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  • FIRST POST
    • ChickenFoot
    • By ChickenFoot 19th Apr 17, 12:20 PM
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    ChickenFoot
    Virgin Media customers being incorrectly charged for not returning equipment...
    • #1
    • 19th Apr 17, 12:20 PM
    Virgin Media customers being incorrectly charged for not returning equipment... 19th Apr 17 at 12:20 PM
    Hi,

    Hope someone finds this helpful (also posted this over on the VM community forums);

    In January 2017 I downgraded my Virgin Media TV and Broadband package to Broadband only, meaning I no longer had need of the Tivo box. I was advised during the call I made to downgrade my package that I must return the Tivo box otherwise I would be charged for it, and to allow me to do that I would be sent some packaging to allow me to pack it up and drop it off at a parcel collection point. This packaging would be sent to me towards the end of February 2017 when my package actually switched over and my TV contract came to an end. Fair enough.

    However, whilst my package switched over and TV service did come to an end at the appropriate time, I didn't receive the packaging to return the Tivo box. So I waited and waited until the 20th of March and when I still hadn't received the packaging I gave VM a call, getting through to their overseas call centre.

    I explained the problem, that I'd never received the promised packaging and that I didn't want to be charged for not returning the equipment. In response I was told that some packaging had been sent to me, which I confirmed again that I'd never received and was told, no problem, we can get you some more packaging sent out, and we've also made a note on the system stating that you never received the first packaging so you won't be charged for not having returned the equipment yet. I should say that I waited in the queue for almost half an hour before getting throw to speak to someone, but I thought, well at least that's sorted.

    However, the very next day on the 21st March, I received a text message from VM (from telephone number +447537410420, from which I have received numerous texts from Virgin so I know it's a genuine number) saying "HI, It's VM, you don't need to return the kit you're disconnecting. Just take it to a recycling centre, find your nearest one at WEBURL."

    I also received an email the same day (from email address EquipmentReturns@virginmedia_co_uk) saying;

    "Hello,

    Just to let you know, you don't need to send your disconnected equipment back to us.

    I was told I'd be charged if I didn't return my equipment

    Don't worry – you won't be charged a penny. We might have told you about charges for unreturned equipment, but these no longer apply to you.

    What should I do with the equipment?

    You can either keep hold of it – in case you want to join Virgin Media again – or recycle it. You can find your nearest recycling centre at WEBURL

    Kind regards,

    The Virgin Media team"

    So, based on that text and email, a week later I took the equipment along to a recycling centre (you're not supposed to dispose of electrical equipment in your rubbish and it seemed like an expensive piece of kit to simply throw away, so recycling centre it was!).

    However, I then received another email and text on the 3rd of April, both saying that I still needed to return the equipment to avoid a charge using the prepaid packaging that had been sent to me - which I still hadn't received, despite my call on the 20th March, which was irrelevant anyway as I'd recycled the equipment! I should also say that this text and email was sent using the telephone number and email address (EquipmentReturns@virginmedia_co_uk).
    So I tried giving VM a call to ask them what the hell was going on but after waiting in the queue for another half an hour I gave up, thinking to myself if they charge me then they can sort it out.

    I then heard nothing more until today (19th April) when I received another text and email (again from the same telephone and email address) stating that if I failed to return the equipment in 9 days then I would be charged.

    So I got back on the phone and got through to one of the UK based call centres today, where I spoke to a very helpful lady with a Scottish accent. I explained the situation and in repsonse she asked me if by any chance I still had the email that I'd been sent on the 21st March, which I confirmed I did. She then explained to me that they had had a lot of calls from other VM customers with a similar complaint - they had received emails and texts telling them that VM no longer needed the equipment to be returned to them so they had therefore recycled it, only to then receive a subsequent email/text telling them they were going to be charged for not returning it - however, out of all of these other customers who had been affected by this (I can't give a number but she stated that there had been quite a few) I was the first customer that had actually retained the email to be able to send a copy to VM to confirm that they had received this message from VM.

    But here's the shocking part - those other customers who hadn't retained the mail and therefore couldn't send a copy to VM for confirmation were then actually charged for not returning the equipment!

    I was told that this wouldn't happen to me as I had been able to send them a copy of the email - which as stated above had actually been sent to me by their equipment returns department the first place. But i was only able to confirm that as I actually still had the email, unlike those other poor customers that were charged.

    So I got off the phone (my mobile it set to record all telephone calls so I have a recording of the complete conversation, just like I had a recording of the previous call on the 20th March) and I thought to myself, hold on, this really isn't fair...

    This call centre operative had just told me that they had received quite a number of calls from other customers stung by this same racket. But, as they hadn't been able to send VM a copy of the the email they received, they were billed for not returning the equipment. Now if that had been been one or two customers giving the same reason for not returning their equipment, you could forgiven VM for thinking well, this could just be an excuse. However, the customer service assistant told me that there had been quite a number of calls and complaints about the same thing, so why didn't they take this seriously, treat it as a genuine complaint and concern and carry out a prioper investigation, bearing in mind, the emails had actually originated from VM's own system as confirmed by the email I received and returned back to them.

