Hey guys I'm a student, and was looking to cancel my last contract (12 months period had just ended) and was offered a new contract for another 12 months at a less price. The guy on the phone assured me constantly that it was 12 months, and that it would say 18 months initially but to ignore as it was 12 months, and would say so later. I checked and checked and he was insistent that it was going to be 12 months, so I said yes to the deal.
Now I have a contract that says 18 months, and I am fairly sure that it is not going to be 12 months. I feel somewhat scammed, and unsure of what to do. This is not the length that I agreed to and I feel like I am stuck on false information.
I'm a student - I wouldn't agree to longer than 12 months.
Any advice on what I should do? If I have any legal grounds or whether I'm just stuck here.
These "didn't get the deal I agreed" situations happen from time to time. 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. And perhaps they need to re-train some of their staff, because this sounds like the agent realised he wouldn't get you to agree 18 months, and simply lied to get the sale.
Hopefully the forum staff can 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.
If you do need to raise a formal complaint (I suggest in writing, by recorded post), reject the contract they're trying to impose, and demanding that as per your legal rights the company honour what was promised, and pointing out that if the company can't honour its agreement you will 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 contact you claiming that they couldn't get hold of you, so will close the complaint if they don't hear to the contrary, this doesn't stop you being able to take the matter further.
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 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 are paid by the company) but it gets your case investigated and impartially heard by expert dispute resolution staff. 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.
As I said earlier, hopefully the forum staff can get this resolved quicker and without the formality. I'll flag your post for the forum staff - give them up to a week to respond as they're very busy at the moment, and it's (hopefully) a good way of getting things resolved pleasantly - and hopefully they'll arrange a modest goodwill gesture for the mis-selling (hint, hint).
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