I signed up for the broadband, phone and TV package a few days ago.
Since I have had access to these forums, I have noticed that there are a lot of posts mentioning long downtimes, regular disconnections etc. I transferred from BT due to random disconnects, thinking that a new fibre installation should be trouble free.
There are also many, many posts about how difficult it is to get in touch with customer services if required.
Are things really as bad as they seem with Virgin Media ?
I have not returned the electronically signed contract yet, as am having serious second thoughts about moving from BT.
With every large ISP, the business model is largely the same. Big discounts and intensive marketing up front, UK based sales call centres, and then once you're signed up all customer service and technical support is from under-provisioned offshore call centres, leading to frequent long waits, disconnections, agents who don't know what they're doing and sometimes have poor English skills, and no interest in serving customers. In locations like India and the Philipines, this sort of call centre work is not highly regarded, particularly because it involves shift working and unsocial hours due to the time difference, and offers mediocre pay and limited progression. That leads to very high turnover of staff, and difficulty in either recruiting bright staff, or retaining people who know what they are doing, and the service never improves. Meanwhile, at the companies themselves, customer service is seen as merely an unwanted cost, the business is run by sales and marketing people paying themselves big bonuses, and therefore the board is all about sales and marketing, and there's no voice of the customer, and the technical people aren't really listened to. Of course, if the service gets installed properly and then works reliably, you never encounter customer service or tech support, but when you do, its bad news with most large ISPs.
So VM is nor that much different to BT, Sky or Talktalk. If you look at the customer scores of ISPs on Trustpilot or ISPReview, all the big companies do poorly, and VM guild the lily of their poor customer service with regular inflation busting price rises. If you want better customer service you'd need to go with a smaller ISP that doesn't follow that same business model, and who although they use Openreach, their tech staff are better at driving BT to resolve it. So people like Zen Internet, Aquiss, uno, AAISP. Zen would be my recommendation because they're very easy to deal with and the deal is easy to understand, but if you're happy with the price and the terms, those other companies have even better customer scores.
In terms of how reliable is VM, I'd say they get a solid "OK". Last week I'd have said good, but I had a six hour outage on Wednesday, for which I'll get no compensation. Every so often the VM network seems to fall over for two to six hours, maybe six to eight times a year. Phoning up to report a problem usually results in an automated "there are problems in your area, our staff are working to fix them" followed by automatic disconnection of the call. At this stage, I wouldn't be put off and cancel, but if you have any problems getting it installed or with speed or line quality in the first couple of weeks, consider exercising your right to cancel within those fourteen days. If it goes in OK and works properly, stick with it, and then review your decision when the new customer discount ends in eighteen months and the price leaps.
Well I got switched on for mobile, broadband, phone and tv yesterday. It's been impossible for me to set up a Virgin Media account, just get stuck in a log in loop. I had assumed this was because my service was not live yet but I still can't access my account now it's gone live.
In addition they have not swapped my old phone number onto the new sim card even though I gave them the PAC so I'm having to carry two phones around.
I spent 40 minutes on hold yesterday before giving up on speaking to customer services. Used their text message service instead. Still no reply after 19 hours.
I've just cancelled my direct debit as it's impossible to access my account or speak to a human. It's extremely frustrating.
Cancelling a direct debit is a risky route - if your account falls into arrears and no payments are made then they automatically transfer the debt to a third party Debt Collection Agent. So look out for that happening.
-------------------- John --------------------
My services: HD TV on VIP (+ Sky Sports & Movies & BT sport), x3 V6 boxes (1 wired 2 WiFi,) SH2 in modem mode with Airport Extreme Router. On VIVID200, Talk Anytime Phone, x2 Mobile SIM only iPhones.