Monday, 7 April 2014

Virgin Media Customer Support: Shambolic Victory

Virgin Media Customer Services


There are few things in life I truly hate. One of those things are huge, multi-national companies that consistently prove that they can and will trample over their own customers in order to increase their profit margin. 

Within the videogame industry, which the majority of my work concerns, we've had companies like Sega, who heavily marketed Aliens: Colonial Marines to increase pre-orders while knowing full well the game was unfinished, and EA, who lied to their customers regarding the mandatory, but completely unnecessary always-online requirement for SimCity.

But at the start of this year I ran into a problem of my own which has been stretched way out of proportion by one of the furthest reaching companies on the planet: Virgin Group Ltd.

When I moved into my new flat in December 2013 one of mine and Emma's first priorities was setting up internet. Since we had no need for a land line and no interest in watching television, Virgin Media was an easy choice. It offered speedy, affordable internet without the need for line rental.

Setting everything up was easy. I even had a local agent come round between Christmas and New Years so I could personally read over and sign a contract -- a contract which did not mention a £20 delivery charge for the router.

The router came, we set it up, the internet worked and we were, overall, extremely happy with the service Virgin Media had provided. That changed when the first bill came with an extra £20 attached for the delivery of the router.

"No problem," I thought, "I'll just get in touch and let them know that they've charged me twenty quid for something that wasn't on my contract." And so I sent off a quick email to Virgin Media's customer support team on December 31st 2013.

MegaWestgarth Branson Virgin Media


Three months later, I've just heard from somebody that'll be able to take the £20 off my bill. Between then and now I've been in contact with countless "Customer Service Representatives", some of which have replied to my emails, many more of which have not. I was told two months ago that my query had been redirected to the "appropriate department" and that I'd hear from someone in 28 days.

It really wasn't even about the £20 anymore. In fact, my messages to Virgin Media slowly morphed over time into full-blown complaints about the state of their customer service department. As someone who has worked in a hellish contact centre for a different company in the past, I can see the same tactics being used here: outsource customer services, use an army of Customer Service Representatives to act as a meat shield for customer dissatisfaction, deflect any negativity that breaks through to Virgin Media proper back to said meat shield.

So here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to collect all the emails I've sent and received to and from Virgin Media and post them on my blog to create a shambolic timeline of pathetic customer service. I'm going to do this for no reason other than the fact that I'm bitter about my experience.

This isn't the first time a large company has nonchalantly dismissed my concerns and complaints regarding a product or service I've paid for. But this is the first time I'm going to openly moan about it -- you lucky devils.

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