Mateusz Loskot :: hacking on, working out, living up

Virgin Media service adventure

03 Mar 2012 | mloskot

For the last two or three weeks, I’ve been suffering of a very poor quality broadband provided by Virgin Media in London.

Most of the time the connection has been unreliable with only short periods of decent operation. Mid-week it seemed to be usable, but during weekend it would become annoyingly slow with lots of time-outs and most of DNS lookups not responding.

Speedtest results from the last couple of weeks of my Virgin Media broadband

The Virgin Media service status page was all green, of course. The Virgin Media service status line (0800 561 0061) confirmed it should be all working perfect in my area, of course.

It was not my first time experiencing problems with the Virgin Media broadband. Although, I usually am very patient and easy, but this time it was a bit too much and for a bit too long. So, I poked the Virgin Media support on Twitter. I knew what kind of answer I will receive and I knew it right. Nevertheless, I decided to wait for better times to come and the Virgin Media crossed their fingers for me. (Hmm, perhaps that’s why they don’t answer client’s calls - they keep their fingers constantly crossed on behalf of good service - obviously, it must make it hard to pick up the phone.)

I apologies the Virgin Media team their fingers would probably have gone numb, but it didn’t help anyway.

I am an obedient client and I didn’t want to give any excuses to the Virgin Media. So, I complied and tried to reach the handy support of my broadband provider. Yes, “Oh no!!”

That was on Wednesday, February 27. I thought, let’s give them a few more days. You know, their fingers may be still numb and I perfectly now how difficult it is to make a move with sore muscles, so they may need a bit longish warm-up to get on the problems. So, I decided to wait.

Today, March 3, facing no improvement in the low quality of service provided by the Virgin Media, the assertive part of my brain responsible for the awareness of personal rights started humming Marley’s Get up, stand up, stand up for your right”.

First, I conducted the standard Virgin Media’s pilot client checklist procedure:

  1. restart computer
  2. reset router
  3. make a (proper) coffee and wait
  4. check the service status website
  5. call service status line
  6. if nothing changes, call the Virgin Media tech support

So, I dialled 150 and jumped to the point number 3 from the checklist…

Today, I was trying to reach Virgin Media support. And...waiting...Finally, 31 minutes later my call had been answered. Fun!

(Un)Fortunately, the Virgin Media support line answered so quickly, that I didn’t have a chance to take photo of my phone with waiting time displayed as more than 31 minutes. Anyhow, I eventually heard the sensuous female voice of the Virgin Media consultant flowing, I sensed, from the local customer service offices 5000 miles away where the level of background noise would never pass the Health & Safety audit in UK.

Despite the all possible sources of the Virgin Media service status being green and happy, the lady quickly with great honesty confirmed: “Yes, you are right, there is something wrong in your area, because we’ve received lots of reports from clients”.

Fair enough, it may take a while indeed to transfer the status updates from locally remote offices 5K miles away. Besides, be honest and no-bullshit company is one of the good business practices.

The lady followed with additional information, that computer says the estimated date of bringing the service back to shape is the 8th of March, 2012. (Today, is the 3rd of March, 2012.)

I politely asked, if I will be granted a reasonable discount on my bill for the fact that for around three weeks I am not provided with 30Mbps broadband service, which I pay for, but with 0.5Mbps or none service. The lady suggested to call the customer service back after the 8th of March and see what’s the situation.

I agreed I will be more than happy to speak to her again, but will I have to wait half an hour again, I asked.

“Yes. I understand, but I can not do anything about. I see on my screen now, we are receiving a lot of calls from clients with problems now. I can’t do anything.

Be honest and no-bullshit company. Remember?

I imagine, if Sir Richard Branson had been receiving services of such a great quality from another company not for three weeks, but for three hours, he would buy that company and shut it down before the ink on his signature on the acquire agreement dries.

Thanks to Virgin Media for the break in the broadband service, so I have this opportunity to sit down, have a coffee (or two), and write something new for my blog. Keep up the good work.

By the way, nice job with the new offer sent to clients at near end of current contracts. First letter included offer for existing clients to switch from 30Mbps to 60Mbps, and because you care you will switch it auto-magically. Yea! I don’t have to do anything and I will have better. “Now, how cool is that!”. Then, second letter arrived in which you increased my monthly bill. You realise you could go green save some trees sending both in one envelope together, don’t you. Uncool!

That’s right, be honest and no-bullshit company.

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