The disgraceful deceiptful shambolic treatment of an 82 year old customer
My father will be 83 in a few weeks, is partially deaf, and I'm named on my his account as a point of contact / can speak on his behalf.
He has basically all channels (and in HD) except the Sky Movies, two V6 boxes, broadband, and landline all through Virgin, and has been a valued Virgin customer for more years than I can remember (20+).
And, the following is a log of the disgraceful, deceitful, shambolic way Virgin have treated us since we agreed on a new package price.
I appreciate its a lengthy read, but, at least your only having to READ this in a few minutes - I've had to actually LIVE thru this, on the phone, time after time, minute after hour, day after day, making the calls, waiting in a queue, waiting whilst put on hold (again and again), taking up night after night of my time, and getting absolutely nowhere fast, and having to try and slowly explain to my father every time what has happened (or not, mostly).
In late July, got my fathers latest monthly bill showed it was going from it's usual £99.75 a month to £114.30 in August, then £121.50 a month from September. A jump of over £260 a year
Called Sat Aug 3rd 1:20pm: After waiting in a queue for almost 20 minutes, I spoke to Jake. He said my father had discounts on the account that had ended, hence the price increase. After putting me on hold for almost 10 minutes, he came back and said he could get the bill down to just £83.25 with no changes to the package. I said that due to that huge price cut, I wanted him to confirm what exactly had changed (you usually after all, don't get nothing for nothing). Again I was told nothing had changed - he had simply applied a discount, but said it was only a 6 month discount. I asked him to confirm that everything was "as is", and that the ONLY thing that had changed then, was the monthly price? To which, I was told, "yes". I said that a 6 month discount was better than no discount, BUT, I emphasised that I was NOT interested in ANY new contract or retention deal that committed my father to another long term contract. I was told by Jake there was NO minimum contract period - it was simply a (6 month) discount he was applying to the account, and he actually apologised because it was only for 6 months, and not a year, but I'd be able to call back when it expires and see what was available then.
So, I said (again), if there was NO minimum contract period, we were happy to go ahead. Jake then said that in fact, as of August 25th, my father was actually out of contract, and was free to leave anytime - even with the discount on the account – if he so wanted.
I then said that I can be promised anything over the phone, so obviously I’d like everything confirmed in writing via email, so he asked for my fathers email address and said he would confirm it all. I said this was already on the account (my father receives regular emails), so I was puzzled as to why he would now need it again, but gave it anyway.
And, 3 hours later, I received an email confirming that my father had cancelled his Full House TV (XL) package, taken out the Maxit tv package, and that his monthly bill would be £115 a month, £31.75 a month more than the £83.25 I was promised!
So, at 5:20 I called back and after waiting over quarter of an hour in a queue, I spoke to Karina I asked what was going on. She said that Maxit TV was now the new name for the Full House package, and that there were two discounts that were meant to have been applied to the account but it looks like they didn’t go thru. I asked her to sort it and, unbelievably, she said she couldn’t - it had to be the "original operative" and that he'd have to call me back to do so! ( so what happens if the "original operative" was finishing up that day on annual leave, or going on holiday, or went off long term sick, or packed in their job ?! No one would be able to help me?! )
I asked why and she said the customer has to give authorisation for any changes to go ahead - I said I had - 3 hours ago when I spoke to him, it’s just that the changes didn’t go thru, so why even call me - just fix it ? She said the original operative would need to renegotiate the deal, and when I pointed out we HAD a deal - it just didn’t go thru properly, she immediately back tracked and said it would need to be him that resolved the matter.
I asked her what price SHE could see the deal being, and she said from what she could see, she would expect it to be between £83 and £86 a month. So I asked if SHE could see that deal, why couldn’t she just process it the now ?! She said she couldn’t, and would pass the message on to Jake, and I was to expect another email "in 2 or 3 hours".........
Surprise surprise, no email arrived, so I decided to read thru everything I had received, and read all the small print. Whatever Jake had put thru in order to get a "sale" / commission, it said on the 3rd page of the attached "Service Change Receipt” PDF that after the "Promotional Offer(s)" expire - on February 24th 2020, highlighted in pink, in LARGE LETTERING, it says "Remaining minimum period : 12 months" - so Jake had signed my father up to an 18 month contract despite me several times asking him to categorically confirm this was NOT the case.
