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Virgin Atlantic Black Card Dispute & Compensation

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Virgin Atlantic Black Card Dispute & Compensation

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Credit Cards
12 replies 2.8K views
Keane16Keane16 Forumite
45 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Credit Cards
Hi,

I’ve had a Virgin Atlantic black card (~£130 annual fee) for a number of years. My wife has always been an additional card holder. In July 2018 the cards changed from MBNA issued to Virgin Money. Users wishing to continue using the Virgin Atlantic cards had to reapply with Virgin Money. Which I did. I got my new Virgin Money issued Virgin Atlantic card in November.

Things were fine for a few months. Then in March my wife suddenly couldn’t use her card. We thought it was a temporary issue (as my card worked fine). But after a week or so it was still being rejected. I rang customer services - to my surprise they advised her card had been blocked and the advisor didn’t know why. They advised we’d have to apply for the additional card holder again sending verified identification documents (passport, driving licence, bank statement etc.).

We have done this 3 times. The first 2 time my wife took the docs to Barclays (her current account) to be be verified. We then sent the documents in the provided prepaid envelope. The third time she took them to the Virgin Money branch before posting (the branch advised her they couldn’t get the documents to the correct department and we’d have to post).

After the first attempt a few weeks passed without reply. I called Virgin Money and they advised they hadn’t received the documents, they’d need to be resent. Exactly the same response the second attempt.

At this point I raised a complaint. I advised without an additional cardholder the fee wasn’t worthwhile. I was also annoyed my wife’s card was blocked without warning. Finally we’ve lost out on a large chunk of air miles (the main reason we pay the fee for the black card rather than use the free white one).

Mid-June my wife sent the documents for the third time. Today I received a letter from Virgin Money explaining what had happened:
  • Nov 1st 2018 - I applied for an additional card holder (date I re-applied for my Virgin Atlantic cards).
  • Nov 8th - the card(s) were issued. However they apparently couldn’t verify my wife’s details (but sent the cards anyway?!).
  • Feb 17th 2019 - a block was applied to my wife’s card due to the above verification issue (no idea why it took them 3 months).
  • 31st May - after I raised the complaint some of my wife’s details (they didn’t say which) were entered into their system incorrectly - this led to delay in issuing the new card (this makes no sense as they hadn’t received the verification documents - we sent them for the third time on June 14th - until they got them they couldn’t/shouldn’t have reinstated my wife’s card).
  • As part of T’s&C’s they can’t guarantee cardholder will be able to use their card or card details so can’t refund any of the fee or lost air miles.

The letter ends with a good will payment of £75, assurance the additional card is on its way (nope we still don’t have it) and some information about the Financial Ombudsman service if I am not happy.

£75 feels like a low ball offer. But I thought I’d ask here if it’s the best I can expect. Or should I pursue this and try to get some meaningful compensation. I feel they’ve made numerous mistakes. And haven’t even got the facts straight in the explanation letter.

Any advice welcome. Thanks. (Sorry for the long winded post!).
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Replies

  • Virgin are under no obligation to verify your wife within a specified timeframe they can do this as quickly or slowly as they want.

    Anything over 2 months is probably a bit excessive though. The £75 is a good offer you should take it.
  • Ben8282Ben8282
    4.8K posts
    Newshound!
    ✭✭✭✭
    Perhaps more importantly you need to look into why Virgin were unable to verify your wife's details. Is she on the ER? Do the details provided to Virgin correspond to her credit files (Name, address, date of birth etc)?
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User]
    0 posts
    MoneySaving Newbie
    £75 is about £75 too much.

    No financial loss or hardship has occurred so be grateful they’ve even offered it at all.
  • Keane16Keane16 Forumite
    45 posts
    Virgin are under no obligation to verify your wife within a specified timeframe they can do this as quickly or slowly as they want.

    Anything over 2 months is probably a bit excessive though. The £75 is a good offer you should take it.

    Thanks, will take it. Just wanted to confirm.

