Episode 73. In which Virgin Media fail on a whole new level

We just moved house.  As you know if you’ve ever read this blog before.  We told Virgin Media when we were moving, and they agreed to have our service transferred over to the new flat quick smart.  My Man had to talk to them for a good long while but it was eventually agreed that we didn’t need a man to come out and install the set in the new flat.  The landlady had had Virgin wiring installed before we even signed the lease, so it was purely a case of carrying the box to the new flat and hooking it up, which we are perfectly capable of doing for ourselves.  However, we had no option but to be internetless for a little while because they claimed there would have to be two separate visits to switch off our connection at the old flat and switch it on again at the new place.  This despite the two flats being on the same street, only a few doors apart.  Anyway we let it slide.

Last week our phone stopped working.  We couldn’t work it out, the TV and internet were still up and running, but we assumed they’d switched off the old flat phoneline somehow and the TV and internet still working was a fluke.

When we moved in yesterday, My Man hooked up the modem and managed to get us online, no problem at all.  We didn’t hook up the TV because everything was in boxes and let’s face it, the internet is far more important than TV, even to a lazy cow like me.  We watched a few DVDs while pottering around online (and blogging about crossing the line and suchlike) and then went to bed.  We don’t have a phone connection in the new flat but we thought we’d call Virgin to get that sorted out sometime, whenever, we don’t use the landline anyway, it’s just as cheap to include it in the package as not, and it gives us a freephone line to the Virgin helpdesk.

This morning when we got up, the internet wasn’t working.  We hooked up the TV and it wasn’t working either, we watched a few minutes of MTV (because it was on, that’s why) and when we tried to change the channel we got an error message about how we’re not subscribed to use whatever service and we’ll have to call them on their freephone number from our Virgin landline to discuss it.

We don’t have a phone plug, therefore we don’t have a freephone Virgin landline.

I called on my mobile and it took a good two minutes of pointless, irrelevant recorded messages (including one about buying tickets to the V Festival or whatever it’s called, thanks for that, I’m really glad I’m going to get charged about £2 for listening to instructions on buying tickets for my worst nightmare) and eventually heard a recorded message about a problem with V+ services.  Not in our postcode, but the two postcodes either side of ours, so I thought it was probably that, and let it slide.  All day we were rebooting the modem and the TV box and it never came back online.

Eventually I thought, this can’t be coincidence, it’s bound to be connected to the move.  So I phoned them again on my mobile (by the way it was a full three minutes before I actually got to speak to a person) and eventually was told that the installation man had come round on Friday but there was nobody home, and our account had therefore not been activated.  I was told that another man would come round on Wednesday, and then it would all be straightened out.

I pointed out that we had agreed there was no need for an installation man to come round, that we certainly weren’t told to expect one, or we would’ve made sure we were here waiting.  We already had the sofa in by that stage and the new flat was close enough that I was able to pick up on the network in the old flat while it was up and running, so it wouldn’t have been too much trouble to sit in there.  Or, you know, reading a book or something slightly less internet-obsessed.

I was then told it was because they didn’t have a mobile number on record to contact us on.  This is hardly our fault, why should we be giving out personal phone numbers?  If we can’t trust them to arrange moving our account a few feet down the road, how can I trust them not to sell my mobile number to every cold-call company going?

I pointed out that we’d already installed the boxes as far as they needed to be installed, that the wiring had been arranged by the landlady in advance of us moving in, they’d had that visit already, and we’d only needed to plug the box into the existing wiring.

Still, he insisted that we needed an installation visit.  This is getting pretty offensive by now, especially when he keeps insisting that it will all be sorted out on Wednesday.

We’ve already taken a week off work, at an incredibly inconvenient time for both of us in fact, for the move.  We’re both due back at work on Wednesday, and neither of us can just call up and say “oh, sorry boss, won’t be in after all, got to wait for a Virgin man to turn up, say “look, it’s already installed” and call in to say they can flick the switch on our account“.  So I said, no, it will not be sorted on Wednesday.  Whenever it is that it’s going to be sorted, it will not be Wednesday.

Eventually I asked to speak to his customer services manager.  I’m fairly certain that this was just a colleague, but whatever, she seemed to understand the situation a little better.

I pointed out to her that we had the internet working yesterday, no problem at all, and that it seemed to have been disabled overnight, which would require an active decision on someone’s part.  I pointed out that we had the boxes installed and set up and that we had the TV on and were in the Virgin Media menus, but that they were only giving access to terrestrial channels, and we did not need installation, we just needed the account to be switched on.

She put me on hold and disappeared for 5 minutes.  I should point out I’d moaned about calling on my mobile pretty early on and they had called me back so I wasn’t paying any more at this stage.

Eventually she came back and said there was nothing she would do, it would have to be dealt with by a separate department, the department that handles people moving house.

Can I speak to them, then?

They’re shut on Sundays.

At this point I went a bit Hulk and, I’m pretty sure, was horrible to everyone within fifteen feet of me.

I cannot abide bad customer service.  Incompetence to the degree where everything is working and then taken back by some jobsworth who thinks we aren’t qualified to put a plug into a socket, when he himself is not qualified to stray from his little lever arch script, drives me completely apoplectic.

If this doesn’t get sorted out tomorrow, I will be coming up with some very strongly-worded letters, and possibly some sort of petition.

Diabetic moment of the day

None, but I did find own-brand dolly mixtures in our local mini-supermarket, 3 for  £1, so that’s my next hypo taken care of



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