NTL all is forgiven!!!
Here is a complaint I am forced to send to Virgin. Ive just pasted the whole letter rather than try to paraphrase, needless to say Ive never experienced anything as bad as this shambles masquerading as customer service. Its almost criminal. Im not expecting a reply or anyone to care, but occasionally someone acts with some competence and you inch forward.....an inch.
Dear Sir, After my recent experience dealing with virgin media these past 2 weeks and some of the comments I have read on a host of web sites, I suspect the chances of this email getting a response are slim to none. But I am optimistic as from my experience with around 10 different virgin employees these past 2 weeks 2 of them could actually be bothered to do their job and didnt tell me a pack of lies. Thats a 1 in 5 chance of not getting some incompetent useless liar. This is not an accusation. It's fact based on observation and experience. So here goes and heres hoping I get that 1 in 5. It began when I had money problems and was cut off from my broadband service 2 days before I was able to clear the balance. After paying the amount owed I called virgin to get my broadband put back on. I was assured reconnection would happen within 24 hours. I explained a friend in similar circumstances waited 10 days or more, I was told that was a one off and not the norm. 3 days later I was still not reconnected. I called to try and get this sorted but unfortunately got some arrogant employee who clearly couldnt be bothered. Perhaps his lunch break was approaching. His screen said reconnection had gone through, so.... that was thatm he wouldnt move from that standpoint and made no effort to investigate further. I tried explaining that being with NTL for 7 years I was well aware that a modem has various lights, and when the "ready" light is inactive it indicates a disabled connection to virgins hardware. Mentioning this simple fact to an engineer would validate what I was claiming was a truthful fact. He gave me the premium rate call centre number (Asia) nothing short of a phone scam and said goodbye, or bugger off basically. I called the number at an alleged 25p per minute with £3 approx of change. Instead of the expected 8+ minutes I got as far as giving half of my customer account number and then click. Money gone. This was an everyday BT public payphone. The call lasted 70 seconds if that. Disgusting. I then had to change a £10 note for £1 coins so as to guarantee I could relay Virgins mistake and get someone to really listen to what i was saying and try and resolve the matter without bias or pre-concieved notions of me being a broadband newcomer who needed to configure my computer correctly. Unfortunately they were no more helpful than the first guy in the UK, and were clearly more concerned with operating procedures and not deviating from what is clearly a well rehearsed script. They are totally rigid and inflexible and keeping their job rather than offering any real help seems to be the underling priority. Im not the only customer to pick up on this. Your connection is on Mr Keary is basically what I was told......AGAIN!! This was getting infuriating and over the course of the remaining days, right up to today, I was forced into calling the scam line many, many times at considerable expense. That money could have paid for my connection and literally put me months in advance credit. Bear in mind I was disconnected because of cash flow problems, so to then be forced into a situation of having to call a peak rate number which in reality charges much more than is advertised for what was an oversight on Virgins part left a very nasty taste and a large hole in my pocket. Each time I called that helpline I felt like I had just been mugged or scammed. 2 days ago I tried calling the 0845 454 1111 number. To my amazement I got an employee who could actually be bothered to do his job. What I was chasing from the start......some competence. He established the connection had not been reconnected as stated by at least 7 other employees and was at a loss to explain why I was getting told what things that were untrue. He informed me that some maintenance was being carried out on the network and that if I called back Sat(today) it would be a simple flick of a switch to correct Virgins oversight. Great! I now get confirmation of what I already knew, but most of the damage had been done, especially to my wallet, which is light at the best of times. I had been getting the runaround by lazy incompetent employees for almost 2 weeks. Saturday arrives (today) and I head to the payphone. I get through to an Asian man at approx 9:30 am. I explain the scenario and he says he cant be sure when my service will be re-enabled. He then commits himself to Sunday 10 pm and that if it is not on by then to call back the same day between the hours of 8.30 am - 12.00 am. That is no joke. He really said this. I then explained the hassle, the money, and the denial by virgin staff of being at fault and I felt that some sort of recompense was in order, due to the cost of all the Asian call centre calls. He replied with, "If you still have problems call technical support." It was like the guy was deficient in crucial areas (the brain) or like others before him just couldnt be bothered. I went home fuming. After a short time I thought to myself that the way employees respond to your problem is totally dependant on the character or lack of, of the person it is your pot luck to get landed with. With this in mind I headed back to the payphone to give it one last try to get some definitive answers or assistance and not just lip service. Bingo! I explained my situation to this particular employee, a lady. She assured me reconnection would happen in 24 hours possibly sooner and with some people a modem reboot sees the connection immediately come back on. I felt more hopeful this time. 2 weeks of endless call centre experiences, throwing £1 coins into the payphone like feeding monkeys peanuts at the zoo. I thanked her, and started to actually think the end of the futile calls to Virgin was close at hand, but I was also aware I had been told 24 hours some 2 weeks before, and here I was. Anyway I was immensely grateful for her just doing what she was paid to do. Her job. How sad a reflection is that of Virgins customer support. I read Virgin is getting more complaints because customers from Telewest and NTL are expecting much more from Virgin and I have to say, thats just tripe. In 7 years with NTL I never had to experience anything like this. Not even close. Waiting on the phone was the biggest NTL problem and they eventually sorted that out. Its sad but as bad as NTL were, Virgin is in a league of its own. It has been a thouroughly unpleasant experience, and got so frustrating at one point I wrote a letter the Friday night giving notice to Virgin I no longer wanted their service. Had the problem not been resolved today that letter would have been posted and I was calling Zen ADSL. Before I left the payphone I asked the virgin employee about my bill and would it be ammended to exclude charges for the days no service was available. She informed me that the bill would be halved approx to reflect this and the £5 surcharge fee would be waived. £5 for 2 weeks of incompetence, outright lies, insinuation of the incompetence being of my making, being blatantly fobbed off or get drawn into a pantomime of OH NO IT ISNT, OH YES IT IS, and to top it all, out of pocket by £30 or more through constantly being referred to an impotent call centre somewhere in Asia to try and convince them that the connection was categorically still not enabled, but I had no other options other than cancel my services or continue to follow all the shoddy advice given. I honestly thought that someone eventually would acknowledge that a dead "ready" light on the modem signifies the modem is not picking up an active connection to virgins internet infrastructure. It would have saved a lot of time, money and frustration if staff were trained to know what the modems lights are and what they indicate, as they can be used to pinpoint exactly who or what is at fault and these lights and the way they flash or flicker, or do not light up makes them essentially diagnostic lights. Anyway after all that I get the monthly £5 surcharge fee waived. To say I am insulted at being sent on an expensive wild goosechase and compensated to the tune of £5 is an understatement. I have been told by a friend not to expect a reply to this but am holding out hope I get a 1 in 5 employee. I would like to know if Virgin feel that to be fobbed off with £5 after going through all the crap I was put through is fair. Because I have to say I dont. Yours Sincerely Thomas keary