Not having had a response to the e-mails I have sent to Virgin Media complaining about their misleading advertisements and poor complaints management, I thought I would share the evidence more widely. I have long been frustrated by the poor quality of Virgin’s service, but wonder actually if any other company is better! So, to summarise my frustration over the most recent incident:
1. The advertisement – or hook
I received an e-mail from Virgin (below) encouraging me to upgrade to 50Mb broadband – definitely desirable! It mentioned no extra monthly cost, but did specify a P&P cost of £5.99. It had also mentioned that I would receive 5 free HD channels for the same monthly charge.
I should have thought about it, because saying “from £5.99″ could mean anything – even £599.00! I did, though, rather foolishly expect the charge to be £5.99, and so was surprised when my order receipt came back showing that postage and packing was £9.99 (as below).
When I later received a new statement of the cost, they had in reality only charged me £5.99! So why did they say £9.99 on the above?
2. Delivery date
I should have known there would be problems here! In their original response, they gave me a delivery date of 10th July. However, on 11th July they sent me advance notice of the delivery date which was to be on 15th July (“between 8AM and 9PM”) but no mechanism for letting them know whether or not I might be in that day. As it happened, this was not going to be possible, so I sent them an e-mail asking if I could change the date. Needless to say there was no reply. Fortunately, a great neighbour received it for me.
3. Installation – two hours
I guess for most people the installation should be simple – rip out the old, and put in the new. To be fair, the new hub has four ethernet ports and two bands at 2.4 GHz and 5GHz, and the set-up instructions were clear to use. So, I got it up and running relatively quickly. The challenge was that I had previously run my Mac Airport Express from my old hub (without any problems), and once plugged in to my new hub it would no longer work. OK, you could say that I had no need for it, but I wanted the added security, and everyone’s computers were configured to the old network. Try as I could, I could not reconfigure the Airport Express, and after exploring various threads about this discovered that I needed to upgrade its firmware. Next problem, I could not do this running Mavericks! Eventually, I worked out that using one of our old computers running an archaic version of OSX it might be possible to upgrade the firmware. Success, but only after 2 hours!
4. No HD TV after all that!
One of the reasons for going with the new package was that it had advertised that it came with 5 free HD channels:
I clearly had not thought this through sufficiently, thinking it meant what it said: “5 amazing HD channels for no extra monthly fee”! What they did not say was that I needed a new TV set-top box, since I did not already have HD. However, they knew perfectly well that I did not have this, and so should have tailored the original advert to me accordingly! Indeed, the real factor why I went for the offer in the first place was that I wanted the HD – and it appeared to be at no extra cost! The 50Mb/s, although useful, was not really that much faster in practice, and it is only the download speed! The upload speed is less than 4 MB/s.
5. The complaint
Try finding from their website how to write to Virgin Media to register a minor dissatisfaction, or complaint. It is almost impossible! Eventually, I did find a form to fill in from their site – but it may not have been to the correct department! I also wrote an e-mail responding to one of those they sent to me. Needless to say, I have not yet had a reply!
I do just wish that their marketing material was more accurate, and that they provided a better level of personal service in terms of the information provided!