35-setup-fee-across-all-packages...) but was informed this isn't for existing customers and ended up agreeing to keep her plan the same as before minus Sky Movies would be removed. The woman said this would be £46/month for 12 months, it'd include the same bundles which were the Bigger Bundle/M100/Talk Weekends. The woman promised there would be no fee for the v6 box, nor installation fees.

I accepted this deal with mums agreement. the installation date set for Wednesday 26th, Her box was installed without issues (minus her having a go at me for losing her recordings but that's another story..).

Today she called me worried and in tears, saying she'd been called least 5 times since her new contract was setup and she thinks she made a mistake. I've informed Virgin Media in the past she cannot do this and that she is unable to manage this alone and I have to sort. But somehow they tricked her into a new contract while she was still in the 14 day cooling off period for a contract just signed.

Is this even legal?

As soon as I found out I called VirginMedia and was told they couldn't do anything as the system hasn't updated. I'd have to call back in 24 hours and take a new plan for her?

This is extremely deceptive to trick a vulnerable and disabled person. How can this even happen when she'd only just had a new contract setup not even 12 days ago. This has to be illegal?

Further more, I logged in to check the contract signed on the 26th and it says it's now £56/month with a £10 "V6 No Colocation Free install" discount that appears to be one time.

I'm extremely frustrated here and I'm hoping someone can make sense of this mess. Maybe even help me fix this without having her forced to pay fee's for VirginMedia's mistakes.

 

 

 

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Re: Disabled mother tricked into signing new contract..

Hi DamienF, 

 

Thanks for your post and reaching out to the Community Forums. Sorry to hear that you've had this experience. If the account is in your mum's name but you are authorised to make changes on the account then the best option would be to remove any outbound contact options from the account. It isn't illegal to contact the account holder regarding making decisions about their account, but I do understand your concerns. 

If the account is still within the 14-day cooling off period then any change can be made to the account as per the account holder's request. If there is a change occurring on the account then it's best to wait for the process to complete first. However, as it is within the 14 day window, It can be changed back to what you originally agreed.

 

Cheers,

Corey C

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Re: Disabled mother tricked into signing new contract..

Hi DamienF,

I suggest you do not wait past 14 days. Whatever you are promised over the phone or in this forum, you will not be able to leave or do any adjustments without hefty fines.

I also suggest you use a moble phone to call them and record the conversation you have with them and save the files untill the issue is resolved (+a few months as they can send some pending payment bill even at a later time as it happened with me) .

I have an ongoing dispute where they deny I have given them 30 day notice to change a contract, because the notice was given more than 30 days in advance. At the time they somehow convinced me to enter in to a new cheaper contract, to which I agreed, but in the subsequent months continued to bill the previouse (higher) amount saying I haven't given notice. Though it is taking a lot of my time, I have decided to take it the OFCOM, because of the systematic nature of the extortion.

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Re: Disabled mother tricked into signing new contract..

This is extremely deceptive to trick a vulnerable and disabled person. How can this even happen when she'd only just had a new contract setup not even 12 days ago. This has to be illegal?

Taking all of this as described, it is certainly in clear breach of VM's (supposed) commitment to treat customers fairly, which this dismal company made to Ofcom earlier this year.  But that's just words, and VM really don't care because Ofcom are a chocolate teapot of a regulator.  If things aren't sorted out quickly and to your complete satisfaction, then the following things need to be done:

1) You should raise a formal complaint with VM (search and read their Complaints Code of Practice).  If there's not already an open complaint, do this in writing and by post, because VM are utterly incompetent in communicating by phone or digital means.  Be clear in the complaint about what has happened, that the account holder is vulnerable, that VM have been told this before, and the full outcome you want (eg reversion to original/agreed package, refund or all payments to VM in relation to mis-selling, and additionally compensation (c£150?) for the mis-selling, inconvenience and the distress in relation to a vulnerable customer).  Also state that you will escalate this to CISAS for arbitration as soon as possible if this is not settled to your full satisfaction.  Keep it all polite, but be firm, and know that you are under no obligation to take whatever VM offer as their "best and final settlement" if that doesn't satisfy you.  If VM either won't settle, or dither, then eight weeks from the date that VM accepted a complaint, then you can escalate to CISAS.  You can got to CISAS earlier if VM issue what's called a deadlock letter, as far as I can tell VM avoid doing that in the hope that complainants will just give up.

2) Contact Ofcom (you can do this via their web site) to copy them the complaint, but start by making the key point that VM are not treating customers fairly, and in particular not treating vulnerable customers appropriately.   If you really want to pile on the pressure, send a similar complaint to two other bodies, the Equality Advisory Service, and the Communications Consumer Panel.  Be aware that none of these bodies are likely to intervene in the specifics of your complaint, the reason for doing this is to pile the well-deserved pressure on VM to get them to stop this sort of behaviour in future.

3) Don't feel obliged to settle for whatever VM offer by way of settlement (if anything).  If they won't come up with a generous settlement for their DISGRACEFUL behaviour, then you follow the consumer guidance from CISAS, and take it to them.  In the last reported data sets, VM "won" only about 2% of complaints taken to CISAS (the worst performance in the industry), showing how badly they treat their customers.

As a Very Insightful Person, I'm here to share my knowledge. I don't work for Virgin Media.

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