    Advice is always superb on this site. But damn it always drives home how powerless the consumers are. Basically 'Multi million pound company has no time frame for verification'. So if they took a year I'd receive nothing for the £130 fee and there's nothing I can do it about it. Brilliant and brutal.

    With this information we're likely going to drop down to the free tier - earn points slower but at least I won't be wasting £100+ if there are unexplained issues like this one. Thanks.
    Ben8282 wrote: »
    Perhaps more importantly you need to look into why Virgin were unable to verify your wife's details. Is she on the ER? Do the details provided to Virgin correspond to her credit files (Name, address, date of birth etc)?

    Yeah this is the point that piques my interest. Her details have not changed. As mentioned I used to have the MBNA issued card and she was approved instantly for that. Last year Virgin Money approved her instantly too. Then they 'found an issue' took 3 months to block her access and now I'm still waiting 5 months later for a resolution. Is ER electoral roll? If so yes and has been for years.

    She has no other loans or credit cards. We have a joint mortgage with no late payments or issues. The only other thing in her name is probably her phone contract - again, never a late payment. Her name, address and marital status hasn't changed either.

    I'll definitely ask them about this though and see what they say. Also I want to know which details they were entering into the system on 31st May (they had nothing to enter because they hadn't received the paperwork according to them).
    !!! wrote: »
    £75 is about £75 too much.

    No financial loss or hardship has occurred so be grateful they’ve even offered it at all.

    No doubt legally you're right. But in cold hard Joe Public reality when I look at my accounts, I've made a loss on my fee and missed out on tens of thousands of air miles. But as Anthonyuk95 says they have no obligation so: TOUGH.
  • lev441lev441 Forumite
    33 posts
    Tenth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Keane16 wrote: »
    Hi,

    I’ve had a Virgin Atlantic black card (~£130 annual fee) for a number of years. My wife has always been an additional card holder. In July 2018 the cards changed from MBNA issued to Virgin Money. Users wishing to continue using the Virgin Atlantic cards had to reapply with Virgin Money. Which I did. I got my new Virgin Money issued Virgin Atlantic card in November.

    Things were fine for a few months. Then in March my wife suddenly couldn’t use her card. We thought it was a temporary issue (as my card worked fine). But after a week or so it was still being rejected. I rang customer services - to my surprise they advised her card had been blocked and the advisor didn’t know why. They advised we’d have to apply for the additional card holder again sending verified identification documents (passport, driving licence, bank statement etc.).

    We have done this 3 times. The first 2 time my wife took the docs to Barclays (her current account) to be be verified. We then sent the documents in the provided prepaid envelope. The third time she took them to the Virgin Money branch before posting (the branch advised her they couldn’t get the documents to the correct department and we’d have to post).

    After the first attempt a few weeks passed without reply. I called Virgin Money and they advised they hadn’t received the documents, they’d need to be resent. Exactly the same response the second attempt.

    At this point I raised a complaint. I advised without an additional cardholder the fee wasn’t worthwhile. I was also annoyed my wife’s card was blocked without warning. Finally we’ve lost out on a large chunk of air miles (the main reason we pay the fee for the black card rather than use the free white one).

    Mid-June my wife sent the documents for the third time. Today I received a letter from Virgin Money explaining what had happened:
    • Nov 1st 2018 - I applied for an additional card holder (date I re-applied for my Virgin Atlantic cards).
    • Nov 8th - the card(s) were issued. However they apparently couldn’t verify my wife’s details (but sent the cards anyway?!).
    • Feb 17th 2019 - a block was applied to my wife’s card due to the above verification issue (no idea why it took them 3 months).
    • 31st May - after I raised the complaint some of my wife’s details (they didn’t say which) were entered into their system incorrectly - this led to delay in issuing the new card (this makes no sense as they hadn’t received the verification documents - we sent them for the third time on June 14th - until they got them they couldn’t/shouldn’t have reinstated my wife’s card).
    • As part of T’s&C’s they can’t guarantee cardholder will be able to use their card or card details so can’t refund any of the fee or lost air miles.

