Virgin Media

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Neil's complaint against Virgin Media

Neil Ellis

14/08/2017

Charge to cancel my contract as I've moved but Virgin don't cover my area

Complaint against Virgin Media

i have recently moved house. i took out an 18 month contract with Virgin for TV and broadband which started in October 2016. at that time i was aware that I'd be likely to move before 18 months and asked the salesman what would happen if I did. he said the contract would move with me, that there would be a charge for early cancellation if i cancelled UNLESS i moved to an area Virgin didnt cover because 'it's not your fault we don't cover it'. seems fair enough. i moved in July 2017. i called virgin to let them know and was told the area i moved to is a non covered area. i was told on the phone there was a 240 pound disconnection charge. this was pro rata'd down to 208.01. i told them about the conversation with the salesman. i was told the charge was standard and i should raise a complaint if i was unhappy with the situation. easier said than done. i called on 18 july (before billing date) to raise the complaint. after a long time listening to automated voice messages it was evident that there is no complaints department. this is not explained on the complaints procedure on the virgin website. i did eventually speak to someone who told me that each department handles its own complaints. this is also not explained on the website. i eventually made my complaint. unfortunately i had no written proof of the conversation with the salesman but still argued that i could not see out my contract - that had virgin covered this area i would happily have stayed with them but they dont so why should i be charged? the person i spoke with said there was nothing him or his manager could do, if it could not be resolved in house that it would be referred to a third party to decide if i should pay. it was unclear from that conversation if this referral was going to be made. i then heard nothing more until a default notice landed on my doormat last Friday 10th August. i called Virgin today (Monday 14th August). i told them that i had put in a complaint. that as far as i knew this was under review and that i was waiting for the outcome but that id heard nothing. i was told that their notes indicate someone had tried to call me on 3 consecutive days 8, 9, 10 of August. i asked which number as my old landline is cancelled. they said it was my mobile. i checked the records from that day. no calls from numbers i didnt know. i asked what number they had. it was the right number. i asked if messages were left. they have no record of this. i asked if any attempts were made to contact me by other means such as email. they don't do that. their policy states that if they try to call on 3 consecutive days without success the complaint is closed. this aside, the default notice presumably was sent on the 8th or 9th anyway. i asked why is this sent when payment is still under dispute? this is automatic apparently. can't be stopped. at some point i was passed on to a manager. she made a once only offer, if i drop it now, i get 60 quid knocked off. this offer stands only while i am on the phone and i should be aware that i may still get charged the full amount if i chose to pursue my complaint. i told them my concern was that i was being charged at all. the amount was not the point. also it was unfair to put pressure on like that and give me no time to consider the offer. i also explained that i was concerned about my credit rating, that it may already have a mark against it because of the default notice, if i had a default it would be far worse. effectively i was over a barrel. again that the default notice should not have been sent until the complaint was resolved. i was told that the complaint had been referred to deadlock ( a third party company) on july 29th (11 days after the complaint was raised) to resolve the dispute. this is a 40 day process apparently and i should receive a letter from them soon.again i am very confused as to why the default notice was sent before this was complete. finally i asked to log another complaint listing the above, which they agreed to do. i asked for some acknowledgement of the complaint to be sent via email or post. again they do not do this. aaaaaaggggghhhhhh!!!!! aside from the initial dishonesty from the salesman, the fact that virgin charge a disconnection fee when i live in an area they don't cover is very unfair. i realise you should never trust a salesman so more fool me but the point stands even so. the fact is had i known the reality of the situation there's a good chance i wouldn't have signed up. the complaints process seems designed to be as obstructive as possible, firstly with no real guidance as to how to lodge a complaint, then a complete lack of communication once the complaint is finally made. it seems that the hope is people will get fed up and go away. the fact that concerns or complaints cannot be logged online or via email is frankly ridiculous, particularly from one of the biggest internet providers in the country, but it does mean there is no electronic trail so less accountability / records of concerns. as well as making it far harder to complain. so it works ok for them i guess. finally sending out the default notice with no other communication beforehand, particularly in this situation when a question has been raised over the payment and that process is still ongoing, is very heavy handed and frankly unfair. ive also had to make a lot of calls on my mobile due to having moved and having to wait for the landline to be installed. this has proved quite expensive. apologies for the rant. i am very unhappy as you can tell! any advice would be appreciated. i intend to contact offcom. any other advice is welcome!

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Neil Ellis | | VERIFIED

reading here i can see a lot of people with the same issue i have. Ofcom are currently investigating virgin for this issue - google ofcom investigations virgin media and you'll find it. so make sure you report to ofcom!
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