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Email from Virgin (included confirmation of account info) but Virgin Helpdesk know nothing about it

andrewilley
Fibre optic

I just had an email stating our broadband is out of contract (and correctly confirming the date that it expired, several years ago) offering a 25% discount on the same package if we renewed again for 18 months. Is this a known scam, as I can't see how a scam email generator would know our last contract expiry date (unless Virgin has been hacked).

Virgin's telephone helpdesk know nothing and suggested using online chat (still waiting to be connected to an agent).

Andre

43 REPLIES 43

Hi @adamelphick thanks for your reply, and we're sorry to hear this.

We're also sorry this was never mentioned earlier by my colleagues - the email that contains the link that doesn't work is being investigated, so we'll report back here as soon as we have any further information on this.

Apologies once again.

Many thanks

Tom_W

Omadawn
Up to speed

Just to be clear and hopefully answer a few questions, the email message is perfectly legit and has indeed come from VM. However, as you have all discovered, quite often VM’s left hand is blissfully ignorant of the very existence of their right hand - this has all the hallmarks of the marketing department going rogue with some hairbrained scheme but neglecting to ensure that the the customer services (and we’ll use this term in it’s loosest possible connotation) people, know anything about it!

Secondly, and I think much more importantly, 25% off of what exactly?

Now imagine that you are getting close to the end of your 18 month minimum term, currently you will be paying a reduced (introductory) rate. If you were then if you were to receive said email, it might easily be construed as meaning 25% off of what you are paying now, with the proviso that you will be signing up for another minimum 18 months.

Sounds like an absolute bargain and you would be mad to pass on it, no? Well, except it doesn’t actually say that, does it?

I suspect it’s 25% off of the full, normal, ‘out of contract’, non-discounted price - which is likely to be considerably more than what you are paying right now.

So, for example, Mr X has a package, which, on paper the full price of is £100 per month, however Mr X signed up 17 months ago, and as an introductory incentive has only been paying £60 - in a month’s time, he will lose this discount and the price will rise to £100. Fine, now, imagine his excitement to receive this email, offering a 25% reduction as long as he re-contracts for another 18  months, surely that mean he’ll be paying just £45 a month, for the same service - as the email suggests, yes?

Except once he signs up, he then finds that it is actually 25% off of the full price and he finds himself now locked in to paying, oh that’ll be £75 a month for the next 18 months - oh and by the way, when, not if, but when, VM jack their prices up by 3.9% over and above the inflation rate next April, Mr X finds that he is no longer able to use that as an excuse to leave early (unfortunately Mr X failed to read the small print - although some of us do, so you don’t all have to), and he’s stuck paying even more, or leave and pay the early disconnection fee!

Two things though have conspired to possibly save Mr X from this fate, firstly VM’s general incompetence in not getting the website link working properly, hence it is actually impossible to sign up for it, and secondly, well VM’s general incompetence by keeping their own customer service provision in the dark about it. I’m seeing a pattern here!

Can’t help wondering what the Advertising Standard Authority might well make of it - I mean VM aren’t actually telling any lies, but the ASA really aren’t too happy about deliberately misleading ads!

I had them try to argue it is 25% of my out if contract price... Which would be £140+.... Except my out of contract price is £116!  I was getting a £10 discount off it making £106, which I lost recently.  So even if it is on MY 'out of contract' price that's £116!  They've gone off to think about it and will call me tomorrow.  After all the problems of the last month with emails, and now texts having issues, you'd think they could get this right for goodness sake!.

We understand the frustration and as mentioned previously this is being investigated by the team. When we have more details or an update we will let you know.

 

Rob

Hi Omadawn,

The scenario you describe of someone whose contract is about to end and who gets this email when their introductory rate is about to go up, doesn't actually reflect what's happening. The email is being sent to people whose contract has already ended, in at least some cases a long time ago, and the wording says "Your package will stay the same, but for 25% less." (Or "Your package will stay the same, but for 20% less." for some.) This seems pretty unambiguous that the people who accept this offer to re-contract should get the same package that they do currently at a 25% or 20% discount on the price they are currently paying.

Totally agree ABrowne!  Pretty sure that's how the ASA would read it too.

Yes I know what you are saying, for anyone who is outside the minimum 18 month period, then they are presumably paying the full whack, yes? So 25% off (or 20% depending on how lucky you are) amounts to the same thing as I was speculating - the offer is for 25% or 20% off the full price.

But I am sure that have seen examples of here of people claiming that they have been sent this email, while still within their 18 month minimum period, paying a lower rate and assuming (not unreasonably) that if they were to renew now, then they would get a reduction off their already discounted price for the next 18 months.

My point being really aimed at people in this situation - the ‘offer’ isn’t quite a generous as it might appear!

I am outside my 18 months and my total (which raised by £10 as my discount was removed) is £116.  So my out of contract total - 25% would be £87.  At least that is my argument with them... which they are calling me about after mulling it over this evening.  Nowhere does the email say "your monthly fee is going UP by 35 quid, and therefore we're giving you 25% off" LOL

Now I am REALLY annoyed!

After spending 5 hours on WhatsApp on Monday, then 10 hours on Tuesday, then another hour on the PHONE on Tuesday, I was assured that a Manager from I believe Outbound would call me.  I have a complaint in via WhatsApp and one raised by 'Mike' form Outbound now apparently.

I waited ALL DAY yesterday - NO CALL.

Literally no one on my marathon SIXTEEN HOUR tour of Virgin Media 'Support' could match the deal I have an email clearly stating.  I did get it matched once on WhatsApp as I have said, and then it was immediately withdrawn! 

Outbound tried to tell me my 'out of contract' (which I should add is actually 'out of minimum term') amount was £140+, which it is not is it £116!! So the best they could do is take 25% off the £140+ making it the same as I am paying now!  Why would I sign for 18 months to something that gives me absolutely no benefit at all (except maybe small print that I lose my ntlworld email address maybe!! That wouldn't surprise me!)??  The 25% - AS SAID IN THE EMAIL - is of my EXISTING PACKAGE.  No changes just sign up for 18 months and benefit from 25% off it.

This email is not fraudulent, at least not in the normal SPAM type way, but it is potentially LYING to customers.  The ASA would have a field day with it.  Having dealt with them for a company I previously worked for, they would rip its wording to shreds as it implies something that is NEVER offered by anyone you speak to, and contains links to get the deal which do not work.

I want the Manager from Outbound to call me like they were supposed to do.  They know the ONLY resolution I will accept is to MATCH the OFFER i was GIVEN IN WRITING by Virgin. How do I get an actual call back?

andrewilley
Fibre optic

I've stopped trying to follow this one up after an hour waiting and talking on the phone, and 1.5 hours waiting for the chat service to even respond (it never did in fact). I don't see why I should waste any more of my time in trying to sort out Virgin's screw-up.

My current overall package price is £90, which includes a loyalty discount agreed last August (which they still owe me three back-payments for, as it took them six months to get it applied correctly, but that's another story). That's what I currently pay each month anyway, so this email offer saying "your package will stay the same, but for 25% less" would mean that by taking out a new 18-month contract I should expect to pay 25% lower than my current bill. So that should be £67.50 / month.

However I'd put serious money on that being a bare-faced lie though, and they will eventually try to offer a 25% discount off their base tariff price instead - i.e. pre loyalty-discount, rather than based on my current overall package price. I would actually be OK with that - as long as they don't try to remove the previously agreed loyalty discount at the same time, what's the betting on them doing that though?.

Andre