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MacDegsy
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When Fixed Pricing Isn’t

Why is it, when you agree a Fixed Price till May 2022 and lock in by recontracting, that I still get a letter telling me my monthly bill is going up this month?

especially when, via messenger option, I check and have confirmed first that the offer was fixed price til May 2022 (and have screen shot evidence)

moreover, why when I question the increase via Messenger, I’m told again, no the price increase doesn’t affect you as you have a fixed price until May 2022.. and have the screenshot evidence again.

 

so when is a fixed price, not a fixed price as this is a breach of contract?

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Andruser
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Message 2 of 13
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Re: When Fixed Pricing Isn’t

Depends on the wording.  If they promised a fixed price, that's legally binding.  If they promised a discount of £xx fixed until May 2022, then they can put the base price up, but your £xx discount still applies. 

The wording of the price rise letter is poor, so you may have to wait and see if this is actually applied to your account, and then use the VM complaint process (and if need be escalate to the industry arbitration scheme CISAS) to get the deal you were promised.

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Robert_P
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Re: When Fixed Pricing Isn’t

Hello MacDegsy

 

Sorry to hear you've been contacted in regards to our recent price rise, we appreciate you taking the time to raise this via the forums and welcome to the community.

 

Changing prices is never an easy decision, which is why, unlike other providers, this is our first cable price change in 18 months.  Over the last year our customers have been using their services more than ever, and data use on our network has increased by up to 95%.  We need to continue investing in our network to meet this demand and ensure our broadband service continues to deliver the fastest widely-available speeds in the UK. We’re investing more than £1bn in our network – helping to improve performance and reliability for our customers.

 

At the same time, we have supported our customers with a range of upgrades and new services at no extra cost. Whether that’s giving customers a free speed boost, upgrading their equipment or providing new content and channels, we’re committed to giving our customers more.

 

Given your change was quite recent, have you been able to speak to the team in regards to the letter?

 

Rob

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MacDegsy
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Re: When Fixed Pricing Isn’t

Wording is clear. Fixed price til May 2022, with screenshots of online chats confirming same too.

And yes I got my price increase letter and yes my bill increased yesterday 

 

utter shambles

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MacDegsy
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Re: When Fixed Pricing Isn’t

Love the Company Line justification for the price rises, which is, alas, not helpful 

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Robert_P
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Re: When Fixed Pricing Isn’t

If, as you say, have received notification of a price increase then all of the options available to you and numbers to call would be included in the letter MacDegsy.

 

Rob

 

 

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MacDegsy
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Re: When Fixed Pricing Isn’t

Agreed but why should it be down to the customer to have to chase, clarify and  resolve twice. And not to forget the time spend. 

In my experience Virgin don’t recognise the term or principle of Right First Time

Andruser
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Re: When Fixed Pricing Isn’t

These "didn't get the deal I agreed" situations happen from time to time, sufficiently that one might reasonably conclude that both new sales and retentions have a few very careless employees, along with little or no quality controls.  However, your legal rights are crystal clear - information provided by a company verbally or written is binding if the consumer relies upon it when entering a contract (Consumer Rights Act 2015), so VM have to honour whatever was promised, whether they like it or not.

Hopefully the forum staff will now pick this up and get it sorted - by which I mean that you get exactly the deal you were promised, not some less attractive compromise.  That would be the cheapest and quickest resolution for both parties, and the best way of trying to recover some goodwill in a bad situation.  If they can't get it sorted in that complete manner, you need to search, read and follow the Virgin Media Complaints Code of Practice.  Don't start a complaint until you've seen if the forum staff can get this sorted, because I believe they can't get involved once it has become a formal complaint.  But take screenshots of these exchanges, because they will be needed if this becomes formal.

If you do need to raise a formal complaint (I suggest in writing, by recorded post), reject the price rise they're trying to impose, and demand that as per your legal rights the company honour what was promised, offer compensation for the wasted time, and hassle of having to go to these lengths just to get what was agreed, and pointing out that if the company can't honour its agreement you want a "deadlock letter" in order to  escalate to the industry arbitration scheme CISAS as soon as permitted by the rules.  In the meanwhile, don't do anything daft like stopping your direct debit, that'll be recorded as a credit default, and opens up whole new realms of difficulty for you.  Don't worry if VM write to you claiming that they couldn't get hold of you and will close the complaint if they don't hear to the contrary, this doesn't stop you being able to take the matter further, and likewise if they send one of their unbelievably insulting letters that describes the resolution as "education given". 

