Thursday, 20 June 2013

A letter to Virgin Media

Note: Scroll down to see what happened next!

Dear Virgin Media,

You are big and rich. I am small and not rich.

That means you have more power than me and I will always see Richard Branson in TV ads telling me that Virgin is great.

And I will just be writing little blogs like this, telling people that Virgin is not great.

So while I cannot buy advertising space on big famous TV shows, I hope a few people will read this blog and think twice about giving you money.

Unfortunately for me, I am stuck giving you my money (for a while longer at least.)

So what has prompted me to bash away at my keyboard this morning?

Is it the long history of my broadband suddenly failing at inopportune moments? Is it your invariably poor customer service?

No it is not.

Instead this is prompted by your treatment of me as I prepare to move house.

I currently live in Nottingham. I am moving to the Bristol area.

I phoned you to arrange having my service moved.

Moving house was a time to consider my servicer provider (I was out of contract with you)

As a long-standing customer I thought you may offer me some sort of incentive to stay with Virgin.

I phoned and endured a horrendous hour with your call centre in the Phillippines. I am sure it was horrendous for them too!

I do not expect everyone in the world to speak English and these gentlemen were very polite. Their English was undoubtedly better than my Filipino. But I expect Virgin Media in the UK to put me through to someone who speaks my language to an acceptable level.

Anyway, after an hour I was given something like £2 a month off my existing deal, which is still close to £100 a month.

I agreed because after an hour of very difficult communication, my will was broken.

Anyway, who says I am entitled to a good deal because I am living in a new house?

Well, it seems you do.

You see, I don't move to my new house for a few weeks. I am still in Nottingham.

And my Nottingham letterbox is being deluged with letters from you offering six months at half price to whoever moves in next.

That is really rubbing my nose in it.

You are essentially saying "Brady, your years of loyalty and high payments mean nothing to us - the good deals are reserved for strangers".

Like I said, you are a bigger than me and have all the power.

And you will continue to have nearly £100 of my money every month.

But rest assured I will not forget - and I will not be quiet.

I will never be in loads of TV ads like Richard Branson... but at least I can utilise your broadband (on the days when it works) to share my views.

If Virgin respond to this, I will post their responses below.

They have some fake-cheery person on Twitter who usually replies to @virginmedia complaints with flippant light-hearted comments but never actually helps. (to be fair, that must be a soul-destroying job!)

(This letter is just my views and not the people in my videos - for all I know, they LOVE Virgin Media and enjoy excellent deals and customer service?)


The day after this blog was posted I was contacted by phone by a member of Virgin Media's social media team.

He apologised for my disappointment and I re-explained the above blog post.

The gentleman seemed eager to help, though he explained that I was not eligible for the new joiner incentive - I would have to leave Virgin for 90 days to become eligible.

In turn I explained what so many people feel - that the company is more interested in new clients and mistreats loyal ones.

However the gentleman seemed to sympathise with my situation and used his "leeway' to offer me a discount.

I wondered out loud why the call centre in the Philippines did not do likewise during our hour-long phone call.

I would not describe the discount as "generous" and nor does it compensate me for the time and energy I spent negotiating it.

However I felt somewhat vindicated and acknowledge that the company did not ignore my complaint.

And I earn my living on the Internet - so until any other company can provide comparably fast broadband, I feel somewhat stuck with Virgin Media.


  1. A couple of years ago when I moved into a new house I made massive problems transferring my Virgin account (some weren't Virgin's fault as previous tenants hadn't canceled their subscription), in the end I spent over £50 in mobile charges waiting on hold and being transferred between departments.
    I ended up writing an 1000 word complaint email to the CEO of Virgin Media, explaining that because I have Virgin Mobile too I had given them a huge amount of money to listen to their hold music while they failed to fix a problem that was their fault.
    In fairness to them, I sent it at 11pm and 9:30 the next morning I get a phone call from their top office apologising and refunding my call charges.
    Moral is unfortunately, you gotta complain.

  2. I have found that all companies are like that now. It is quantity they are looking for not quality.
    They want to brag about how many new customers not how many they have maintained over the years. And truth be told as an investor that's all that would count to me if I was buying stock.
    I am a call center customer service agent for a mobile phone company.
    I see death to the elderly every day. We deny the loyal and reward the new.

  3. More power to you.. and hopefully to me. I'm going to post and link to your blog in my tousle with Telstra (remember them?)

  4. Agreed, I am also unfortunately stuck with virgin media/mobile and it has been the most awful, detestable and struggling (trying to keep my cool and sanity) experience I had ever had.

  5. I don't really think it's just virgin media that is like this. Almost every big company is bound to have terrible customer service.

  6. So... Their strategy seems to be: "Don't bother trying to keep the customers we already have, just keep getting new ones." It may work well now, but it could backfire spectacularly at some point later, because by then, most people either have had a bad experience with them or know someone who has...

  7. Virgin is no different to other companies in this respect (include Sky, insurance companies and banks). In each case the focus is on getting new clients (and indeed the pay structure, ie commission rewards this activity) rather than keeping clients.

    The question is: why do they do this?

    Answer: because of us. We are lazy and stick with companies even when we receive poor service as it's too much effort to change. Until we change why would companies?

    PS Special shout-out to First Direct. The only company where I have experienced genuinely exceptional customer service - and even (shock! horror!) an apology when they messed up and then same-day resolution of the issue.

  8. Brady, I am not sure if you have FTTP or FTTC available where you live, but I do and I have found PlusNet to be very good, albeit that I have only had to call their customer service once in 3 years!

  9. Oh yeah i was waiting for this to damn long !!!

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    getting new clients & incorporate my company

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