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whistle_blower
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Bromley area - taking legal action.

Hi everybody,

I live in the Bromley area.  I pay for 350 mbps but only get an average of 25mbps.  This has been going on for 6 weeks.  This is not Covid 19 related.  It is due to engineering works Virgin Media are undertaking.  I spoke to a customer services person 5-6 weeks ago and she told me this was the reason – but she also said they could not say when the engineering works would be completed.  Virgin media are continuing to advertise superfast broadband in the Bromley area (Area 20.  If I put my postcode in the website it says I can receive 500mbps.  They are not notifying customers (new or existing) about the problem.  On their website they are stating “there are no known issues” in my area.  Some engineers attended my neighbours house about 2 weeks ago (my neighbour was getting no internet at all). I spoke to the Virgin engineers and they confirmed there is a problem but that Virgin media are not letting anyone know – unless they complain.  I have tried resolving this, but I just get automated answers.  This is costing me my job.  Like everyone else I am trying to work from home, but this has made it impossible.  I don’t mind the fact that Virgin Media have an engineering problem; the issues here are 1.tying customers into contracts without providing the service 2. not communicating with customers (just waiting for people to contact them), 3. lying on the website and in advertising about broadband speeds 4. Refusing to advise on the end date of the engineering works, 5. Complete lack of customer service  - automated replies.  I've emailed the CEO of the company, but I've been ignored.  I want to take a class legal action against the company.  Please let me know if you’d like to join.  Many thanks

Andrew-G
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Re: Bromley area - taking legal action.

You'd be a brave soul to take on a multi-billion corporation in court, because they will have a legal budget running into several tens of millions of quid.  But you need to realise that most courts expect complainants to have exhausted non-legal resolution procedures before going to court.  Would you take the chance of representing yourself?  That's VERY risky.  And if not, you'll need to show your solicitor that you have the means to pay their fees before they take the case (and if you lose, you could be liable fro VM's legal fees, that would run into a few thousand quid).

Assuming you get to that point, the judge would be within their rights to dismiss your complaint if you can't show that you have given VM a reasonable chance of resolving the complaint, and when that has been exhausted, you have tried industry arbitration schemes.  And if you can't show that, I'd expect that to be the first thing that VM's legal team would point out, in which case you'd have your case dismissed and lose your court fees, and still owe your solicitor a few hundred quid.  

In this case, you should speak to the arbitration service CISAS (do a search, it comes up readily).  They can take on your complaint (subject to their consumer guidance and terms of reference, which you should read carefully), and if you have a valid complaint the odds are stacked in your favour.  They can direct VM to pay compensation, within limits to fix problems, and/or to release customers from fixed term contracts.  So think about what evidence you have for your contacts with VM, what was said, what was done, next steps, claims or statements.  Think about the documentary evidence you have for speed or connection problems.  And think about what outcome you actually want.  Do it right, CISAS will get you a good settlement.  But you're misleading yourself if you think you'll be leading a class action against VM!

I'm a Very Insightful Person, I'm here to share knowledge, I don't work for Virgin Media. Learn more

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cje85
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Re: Bromley area - taking legal action.

The majority of problems we're seeing at the moment will be down to Covid, no matter what VM customer service might choose to blame it on. There has been a huge increase in complaints since the middle of March when the lockdown began to take effect. As soon as things start returning to normal things will begin to improve. 

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gary_dexter
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Re: Bromley area - taking legal action.

“Class action legal”

You’ll be laughed out the courthouse with your tail between your legs. 


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whistle_blower
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Re: Bromley area - taking legal action.

Thank you for your reply.  I spoke to customer services.  They would actually like to blame it on Covid 19 because it would deflect the problem.  But she categorically said (as did the engineers) that it was an engineering issue.  They all said that the system has enough capacity for the increase in traffic.  My neighbours (with other broadband providers) are not experiencing capacity issues.  Virgin have a long term engineering issue in Area 20.  My argument is that they should notify existing customers - rather than waiting for them to complain...and also that they should stop advertising the service.

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whistle_blower
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Re: Bromley area - taking legal action.

Thank you for your reply.  I have already taken legal advice.  There is a strong case (Advertising Standards Authority, Ombudsman etc).  I don't have a tail - so I'm not sure it will be between my legs.  I won't be attending a courthouse either.  I live in the UK.  'Courthouse' is an American term.  

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whistle_blower
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Re: Bromley area - taking legal action.

Thank you.  That is a very constructive and helpful reply....and genuinely appreciated.  Yes - you are right...all avenues have to be explored before pursuing a legal case.  That route will most definitely be followed.  I think it goes further than just a complaint about a service though - and it isn't until someone pushes in court that new precedents can be set.  I'm just trying to see if there is any appetite for group litigation.  I have taken some advice already - and several lawyers believe there is a case.  But thanks again for the reply...much appreciated.

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ianinfo76
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Re: Bromley area - taking legal action.

I'm also in the Bromley area and and have seen consistency in the inconsistency of the network, low uploads low downloads, complete drop outs occasionally everything ok.

That said it is standard practice to not advertise localised issues as if the customer is not aware or seeing impact then its not an issue for them even if they are not actually getting what they paid for..  A lot of customers on these big packages would be ok on a reliable 50Mb package..  This is not a Covid issue but because everyone is at home and really using their network ie IP calls or video conferencing a whole bunch of people that were happy in their prior ignorance are now seeing that they have a problem and probably had these issues long before the lockdown.

All This said as with the wide spread outages the other week other BB provides also use Virgin Backbone and were affected so switching is no guarantee you wont be impacted by VM network issues.  Also moving a way from cable to phone line will introduce other limitations.

As a long-term VM customer and NTL I have a love hate relationship when it works which is most of the time its fantastic..  When there are issues there is a lack of transparency even when you contact them and problems can take a while to get resolved.  That said many years ago I could have said the same thing about BT 😉

bytor
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Re: Bromley area - taking legal action.

Phone them up and ask for a backdated discount due to their poor service. With a bit of luck that will save you having to go to court.

waveuk
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Message 10 of 10
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Re: Bromley area - taking legal action.

Also in Bromley and having issues since lockdown; as I understood the challenges and potential network saturation was flexible with my expectations.

However things while are going a bit back to normal (kids at school, more people back to work and busier streets) my internet connection is even worse than before. Hence this is not a COVID "issue" anymore but bad service. See below:

9489fadeb4fc84bff759d63553b027861e29ddc9-04-09-2020

 

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