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Automatic compensation - Refund vs compensation

lab2
Joining in

Like many others, I’ve experienced Virgin Media’s appalling customer service…long story short, my installation was delayed, I was entitled to automatic compensation, Virgin refused to pay.

 

I’ve been to the Ombudsman who ruled in my favour, but I have questions over the type of payments that qualify under the automatic compensation scheme.

 

Virgin began charging my account for my subscription before installation was complete or any services were activated. Two months of charges were applied to my account, which Virgin then refunded.

 

These refunds were deducted from the total compensation I was ultimately awarded - I was entitled to £400, I had £150 of credits to my account, so was awarded £250.

 

I’ve discussed this with the Ombudsman and was told any payments made to me by Virgin qualify as payments under the automatic compensation scheme. The fact I was being charged for a service I wasn’t receiving doesn’t matter, and there appears to be no distinction made between payments made as refunds, rather than to compensate me for the inconvenience and additional costs I incurred.

 

Is this really how the scheme works in practice? If so it’s clearly open to abuse and not fit for purpose.

 

Sorry if anything isn’t clear and thanks in advance for any help!

5 REPLIES 5

jpeg1
Alessandro Volta

That doesn't sound right.

If they hadn't been charging you for that period, you would have been paid the full amount of compensation for the installation delay.

The wrongly charged subscription for a service you didn't get is a separate issue and should be refunded.

In your position I'd go back to the Ombudsman for clarity as to exactly what their award covers, and if necessary issue a new claim for the wrongly taken subscription. 

- jpeg1
My name is NOT Alessandro. That's just a tag Virginmedia sticks on some contributors. Please ignore it.

Thanks for your reply and your help. 

I spoke to the Ombudsman who essentially said that’s just how the scheme works. I posed a hypothetical that if my bill worked out at more than the £5.25 per day compensation (e.g. £160 per month) offered by the scheme, I would have owed them money for the period, and the Ombudsman said yes, that would have been the case. 

I struggle to believe that can be the case, but as you say, it might be technically true and mean I need to make a separate claim. 

The Ombudsman also said I should have explained what these credits were for in the evidence I provided or in comments on the evidence provided by Virgin Media. I didn’t do that in the 14 day window, and if I appeal I’d have to explain why I failed to make those clarifications clear. 

The ombudsman was also keen to emphasise that they have to be fair to both parties - Virgin had provided their evidence in the timeframes and I should have challenged anything I didn’t agree with. Whilst I accept that, Virgin’s familiarity with the process and their essentially limitless time and resources put them at a significant advantage.  

Anyway, I can either accept, appeal or decline. The bigger issue is I know I’m not the only one that’s been affected by Virgin’s non-compliance with regulation and a failure of anyone to hold them to account. 

Thanks again!

Jonny-M
Fibre optic

I'd argue that if Virgin are billing you for the services that they've failed to install then the compensation is actually due at the loss of service rate of £9.33 a day.

FlockWallpaper
On our wavelength

Please do bear in mind that the Ombudsman won’t do any checking  of their own, they rely solely on what they are told by both parties. So if you didn’t make it crystal clear that VM had (illegally) charged for for a service that you weren’t getting had taken that money from your bank but had then (reluctantly) refunded it, tenth Ombudsman might have thought that this was a partial payment in compensation for the the delayed installation.

Personally, I would appeal the decision, in this appeal make it absolutely clear that VM wrongfully took money from your account but then refunded it, but this does not detract from the fact that they failed to install your connection by the promised date and hence are due to pay the regulated rate of compensation.

The lab2, thank you for reaching out and I am sorry to hear this.

We do have an automatic compensation scheme here but to qualify services have to be down for 2 full working days  and then you get £9.33 per day for a total loss of service. Please see the link for a full break down regrading this. 

Matt - Forum Team


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