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Automatic compensation scheme

docM
Tuning in

I will try and outline the dreadful time I have had trying to get Virgin installed at my property, in the hopes someone can help me.

I ordered Virgin broadband and phone (and a mobile sim) from a doorstep salesman on 16/07/22. I was told the installation would be 2-3 weeks away, but due to a system error, I would be notified of the date in due course. I was given an installation date of 12/09/22. I was surprised but Virgin offered such a great deal, I was happy to wait. On 12/09 the engineer arrived to install, but I was advised that roadworks were needed. I was contacted via email, and told that the engineer was booked for 12/10/22 which was after the groundworks would be completed. On 12/10 the engineer arrived to install, but I was told no groundworks had been competed so he was unable to install. He said there was around a two month lead time on groundworks. A call to customer services informed me that the home install and external engineers had been booked in the wrong order. I was assured that the external works were supposed to be carried out the following day (13/10). I was told I would receive a wifi dongle within 48hr and I would receive a text message to reply to to arrange this. On the 13/10 no engineers arrived to carry out any external work. I later received notification that the new outside work date would be 12/11/22.

I contacted the complaints team via the website and was sent round the houses to various departments trying to solve the issue. I was transferred to the 'account specialist team', the 'movers messaging team' but no response (I later found out this is not an instant response service) so I called customer services. They said they could not help other than to ensure the works were booked and to send me a dongle. But when transferred to the mobile team to arrange the dongle, they told me I would have to pay for it and transferred me back to the pre-installation team! They tried to put me through to another department, but the call disconnected (after 45mins on the phone already).

I contacted the complaints team again who explained that despite the install team in September saying that a field team needed to come out, one would not be arriving until a week later (late November 2022). No team arrived a week later. On 13 November, i received an email to say that my installation had been put on temporary hold "All properties are unique, and sometimes we find things that need some extra attention from our expert team. We understand this is frustrating, and we’re truly sorry for the hold up. We’ll be in touch as soon as anything changes."

I left things over Christmas, still paying the over inflated out of contract price for my Sky broadband line, being unable to negotiate a lower price (we were out of contract in July 2022 - awaiting Virgin). By Feb 2023 I still had not heard anything and called up to cancel my contract. I had received an email in September stating that because of the delayed installation "Once the installation’s complete, you may be eligible for a bill credit as part of Virgin Media's automatic compensation scheme. We’ll update you on this after the installation is sorted." I waited the 30 days to receive any compensation I may be owed. Today I am told I am owed nothing. Not one penny. I have been told by the online chat team to read the compensation document. I have and I think VM owe me compensation - and a lot of it. I cannot fid any evidence that on contacting the complaints team in November that they logged or allocated a complaints number. They did not open a complaint. I am fuming and severely out of pocket with the 8 months of out of contract payments to Sky I have ad to pay.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions

goslow
Hero

@docM wrote:

I will try and outline the dreadful time I have had trying to get Virgin installed at my property, in the hopes someone can help me.

<snip>

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.


Sadly, this is a very common tale of VM's incompetence during installations for some unlucky customers. You will find plenty of similar stories on here.

Better news is that you seem to have kept very detailed records of VM's bungling so that will help prepare a case for arbitration.

It is actually many VM employees who need to go and read the compensation documents because regular topics on here suggest it is VM staff who do not know what the compensation scheme rules are. This is backed up by the regular feedback from customers who have gone to arbitration and won substantial compensation from VM.

OFCOM's minimum requirements document for compensation are here

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0026/216962/Industry-Code-of-Practice-for-Automatic-...

and updated rates here

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/costs-and-billing/automat...

Refer to para 9 in the pdf and you need to go back to 'the date initially confirmed in writing' when VM said it would activate your services (which would be when you expected the technician to turn up to install your equipment and activate your services). If that original date was 12/9/22 which was first confirmed after you placed your order then that is when the compensation would apply from.

VM has created a long list of excuses to try to absolve itself from paying compensation. First among these is the invented idea of a 'provisional' installation date i.e. the original date was not 'confirmed' so VM claims no compensation was due. This was dismissed at an arbitration case as VM gave no indication the date was 'provisional'

https://community.virginmedia.com/t5/QuickStart-set-up-and/Compensation-awarded-by-CISAS-after-faile...

VM's other favourite excuse is a delay due to 'council permits'. This is covered by para 40d of the OFCOM doc where VM may require a permit to work. Any reduction in payment though is confined to the delay caused exclusively by the third party so if the council takes 3 days to produce a permit then the only reduction in compo is 3 days. VM's usual MO, based on the topics on here, is to try and blame a huge delay caused by construction issues on the council. You can make your own enquries with your local highways authority to find out what actual delays were involved waiting for any permits.

In this example (and others) VM claimed they were delayed by permits but when the customer enquired to the council, they found no permits had been applied for

https://community.virginmedia.com/t5/QuickStart-set-up-and/Installation-delays-because-of-fake-permi...

If it was you who eventually cancelled the installation, you would be entitled to compensation up to the date you cancelled. VM should have paid you any compensation within 30 days.

So, your next steps would be to get ready for a complaint to Ombudsman Services

https://www.ombudsman-services.org/

Unfortunately, you have to have logged a formal complaint to VM first of all. VM then has 8 weeks to resolve or issue you with a deadlock letter, if sooner, or you don't accept VM's resolution. In your complaint to the ombudsman you should include the fact that VM failed to record your original complaint as an aggravating factor. Complaining to VM by post, using a signed for delivery service may be your best bet as VM has a habit of making complaints via other means disappear, as you have discovered.

https://www.virginmedia.com/help/complaints

All of the above is, unfortunately, very time consuming but your description of the issue is very clear and your case sounds very solid IMO.

