Virgin Media: How to get compensation for bad service

Streetwise helped unhappy Virgin Media customer Patrick O'Gorman of Southsea

Streetwise helped unhappy Virgin Media customer Patrick O'Gorman of Southsea

Mary Portas

READER’S OPINION: Increase in business rates could have a devastating impact

Nobody likes paying over the odds for a product unless it does exactly what it says on the tin.

So when Patrick O’Gorman from Southsea wasn’t getting what Virgin Media promised from his home entertainment package he asked them for a price cut, but ended up getting the elbow.

He insisted it was Virgin on the ridiculous after the home entertainment giant admitted the 51-year old businessman had been getting a second-rate service for months due to technical problems in Portsmouth.

Patrick explained that he’d been a loyal customer for 16 years but was getting fed up with poor service and paying around £140 a month for it when new customers were being offered a superior package for far less.

He said: ‘The first service problem was the TV on demand wasn’t working. I rang up to complain and someone from the call centre said I’d get some sort of credit on my account once it was fixed.

‘The internet also wasn’t working properly and they admitted there was a capacity problem in the area.

‘They didn’t have enough network capacity to provide a reliable advertised service at peak times for which they said they were compensating customers for.’

His broadband speeds averaged only eight megabits per second which he claimed were only 10 per cent of the advertised ‘up to’ speeds and in his view were little more than a joke.

‘I asked when it would start,’ he said, ‘and told them I didn’t understand what they meant by a credit, would they get someone to call me.

‘No-one called so that’s when I started to get a bit irritated with Virgin Media and decided to look at what I was paying.

‘When I rang back I said I’d noticed they’d got an offer on the internet for new customers which is less than I pay now and I’d quite like that please.’

But when he requested to be put on the lower tariff he was firmly told it was only available to new customers.

‘Because I asked, they offered me a better price then I am currently paying, but they refused to match the new customer tariff, meaning, as a loyal customer, I’d always be asked to pay more.’

Patrick told Streetwise he was angry at forking out top whack for an inferior service, and wasn’t at all enamoured with Virgin Media for being less than transparent about the abysmal second-rate service.

What got right up his nose was the fact that subscribers who were getting an inferior product in the Portsmouth area weren’t being told about it, and were only offered compensation if they complained.

We agreed that the firm were clearly in breach of contract for not providing a reliable service and the advertised broadband download speeds

We accepted it was unrealistic and unfair to expect Patrick to put up with it.

Streetwise got onto Virgin and they immediately sprang into action.

They agreed there were outstanding technical problems to be resolved in the area and were confident they were well on the way to get them sorted by the end of next March.

In the meantime, they had made Patrick an immediate offer of compensation, and arranged to upgrade him to a superior service package.

A Virgin Media spokesperson said: ‘We’re sorry that Mr O’Gorman has experienced issues with his broadband, and have a plan in place to resolve it. To apologise for the disruption, we’ve credited his account by £50.

‘We’ve also offered him a new TV and broadband plan to recognise the length of time he’s been a customer, which has more services than his current tariff, and is cheaper too.’

Patrick got back in touch and confirmed that as a result of our intervention he’d been contacted by Virgin Media’s executive complaints team and offered a solution which finally gave him what he originally asked for.

He thanked Streetwise for stepping in, but was still critical of Virgin Media’s approach of only paying compensation when customers complained.

He said: ‘Their policy is to pay compensation to customers whose service is interrupted from when the customer reports the problem, until it is resolved – not from when they’re aware of it.

‘In my case they are only crediting the account to reflect a disruption from November until March 2017.

‘I remain bitterly disappointed in the company and the hoops customers need to jump through to get value for money.’

In the light of Patrick’s experience Streetwise gives full marks to Virgin for admitting they have a local service problem.

Customers in the Portsmouth area who are experiencing disruption with their home entertainment packages should not hesitate to contact the firm and insist they’re adequately compensated.

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