    The letter ends with a good will payment of £75, assurance the additional card is on its way (nope we still don’t have it) and some information about the Financial Ombudsman service if I am not happy.

    £75 feels like a low ball offer. But I thought I’d ask here if it’s the best I can expect. Or should I pursue this and try to get some meaningful compensation. I feel they’ve made numerous mistakes. And haven’t even got the facts straight in the explanation letter.

    Any advice welcome. Thanks. (Sorry for the long winded post!).

    The same thing happened to me, although after them not receiving my documents three times in the space of 1 month, I put in a formal complaint, and also got the £75 compensation which was just under half of the card fee which i felt was a good result..!
  • edited 19 July 2019 at 11:00AM
    lev441lev441 Forumite
    33 posts
    Tenth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    edited 19 July 2019 at 11:00AM
    !!! wrote: »
    £75 is about £75 too much.

    No financial loss or hardship has occurred so be grateful they’ve even offered it at all.

    You say that, but when you pay an annual fee for a card yet are not able to use it, i'd say that is a financial loss...

    Couple that with the fact that airmiles aren't aren't - i'd say that's a financial loss in a different sense.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User]
    0 posts
    MoneySaving Newbie
    lev441 wrote: »
    You say that, but when you pay an annual fee for a card yet are not able to use it, i'd say that is a financial loss...

    OP is able to use their card though.

    The additional cardholder card is a moot point - they don't have to offer or accept applications for additional cardholders, regardless of the fee.
  • lev441lev441 Forumite
    33 posts
    Tenth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    !!! wrote: »
    OP is able to use their card though.

    The additional cardholder card is a moot point - they don't have to offer or accept applications for additional cardholders, regardless of the fee.

    Yes, but you can see why when 2 people are able to use an account linked to an airmiles scheme, it creates more opportunities to collect points and makes the card fee better value-for-money.

    Once they've accepted an additional cardholder to then block this additional cardholder three months down the line, i'd say that's still a loss to the OP.
  • Keane16Keane16 Forumite
    45 posts
    lev441 wrote: »
    The same thing happened to me, although after them not receiving my documents three times in the space of 1 month, I put in a formal complaint, and also got the £75 compensation which was just under half of the card fee which i felt was a good result..!

    Interesting. So the line they fed me was that they have no record at all of receiving the documents the first 2 times. And the same happened to you. Sounds fishy. The envelope is pre-addressed and postage is paid. I'd be stunned if they just weren't receiving all this post.
    !!! wrote: »
    OP is able to use their card though.

    The additional cardholder card is a moot point - they don't have to offer or accept applications for additional cardholders, regardless of the fee.

    I would never have paid the fee without the ability to add a second card holder - it doesn't make finacial sense as I can't spend enough on my own to make it worthwhile.

    The additional cardholder was advertised as a trivial action upon signing up. The additional card was afforded to me with the previous issuer MBNA. Was afforded to me instantly by Virgin Money. Which was mysteriously rescinded. 5 months later I'm still down to just 1 cardholder with no explanation as to exactly why.

    Had I known what I learned in this thread today - that they can indefinitely place additional card holders under a verification phase I'd never have even taken the offer.

    I know, I know read the fine print. Lesson learned.
  • Keane16Keane16 Forumite
    45 posts
    lev441 wrote: »
    Yes, but you can see why when 2 people are able to use an account linked to an airmiles scheme, it creates more opportunities to collect points and makes the card fee better value-for-money.

    Once they've accepted an additional cardholder to then block this additional cardholder three months down the line, i'd say that's still a loss to the OP.

    Yeah it sucks. The posters here are smart and no doubt what they say is legally accurate.

    But from a consumer standpoint you and I are not wrong. I feel like I've lost out financially and in terms of miles. But ultimately - tough.
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