The Truth, The Whole Truth & Nothing But The Truth?

I was watching the television today when there was an advert on for Tetley tea with the following slogan:

‘Tetley, We don’t make tea for anyone else’

Well I thought to myself, that’s bullshit I know at least 3 other people who drink it.


It set me thinking about the other lies and misleading statements around us. For example we spend 11 1/2 months of the year terrifying our children about paedophiles and the remaining time we encourage them to get excited about a fat old man with a beard coming into their bedroom in the middle of the night. Just what are we teaching children?

Virgin Media and the truth are two things that are not known to each other very well. I am currently experiencing problems with my broadband connection. I called Virgin on Saturday and they arranged an appointment for an engineer to call out today (21st December) between 0800 and 1200.

Yesterday morning Virgin called me to confirm the appointment was still needed. So far so good. Yesterday, I got something like 40 text messages from Virgin between around 1700 and 1800 all stating Virgin were having problems in keeping their appointments. Some stated that Virgin would call if there was a problem with my appointment.

So by 1230 today, no engineer had called, so I rang Virgin, spoke to someone who spoke to the engineers team and told me the call was live and the engineer was running late but would be coming today. When I asked when and asked why I had not been called given they could not keep the appointment slot, answers came there none.

I called back almost immediately, spoke to a different person in the same department who told me the appointment had previously been cancelled.

a) He could offer no explanation as to why I had not been called to be told this.

b) He could not advise when the appointment was cancelled

c) He told me the people who knew the answers to the above questions were the engineers team, but I could not speak to them as they were not taking calls! Yes they were refusing to tell people what was going on.

d) He advised me the previous person I spoke to had typed in the notes to say they had told me the appointment had been cancelled.

e) He advised me Virgin Media would not consider any compensation for the missed appointment nor for the failing to call. This despite the fact they accept I have had to take a day off work to be here, and will have to repeat this again at a future date in the event that Virgin do bother to re-arrange this appointment.

So, Virgin Media, I would ask you: –

1. Why did you cancel my appointment after confirming it yesterday and texting me last night repeatedly?

2. Why did you not contact me at any stage to advise the appointment had been cancelled?

3. When exactly was this appointment cancelled?

4. Why when I telephoned you, after the appointment slot was I told the engineer was on his way still, despite it having already been cancelled?

5. Why do you employ dishonest staff who record on the notes they have told me that the appointment had been cancelled, when they had done precisely the opposite?

6. Why do you think you can ignore the loss you have caused to your customers, and refuse even to consider any compensation?

Whilst you are thinking of the answers to these questions Mr Branson, you can deal with the small claims court summons that has now been issued against your company. I am not prepared to waste my time in correspondence with your company when you have told me point blank that you will not even consider compensation for your causing me to lose a day’s work unnecessarily.

I am repeatedly amazed at companies that have no idea of how to treat their customers. This situation would never have arisen if :

A. Virgin had rung and said “sorry we can’t keep today’s appointment owing to the weather”.

B Having failed to ring, they hold their hands up and make a token gesture of apology, say 1 months free broadband. This would cost them perhaps £25 or less.

Instead they lie about what is happening and then refuse point blank to consider recompense for their actions (or lack of them).

I think too many companies rely on customers inertia and the customers failing to pursue matters. Write to many companies complaints departments and you get generally unhelpful letters fudging the issue and refusing to compensate customers.

As consumers, we need to fight back and remind companies who is in control. The simple remedy is to issue a claim in the small claims court. This can be done online at It costs £25 to issue a claim for up to £300. This court fee is recoverable from the other side. There are no other costs involved. If you lose the case, you do not have to pay any costs of the other side and vice versa. The small claims court is designed to be simple and to keep lawyers out of it.

Simply put, it is rarely worth companies defending these claims as it will cost them more than the amount you are claiming. The  small claims court is a very underused process. All you do is:

a. type in your name & address,

b. the name and address of your opponent (if Ltd or PLC, then their registered office address)

c. State your case in less than 1080 characters

d. Pay the issue fee online

The court will issue the proceedings and serve them on the opponent. The opponent then has 14 days to file a defence. The process is on the website I gave you, if needed. However, often after issuing proceedings you will be contacted by the opponent looking to resolve the matter.

Fight back against bad service, take control and issue proceedings in the small claims court. Don’t accept second best or bad service.



Well, apart from fighting with Virgin Media, what else have I done today?

I know some of you won’t believe me, but I have done some work. Quite interestingly, I have had to look up some references and stories online relating to recent criminal cases and finds what references there have been to a couple of people involved in recent criminal cases. This was quite interesting as it brought up references to criminal cases that I had forgotten about.

I have also spent a couple of hours wrapping Christmas presents. Given that Michelle has assisted me in Christmas shopping and has numerous presents for people from us at her house, I seem to have more presents here than I have ever had before. I think I must have gone for quantity not quality this year.

I will confess that I am the world’s worst present wrapper. Its only matched by my lack of skill in choosing presents. Michelle, a sister and a mother to guide me, as well as good help from my ex wife. Where would we be without females to help us choose presents.




A Muslim wearing a rucksack walks into a bar. He orders a pint of lager and everyone realises that he’s integrated perfectly well into society and has been out hill-walking

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