My father will be 83 years old in a few weeks. Why on earth would ANY 83 year old commit to an 18 month contract ?! Especially when it means after the brief 6 month discount expires, he has to pay whatever price you force upon him for another 12 months (which would be an additional £41.75 a month, i.e. an additional £500 plus over the period).
So, the guy who, on the face of it, looks like he lied thru his teeth to us to get a commission / sale, I was to rely on to re-apply a discount and get back in touch with me, knowing Id now know we had been hoodwinked into an 18 month deal?! I can see why that didn’t happen....
So, I called 3 times on Sunday and 5 times on Monday, hoping to speak to someone in the UK (another 2 hours of my life gone), although I read on your forum that due to the Swansea call centre being closed, this is now an almost impossible task.
So, on Monday, Aug 5th, again after being in a queue for 15 minutes, I speak to Amanda, and on the 41st minute of the call, she obviously decided she didn’t fancy the look of the case, the mess it is in, and cuts me off!
I then phone straight back, and this time I'm on the phone for 53 minutes (i.e. over an hour and a half in one day) , and speak to Renzo. I explain the whole thing to him. He said that he knew Jake - he was in the same team as him, and then put me on hold for an eternity, then when he came back said it looks as if the discounts didn’t go thru. I said it also looks like I'm tied to an 18 month contract, and he said he couldn’t see that anywhere at his end. I said well, I will read off the bottom of page 3 of the “Service Change Receipt” PDF I’ve received from Virgin, which categorically states AFTER the 6 month discount is up, there is another 12 months minimum period remaining, so I want this resolved too. I again pointed out why would an 83 year old commit to an 18 month contract.
He put me on hold for over 12 minutes, and came back and said he has spoken to his manager Bridget, who will listen to the recording of the call tomorrow (thankfully this at least confirms all calls are recorded, and that it will prove Jake claimed a monthly bill of £83.25 with no minimum retention period) and then said he will arrange for Jake to give me a call-back.
I then said that I have been on the Virgin support forum, and comments left indicate that no one EVER gets a call-back. They simply do not happen going by the comments left, and that I am to expect a guy who lied to me, is going to "down tools", stop what he is doing, and call me back to fix his mess ?! I asked Renzo if he didn’t think this was clearly absurd and was clearly never going to happen?! He said as it’s been brought to the managers attention, it is the manager making him call me back, and if I give a suitable time, he will do so, so we agreed between 5:30 and 6pm the following day (Tue Aug 6th).
I then made the point again that I think its completely absurd that no one except the original operative can fix anything, and “what if Jake broke his leg on the way home from work tonight and went off work - does that mean no one would be able to fix this situation?”
Well, the following day (Tuesday Aug 6th) comes round, I drive all the way to my fathers house, and wait for the call, , and surprise surprise, absolutely no one phones me, so I call back, and (eventually) get thru to.......Amanda again!
I say "oh hello Amanda - I was speaking to you yesterday but you decided to cut me off", and she said no no it wasn’t her, to which I said "ooooooooh yes, it was DEFINITELY you Amanda - I recognise your voice", to which she um'd and erm'd and said that oh yes she now remembers, and that she got cut off and tried to call me back but had a problem getting through. I said that I’d had my current mobile phone for almost 3 years (I know....), and in all that time, she was the only single person - ever - who had not been able to get thru to me. How unlucky was that....
I reminded her of where we had got to before she cut me off (sorry, got disconnected), and what Renzo had promised, and she read the notes, and 27 minutes into my call, told me that the issue was now with the Complaints Team, and, because of this, I wasn’t going to get the call back as agreed. I said "you might know that - they might know that - but when was someone going to tell ME that?" I said I had travelled to my fathers house at the agreed time (in case he needed to agree to anything), and waited on a call back I was NEVER going to get!
She then told me that a manager would definitely call me back tomorrow to resolve the situation, as it was now a "complaint" that had been raised. She asked me if there was a suitable time, and I said that as I work in an office, if someone calls and I miss the call / can’t answer immediately, could they please call again in 5 minutes, and call between 9am and 4pm, and she put that note on the case.
So, the next day comes round (Wed Aug 7th), and to their credit John calls me at 1pm (so much for Bridget or a manager calling, but let’s not be too nasty here - someone called....), and literally straight after saying hello, got right down to it by warning me that this call IS being recorded (as opposed to might be).
I replied saying that after all the lies i have been told by Virgin staff up to now, this is the best news I’ve heard from them so far, and that I was MORE than happy for the call to be recorded - so I also did so myself. He said that the recording would be used as a contract for any agreement we subsequently make, to which again I told him I was more than happy with.
