Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Virgin On The Ridliculous

Those who stay with this blog will come to know that I am no lover of the public sector and beleive that generally private companies are better organised, more motviated and provide a superior service no thier customers. There are, however, exceptions to every rule and Womble on Tour will call things as he says them. Which brings us to Virgin Media.

In this day and age, with several million people already using broadband, you wouldn't think it was hard to set someone up with a connection. Unless, that is, you're completely incompetent. The following is a summary of my expereiences with Virgin Media.

I rang to place an order with Virgin at the beginning of July. The guy I spoke to offered me a date for installation (19th July) which I knew I couldn't support but he said not to worry because they were just transferring to a new computer system so all dates would need reconfirming anyway. Someone would ring me within the week, and I could provide them with a date when I knew someone would be in.

No one rang. So I rang Virgin and got a new date of 27th July. Fine and dandy. Until I realised (no one actually told me) that my old service provider - Toucan - wouldn't know about this new date would cut my existing service on 19th. I rang Toucan, who confirmed that my service would stop on 19th and between them and an extremely helpful guy at Virgin I managed to get them to delay the cut-off date to co-incide with thew newly-agreed Virgin installation date.
27th July Engineer came to install. After the installation he tried ringing our phone number and couldn’t connect. Her said that it might not have been swapped over yet, and that he’d go out to his van and ring us back in five minutes, which he never did.

Having not heard from the engineer or his supervisor, Mrs Womble on Tour rang 150 to report that our number still hadn’t been ported across. She was promised that it would be done in the next 24 hours.

29th July Got back from a weekend away to find that the number still hadn’t been ported across. I rang 150, and spoke to someone to report that the number port still hadn’t happened. Was asked lots of questions to confirm number (some questions I was asked more than once) and was then told that the agent could not check the status of our phone line because the system was down and would be for the next two hours. Was told to ring back later.

Meanwhile I checked the setup guide left by the engineer, and found that it told us we needed a PIN number and a serial number, neither of which we had.

I rang back more than two hours later. Was told that we would receive a call-back within the next 15 minutes on the mobile to resolve the incoming call problem. Also reported the lack of PIN / Serial number issue. Was told to ring 0906 2121111. This is a premium rate number – 25p / minute. Rang that, explained the problem. The guy took all the details of name, address, postcode etc and then told us that we’d need to ring yet another number – 0845 454 0000, which won’t be open until the morning.

We got a call back on the incoming call issue on the mobile very quickly. We were initially told that it would get sorted quickly, and then got put on hold three times before being told that yes, there was an issue, we’d get a call within 24 hours. Total length of call 20 minutes.

In a further attempt to resolve the PIN and serial number issue, I tried 0845 454 0000, for a laugh. Pressed the options for broadband problems and got a record message saying that he had to ring 0906 2121111 (again). Refused to to that. Rang the original number – 0845 454 1111 – and pressed option 5 for “other questions”. Took 5 minutes to get an answer. Explained the problem. Got told to ring 0906 2121111. Explained that I’d already done that. The agent muttered a bit and then I got cut off. Tried again. Got a warning that it might be up to 5 minutes before anyone answered the phone. Took 13. Explained the issue to the guy, who asked me for my account number, name, address and password. Gave all that. He was able to give me the PIN number, but not the serial number (which he’d obviously expected to be able to see). Told me to ring the 0906 number. I explained that I’d already done that, and that they’d given me another number. The guy said that he’d try and help, because he understood that I’d already tried another department and had been on hold for a long time. Put me on hold. Evenutally came back and gave me my serial number and another PIN, apologised profusely for the length of time it had taken me to get this information. Someone who actually wants to help…hooray ! Length of call 25 minutes.
30th July Still no joy, and still no call from Virgin Media, about the incoming call issue. Dialled 150, explained the problem yet again to a guy who said he'd test the line and ring back. He did ring back, and said he wanted to book a service engineer. Agreed to let an engineer come Wednesday 1st August 8-12. Length of calls approx 3 mins and 12 mins.
1st August Engineer rang to say that he’d fixed the incoming calls issue. A setting had been wrong outside the house.
4th August Tried to install Virgin Broadband. Got a message to the effect that this PC hadn’t got an Ethernet NIC, which isn’t true. Noticed that the ready light on the modem was flashing; not a good sign. Rang the 0845 number suggested in the installation guide and got forced to ring a premium rate no. Rang it. Spent a good 3 minutes giving all the usual name, postcode etc and explaining the problem. The guy said that as I’d been on for more than two minutes he’d ring me back, which he did, straight away. Had to give postcode, 1st line of address, name yet again. Then he confirmed that the ready light flashing on the modem did indeed mean that the modem wasn’t working properly. Booked an engineer for 8th August. Time on phone: 5 mins
8th August Engineer came and said that a connector hadn't been set up properly on the box outside.
9th August Tried the Virgin Broadband install again but still got the message about the PC not having a NIC card. Rang the 0906 number. Was told that this message came up because the instllation process was incompatible with Vista. The agent saiud she’d ring me back, which she did. Talked me through the install process. Time on phone – 10 mins.
In summary, it took three visits (with Mrs Womble on Tour waiting in for a total of ten hours), five broken promises, 12 phone calls and getting on for two hours on the phone - much of which at our own expense - to get a simple Broadband connection installed. I have sent a mail to Virgin setting out this lamentable tale, and asking some pertinant questions.
If I ever get a reply, I'll let you know. But don't hold your breath.

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