See where this Helpful Answer was posted

6 REPLIES 6

goslow
Hero

@docM wrote:

I will try and outline the dreadful time I have had trying to get Virgin installed at my property, in the hopes someone can help me.

<snip>

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.


Sadly, this is a very common tale of VM's incompetence during installations for some unlucky customers. You will find plenty of similar stories on here.

Better news is that you seem to have kept very detailed records of VM's bungling so that will help prepare a case for arbitration.

It is actually many VM employees who need to go and read the compensation documents because regular topics on here suggest it is VM staff who do not know what the compensation scheme rules are. This is backed up by the regular feedback from customers who have gone to arbitration and won substantial compensation from VM.

OFCOM's minimum requirements document for compensation are here

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0026/216962/Industry-Code-of-Practice-for-Automatic-...

and updated rates here

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/costs-and-billing/automat...

Refer to para 9 in the pdf and you need to go back to 'the date initially confirmed in writing' when VM said it would activate your services (which would be when you expected the technician to turn up to install your equipment and activate your services). If that original date was 12/9/22 which was first confirmed after you placed your order then that is when the compensation would apply from.

VM has created a long list of excuses to try to absolve itself from paying compensation. First among these is the invented idea of a 'provisional' installation date i.e. the original date was not 'confirmed' so VM claims no compensation was due. This was dismissed at an arbitration case as VM gave no indication the date was 'provisional'

https://community.virginmedia.com/t5/QuickStart-set-up-and/Compensation-awarded-by-CISAS-after-faile...

VM's other favourite excuse is a delay due to 'council permits'. This is covered by para 40d of the OFCOM doc where VM may require a permit to work. Any reduction in payment though is confined to the delay caused exclusively by the third party so if the council takes 3 days to produce a permit then the only reduction in compo is 3 days. VM's usual MO, based on the topics on here, is to try and blame a huge delay caused by construction issues on the council. You can make your own enquries with your local highways authority to find out what actual delays were involved waiting for any permits.

In this example (and others) VM claimed they were delayed by permits but when the customer enquired to the council, they found no permits had been applied for

https://community.virginmedia.com/t5/QuickStart-set-up-and/Installation-delays-because-of-fake-permi...

If it was you who eventually cancelled the installation, you would be entitled to compensation up to the date you cancelled. VM should have paid you any compensation within 30 days.

So, your next steps would be to get ready for a complaint to Ombudsman Services

https://www.ombudsman-services.org/

Unfortunately, you have to have logged a formal complaint to VM first of all. VM then has 8 weeks to resolve or issue you with a deadlock letter, if sooner, or you don't accept VM's resolution. In your complaint to the ombudsman you should include the fact that VM failed to record your original complaint as an aggravating factor. Complaining to VM by post, using a signed for delivery service may be your best bet as VM has a habit of making complaints via other means disappear, as you have discovered.

https://www.virginmedia.com/help/complaints

All of the above is, unfortunately, very time consuming but your description of the issue is very clear and your case sounds very solid IMO.

Thank you for this response. I had thought that the Ombudsman would be my next step. I have tried twice today to get a logged complaint, via their web and message services (so that I can have a digital trail), but the 'advisors' seem to go silent when I ask for this! I have never come across such a degree of incompetence across and entire organisation.

 

I have received an email stating that my complaint (which I raised only an hour ago) is resolved. This is completely unacceptable, but cannot seem to get anyone to tell me how they can say it is resolved when they have done nothing. I will be taking this straight to the ombudsman now, as this is unacceptable. The app marks the complaints as resolved and says they will be removed after 7 days.

Am I right in thinking I can take this to the ombudsman now, if they say the issues are resolved and I do not agree?


@docM wrote:

I have received an email stating that my complaint (which I raised only an hour ago) is resolved. This is completely unacceptable, but cannot seem to get anyone to tell me how they can say it is resolved when they have done nothing. I will be taking this straight to the ombudsman now, as this is unacceptable. The app marks the complaints as resolved and says they will be removed after 7 days.

Am I right in thinking I can take this to the ombudsman now, if they say the issues are resolved and I do not agree?


What was VM's response to the complaint and what was their 'resolution' offered?

Capture a record of the complaint (and 'resolution') before it disappears. You should reject the 'resolution' and request a deadlock letter from VM. You can then go to Ombudsman Services with the issue.

Ombudsman Services has produced guidance for suppliers on providing deadlock letters

https://partners.ombudsman-services.org/resources/guidance-notes/eight-week-and-deadlock-letters-com...

Reports on here suggest that VM often falls down on this too which would be a further aggravating factor to record in your submission to Ombudsman Services.

Before making any submission to Ombudsman Services though, make sure you have all the evidence and detail you need and that it is available in a 'timeline' of events for ease of reference with evidence alongside. Any judgement by the adjudicator is made on the details in your submission so it needs to be as clear and accurate as possible with reference to VM's non-compliance with the compensation scheme terms.

From what you have written above, a key piece of evidence will be proving your original installation date for activation of your services and the fact that it was not advised to you it was a 'provisional' date (which is what VM is very likely to claim). 

Hi @docM 

Thanks for posting and welcome to the community.

Sorry for the install delay and the dispute over compensation. Compensation wouldn't apply, if any owed, until the install has been completed/cancelled. This is because we'd need to capture the exact dates.

I will send you a PM though to assist further.

Best wishes.

John_GS
Forum Team


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-tony-
Alessandro Volta

if and when you go to arbitration make sure you add a substantial amount - £100 or more to cover the lies - BS and general incompetence that is VM

____________________

Tony.
Sacked VIP