After reading the notes, he then told me that I had been offered a Sky Sports deal that made the monthly bill £83.25 (great!), but that it didn’t go thru (fair enough), but that the deal / promotion was now no longer available !!
I said it was available when I called, and was put on the account at the time - just fix whatever went wrong, and he muttered something about that not being possible. He then said that that deal was only for 3 months anyway (you can imagine my temper by now) and I told him to listen to the recording of Jake's call! Jake had even apologised to me saying the deal wasn’t for a year, but for only 6 months - why say THAT if it was just a 3 month deal - another lie? , to which John said Jake didn’t lie, so I rather loudly said JUST LISTEN TO THE RECORDING - HE CLEARLY DID (say 6 months).
He then said he could do a manual adjustment to put the 3 month discount on, and I said no, I was promised SIX MONTHS at £83.25, and agreed to that 6 month price – listen to the call. So, I was again put on hold, and he came back and said that a "collective agreement had been made by the team", and yes, the bill for the next 6 months would be £83.25.
I asked if I’d get that confirmed in writing, and was told no (can anyone guess where this is heading?), as it was a "manual adjustment being made to the account", and I was reminded that the call was being recorded anyway so it would be noted.
I then asked about page 3 of the Service Change Receipt (as this was still an issue of contention), where it clearly said, highlighted in pink, and in bold, that once the (6 month) discount was up, there was a "remaining minimum period" of 12 months, ie an 18 month contract, and John said that he didn’t see ANYTHING on the system about a retention period / contract.
I then asked (as this was being recorded and being used as a contractual agreement) if he could clarify who he actually was, and what team he was in etc, and he confirmed he was John from the Billing & Customer Service Team, and that his badge number was 7806327.
I asked him to confirm when the discount would end, and he said that the £83.25 would be for 6 months and end on Feb 7th 2020.
So, after circa 5 hours of calls to Virgin, and having since logged on several times attempting to see the next month bill and subsequent future bills, I could not see anything, and am still completely in the dark as to the TRUE monthly cost that John put through, as I have absolutely nothing in writing except the original emails with the incorrect price, and contract length, so let's just see what the next bill actually says.....
August 29th, the latest Virgin bill arrives, and to no ones surprise, it's completely wrong - the disaster continues.
Instead of September's being £83.25 a month, its actually almost £32 more - £115 to be precise, just £6.50 less than the "full price" cost of £121.50. To show the utter shambles that Virgin is, after all the above that was agreed, I will simply quote, directly from the bill (and remember, now, a "full price" bill is £121.50 a month):
"Looks like you've made some changes this month. Here's a quick summary of how your changes have affected this bill: You currently have 1 promotional discount saving you £10.50 a month ( when it should be saving me £31.75 a month ). You'Re Receiving A 4.50 Discount ( so is it really £10.50 off, or 4.50 off (no £ sign listed before the "4.50") or the two combined, or one minus the other in error? Either way, none of the discounts in any permutation when removed from £121.50 come to £115). If You Change Your Package You May Lose This Discount Which Will End On 02-FEB-20 ( that was not my bad english - all those capitalized words are copied directly from the bill ! ).
So, I give up. if this cant get resolved within the next few days Ofcom will need to be informed of this disaster, and thank the lord (other gods are available) I will be able to provide them with a transcript and recording of John's call (badge number 7806327) , which he said would contractually binding between both parties.
I am not an unreasonable person. I wasn't asking for, or trying to get a totally unrealistic amount off my fathers monthly bill. I am simply wanting to get what was agreed on - no more, no less, i.e. a monthly bill of £83.25 a month for 6 months, with no retention period - a deal that was freely offered to us! is that too much to ask ?
If any moderator has fully read this, no it hasn't been resolved, yes I would like it to be, yes you can contact me anytime, and yes I will happily provide the account number and a mobile contact number, BUT, please do not give me a chatbot response along the lines of how I am welcome to contact you on 0345 454 1111 to discuss the matter further.
The disgraceful deceiptful shambolic treatment of an 82 year old customer - it continues...
Well, Just when i thought it was all over, that everything was okay, after all the hassle, I come back from a holiday to find an email dated September 28th from Virgin, saying, in giant, bold, red type, "Overdue Bill" , and then in red (but at least not in a giant font, or in capitals) "Action required - your last bill remains unpaid".
So, I check with the bank - surely Virgin havent got it wrong.....
......yep, Virgin have got it wrong....again.........
