Personal Finance

Virgin does nothing … and charges me my week’s pension

I am not being allowed to leave Virgin Media although my contract expired last year and I gave the required 30 days’ notice in June both by telephone and in writing.

Instead of acting on my instructions they continued to send me bills now amounting to £140 as if nothing has happened.

After I cancelled my direct debit they suspended my service, and started to threaten me with debt collectors. They have claimed I didn’t speak to the right people to cancel (not easy with a company that subjects customers to intolerable delays of hours in queues) and didn’t even mention the emails I sent confirming my decision to quit. They have now told me they won’t terminate my contract unless I pay in full for the service I haven’t been receiving, which to me seems like extortion!

They are demanding most of my week’s state pension for doing nothing.

MS, Harlow

Virgin Media is one of those companies – Sky is another – that insist customers terminate their contracts verbally, rather than by email or letter. It is very frustrating for some customers, who have claimed it would be easier to leave the mafia than their phone/TV company. Virgin cites data protection reasons, but is likely making you call to cancel so it can try its hardest to keep you as a customer by offering a new deal.

In your case, Virgin claims that the termination process was not fully completed as your call was ended prematurely and therefore you remained a customer. It ignored the emails for the above reason. It also said staff repeatedly tried to call you back, but it seems you were screening calls to avoid scam and sales calls.

Following our intervention the company has now closed your account and written off the outstanding balance as a goodwill gesture. How generous. You are just relieved that it is all over.

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