Probably in the wrong place, mods please move if appropriate.
I have been with VM for a year now with pretty much zero issues but for the last few weeks it has been nothing but a nightmare. (I live in a block with numerous VM users, everyone is affected the same way). To give you an example for the last 5 days or so:
The connection (Phone, and broadband, I don't have TV) with my Hub 3 has probably been up for 3 hours in 24. I seem to be stuck in a technical support loop.
I or somebody else affected raise a support call, (fault registered) it is flagged, and the service status page indicates the area fault, ticket number included, Engineer called etc, fix by 8-12 hrs.
Email/SMS then received, fault fixed, thank you etc etc. An hour or two if you are lucky later, router connection fault landing page, rinse and repeat. Obviously this time with a different ticket number. Groundhog day, and so it goes on.
This is of course during operational hours, outside of this you cannot raise a fault and it is off for the duration. Sometimes after running the VM test it recognises the fault and lets me book an engineer visit (also via the helpline), but of course once this is flagged as an area wide issue and 'fixed', the engineer visits are cancelled automatically.
As I say this is not a home equipment issue. Myself and every VM user here that I speak to is back on straight away once the 'fix' is done.
I work from home, do shifts that involve unsociable hours and large data packets and my work has been impossible. I have racked up a fortune in data add-ons to my mobile phone provider and barely scrape by then given the limitations.
I work in IT (not network/cable related) so am not a complete noob user. One thing I have noticed is that the router when rebooted during the outages indicates it is doing an update and either re-flashes a new firmware or reverts to factory defaults. Not every time but sometimes.
Any help gladly appreciated. Either that or if somebody could point the way or the process of getting out of my contract without financial penalties.
If all other users in the flats are affected, then this indicates a problem on the shared cabling either outside the building, or something that's affecting the whole building as a network segment. In theory this should be a simple noise or connection issue, in practice VM are very poor at responding quickly and effectively to such problems.
I'll flag this for staff to take a look and advise, and if I could politely ask the staff to refer to the AFM or Networks, since by the sound of it this is an ongoing problem, not within the normal run of faults that can be fixed by a field technician.
In the meanwhile, setup a BQM over at https://www.thinkbroadband.com/broadband/monitoring/quality since this should start a record of connection problems. If you want you can post a LINK to a LIVE, SHARED graph here and we'll see what's happening. Usually needs to run for 24 hours before we can draw reasonable conclusions, but the live graph will continuously update so you can post the link immediately, and this can then be referred to if there's claims by VM that they can't see anything wrong.
Yes as you say there seems to be something other than the quick fixes they are currently applying. It has been off all night again and there is another service status area fault open now.
Sadly I know we will get another email/SMS informing us of a fix then the whole process will begin again within a couple of hours.
I have registered an account to setup the BQM, but it is asking for a host IP which surely I cannot use until I am live on the Virgin network? (As opposed to my current mobile ISP). Please correct me if I am wrong.
You're correct that you need your VM IP address. These are usually very "sticky", so normally problems and disconnections don't change it, although once the BQM has been running for a while it is worth bearing in mind that very occasionally they do change.
I'm hoping that "all" that is needed in your case is for the local field team to be given a prod over the repeated difficulties, and either to diagnose and fix themselves, or refer to Networks who'll identify the cause. In concept that's simple to do, and would be simple to pinpoint with the right equipment, but often there's complexity over digging up pavements or private land, access to ducting or service cabinets in shared occupancy buildings, freehold owners asking for things like method statements and H&S statements, and then VM add their own special sauce of delay, obfuscation and their Keystone Kops levels of advanced fault finding, organisation and communication. In a very few cases VM decide they won't fix a fault of this nature, and declare the entire building unserviceable for new customers, whilst still taking the money off existing customers who don't complain.
See what the forum staff can advise, but given VM's track record it is difficult to be optimistic for a quick fix, so it may be prudent to consider buying a 4G router (perhaps something cheap like this) EDIT: that's not a complete 3G/4G unit, ignore that model, and consider other dongles or 3G/4G routers and a data only PAYG SIM, and when the matter has reached its conclusion raising a formal complaint asking for VM to credit your account with the costs you've incurred - you'd probably need to escalate to the industry arbitration scheme CISAS for a good outcome, but that's something for another week.
I am not holding my breath to be honest. I have tried raising a complaint with them 3 times over chat and minutes after the chat ends I get an email saying we are glad to resolve your complaint. Closed. I will give it until the end of this week and bail. Sadly a lot of the folks in this building and the surrounding ones are elderly. Of course you cant phone up to complain on the phone when that is tied to the damn router.
If you've raised formal complaints, and they've been fobbed off, then eight weeks after the complaint was raised you can escalate to CISAS if the resolution isn't to your satisfaction. I'd take a look and see if that applies to the oldest complaint. Give the staff here a day to respond, see what they advise, and maybe a day or five beyond that, but if it appears that the matter is going to get bogged down in VM's usual behaviours, raise it with CISAS. Once it goes to CISAS then the forum staff have to step back, that's why I recommend giving them a few days.
Bear in mind that you need to ask CISAS for the outcome you want, eg compensation, the fault fixing within a given time period, and/or release from any fixed term contract without penalty. If you need to do this, the grounds of your complaint is the poor performance, and your request for release from contract without penalty is not related to either the T&Cs of your contract with VM, or the company's minimum guaranteed standards, but is twofold on stature law and regulation: First the Consumer Rights Act 2015 that requires any consumer service to be provided with "reasonable skill and care", and second, the Ofcom Fairness Commitments, that states "Customers’ services work as promised, reliably over time. If things go wrong providers give a prompt response to fix problems and take appropriate action to help their customers, which may include providing compensation where relevant. If providers can’t fix problems with core services they have promised to deliver within a reasonable period, customers can walk away from their contract with no penalty."
Many thanks for your recent post. I'm very sorry to hear of the ongoing area issues you've been experiencing and for the impact that this has been having for you and the other residents in your building.
I'd like to help further with this. I'll just send you a private message to confirm some account details so please keep an eye on the purple envelope at the top of the page.