Virgin Media are terrible

This is a totally off-topic post for this blog, but I am so outraged by the way Virgin Media have botched the installation of my broadband, that I just wanted to write it down somewhere on the Internet for others to see. Just shouting into the void to make me feel better! This is a transcript of the complaint letter I sent them today:

Dear Sirs,

I am writing to complain about your failure (twice) to honour your contractual agreement to install broadband and telephone at the above address.

Since August 6th, when I signed up to get your service and cancelled the service I had with my existing provider I have:

  • Twice had the same vacuous welcome email (“The adventure starts as soon as you e-sign your contract, Daniel”)
  • Twice signed and returned a contract that commits you to installing broadband on a certain date
  • Twice rearranged all my work to be at home on the appointed date
  • Twice received a breathless text (“The big day’s coming! We’ll be connecting you on.. blah blah. Reply YES or NO”)
  • Twice I have replied YES and got a reply (“Great! On the day we’ll need someone over 18 at home who’ll be able to advise on cable location”)
  • Twice I have had the same call from the same Indian call centre barely 12 hours before the installation date telling me that no one is going to come and giving me another made-up installation date two weeks in the future.

My conversations with your customer “service” have been nothing short of bizarre. Not only do you fail to honour your agreement, but your agents always manage to make it my problem to sort it out.

  • They have all suggested I call my current provider and ask them not to switch off my current service. This is clearly impossible at such short notice as well as an offensive passing of the buck.
  • One of them suggested that if I get cut off I should go out and buy a WiFi dongle. Thanks.
  • Another informed me that since the service had not started they were under no contractual obligation to me. For all I know, this is “technically” true but, really?

Having been round this roundabout twice I can see that you have a very well oiled automated system of emails and texts that is in no way related to what you are actually doing.

You also appear to find it an acceptable part of your automated workflow to cancel your commitments at the last possible moment, thereby giving yourselves maximum wiggle time and simultaneously causing your customers maximum pain.

From a purely transactional point of view, your late cancellations are a cost to me. I am a freelance consultant and I have (twice) had to clear my diary to wait for your installer. Less than 24 hours notice of cancellation is not acceptable in any transaction I have ever done (buying tickets or ordering goods, for example). Therefore I am attaching an invoice for two days of my time at my usual rates, which is the cost to me of dealing with your no-shows.

On a more personal level, I have to confess that I am struggling to think of any other situation when I have been treated so shoddily by any service provider. Even government bureaucracies are more responsive than you. I have been given a tour of your internal corporate silos: being passed around from one department to the other and knowing that there is not a single human being inside your company who cares or takes ownership of this. As long as they tick their box and pass their problem along, their job is done. At no point have a received anything other than your automated canned communications or any indication that anyone in there is actually responsible or accountable.

It has to be ironic that the great Richard Branson, who set out to disrupt monolithic behemoths like British Airways and British Telecom, has managed to create a carbon copy of the faceless, siloed, uncaring corporate bureaucracies he set out to destroy.

I look forward to hearing from you, but I am not exactly holding my breath, even if your complaints procedure says you will respond within 28 days.