Richard Branson

Losing the will to live….. And then…

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Sounds dramatic doesn’t it – but dealing with Virgin Media must have an effect upon the nations suicide rates! Luckily I appear to have survived, my problem has finally been resolved, the experience was not a pleasant one though.

I thought I would be in my grave before this was sorted!

We were almost at the 3 week mark for my issue with Virgin – I won’t summarise the story, you can look here for the trail in my blog (I have even given Virgin their own category as they are a major contributor now!).

Suffice to say the depth of incompetence here was staggering. Initial advice and action at the call centre was all wrong (and numerous ‘untruths’ appear to have been told).

I knew from my wifes experiences that I needed to escalate the matter from the call centre as quickly as I could, and I did. My email to the MD was answered personally by him within 30 minutes (and at 9.30 at night) – so fair enough I was impressed.

Added to that Sophie in the CEO’s office has been helpful and has finally managed to sort the issue for me – but she had to take over from the three ‘experts’ that were given the job in the first place. Apparently the IT issue was being dealt with by the head of IT eventually!

Virgin added lots of freebies to the phone over the last 3 weeks, which are appreciated but how about actually providing decent service in the first place Virgin? I find it appalling that a company that has Richard Branson’s name on it can be so bad! And the number of people that have told me their tales of woe with Virgin in the last few weeks beggars belief!

So the matter is resolved (as far as I know) – am I a happy customer? Well I am certainly happier than I was, but Virgin really need to address a few basic issues before they have me fully back on board!

The Virgin chronicles – a brief update!

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Nice adverts Richard - now how about sorting my problem out?

As anyone who reads this blog will by now be aware I have ‘a bit of an issue’ with Virgin Mobile/Media that has now been rolling along for 17 days. I am beginning to get slightly confused as I was originally dealing with Virgin Mobile and was under the impression that they were a separate entity to Virgin Media (certainly the deal I am attempting to use was sold to me on that basis). However things have moved on…..

I am now definitely dealing with the Virgin Media complaints department – I have a direct number if anyone needs it. I am also now onto my fourth ‘expert’ within the department – and more exciting I have an extension to ring now that will put me straight through to Matthew who is my new contact.Is this an indication that they are finally taking the matter seriously – or just that I have now educated them in the ways of good customer care?

Matthew has got off to a shaky start – I asked for any calls regarding the matter to come via my own mobile number and not my son Sam’s, (it is his number that we are trying to sort out), but he tried ringing Sam’s first. However a quick email to me subsequently saved the situation! Plus point also for contacting on a Bank Holiday!

But, we are now into week three with no answer in sight. I am told that the IT department are still ‘looking into it’, however I would hope they may move to ‘doing something about it’ anytime soon!

I think I may have finally worked out Virgins customer complaint game plan – make it take so long to resolve that when it finally happens I am really appreciative? Hate to tell you Virgin but when it is finally sorted that is only the beginning…

Progress is a relative thing!

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I think not!

My Virgin Mobile (or Media) issue rumbles on – I now have a ‘personal expert’ called Gary who is ‘dealing with’ the matter. He is very friendly and has the usual Virgin characteristic – of apologising all the time! To be fair he has managed to achieve something – we appear to have a direct debit set up in favour of VM (let’s get the money sorted boys, sod the actual service).

So as I type this I am becoming increasingly weary of the matter (and VM). We are now well into day 10 and are only a small way to a resolution – in summary what I have gained in 10 days;

  • I now have a contact in the CEO’s office at VM called Sophie.
  • I have an email apology from Graeme Oxby the MD of VM.
  • I have Gary – who is ‘sorting it’ and will ‘ring me to update me’.
  • I have a direct debit in favour of VM.
  • I have significantly more grey hair!

What I don’t have;

  • A phone transferred onto the tariff I requested.
  • A phone on my online account – it has been transferring from my wife’s since last week.
  • Any updates in the last 24 hours.
  • Any faith in this being sorted anytime soon!

So as I say, progress is relative – I am sure VM would claim they are doing everything they can to resolve this mess. I have news for you boys – it isn’t enough.

What is it with Virgin Mobile?

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I have a history with Virgin Mobile (VM) – if you have a moment and want a laugh you can read about it here. I had hoped that we had reached a position with them whereby things were back on the straight and level. Sadly we are not, my conversations with them over the last two days frankly beggar belief.

Just to set the scene, my sons mobile has been on a pay as you go basis with Virgin Mobile since he has had it. He is now developing a social life so it’s time to transfer to a monthly contract. Virgin Mobile offer a £5 deal for Virgin Media customers that provides 3000 texts and 100 any network minutes (plus unlimited calls to other virgin mobile numbers) – a good deal. So we decided to take them up on it, and this is when our ‘fun’ started.

