A lesson learned – check your television bills each month

ADVERTS David Tennant publicises Virgin Media - but one reader was less than impressed by its service
ADVERTS David Tennant publicises Virgin Media - but one reader was less than impressed by its service
Flowers laid in tribute outside the multi-storey car park on Osborn Road, Fareham

Flowers for boy who died near car park

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There’s no doubt that when it comes to home entertainment most of us go a bundle on our TV and telephone services.

Top player Virgin Media is up there with all the market leaders trying to persuade us to sign up to a choice of TV, phone, and broadband packages.

But as Waterlooville office worker and loyal Virgin customer Linda Watkinson discovered to her cost, the sheer volume and multiplicity of content on offer can easily lead to runaway monthly bills, and mind numbing obscurity.

Her spat with Virgin began when she found she’d been overcharged for a film channel for the last seven years that was part of her husband’s sport package.

Linda said: ‘My husband started working evening shifts and didn’t have much time to watch the sport channels.

‘He thought we were paying an awful lot for it, so I did a comparison check with my daughters, who confirmed my suspicion we were being overcharged.’

Linda immediately got on to the company to cancel the sports package and check just what she was paying for. First she was told she had two movie packages incorporated in the sports deal costing £16.75 a month, but this was corrected to £7 after further enquiries revealed she only had one film package, not two.

A Virgin rep queried why she hadn’t raised the matter before and said they weren’t prepared to refund her overpayments because she should have checked her monthly bills.

Incensed she’d been paying for a service she hadn’t received, she escalated her complaint to a manager who gave her the exactly the same short shrift.

Repeated phone calls were met with the same dismissive response until finally a Virgin representative called her back to offer a ‘goodwill gesture’ of £16.75 credited to her account for just six months.

Feeling exasperated and let down at the way she’s been treated, Linda contacted Streetwise asking for our help to get the matter sorted.

We put it to them that Linda had good cause to complain and had been treated unfairly.

While it was accepted their customers were given information to understand what they were paying for, Linda’s problem was confusion between what precisely was being supplied with Sky Movies, and Sky Sports and Movies collections.

Because of the film overlap in both packages, she was understandably annoyed. As a longstanding loyal Virgin customer deserved better treatment

Ashley Scott, a Virgin Media spokesperson said: ‘Mrs Watkinson’s subscription to the Sky Sports and Sky Movies Collection has always been clearly identified on the statement we send her each month but, as a gesture of goodwill, we’ve offered to refund the cost of adding Sky Movies.

‘We want to make sure all our customers know exactly what they’re paying for, so our bills are as simple and clear as possible. But we do ask that customers check their bills.’

A delighted Linda told us that she’d received the promised refund cheque for £581.

She believed she’d finally got a square deal and her complaint had been completely vindicated.

‘The point is unless you’re careful, you may end up having no idea exactly what you are paying for – everybody has different packages,’ she said.