Written on: 22/11/2011 by freetail (3 reviews written)
Having enjoyed many years of excellent service from BT, I was unfortunately experiencing some issues with their Infinity Broadband service and so decided to move to a new provider. Excited by the hype around Virgin Media's Tivo service and fast broadband speeds, I decided to sign up. However, there were a few warning bells from the outset and the experience has left me angry, out of pocket and distrustful of any Virgin brand.
The marketing is good but unfortunately the brand promise doesn't live up to reality. For example,
1. Key parts of the website had broken links, making it difficult to get all the information in hand. You don't expect this from a major company - especial a 'media' company
2. The online CHAT feature was useless in comparison to BT. It tell's you \"Becky\" (or some other such cute girl-next-door name) is online ready to answer your questions. In truth, she wasn't ready and you got the feeling she was having multiple chats with various customers all at the same time. Knowledge was lacking and she even thought I had gone when writing a message - it's the most basic chat service I've ever come across. Compare that with BT, where you get a real person, their real staff ID number, get sent a copy of the transcript (which also goes on your file) and in my case, the lady actually called me to discuss my points personally, and the two companies couldn't be more different.
Despite this, I still decided to go ahead.
When I cancelled with BT (they kindly let me out of my contract without having to pay any charges because they couldn't quite fix my broadband problem) they told me the service would be cancelled within 2 weeks.
So I phone Virgin Media to let them know the exact date my BT service would end in order that Virgin could bring their installation forward (originally, I had made it 30 days from signing up as thought I would need to give BT 30 days notice). Virgin promptly said they couldn't move the date (even though there appeared to be plenty of flexibility when I signed up). When I pressed the matter, they said they couldn't move the install date because they were porting my number over (a phone number I've had for years and was keen to keep).
When my BT service expired, low and behold I get a TEXT from Virgin saying that because I had cancelled the service with my previous supplier before the installation date, they could no longer port my number. I was furious. When I spoke to Virgin they apologised, said I was given the wrong advice but there was nothing they could do. When pressed, they offered me 1 month free line rental (value, £11.99) - whoop-de-doo! £11.99 as compensation for a cock up that led to the loss of my phone number. Not happy.
Despite this, I still looked forward to the Tivo service and broadband installation. However, when the guy came to install the service, he said I DIDN'T HAVE CABLE to the flat!!! WHAT???
Several months ago, we had flyers through the post saying \"Congratulations, your flat is now cable ready with Virgin Media\". Now I'm being told it wasn't. The engineer said they should have done a site survey to check, but this wasn't done. He called his manager and said he's be out to see me personally - he was just 30mins away.
I called Virgin to explain the situation and all they said was that the manager needed to be involved and to speak with me.
A 2nd engineer turned up, found the cable line but said it hadn't been terminated. It was easy to do and they could schedule it in this week (dig up the road, run the cable etc) and he couldn't understand why it wasn't terminated before.
Another call to Virgin and the same answer, except now nearly 2 hours had gone by and still no news from the manager, despite being assured of a call within the hour.
By this point, I had lost all faith and told them I wanted to cancel my order, which was accepted. I said I still wanted the manager to call me though within the installation window (by 1pm) and was assured absolutely, he would. NOTHING! No call to say, sorry for your trouble, we're looking into it, have it re-scheduled, would love to keep you as a customer, this is all very unsual, please bear with us... NOTHING! No common curtessy or thought for the customer at all. I had given up my morning for this shambles and they couldn't even be bothered to call me.
In fact, when I was on the phone, I asked them to call me back if I got cut off - which I did, because I don't have broadband which I need for my Vodafone booster. Did they call back? No, of course not.
So a couple of days later I called to make sure that the service was cancelled and low and behold it wasn't. They had apparently rescheduled the install but had neglected to tell me. Finally got verbal confirmation that the service was cancelled and I asked for that to be put in writing but they said they don't do that. They could offer me a reference no though.
Now I'm sorry... but any other company would be fighting for your business. I got a lovely letter from BT saying sorry to lose you, if there's anything we can do to bring you back as a customer, how you come back soon, etc. But VIRGIN... can't be bothered apparently to send out a letter because, and I quote: \"Your Service is now cancelled, so we don't need to send you anything more\". Outrageous! They're perfectly happy to send my letters and offers to sign up and direct debit mandates to ensure they get their money, but a customer service letter? Forget it.
5 days later, I do get a letter through the post, saying they have rescehduled my installation, as discussed and agreed on the phone - WHAT? They never called ME and the only thing I discussed was cancellation, not reinstallation.
Another call to Virgin who said the letter was created before I cancelled - funny, I tried to cancel on the day. But when asked why it takes 5 days for a letter to be delivered after being created and why I didn't get a call, as stated in the letter I did, no answer... just \"oh, it takes time you know\". Rubbish. Letters are printed, stuffed and sent the same day in any other business - not VIRGIN.
Their systems are diabolical. No checks to even make sure their customers have CABLE, No communication between engineer and support, support team can't do anything without a manager and the manager can't be bothered to do anything about it.
I have honestly lost all faith with Virgin after this appalling experience which started from the very first moment I hit their website. They serious need to look at their business (systems, communications, management, training, website, customer service, engineering) etc or I'm sure they'll find themselves losing more customers than they'll gain.
Speaking with other friend on Virgin Media, every single one of them is looking to leave once their contracts expire.
For me, I went with PlusNet in the end (deciding I didn't need the TV services) who were somewhat cheaper than BT. Their customer service has been fabulous so far: Had a week's delay in my installation date for the broadband. Called to find out why and they guy said he'd find out and call me back within the hour. He called back within 20mins with an answer and a new installation date within 48hrs. Perfect!
It's not that things go wrong... it's how you deal with them when they do and VIRGIN MEDIA did nothing right at any stage of the process to fix the issue or keep me as a customer.
Mr Branson, I would seriously be looking into this business and implement some sweeping changes from top to bottom as it's a business in crisis and damaging the Virgin brand. See the other reviews here. Tiresome.