After going thru the above chaos recently, I am sure no one can blame me if I dont waste another few hours / days of my life calling the (not very helpful) helpline.
The bank confirms that the agreed discounted amount of £83.25 was taken, via direct debit (as always), on September 19th, and even has a reference (912399601001).
So, can an admin please help me understand just what the heck is going on....again? Many thanks.
Re: The disgraceful deceiptful shambolic treatment of an 82 year old customer - it continues...
Was the email really from Virgin, there are a lot of scam emails going around that look very real - designed to get you to give up details they can use to scam you - examples can be found in the security matters forum.
Re: The disgraceful deceiptful shambolic treatment of an 82 year old customer - it continues...
Unfortunately, the email was real.
It had details of various manual discounts that had been applied that would not match what was on the actual account (long story), and other details that would only be known to Virgin themselves.......
Good god - the disgraceful deceiptful shambolic treatment of an 82 year old customer continues
Well everyone, guess what - Virgin have been lying again.
I cant believe Im actually typing this, but they have now resorted to sending my father e-bills saying his bill is only £83.25 a month (as agreed - several times) ........and then then taking £115 out of his account!
Oh, and it gets worse - after taking his (wrong) direct debit payment with no problems or issues, they then keep send him emails saying, in red ink, and in bold, "Overdue Bill - Action required" - which Im then told to ignore every time I query them.
Thank god my father had enough in his account to cover the wrong higher amount that Virgin have been taking from him, or, as well as taking £31.75 a month too much, he would have faced bank charged of, what, £50 a time?
I am absolutely disgusted that this firm is doing this, and can see no alternative but to report the entire matter to Ofcom as its clearly just one disaster / lie after another.
Where does this nonsense stop Virgin? This is an 83 year old pensioner.
It even says on the emails that his agreed discounts dont run out until Feb 2nd 2020!
Okay, moan over, lets recap.......
To save you reading the entire thread again, due to a complete mess up by a Virgin call centre member of staff, in order to get the monthly bill to be £83.25 a month for a 6 month period until Feb 2020, a manual adjustment needed placed on the account for each of the remaining "discount" months.
However, it appears that this manual adjustment has resulted in, well, no adjustment at all being made now, AND, for good measure my father getting sent emails saying "Overdue Bill - Action required" - the last one being on October 30th....the ones I was told to ignore - god what a fool I was to believe that.
Basically, on looking at my fathers bank details due to an unrelated matter, I discovered that on Nov 19th they took £115 out of his account instead of £83.25, and he has just received his next e-bill on Nov 29th saying, again, its only £83.25 that will be deducted (the correct amount).
Anyone want to bet that they will again take £115 ? Anyone wanting to bet he will get another "Overdue Bill - Action required" email? Anyone any idea how to actually stop this?!
I wonder what the excuse will be this time.....especially as Meliss's last words were, quote, "......you then paid the £83.25 that was owed but the system thought £115.00 was still owed. I can confirm that the rolling discount has been applied on the account for 5 months [ after the mess up was discovered after month 1 of the 6 month discount ] so the discount will be removed automatically. I hope that helps clear everything up."
So, can someone please sort his immediate refund of £31.75, ensure NO MORE deductions of £115 each month, or emails saying he hasnt paid his bill please.
Re: Good god - the disgraceful deceiptful shambolic treatment of an 82 year old customer continues
@ Murphy Family - I feel so sorry for you. It saddens me that you have been through this. I am a new customer to VM and while Broadband Providers get it "wrong" sometimes, this clearly is a bad experience for both you and your father. I am sure you have had a look online but I found this:
It used to be worthwhile sending a letter to the CEO marked "private and confidential", but this isn't as effective as it used to be now that so many people use it. However, it may be worthwhile contacting the CEO of Virgin Media by email.
Virgin's chief executive Lutz Schüler can be contacted via [MOD EDIT: Staff email address removed] For more chief executive information visit: [MOD EDIT: Removed]
Alternative dispute resolution service
If your complaint hasn't been resolved within eight weeks, or you’re not happy with the outcome, you can make a formal complaint to CISAS, an Ofcom approved dispute resolution scheme.
This is a free, impartial service for communications consumers. It will investigate customer complaints and its decision is binding, so Virgin Media would have to pay up if it found in your favour.
Call: 020 7520 3814, email email@example.com or write to CISAS: Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution, 70 Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 1EU.
I pray that you get this sorted so you and your Father have a lovely Christmas break.