Richard Branson’s Virgin Media & The Truth–”Yet to be Acquainted”

Those of you who have followed this blog will be aware of the on going battle I seem to be having with Virgin Media to get them to provide the broadband service I am paying for them to supply.

I realise that it is totally unreasonable of me to expect that when I pay Richard Branson to provide me with broadband, that his company should be expected to provide it. Clearly, Virgin Media will make more profit if they take the money and do not provide the service.

The fault is such that at times, I can’t get internet access, at other times, I get very slow internet access or intermittent access. It means that it is difficult to use it for internet banking or to buy things online as the service is likely to suffer outages whilst doing the transaction.

So, despite ringing several times since early December reporting this fault and being told: –

  • a) was a modem fault
  • b) was a line fault now fixed
  • c) was a fault with my computer
  • d) there was no fault at all
  • e) there was a fault in the area that would be fixed in next couple of days (this was weeks ago)

Well tonight, I decided to check the faults section on Virgin Media’s website. The message below was what is on the website after I logged in and entered my account details.

Service status

Your Service Status for telephone number 020 XXXX XXXX Saturday 22 January 2011, 21:44
There are no known problems affecting your Broadband service.
  • If you are still having issues with your services why not try to find your answer in our help area.
  • Alternatively you could search questions and answers from other customers in our
    Help & Support Forums.

However if these do not solve your problem then please let us know by contacting us free on 151 from your Virgin Media Phone or call 0845 454 1111 from any other phone line.

So, when I rang Virgin Media and spoke to the obligatory overseas call centre representative, I was surprised to be told there was a known fault in the Area affecting broadband services and it was likely to be so until at least February. I queried this only to be told the website was correct! I then queried why I had just been told there was a fault in the Area if there are no known problems affecting my broadband service. I was told there was a fault!

Confused? So was I (and I still am). According to the Virgin representative both statements are true. There is a fault, it is known about and yet it is not a known problem.

I asked to speak to a supervisor and was told that I could not speak to one! Interesting idea of customer service? The call was terminated.

I called back and asked to speak to a supervisor and again spoke to someone in a foreign call centre once again. I was once again told that there was a fault in the Area and it had been this way for several weeks. I was also told the website was correct. I was still confused. I asked to clarify the issue as to exactly what they were saying as this matter was heading to litigation if it was not resolved. At this point, the supervisor terminated the call!

Yet another call back to Virgin Media and this time a very sympathetic female at the foreign call centre. She told me there was indeed a fault and it had been known about since mid December. She offered me a credit to my account – I said I did not want money, I just wanted the service repaired. The matter was left that she would raise it as an escalated complaint.

Whilst I was on the phone in the last call, there was a missed call on my mobile phone. There was a voicemail message from the supervisor I was speaking to in the last call saying inter alia that “the line had dropped during the call” – strange it was immediately I mentioned  possible legal proceedings. He also said he would call me back in 30 minutes. this message was left at 22:17. So, it would be reasonable to expect a call around 22:47? Well, its now gone 00:17, some 120 minutes later – and guess what? Yes, you’ve guessed it, no call.

What to do about this? Well, I already have one county court action against Virgin over their missed appointment last December. I think this time I will be putting a letter to them and see what they have to say for themselves. If they do not respond, then I will issue proceedings. I have already had to buy a mobile broadband dongle to ensure I have internet access. The cost of this and using it I will be recovering from Virgin.

I have been wondering to myself if part of the problem with Virgin Media is their use of foreign call centres. I am convinced that their call handlers do not understand English. Perhaps this explains why they seem to think it is correct to say on their website there are no known problems, but say on the phone there is a known fault. Perhaps it would explain why they then argue repeatedly that the two statements are not contradictory and both are true.

I’m sure the language issue cannot help and Virgin Media may find its customer satisfaction rating rises above 0% if they had call centres staffed by people who speak English as their first language.

So Bearded one, are you going to introduce your staff to the truth?

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