Virgin on the Ridiculous

Oh, Hello David, yes, sounds interesting – I think I’ll sign up ..

Well, thats what happened on the 14th May. Well actually it would have happened sightly sooner had Virgin Media Sales team contacted me after my parents told them that I was interested in becoming a customer in my new flat.

I’ve moved into a block of flats, so obviously have to get the landlords permission to have the installation. The necessary information and forms are sent off and my order ‘completed’ on 22nd May – Wonderful what with Euro 2012, The Jubilee and Olympics coming up it’s going to be good to use Tivo and other such gadgets. The installation is due 2nd June – Damm I’m away that weekend, so it’s rescheduled to the 6th.

On the late afternoon of 5th June I got a phone call from Virgin Installations Department to say that they has discovered a “local construction issue” and my appointment was rescheduled for 15th, as they needed to get the local authorities permission to dig in a public highway.

15th June
As ever, Utilties companies like Virgin can only give you an approximate time window for engineer visits, so I had a 8am – 1pm slot booked. I waited all morning for an engineer who turned up at 12:20 to say “oh no cable” and left. “I told my managers that there didnt appear to be a pull-thru but he told me to come anyway” was his response. I then spent approx 2hrs trying to make a complaint through the 0845 customer number, but no one wanted to know, the best they could do was to give me another appointment in at least 10 days time (26th).

I did write a letter of complaint to their Swansea Complaint Centre on the 15th but it seems that went missing as I never had a reply. I was then promised an external engineer visit to do required groundworks on 20th, which I received a call from an engineer during that morning to say he was outside my flat and the works were underway – At last – Could we be getting somehwere?!! Upon my return from work I thought something was strange as I couldn’t any fresh tarmac or new cable/box, but put this thought to the back of my head.

I phoned the Installation team on 24th June to ensure everything was on track, the agent assured me it was. I then got a phone call at 15:00 on 25th June to say the installation was not possible due to construction issue,so the appointment has been moved to the 6th July. I could really start to feel my blood boiling. I then spent 2 hours attempting to speak to a manager to get some management and co-ordination of the issue, as it seemed the people that do the street work operate as a separate unit to the installation engineers – and were clearly out of sync!

The infurating thing is, that you have to be onsite to wait for the engineers, so as I cant work from home as I have no wireless/internet connection I have to arrange a day off work. Cancelling appointments so late in the day makes it impossible for me to cancel this days holiday with my employer as cover will have been arranged etc

29th June I have spent another hour requesting to speak to a manager who can co-ordinate this issue and ensure that whatever the construction issue is that it is addressed, after all Virgin have known about it from the 6th June. I was told that the only thing I can do is to call the afternoon before the install to find out – but this is a situation I have been in three times previously! – therefore I have now had 4 days off wasted (at financial loss to me), and as I have no phone line in my flat, added on top of this all of my correspondence has been carried out on a mobile phone which has also mounted up to great expense. I’ve been told today that the customer service team don’t deal with construction issue as its technical and specialised, only to be then told by the installation and construction team that they don’t take complaints/escalations and I need to speak to customer services. Only then to be told as I haven’t actually started paying for anything yet, I’m not classed as a customer and can only make a complaint in writing, which as I said would be too late for my situation.

I decided to Tweet about my experiences on the 29th June, which strangely has actually managed to engage a member of the social media team, who has promised to look into my issue and help as much as she can..

6th July
I’ve been given an afternoon window (1pm – 6pm), so here we go again, sit and wait. Things start again not to look promising, it gets to 4.30pm and I decide with great interpretation that i’m going to have to phone Virgin again. The team are running late it appears, but they’ll be out i’m assured.

Well, 6.40pm and the engineers finally turn up, full of woe as apparently this is extra work, after 6pm of which they don’t get paid – plenty of other moans about being given too many jobs etc follow, I’m keeping quiet and independent, as long as the install is complete thats all I’m worried about.

Firstly the neighbours take great interest as the cable appears to have to come diagonally across the front lawn (I dont work for Gardeners World is one of the engineers comment), a trench is dug and drilling through external walls sends dust flying everywhere – But it will all be worth it no doubt at the end.

Here comes a dodgy bit – The cable will have to cross a concrete path that is between my flat’s external wall, and the lawn that they’ve just dug across, “We’ll place an urgent job in with our construction guys to get the cable buried” the engineer says when I point out that it is a path that people walk over so it’s got to be left in a safe condition. The other engineer suggests using a big green tube, but the first engineer decides to tack it to the path with some wall fixings.

But we’ve finally got here, It’s working – I’ve got nice telly, Wireless – A PHONE !!!