Virgin have been persistently overbilling my friend Stephen who has Parkinson's, with dementia, and who I help with his financial his affairs under a power of attorney. This has been going on for months and they have failed to respond to complaints by phone or online.
On 28th March I helped Stephen to ring Virgin to complain about the amount that he has been paying for phone and broadband, which is far above what other providers charge. Stephen's other attorney was also there. We had researched what packages other providers were offering, which were far cheaper. Stephen asked the Virgin person to speak to me as he struggles on the phone and with processing information.
After discussing options the Virgin person offered a montlhy package of £30 for the same phone package Stephen already had, inclusive of Anytime calls, plus broadband. I said he doesn't use the Virgin TV (having two separate remote controls is too confusing for him) but they said he had to keep that or the package price would increase. I was very clear that Stephen needed the inclusive Anytime calls to continue, not just free weekend calls.
But when Stephen got his next bill, dated 7.4.20, the package had been changed to only free weekend calls & he had been heavily charged for weekday calls. With my help Stephen rang (this was around the end of April) to complain and ask for the agreed package with the anytime calls, plus cancellation of the wrong charges for calls. It was problematic to have to phone, as Stephen is shielding so I would normally avoid going to his house, but it was the only way to contact them. It took a very long time to get through. The person initially tried to persuade us to change the package but we insisted that we wanted the package agreed in March to be backdated, and reimbursement for the wrongly charged calls since then.
Virgin said they had no record of Stephen not wanting to give up Anytime calls - it seems the woman on 28.3.20 may not have had authority to offer that package at £30 and so she tried to cover up having agreed it. I said they needed to listen to the call on 28.3.20. They agreed to do that, then email a response to my email address - not Stephen's as he cannot use email any more because of his condition. They had suggested they would phone back but Stephen and I made clear that was no good because we needed the response in writing so that we had a record and I could then discuss it with Stephen.
There has been no email and Stephen got another huge bill with the wrong phone package still in place. However they had registered the request to use my email address for correspondence as they have been sending adverts for TV upgrades to Stephen at my email address ever since.
On 18th May I helped Stephen to make a complaint online about the failures. We asked for a response by email. That was a month ago and we have still heard nothing. Stephen has had another huge bill with the wrong package.
Truly shocking, but sadly unsurprising. In terms of your rights "not authorised to offer that package" is irrelevant. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, all information provided by a supplier verbally or in writing is binding if the consumer relies upon it. So don't give in if VM come back with some half baked compromise.
In terms of taking this forward, you should see if the VM forum staff (who always try and help, but might take a day or so to pick up your post) can get this resolved to your complete satisfaction. In the circumstances that should be honouring the agreed contract price, and a substantial goodwill credit in respect of the company's shameful conduct.
If that doesn't happen, then you should escalate to the industry arbitration scheme, CISAS, who most certainly will sort this out. They might not be quick, but they are very effective. Before you can escalate to CISAS, you have to have given VM reasonable chance to resolve the situation (which means allowing them up to eight weeks from the complaint). As you say the complaint was initiated in late April, it is probably only a matter of days before you can ask CISAS to resolve this. Make sure the complaint to CISAS identifies all of the issues you highlight in your post (eg vulnerable customer), and that you request (as a minimum) the original agreed deal -backdated - plus compensation for the distress, inconvenience, waste of Stephen's time and both PoA holders.
And in terms of trying to ensure that VM learn the lesson, I recommend you contact the Communications Consumer Panel with a copy of your CISAS complaint.
Good luck with kicking VM's corporate behind until it is black and blue.
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Hi marsal1s, thanks for posting and welcome to our community.
I am sorry to hear of the experience that you have reported. I would like to look into this further. To enable me to do so I am going to send you a private message. Please look out for the purple envelope in the top right of your screen.
No that's not correct. The first wrong bill was dated 7 April 2020 and says: 'Your package has changed. You have been credited £26.00 for the services you removed on 28 March' and it showed that Talk More Anytime had been removed on that date (wrongly as I've said), and call charges of £30.20 had been applied, which the itemisation shows was for just 30 March to 3 April. The phone is vital communication for Mike as he lives on his own and needs a lot of support from paid carers and a network of friends. That is why neither he nor either of us attorneys would have agreed to removal of his anytime calls package, and we were clear about this.
Thank you for this really helpful post. We have been in dispute with Virgin Media since March with them refusing to move us onto the pacakge they offered us on the phone. We were transferred to Accounts to get signed up and then the line went dead. Subsequent phone calls (over 20 hours of them in total!) and still no resolution. VM will not provide an email address for contact (all emails sent to them just bounce back and your are directed to their "laughably called" customer service line. I was "100% guaranteed" that a manager would call me at 3pm today on the number they gave. Of course no-one did. If there was ANY other cable broadband provider I would switch to them. Will try contacting CISAS.