    But no, instead VM decided to ignore this (again, this situation was obviously common knowledge amongst the customer service operators) and go ahead and charge customers for not returning the equipment, which is absolutely shocking!

    Hence my posting this here and I'll also post a copy of this over on some other forums, MSE etc.

    As a result of my call with VM this morning, at the very least I would expect VM to carry out a full investigation and reimburse all those customers that they inappropriately charged as a result of what appears to be VM's mistake - as according to the customer service operator I spoke to , the equipment is very expensive and Virgin do want it back, hence those customers that have been billed for the equipment would have received a very steep charge! I would also say that those customers that have been incorrectly charged for this would also have good grounds for requesting some compensation from VM, especialy as it appears they were aware of some issue at the time these customers were actually billed for this.

    Oh, and as far as the packaging was concerned, I asked about that too, as to this day I've never received any and I work from home and I'm taking delivery of packages and parcels almost every day so there's no way I could have missed it. In response I was told that THREE lots of packaging had actually been sent to me, which I was amazed at, as I'd only asked for it to be resent to me once and hadn't received any. then, after getting off the call I checked the email I received this morning again, telling me I'd be charged if I didn't return the equipment in 9 days and at the bottom of that email, it actually states that some packaging had been sent to me and if I wished to check where it was, here's a link... which I clicked on... yup, Yodel was the delivery company (say no more) and the delivery was marked as 'successful' saying it had been delivered to me on the 24th Feb, which I'm sure I would have noticed!

    Absolutely crap CS from VM (although the call centre operator I spoke to today was very friendly, polite and professional), but shocking to think that there are a bunch of VM customers out there that will have been charged for not returning and disposing of equipment as a result of VM's mistakes!

    (note - I had to alter the email addresses in this post replacing dots with underscores and removing the weburls from the messages I was sent as this is my first post).
Page 1
    • macman
    • By macman 19th Apr 17, 5:17 PM
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    macman
    • #2
    • 19th Apr 17, 5:17 PM
    • #2
    • 19th Apr 17, 5:17 PM
    Welcome to the forum. I can't help thinking that it would have saved a whole load of hassle if you'd just sent it back in some of the packaging that you said you receive every day?
    Nice little earner for VM though-it probably costs them more to send out a Freepost jiffy bag than they get for recycling the box. Much better to collect the fines...
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • ChickenFoot
    • By ChickenFoot 19th Apr 17, 5:38 PM
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    ChickenFoot
    • #3
    • 19th Apr 17, 5:38 PM
    • #3
    • 19th Apr 17, 5:38 PM
    Exceeept... None of the packaging from the deliveries I receive would be big enough to package up a Tivo box, when told in January that I would need to return the equipment I asked how I was to do that and I was told I would be sent special packaging and was specifically told not to send the box back in my own packaging in case it was damaged, I also wasn't given a return address, instead I was told that a prepaid / pre-addressed label would come with the packaging they were sending to me, and when I didn't receive the packaging I rang to chase this up and was told that they would send more packaging , again being told not to use my own packaging and as I explained, the day after that phonecall I received the text/email saying I no longer needed to return it and should take it to a recycling centre.

    Apart from all of that, I'd say your answer made sense! But you're right, this little scam by Virgin media has probably earned them quite a few pounds, which hopefully any customers reading this who have been affected by this issue could claim back.
    • AndyPK
    • By AndyPK 19th Apr 17, 6:47 PM
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    AndyPK
    • #4
    • 19th Apr 17, 6:47 PM
    • #4
    • 19th Apr 17, 6:47 PM
    they send you cardboard that folds up into a box somehow.

    You then need to drop it off at one of there special drop off points (local shop) to get it correctly into their system.

    Silly to dispose of it. Should have sold on ebay!
    • ChickenFoot
    • By ChickenFoot 19th Apr 17, 9:52 PM
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    ChickenFoot
    • #5
    • 19th Apr 17, 9:52 PM
    • #5
    • 19th Apr 17, 9:52 PM
    Yeah, that's what I was told I would receive Andy, but it never came despite my phonecall to VM in March chasing it up.

    But as far as selling the box on Ebay, I just wanted shot of it tbh. I'd held onto it in order to return it to VM but when the email and text came through telling me to take it to a recycling centre I just wanted rid, so off it went. Wasn't looking to make any money from it but from reading the VM forums I also believe that sites like Ebay and Gumtree are supposed to block the sale of VM equipment as it seems they've had a problem with people selling kit when they've come to the end of a tenancy and are moving out of a property, etc.

    But again, the reason for posting this thread was really just to help anyone else that's fallen foul of this. It hasn't caused me too many problems or too much grief myself, I'm not out of pocket at all but I just didn't like the sound of other people being forced to pay as a result of VM mistakes.
    • AndyPK
    • By AndyPK 20th Apr 17, 12:11 PM
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    AndyPK
    • #6
    • 20th Apr 17, 12:11 PM
    • #6
    • 20th Apr 17, 12:11 PM
    The other trick if they ask for it back, is to buy one off ebay, if this is cheaper than the fine.