If VM still won't honour the contract despite the complaint, or say they're going to close the complaint, then you follow the process and escalate to the industry arbitration scheme - immediately if you have a deadlock letter, but if VM can't even manage that, then no sooner than eight weeks after your initial complaint was received by VM.  Explain the background and request that VM be required to give you the promised deal, fully backdated, and add on a request for compensation for the hassle.  Not only does escalation to CISAS cost VM money (free to you, costs of several hundred quid are ALWAYS paid by the company) but it gets your case investigated and impartially heard by expert dispute resolution staff.  From published data, the majority of complaints escalated to CISAS, either the company immediately concedes, compromises, or loses at the end of arbitration.  Sadly that's not quick, and VM have up to eight weeks to resolve the complaint before you can go to CISAS, on the other hand your legal rights are very clear.

It really shouldn't be necessary to have to go to this much effort to get VM to honour a deal they've committed to, but if they aren't going to, then I recommend you put the effort in, because with the evidence you describe CISAS will undoubtedly find in your favour, and the more people who cause VM to incur (well deserved) costs of a CISAS adjudication, they may slowly and eventually get the message that (a) they are required by law to stick by deals that are offered and accepted, and (b) when mistakes do occur, they need to be resolved quickly and in a customer friendly manner.

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MacDegsy
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Re: When Fixed Pricing Isn’t

Thanks for this, helpful to those who could do with better understanding. 
I, however, in full disclosure, worked for Sky up to 2015, in various senior roles for many years within Customer Ops. I therefore know the game, the Regulations and routes to use, and they have been exercised before.

Virgin know they have a superior product that no other main provider can match. Not only that, you don’t need a landline to have it. Yet in the 20 yrs of custom with them, in my experience they are the Vodafone of the fixed line sector in terms of service not being anywhere near matching the level of standards to that of the product.

No-one is perfect, and the bigger the operation the more points of potential failure, misunderstanding or training gaps.  But in this day and age it’s no longer a acceptable to be told the wrong thing three times. It underlines the expectation of service that every conversation I have with Virgin, tends to be on messenger or live chat options for 3 main reasons:

1) it’s less stressful that sitting waiting in a queue

2) there’s no pressure of time and you can say exactly what and how to get your point across before hitting send, so that it’s correct

3) the key reason: you can evidence what was said and not rely on calls not being recorded at their end

Finally.. there’s that belief that the service is going to be inconsistent or challenging and so using this route is your back up... very telling in its own right.

it took 90 mins of to-and-fro yesterday to, (eventually after some incorrect claims from the Virgin Rep) resolve the situation by being told a credit would apply to the account monthly to cover the increase. Had I not had the benefit of screenshots on what was offered and agreed twice before (at contract renewal and when challenging the increase letter), I doubt the resolution would have been achieved without exercising the lengthy regulatory routes.

Of course, the solution treatment statement has been screenshot saved... just in case.

 

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Andruser
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Message 10 of 13
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Re: When Fixed Pricing Isn’t

Fair enough.  I can understand that, and I've a similar background in the energy sector, and apply and advise family on the regulatory options accordingly.  My last energy supplier are currently about to see their profits on my own and about five other customer accounts wiped out by arbitration case fees.

But, without being personal, both you and I know why VM aren't "right first time", because neither of our previous employers were much better.  Here's my thoughts on Sky.  Or here.  Or I could tell you what I really think, and be banned from this forum.  My energy sector employers weren't any better, indeed, I won't share it here, but they can top Sky's incompetence by an order of magnitude.  We both know full well that large customer service businesses operate high churn, sales-led business models, and customer service becomes an afterthought.  Sky, VM, TalkTalk, Toadafone, they all outsource their customer service to cheapest, nastiest corners of the globe in the belief that they will save money and then make more profit.  And in many of those cases they've even done the same with their complaint processes, with entirely predictable outcomes.  Obviously they can't recognise the repeat calls generated by "fail first time".

The answer to much of this is of course to offer full on-line account management, so that customers don't need to phone up to change or query things, and you allude to elements of that.  But again you already know that the reality is these larger businesses are all call centre focused, and (despite their execrable telephone service) their senior managers are culturally averse to the idea of implementing proper on-line account management, encompassing, joining, leaving, all upgrades, downgrades, add-ons, and related service requests..  

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