To be fair my wife did warn me it wouldn’t be straight forward, her experiences are pretty torrid with VM, I should have listened!

The initial call to transfer was made at 8am Saturday morning – but we were told there was a credit score issue so it had to be transferred into my name. Strange we thought, as the two phones already on that account are on direct debits for a paltry amount – but we played along. We were told the transfer would be done in 24 hours and then we could sort out the change in tariff.

So Sunday morning comes and we make the call – only to be told it would now take 72 hours – call be old-fashioned – but I wasn’t impressed, I requested to speak to a manager.

After 30 minutes on the phone to the manager we learnt that a credit score had not actually been done on my wife – so that was a blatant lie from our first phone call – and that the number was now ‘locked up’ in the transfer between my wife and I, so nothing could be done currently!

We are now awaiting a call to tell us the transfer to me has happened, but it ‘may not be until tomorrow’ – not good enough VM!

I have no issue with Virgin Media, they are great to deal with, but the constant pain from VM is getting very tiresome. Why don’t they care about how they treat their customers? I will update this as soon / if the matter is resolved.

As usual I am not holding my breath!

UPDATE 1

As expected the promised phone calls did not materialise, so I had to chase Virgin Mobile. I was told that the number was still ‘locked up’ and they would now have to escalate it to the IT department – but that would take up to another 72 hours.

So currently we are looking at a potential 6 days to achieve something so simple that most companies do it in minutes – but not VM!

I did have to speak to a manager again (but you knew that already didn’t you!). Time to see if things start to move a bit quicker?

UPDATE 2

It is now Thursday evening, the contract is not set up still! I have made two and a quarter hours of calls to Virgin, many promises have been made – and broken. I am promised a call by 10 tonight, am I to be surprised?

UPDATE 3
I have emailed the MD of Virgin Mobile – and received a reply – things are looking up!

Virgin Mobile – some progress?

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I might be getting somewhere this week with my ongoing Virgin Billing saga. However as usual it appears that it may only be a partial answer!

In essence Virgin have screwed up my wifes mobile bill now since November 2010 – constant calls get promises of it being sorted out, but then we get the monthly bill through and its wrong again. And guess what today is the day and its wrong again!

We have also been getting lots of emails asking for our comments on their service (at least one after each call to them – so lots so far!) – we have replied, but heard nothing.

However, earlier this week I found Virgin Media on Twitter ( @virginmedia ), so I thought ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ – perhaps I should send a tweet inviting them to look at my issues – so I did. Amazingly I got a reply and they asked me to email them with my problem – great I thought, action at last – the email was sent!

Bizarrely I was just typing out a blog post today confirming that I had heard nothing since the email was sent on Tuesday, when I got a call from a nice lady in Virgin Mobile Complaints department! Elizabeth (for that was her name) told me that the issue we were having is widespread across many of their customers accounts – due to a computer issue. Now we had been told about the computer issue back in November so I was a bit surprised that it was still causing the problem. She told me they were working on it (still) but was unable to confirm if it would be solved soon – not what I wanted to hear!

Elizabeth has now added a 6 month credit to my wifes account – in the hope that by January the problem will be solved – not the most positive approach but a start! I get the impression that Virgins computer system is not handling the billing process well – perhaps any customers should keep a close watch on their bills to make sure they are correct?

I have a direct line for Elizabeth in Customer Complaints now – lets hope it’s not needed!

Virgin and ‘shotgun customer care’

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Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I am having a ‘love hate’ relationship with Virgin Mobile at the moment (mainly hate), I do not intend to bore you all again with the facts – they are here if you want a quick reminder.

I am however finding the Virgin groups approach to customer care one of the worst I have ever come across – the words “sincere” and “interested” don’t appear to be within their dictionary at all – let me explain why;

if you are a customer you have probably had one of these....

We all learn the importance of sincerity from an early age – it forms the basis for relating to others in a socially acceptable manner. Insincere equals rude – and in business it is potentially suicidal!

Virgin group it appears send out a ‘customer care’ email after any contact with their staff – in principle a good idea, they want people to tell them how they are doing. But, they send out the same one after a complaint and then it appears they totally ignore any reply – no matter how good or bad it is!

My wife received another this week so I replied on her behalf – I confirmed (politely) that we were not happy and that they were not doing well, stated why, and even gave them my details to contact – have I heard anything?

No!

Do I expect to?

No!

What do I think of this totally insincere and pointless ‘customer care’?

Sorry I can’t explain it without lapsing into foul-mouthed ranting! Bottom line – Virgin don’t appear to give two hoots about their customers – that is usually the beginning of the end for a brand. A shame because I really like what Richard Branson has done!

Virgin update

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Rather than add to my previous blog about Virgin Mobiles I thought I would add a quick update blog.

Have we answered all their questions texted to us?

Yes.

Did we get a helpful, personal response ?

