Just a paying customer

I really am nonplussed about Virgin Media.

In October, I jumped over hurdles and through hoops in getting online after my broadband net connectivity disappeared for almost four days.

Most of the hurdles and hoops were to do with dealing with Virgin Media’s premium-cost telephone tech support. Truly, an absolute nightmare, and expensive to boot.

First thing this morning, I noticed that the net had disappeared. No little ‘ready’ light on the cable modem and the ‘sync’ light just blinking rapidly.

Here we go again, I thought. The toll-free 0800 status number said nothing amiss in my area. So I’d better call the 25p-per-minute support number.

Which I did. Ten minutes into the call and Tim in Swansea confirmed that his line testing, etc, showed no modem connectivity. He said his screen showed no reports of anything amiss re the network in my area. So an engineer needs to come, he said, as the problem is likely to be with the modem. The earliest day – next Monday. Would I like between 8-12 or 2-6?

The earlier the better was my retort, edginess in my manner by now very apparent. I think Tim is used to talking to stroppy customers.

I also asked to talk to a supervisor. On this, I’m fully expecting my expectations to be met as happened the last time, ie, promises of a call back but none ever came.

And all of a sudden, 30 minutes or so ago, the network is back!

There’s clearly a problem somewhere. Is it the network? The modem? Virgin Media’s tech systems? All of the above?

Who knows. What I do know is that the last time, the Virgin Media engineer came, tested the modem, and found no fault.

So, really, what do I know? I’m just a paying customer.

Related posts:

[Later] More articulation about Virgin Media with a bit of a rant on seesmic:

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Andy C


    You have my sympathy. I am also a VM customer (phone, TV and Broadband) but, for the most part, my service works (SW London).

    Now remember to spend more of your own time and money cancelling the Engineer’s visit otherwise I fear VM will attempt to charge you.

    I think the best way to do this (i.e. cheapest) may be to post to VM’s Support Newsgroup where VM Tech Support have a presence.


  2. neville

    I just got off the phone talking again to Virgin tech support. They said let’s keep the appointment for the engineer to come on Monday. And they will refund me the cost of my support calls today, a gesture I do appreciate.

    Thanks for the tip re the support newsgroup, Andy. I’ll take a look and read everyone else’s horror stories :)

  3. Tim

    I have to agree. I have the same issue where my internet has been off and on for months. As I have a wireless network they blame that but I’ve tried 3 different Airport Express’s so am pretty sure it’s not that. I hate their support. to get any kind of complain through you have to write a letter. I did (first one in quite a few years) and never heard a thing. The support is terrible, the fact you have to pay so much is ridiculous, the TV package interface awful and my fav thing, although I’ve been a customer of blue yonder for 4 years and pay everything on time the mobile division said my credit was too bad so they wouldn’t let me do the broadband/phone/mobile package.

    Engineer coming saturday. Any more probs, that’s it, I’m off…..

  4. Chris Norton

    Hi Neville, that all sounds like a horrible situation and I know how you feel. I had the same problems with BT. I would spend 2 hours on the phone to a call centre in India all to no avail, upon which point they would transfer me to an English call centre. The whole process would take ages and cost me a fortune all for a service that went down due to their problem – I have since left BT. Chris

  5. Bazza

    Don’t get me started on Virgin Media.
    I’m on their ADSL package, and last week they changed their traffic management – the upshot of which is that now online gaming/VoIP/etc is 100% broken.

    Of course, they denied all knowledge/responsibility. I pity the poor fools that phoned up and paid the 25p/min to be told there was nothing wrong, and to try rebooting modem/routers.

    Today, they have admitted they changed the traffic management. Apparently, they are working on a ‘fix’ (how about clicking ‘undo’?) and are hoping to have it in place for the weekend.

    And what happens to the customers in the meantime? Can we have a refund? At least of the phone call costs? An apology? Some warning when it comes to next time?

    No. We have to sit here, and take it. And count down the time until our 12mth contracts end.

  6. neville

    Consistency here in the thinking that Virgin Media’s support service is just awful.

    The broadband service itself is outstanding. I have no complaints at all. But when things go wrong and you have to make that call, that’s where the whole thing falls apart.

    I hear from people who say: vote with your feet, switch to another provider. Which one? I don’t hear any majority view on who’s good across the board.

    Better the devil you know, I suppose.

  7. Sam Grant

    I’m adding to the numbers here. I was off the web for three days this week due to a mystery fault with my connection and also had to make that 25p-a-minute call to Virgin Media. At least when the cost hit £5 they agreed to call me back.

    The problem is resolved now but I have to agree that VM need to sharpen up their customer service act, especially when they set expectations high with the opening recorded message on their tech support line.

  8. Chris Marritt

    Not a Virgin Media comment as I’ve no direct experience of them.
    What I did want to say, however, was what a powerful use of Seesmic.
    Scroll down and just listen to the words, and your voice sounds really calm and your words considered. Even a few nice words about Virgin.
    Watch the video and your frustration leaps out from behind your eyes.
    As a side note, and as somebody who’s never met you but read and heard thousands of your words over the past few years, putting picture and voice together is really interesting…

  9. neville

    Thanks, Chris, appreciate the critique.

    Sam, I agree: it’s dealing with that 25p-a-minute ‘service’ centre that’s the nightmare.

    I actually did get a call back from a Virgin Media supervisor (expectation exceeded!) last Thurs afternoon. A very useful conversation. I will be posting about that after the engineer has visited, due this morning.

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