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End of my tether

Some of this is a repeat but it's developed

After intermittent but regular broadband problems I called to discuss leaving. I pay £111/month. I was offered a paltry tenner discount. I said no. I was offered a deal for 99 quid with faster broadband, extra box, sky cinema added and free SIM card with unlimited data, calls and texts. I said yes. We were told it would take 48 hrs to go through.

 A few days later I got a bill for £111 and no service change. I called to complain and you were too busy to take calls. I called again the following night and was on the phone including holding for around an hour. I was told there was an IT problem causing a hold up - the broadband and mobile accounts could not be linked. Until that was solved the £99 offer could not be honoured. There was no indication of when it would be solved.

 I asked them to make further enquiries, the supervisor said I should ring the next day. I said you call me and he said ok. The next day he did call and said he was putting me through to the relevant department. I was then on hold for 40 minutes - after you called me. 

Eventually a guy called a Keith answered who didn’t know who I was and even asked why I had been put through to him. I explained, he investigated and said the computer problem was still there but he could offer me a discount on my current service to pay £86 per month. I said I would think about. 

The next day I rang to find out whether the £86 offer was a discount on the current contract or necessitated a new 12 month contract. I was on hold for ages and spoke to a chap for a while. Then we were cut off. So I rang again and was put on hold again for ages. Eventually someone called Angel answered. 

At first she seemed to say the £99 offer had been revoked completely then explained it was still pending - waiting for computer issues to be resolved. I asked about the £86 offer and whether it was a new contract. She went to her manager to find out and then came back to say the £86 offer had been withdrawn but would I accept £96.

I obviously said no could I speak to the manager. She then came back and said £86 offer had been reinstated and it wasn’t a new contract. I then got an email to say thanks for changing your service your new amount will be £113 ie a £2 increase not a reduction. 

I rang Virgin who eventually said there has been a delay getting the system updated and I would receive an email shortly detailing the new amount. 

This was all against the backdrop of regular broadband problems which have seen me with my third hub in 6 months and regular breaks in service - and I often work from home - which I was promised a while ago would take 2 days to fix and are still causing problems.

I posted on Facebook and the Virgin forums to try and get some sort of resolution. A chap eventually private messaged me to say I wouldn’t get an email re the £86 but he could confirm it had been put through and it did not signify the start of a new contract.

 In the meantime the broadband which was already poor got steadily worse. I had an alarm fitted – one I can control from my phone except of course with broadband not working that was impossible. So I was then left with a partially completed alarm system and wanting to work from home but that being impossible because of the broadband issues.

 At this stage I was fuming and things get fuzzy. What I do know is I had been told our broadband situation would be fixed by the end of June, then by 4th July, then a message told me it would be fixed by 17 July.  On 12 July I rang to find out what was happening and spoke to a  chap in retentions who was pretty dismissive and when I threatened to leave said that we should just wait 5 days to see if the broadband got better although to be fair he did offer another £10 discount if we signed up for another 12 months – something I obviously couldn’t do given I was in a position with no broadband.

When I still said I was minded to leave he said in that case the discount we had which brought the bill down to £86 would be removed as it was a “loyalty” discount and we weren’t being loyal. We’ve been so loyal my wife has an ntl world email address! I thought this threat was outrageous so out of anger mainly at the way I had been treated I cancelled there and then. Disconnection was arranged after the 30 day notice period on 11 August.

 The bad thing is when Virgin works it is a great service. I can source a much cheaper broadband but clearly not as fast so given that and the inconvenience of switching I decided if the broadband got sorted I would give them one more chance.  I did speak to someone else who said the £86 – which involved a £27 discount had not been removed and was being applied to the final bill.  I don’t want to leave but couldn’t revoke the disconnection while the broadband issues were still ongoing.

 In amongst all this was another total outage which I asked to be kept informed by text about. I got a text telling me it had been fixed – it wasn’t.

 In the meantime the broadband actually got worse so I called yesterday to find out was happening. After the usual 40 minute wait I spoke to someone who told me the broadband wasn’t working for two reasons.  There was an area outage and we had been disconnected immediately when I cancelled – ignoring the 30 day notice period. That operator arranged to put me through to someone else to see if that could be resolved.

 The next operator was actually very helpful. She told me the first operator had been wrong we hadn’t been cut off and that I needed to speak to the faults team. However that would involve a 25 minute wait so she would call them, she would wait and she would call me back and put me straight through. Impeccable service.

 She did exactly as promised and I spoke to the faults team who told me it was a tricky problem – no-one tells you what the actual problem is – but the engineers said it should be fixed by 10pm. I said I’d heard it before and my broadband was simply not working. He went on the defensive and said it was an intermittent problem not a constant one – he was clearly worried about Ofcom inspired refunds for full day outages. I explained refunds were not the issue I just wanted broadband.

 10pm came and went and broadband was still not working. I called again to be told, again, that I had indeed been disconnected. I pointed out this was impossible as I was speaking to him on my Virgin landline and watching Sky Sports. He said he didn’t think that would be possible and that was some sort of error, but that he wouldn’t do anything in case we lost TV and phone services as well. He also said if it was an outage that should be fixed the following day.

 Lo and behold the broadband came back tonight – clearly we hadn’t been disconnected - so I decided to call to see what would happen if we revoked the cancellation.  I am a reluctant leaver.

 Tonight I rang and after the usual 40 minute wait got through to a Scottish chap. He said that I could revoke the cancellation and we could go back to the terms we had before. I said what the £86 and he said no £113!!!!  He said there was no record on the account of the £86 and that the best he could do was £103. More than the £101 offer I turned down. More than the £99 with extra box, movies, sim card etc, more than the £86 and more than the £76 I had been offered in the call when I cancelled.

 I said I had the £86 in writing he said he could set it up again at £103 and I would have to try and sort it later by sending the £86 message which was via a private message on the forum to someone – an individual that was unspecified who may decide to honour it.  In the forum messages the helpful, polite chap I was talking to said the £99 offer was dealt with by something called the FMC team. Given I was getting nowhere with the retentions chap I decided I would speak to the FMC team. I asked to be put through to them and he had never heard of them. He said he needed to speak to someone to find out what it was. He came back and said he would put me through.

 After another wait a woman answered the phone, looked at my account and didn’t know why I had been put through to her. She dealt with accounts that were in arrears. She said she couldn’t put me through to the right department because she only had speed dials. Therefore I would have to start all over again. She said there was a 45 minute wait in store so recommended I call the following day.

 Tomorrow is another day. I need to speak to someone who can definitively say what the best offer is.  We have been loyal customers sent round in circles. If we weren’t we would not put up with all the above and try and stay with Virgin. I know I can get acceptable broadband speeds for £30 or less a month. Not as fast as Virgin but fast enough and, critically, reliable with customer service contact that doesn’t involve a minimum 40 minute wait.  I want to give you my money but I need to draw a line somewhere.


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