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Is Virgin Media Broadband really as bad as reviews say?

rekhaben92
Joining in

So I moved into a new house, congrats to me. My old setup was a 4G+ mobile router with a SMARTY sim worked well for near enough a year! Signal is garbage in this new house though so since this is a long term place I've looked into ISPs. The only one who is even offering speeds faster than 100mbps in my area was Virgin and my friend recommends they are good so I have arranged to have someone come out to install it for me. Yet online, the company is absolutely blasted for poor customer service, slow speeds. Etc. Yet I was told if I did not get at least 250mbps of the 500mbps odd I have paid for I could back out though that's yet to be seen (that's like half too! Why wouldn't I just be on a lower package at that point?) I've had an experience with customer service as I contacted them about a extra I accidentally opted for and didn't want and they seemed a bit clueless honestly. Though being an IT guy I'd suppose I can use ethernet to test this and my laptop should be more than capable, with a usbc dongle of the maximum speeds offered. Though that's just context, I will not know if the speed suffice until it happens in just over a week from now. So, in your opinion if you've used Virgin Media Broadband. Is it really that bad? Surely not for everyone?

10 REPLIES 10

VMUser1812
Fibre optic

Of course it's not as bad as sometimes reported for everyone, if it were then the company would have been out of business years ago! For the vast, vast majority of customers it all works just fine, the product, they offer isn't too bad at all.

The issues you read about are related to customer services, of course, nobody ever, ever posts to say that the service they received from VM was 'acceptable' or what they expected. You only really hear the horror stories, so perceptions will always be skewed.

However having said that, there are various 'themes' which seem to get repeated quite often. Reading between the lines of the reported complaints it would seem that VM have geared their customer support provision to work, adequately, for the vast majority of customer issues. And these tend to be fairly easy to fix, 'turn it off and on again' -type issues. On that basis they do seem to staff their call centres with people who can do, or are empowered to do little more than read a pre-scripted set of responses off of a screen. And this is fine, but does tend to fall apart the instant you call with an issue which is slightly out of the ordinary, as you apparently have already discovered. If there is no matching option on their screen, they seem to get completely lost, and either aren't trained to, or simply have no means to 'think outside the box' and suggest alternative courses of action.

Another oft reported issue is the lack of consistency, one 'agent' will say something, 'try this, it is guaranteed to work, but just in case I'll make notes on your account'. You try it, it doesn't work and when calling back, a second agent will say that 'the action you are advised to take first of all, doesn't exist, and there are no notes on your account'. Similarly, reports abound of 'a manager will call you back', 'we will monitor this for one day, two days, a week, and if no improvement, we will ring you back and......' Needless to say, this doesn't happen.

It has been speculated, by some on here, that the CS staff, when presented with an issue which can't be easily solved are 'incentivised' to make something up - anything will do if it gets you off the phone. And when, of course, this doesn't work and you need to call back, you will never get the same person - effectively it is now 'someone else's problem' but the original agent gets to log a 'successfully' closed call. And this is important as it is the main metric on which an outsourced call centre operation is paid!

Like I said, this is all speculation, nobody can reliably confirm or deny that this is the case, unless they happen to have experience of working in said call centre.

Communication (ironic; as VM claim to be a communication company) between departments or sections, seems problematic. See the oft mentioned installation issues, where you call up asking what is happening and the poor CS worker has no idea other that what is presented on the screen, which always says that the 'install is definitely going ahead today', which is wishful thinking as the system which generates this, quite literally has no insight into what the contractors are doing, and is, basically, making it up. And this is a systemic VM issue, that is how the systems which they have put in place, operate - works OK for the vast majority, but it does seem that if you unfortunately fall outside of this, well then sucks to be you, as VM have little or no 'support in depth', if you like, to cover such eventualities.

So bottom line, is the VM provision as bad as sometimes presented, no it isn't, well unless you unfortunately happen to fall into a 'minority case', where it has all gone 'Pete Tong', and then yes it really is!

newapollo
Very Insightful Person
Very Insightful Person

Hi @rekhaben92 

I've had very few problems  with my VM services and the few that I have had have all been dealt with quickly and efficiently. 

I'm currently on the Ultimate Volt bundle with M600 broadband. My wired speeds seldom fall below 640, I found that when they did then this was usually due to a local fault which was quickly  fixed, also in a couple of instances due  to the PC I was using being old and not up to the job ie slowed down ny running processes, AV programs, memory restraints.

Posters on the forums do complain about wireless speeds and range, and the want for a better supplied router, however that is the same with all ISP's equipment, plus the layout of each household is different, as is internal wiring, walls and building materials, general wifi obstructions  caused by other equipment, the number of people online within the household at any one time, and what they are using the connection for.

I've been perfectly happy with the hubs VM have provided, not so happy with those from ISP's although they were all based on OR lines and as such speed was more akin to dailup.

My wireless speeds vary by device (age, internet radio it is using, waveband 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz, distance from router etc) but are more than adequate. 

As @VMUser1812 has suggested, forums can't really provide a true indication of how good an ISP is (the same goes for trustpilot - reading that they are all dreadul) as people only tend to post when they have problems, although the 'themes' suggested by VMUser1812 are evident.

You do have a 14 day cooling off period to make up your mind.

Dave
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David731
Joining in

So it depends on…

Some areas are congested and oversubscribed. If you live in a high student/high housing density area, you can often expect more issues. Find out what your Virgin area code is and check the forums.

When dealing with support, telephone support are usually hopeless - and be aware that the support is mostly offshored. English is usually reasonable, but this isn’t guaranteed. Chat via WhatsApp is usually better, but expect to be patient. Customer service is not VMs strong point!

Who is saying the bad things. Specialist smaller ISPs often have very high scores and higher reliability feedback, but they also usually have very technically aware customers that know how to resolve their own issues. Virgin are a mainstream ISP and get a lot of blame for things which aren’t their fault - particularly old spec and misconfigured equipment belonging to their customers.

Your expectations. Cable networks were initially designed for cable TV and telephony, not internet. Virgin mostly uses a technically complex mix of fibre and coaxial cable. Reliability, and latency (ping time) won’t be as good as a well implemented and maintained pure fibre solution. Browse the web or game on an FTTP network and it does feel slightly snappier if you know what to look for, but for most people cable’s fine.

Finally wether you are talking about the core service or the routers they supply. The routers are actually ‘good enough’ for most people, but they aren’t great. The gripes about poor WiFi, needing to reboot etc are often resolved by putting the hub in modem mode and adding your own router (which isn’t hard)

 

 

 

davidentwistle
Joining in

I've supposed to have 1.1 GB but my download speed is 1.5 MB i cancelled my virgin broadband


@davidentwistle wrote:

I've supposed to have 1.1 GB but my download speed is 1.5 MB i cancelled my virgin broadband


Sounds like a faulty connection rather than the 'norm'.

vmrunreliable
Superfast

It's far worse than the reviews would have you believe. 

Zomb
Tuning in

Yes it is terrible Internet is down more than working and customer service is bad

Hi @Zomb, thank you for your post.

We're sorry to hear you feel this way 😔

In order to discuss this further, we'll send you a private message on here. Look out for the envelope in the top right-hand corner.

If you're on a portable device with a smaller screen, click on the icon in the top right-hand corner and select "messages" from the additional menu options.

Regards,
Daniel

josieandpaul
Joining in

Worst customer service and organisation I have ever ever dealt with.

I am without internet since the 1st March and Virgin seem to be incapable of organising my installation. My latest update is now 2nd April and it is just excuse after excuse.

If you are reading this, please stay away from this terrible company.