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ckk
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Existing customer moving to a place without Virgin coverage, but asked to pay early cancellation fee

Hi,

At the end of this month, I will be moving house to an area in London where Virgin doesn't offer any coverage.

Although I am very happy with Virgin, this means I have to cancel my existing contract, which has 4-5 months to go. Virgin is asking me to pay over £100 for this.

We are in the same situation with our water supply as well, which is a 12 month contract as well, but Thames Water agrees to cancel the contract as they don't offer service where we move to.

At the end of 2018, Ofcom fined Virgin £7 million for breaking consumer protection rules as Virgin levied excessive charges to customers who ended their contracts early.

I cannot understand that this nasty habit is still going on. I understand the logic behind the early cancellation fee, if Virgin would be available (and I would actually take Virgin in such a case), but it is not. Still insisting on the charge is simply unethical.

Is there any alternative solution Virgin can offer? Thank you.

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Very Insightful Person
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Message 2 of 7
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Re: Existing customer moving to a place without Virgin coverage, but asked to pay early cancellation fee

This issue does crop up from time to time, and in many cases the customers argument is the same as yours, ie I would be perfectly willing to carry on paying for VM in my new property but they don't supply it there. This isn't my fault that VM don't service this location so why should I be expected to pay a fee?

The confusion tends to come around because many people think (not too unreasonably) that they pay VM to supply THEM with a service, this isn't actually true, legally you pay VM to supply a service to a particular property and furthermore, when you take out a contact, you promise that you will continue to pay for a service to that property for a minimum period, usually one year.

Now I fully understand that sometimes you need to move for circumstances that aren't in your control, and you might well think that it's not my fault, VM's counter-argument would be that "it's not our fault either that you are moving, but you did legally agree to the terms and conditions and now you want to just walk away and break them"

I have heard of instances where VM have waived the early cancellation fee where there have been extenuating circumstances, I can only suggest that you get back in contact with them, or wait for one of the forum team to see this thread and possibly offer to get in touch with you directly.

I do sympathise with your position but unfortunately, legally VM are perfectly within their rights.

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Roger_Gooner
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Message 3 of 7
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Re: Existing customer moving to a place without Virgin coverage, but asked to pay early cancellation fee

Practically every ISP will charge for early contract termination, it's standard industry practice and quite reasonable I think. What matters is whether the amount charged is reasonable.

--
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ckk
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Re: Existing customer moving to a place without Virgin coverage, but asked to pay early cancellation fee

Thank you very much for your answers. I understand and probably will have to accept the legal points, yet wanted to highlight that it is an unethical behaviour.

I have now moved to SKY, which is available at my new address and assured me that in such a case (moving house, SKY not available at new address), a 12 month contract would be terminated without paying for the remainder of the contract duration. This in addition to their splendid customer service. 

A colleague at work has even confirmed that when he moved to a new place, where SKY was actually available, he was able to cancel his contract without paying for the remainder of the time (moved to BT, was so disappointed, moved back to SKY). 

Regardless what Virgin charges me, the consequence of this episode for me is very clear: no more Virgin products, where an alternative is available. I will also advise against Virgin whenever I am asked. 

Very, very disappointed by all this. 

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chenks
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Message 5 of 7
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Re: Existing customer moving to a place without Virgin coverage, but asked to pay early cancellation fee

sky is available everwhere as they use the BT openreach network, so unless you move to a house with no telephone socket then you can always have sky.
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Andruser
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Re: Existing customer moving to a place without Virgin coverage, but asked to pay early cancellation fee

The reason Vermin Media get away with this is because the regulator (Ofcom) are a patsy, far more willing to side with the industry they are supposed to regulate than with consumers.  Contrast that with Ofgem, who routinely dish out multi-million pound penalties, and have even moved to a framework called "principles based regulation" that means they don't have to define what companies  should do, rather they can punish them if the companies' behaviour can be argued to breach the consumer centric principles that the regulator has outlined.  However it is what it is, and the telecoms regulator won't help you. 

My advice is that read and follow the Virgin Media complaints policy, complain that you feel that it is unreasonable charging for early termination when you'd be willing to take the service at your new address. but VM's failure to invest means that they can't provide it.  I note other responses saying "that's what you signed up for, just suck it up", and would say that I disagree.  If they are willing to believe that Vermin Media's one-sided contracts are reasonable, then that's their choice, I'm not.  Make your complaint in writing to the postal address in the policy - sadly, there's no point trying to communicate with any telco by phone, although VM are no worse than any other major telco in this respect.  You should expect an acknowledgement and then a rejection.  That's all process, expect it, but it is necessary before the next step, complaining to CISAS, the arbitration service.  They can be contacted by telephone.  If you've tried to resolve this with VM and got no success, CISAS will look at it, and VM pay the costs regardless of outcome - but if you haven't complained to VM, CISAS are not able to consider the matter.  I'd reckon there's a 50/50 chance that VM will concede something to you - and even if they don't, if CISAS accept the complaint and investigate, they'll charge VM fees about the same value that VM are proposing to take off you in early termination charge.  Be prudent, polite and thorough, because CISAS can and should reject vexatious or baseless complaints.

But a plea to the original poster - if you're escaping from VM, don't automatically sign up with the large and crap ISPs like TalkTalk, Sky, Plusnet - give some thought to smaller ISP's like AAISP, Zen, Aquiss.  I recently recommended Zen to my elderly parents, and not only was it a fraction of the cost of their previous Sky contract, the whole experience was so much better than VM.  They had need to contact Tech Support, and on a Sunday afternoon we were able to speak to very helpful agent in a UK call centre without call queuing, and who patiently and helpfully fielded a long call with my techno-phobe parents.

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chenks
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Message 7 of 7
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Re: Existing customer moving to a place without Virgin coverage, but asked to pay early cancellation fee

one would say that if you don't agree with the Ts&Cs of the contract then don't sign it in the first place.
you can't complain after the fact when you don't agree with the terms.
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