No – we got the attached!

20110702-080437.jpg

Nothing like the personal touch!

What is wrong with Virgin Mobile customer care?

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I have blogged before (numerous times!) about the total inability of Virgin Mobile to get my wifes mobile phone account payment correct. I have always been a fan of ‘Virgin the brand’ as they have always provided good service – except in this case!

perhaps Richard Branson wants to keep us dangling?

Frankly they have been nothing short of appalling over this matter, I do not have the energy to explain it all again, you can read about it here and here.

But, the latest update is even better! They have as usual cocked up the billing (we wouldn’t expect anything else would we?). My wife spoke to them and ‘as usual’ they apologised (getting rather hollow now) and ‘sorted it out’ (at least for a couple of months anyway). But this isn’t the best bit, what came next really shows how little they are interested in their customers;

Following her telephone conversation my wife received a customer care text asking how she felt the person had dealt with her problem – not really very personal or to be honest very helpful. She did duly oblige them with a reply (which was fair as the person was helpful – it’s the system that stinks!) and then she got a text apologising! Fantastic!

I am quite confident that Virgin will not see this, they do not appear to look for mentions of their brand on the web (they either don’t care or there are so many complaints they have given up!) – unlike John Lewis partnership who have responded almost instantly to this blog on more than one occasion when I have complained – now that is customer care.

If I was cynical I would imagine that it is an attempt to get the full value of the tariff out of us by slowly grinding us down – it won’t work. I am not the sort of person to let something like this get past me – and neither is my wife!

Sorry Mr Branson, your staff are letting you down badly at Virgin Mobile, please sort them out and sort out this totally unacceptable debacle!

Virgin mobile still appear to be ‘incapable’ of billing correctly!

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Some while ago I blogged about my wifes problem with Virgin mobile and their total inability to sort out what would appear to be a simple matter of billing her correctly.

2008 advert - did they know something?

At the time of my blog I said that Virgin had sorted it out for two months as they corrected that months billing and put a credit in place for the following month – but I would wait for the proof that it was correct at month 3 before letting out my breath!

Well, surprise surprise – the two months have now passed and we have a problem again! The bill is wrong and yet another call is needed to get it sorted – will they get it correct this time or are they trying to lose us as customers?

The call has been made and the situation is sorted for another two months – it’s still the fault of the IT department apparently – they are very slow it appears!

In all other respects I have found Virgin to be excellent – but there is only so much that one can take! The advert shown here was from 2008 and used in Canada – but seems rather apt in this case!

We currently have three mobiles, TV, telephone and internet package with Virgin – I have to say that Sky have some nice deals on at the moment and I am sure other mobile companies can’t be as bad at billing as Virgin – can they?

Come on Virgin – I am sure Richard Branson would have something to say about this if he was aware!

Virgin Mobile and the ‘art’ of billing

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As a household we are generally very ‘Virgin based’. We have our TV through them, our land line and our internet – plus three mobiles. To be fair we are very happy with the service we get and have always found them to be quite reactive to requests as and when we have ‘price checked’ them. They have always responded swiftly and to our benefit.

One such apparent ‘good deal’ was when they agreed to move my wife from her existing £10 for 200 minutes, 200 texts deal to match a deal from Tesco Mobile of 500 mins, 500 texts and unlimited data for a similar amount. Virgin increased the deal they offered back to us to 800 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of data for a similar £10, an excellent deal that we took up instantly!

But, at that point we came up against Virgins billing department, and the rest as they say is a nightmare!

The transfer to the better tariff was done in November 2010 and then the fun started! The tariff we were transferring to was apparently normally a £20 one, but we would get a monthly £10 credit – total cost therefore £10, simple!

Unfortunately not if you are Virgins accounts department!

Month one  – the bill was wrong, £20 rather than £10 – hours spent on the phone finally gets it sorted – Virgin are sorry.

Month two – the bill was wrong (again) – hours spent on phone calls plus this time multiple failures to call us back when they promised – Virgin are sorry.

Month three – you guessed – and yes they were sorry. And this time it was the fault of a computer error apparently. A credit was made for the next month ‘just to be sure’ and then the new computer system would sort it out – Virgin were sorry!

Month four – all OK as credit already in place – hurrah!

Month five (now) – Oh dear, its wrong again!

My wife (it is her account) has now spoken to them again (took 6 minutes this time which to be fair is good), apparently they have ‘sorted it’ and it will be correct at least for the next two months. Will they get it right after that? I hope so, but if I am honest I doubt it!

So, well done Virgin, I have always championed your cause on TV, broadband etc, but you have really let yourselves down this time.

I really don’t want to hear that you are sorry – I want you to sort it out! It will also be interesting to see if your customer service is as good as John Lewis – when I blogged about an issue with them I was contacted the same day by their customer services department – how will you do Virgin?