I don't think you have factored in consumer protection law my legalistic friend.
The argument that customers should read the terms and conditions of the contract as you assert they are "supposed" to did not impress OFCOM
when they fined EE and Virgin. It's such a shame they did not hire you as their brilliant advocate and then perhaps they would have won their cases with your incisive arguments.
The point of most consumer laws are to protect the "ordinary" consumer, who is busily getting on with their lives and often engages only fitfully with organisation that make a business of trying to get their money. This means that contracts and terms must be fair and the options available to consumers need to be clearly represented at all critical junctures of the selling process. This includes telephone conversations, websites and emails as well as the formal contract. It sounds as if you have missed the entire financial PPI misselling scandal or the multiple interventions that OFCOM have made to make service contracts for Broadband and mobile "fair". In all of those cases the courts or regulators ruled that despite the contracts clearly stating the terms to be agreed between the parties, yet they were unfair because the seller ignored information which could have changed the buyer's agreement to enter into the contract in the first place. This was the original poster's point, that alternate options were not made clear by the seller.
Re your specific points
1:/ You state that Virgin's undertaking was not specifically for "existing" customers. That is not correct...If you read the actual case from the link I provided you will see that the scandal occurred only for "existing" customers who after 12 months were placed on new 12 month contracts, even when they indicated to Virgin that they might be moving. In addition, in that case Virgin charged them penalties at the non-discounted rate after they had moved. New customers might also face this issue but that was not the basis of the issue here.
Virgin made restitution to as many customers as it could find and the remainder of the estimated overcharging was allocated to go to Charity, so you are wrong to suggest that Virgin made the same assumption that you have.
4:/you state "4) I neveree changed ‘but’ is not a solid foundation for any argument."
You have misquoted and omitted a key word from my statement,presumably in an attempt to undermine my argument for no good reason in my view other than to show how "clever" you are..
I actually said "per se" which if you bother look up the meaning in a dictionary, modified my statement to make it clear that the only change I had made was to remove a particular option which had expired while completely recognizing that this is a "change" in strict legalistic terms. I am entitled as a consumer to make the assertion that a "non-material" modification of certain terms does not necessarily constitute a "change" to an agreement "per-se" . Indeed, I was requesting a "change" to remove multiple services but was told there was no alternate agreement I could enter into other than the substantive 12 month renewal including television and telephone services which I had stated I did not require.
I realise that you may believe you are being helpful to some people or even to Virgin, with your comments but all you are doing is illustrating and giving more airtime to this intrinsic "unfairness" of a situation whereby a consumer is told one thing incorrectly, and which Virgin already accepted was unfair and agreed to change.
I am fairly sure that an intelligent Virgin Manger will look at my case and others like it and, unlike you. I very much doubt they will assert that I "should have read the small print" in any representations they make.
Regarding point 1, customers did not automatically get put on 12 month contracts. They only got on another 12 month minimum term if they changed or renegotiated their package/price. If no changes were made then the customers would of been on the 30 day rolling contract at the standard rate. They would only need to give 30 days notice to leave as normal.
Ref the penalties at the non-discounted rate, I am unsure what you are saying? The penalties are the same, your monthly cost X the amount of months remaining on your minimum term, up to a maximum of £240. If you accept a new 12 month minimum term after your initial expires, you are accepting the monthly price that would be in this calculation. There are no discounted penalty rates.
Regarding point 4, a change is a change. You can say but, you can say per se, but hiding behind words does not change that a change is a change.
There is a difference between not reading the small print and not reading the terms of a contract you sign and accept.
As a Very Insightful Person, I'm here to share my knowledge. I don't work for Virgin Media.
There's one simple matter of law in all this that perhaps deserves more prominence. A contract exists only by agreement between the parties. A supplier CANNOT unilaterally impose a contract without being able to demonstrate consent. While I'm aware of VM's policy that a renegotiation requires a new contract, unless they communicate this policy during the renegotiation and obtain consent, there is no contract. It's inconceivable that a court would decide otherwise.
'While I'm aware of VM's policy that a renegotiation requires a new contract, unless they communicate this policy during the renegotiation and obtain consent, there is no contract'.
the 'policy' is in the original contract terms and conditions when the op signed up with virgin originally and of course applies to us all.
'If you ask us to add any extra services or any extra content or bundles of content to the television service, you agree to accept such additional content or bundles of content for at least the minimum period that applies to it'.
which tallies in with the ops original argument 'I had, however, renegotiated the price and service I was subscribing to'
there is no case. virgin would win in court and are fully legally covered in the contract.
I agree, indeed the law goes furthur and requires "informed" consent. In my case I certainly consented but because relevant options were not "promoted" my consent was not "informed" and therefore suspect.
The extent to which an obligation to inform the consumer or where the consumer has a responsbility to deduce their options is clear from the ofcom rulings and Virgin undertaking to do better wrt "informed" consent.
Virgin have resolved my issue, satisfactorally and without fuss in line with my very reasonable case. Some of the comments by amateur lawyers on this forum are terribly misleading; they don't help honest consumers and they don't help Virgin long term.
I urge any consumer reading, this thread to ignore the "caveat emptor" nonsense spoken by a couple of co respondents and rather than malign virgin for unfair practice on the basis of these "independent" opinions give them a chance to review and resolve any reasonable case you may have.
Contracts only codify "informed agreement". It is the responsibility of service providors to ensure ordinary busy, but reasonably prudent consumers are thus informed. I think very few modern service providors would willfully ignore that.
I had a similar experience and it's still dragging on after five years.
We were moving house, to an area not supplied by VM, shortly after our contract ran out so I phoned to cancel. We were told that they could offer us a "loyalty discount" and supply us until we moved. I asked multiple times if it was a new contract, something I didn't want, and was told multiple times that it wasn't and that we could cancel at any time.
Fast forward to moving house a few weeks later. My partner tries to cancel, via a live chat, and is told there will be a cancellation fee as we are still in contract. She obviously disputed this but VM stuck by their decision.
After the situation was explained to five separate collection agents they all passed the debt back to VM.
I phoned VM to complain about harassment and fraud. They admitted that they didn't have the call recording of when I supposedly made the contract but they did have a text chat where we "discussed cancellation fees". They said this is all the proof they need that I was in contract. I asked for the transcripts of the conversation, knowing already that the contents would be my partners shock at receiving any fees, which they said would be sent. They weren't. Like the missing phone call, I don't believe they have them either.
My next step is criminal charges against VM, then media attention to their corrupt sales tactics. I could just pay the £160 fee and have done but that's exactly why they operate like this. They are bullies and fraudsters and they need to be investigated.