    But I would ensure you actually receive some packaging first!


    Should really ask the ebay sellers to drop it off at the appropriate VM collection point (with paperwork included) as this would save them the postage costs too!
    • teddysmum
    • By teddysmum 20th Apr 17, 6:32 PM
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    teddysmum
    • #7
    • 20th Apr 17, 6:32 PM
    • #7
    • 20th Apr 17, 6:32 PM
    It may be worth informing the Watchdog programme.
    • Moneyineptitude
    • By Moneyineptitude 20th Apr 17, 8:12 PM
    • 19,028 Posts
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    Moneyineptitude
    • #8
    • 20th Apr 17, 8:12 PM
    • #8
    • 20th Apr 17, 8:12 PM
    The other trick if they ask for it back, is to buy one off ebay, if this is cheaper than the fine.
    Originally posted by AndyPK
    This would be a good "trick" if it wasn't for the fact that Virgin keep a record of the serial numbers of equipment. It's also purchasing goods which do not belong to the seller.

    Sending someone else's equipment (which already belongs to Virgin) is likely to cause more problems than it solves!
    • Moneyineptitude
    • By Moneyineptitude 20th Apr 17, 8:25 PM
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    Moneyineptitude
    • #9
    • 20th Apr 17, 8:25 PM
    • #9
    • 20th Apr 17, 8:25 PM
    Should have sold on ebay!
    Originally posted by AndyPK
    You do realise this is illegal? The equipment remains the property of Virgin and so cannot be sold on.

    In addition, I can't see any reason why anyone would want old Virgin equipment since it can only be used on the cable network by customers who subscribe. Virgin already supplies the equipment as part of the rental.

    There was a time (a good few years ago) when "chipped" cable decoders were available for sale, but that's been eradicated.
    • AndyPK
    • By AndyPK 21st Apr 17, 8:14 PM
    • 2,191 Posts
    • 566 Thanks
    AndyPK
    Plenty of ppl have sent in other people's equipment without issue.

    Plenty of vm equipment fire sale on eBay. I don't know why.

    It's the perfect solution to me.
    You get rid of the equipment and have some money to hold should vm fine you
    • Moneyineptitude
    • By Moneyineptitude 21st Apr 17, 11:19 PM
    • 19,028 Posts
    • 9,149 Thanks
    Moneyineptitude
    Plenty of ppl have sent in other people's equipment without issue.
    Originally posted by AndyPK
    Have they? What evidence can you present for this?

    VM record the serial numbers of the equipment and will not accept any which is assigned to another customer.

    Perhaps your personal experience is not up to date on this issue?


    Plenty of vm equipment fire sale on eBay. I don't know why.
    Originally posted by AndyPK
    Two reasons;
    The seller is unaware (or doesn't care) that they are selling something which doesn't belong to them.
    The buyers are unaware that the equipment is useless unless used in conjunction with a paid for subscription. Basically, they are ripped off.
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 22nd Apr 17, 3:29 PM
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    EachPenny
    But here's the shocking part - those other customers who hadn't retained the mail and therefore couldn't send a copy to VM for confirmation were then actually charged for not returning the equipment!
    Originally posted by ChickenFoot
    The really shocking part is people don't retain emails from companies telling them to do something which clearly conflicts with the company T&C's.

    Always keep important emails, texts and letters
    Always note down the persons name, date, time and reference number from CS phone calls
    Always keep your pay-and-display car park ticket for at least 2 months

    But no excuses for Virgin telling people one thing and doing another.
    • ArgyEll
    • By ArgyEll 25th May 17, 5:24 PM
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    ArgyEll
    I've been having similar problems, compounded by some shocking behaviours by Virgin Media call handlers, which now seems to their cultural norm.

    I've had two set top boxes replaced, and conscious of having the old ones, I contacted them to ask what I should do with them. They said they'd send out boxes for me to return them. That was in February 2017 and to date I am still receiving increasingly threatening texts and emails. These arrive every three weeks, and on each occasion I have called VM and received an apology and assurance that I don't need to return anything, and won't be charged, and won't receive any more. Three weeks later it all starts again.

    Along the way my calls with VM have been peppered with lies and broken promises from agents regarding; promises that I'll be called back within24 hours, promises that i'd receive no more texts or emails, promises that I'd be called back that evening, promises that I'd be called backed "within half an hour", assurances that "I've just spoken to the other team, and…" (when it later transpired that they'd done no such thing).

    Let anyone who is considered getting involved with Virgin Media be aware that
    1) Some of their processes are broken, and in such a way that they gain and the customer is disadvantaged (in my case, potentially being charged for something I haven't done, and receiving defamatory emails and texts, effectively accusing me of stealing their equipment)
    2) Their customer service operation has developed a culture where they'll promise almost anything to get you off the phone, even if it becomes apparent within minutes that they've lied to you
    3) No amount of complaining or escalation will get you to someone who will admit to errors having been made and take personal responsibility to put things right.
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