Virgin/02 lost my daughter's phone number

I wonder if someone could help with steps to take in my daughter's tale of mobile phone consumer woe.

A month ago her phone suddenly lost connection to Virgin Media. It happened at an inconvenient moment - she was traveling from London to Bristol to meet some friends and put her in a difficult position of being in a strange city late at night. Virgin Mobile's first response was that this dropout happened because they were switching everyone over from Virgin to O2 and this would be a temporary glitch. However 7 days on and it was still not sorted - it caused her lots of issues, not just contacting people and them contacting her (she was in process of setting up a new flat) but also things like banking two-step verification. Virgin Mobile sent her a temp SIM so she could at least be in touch with people HOWEVER this was not connected to her existing number. She has been calling various departments of Virgin and O2 ever since in an effort to get her number reinstated but they are now saying it is impossible, the number has been lost. They admit it is their fault that the number is lost and say there is nothing they can do. Frustrated she has now switched to a different provider but Virgin and O2 say they cannot give her a PAC code as her number no longer exists. It's a crazy and frustrating situation and very damaging for her as she has a business associated with her number but she is caught in an infinite loop of unhelpfulness.

Is there anywhere where we can go to try and move this forward? At the very least I don't think Virgin or O2 should get away with it (Virgin blamed O2, O2 are blaming Virgin, the Virgin Mobile operation is now winding down and can no longer help, O2 don't recognise her as a customer) - is there any organisation where we can at least complain. For all the distress they've caused her she hasn't even received an apology. 
Mark Hughes' blue and white army
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  • born_again
    born_again Posts: 13,575
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    Who was her contract with?

    Surly they can just provide a new number to sort the issue instead of messing around.

    In reality she will need to go through their (whoever contract is with) complaints process before taking it any further. 
    Life in the slow lane
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,256
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    In terms of consumer rights, I’m not sure how that helpful that will be for her business contacts, because technically that part would be business to business where the consumer legislation doesn’t apply. 
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • Grumpy_chap
    Grumpy_chap Posts: 14,389
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    I wonder if someone could help with steps to take in my daughter's tale of mobile phone consumer woe.

    A month ago her phone suddenly lost connection to Virgin Media. It happened at an inconvenient moment - she was traveling from London to Bristol to meet some friends and put her in a difficult position of being in a strange city late at night. Virgin Mobile's first response was that this dropout happened because they were switching everyone over from Virgin to O2 and this would be a temporary glitch. However 7 days on and it was still not sorted - it caused her lots of issues, not just contacting people and them contacting her (she was in process of setting up a new flat) but also things like banking two-step verification. Virgin Mobile sent her a temp SIM so she could at least be in touch with people HOWEVER this was not connected to her existing number. She has been calling various departments of Virgin and O2 ever since in an effort to get her number reinstated but they are now saying it is impossible, the number has been lost. They admit it is their fault that the number is lost and say there is nothing they can do. Frustrated she has now switched to a different provider but Virgin and O2 say they cannot give her a PAC code as her number no longer exists. It's a crazy and frustrating situation and very damaging for her as she has a business associated with her number but she is caught in an infinite loop of unhelpfulness.

    Is there anywhere where we can go to try and move this forward? At the very least I don't think Virgin or O2 should get away with it (Virgin blamed O2, O2 are blaming Virgin, the Virgin Mobile operation is now winding down and can no longer help, O2 don't recognise her as a customer) - is there any organisation where we can at least complain. For all the distress they've caused her she hasn't even received an apology. 
    I can't help other than this appears to be an issue with Virgin.  Not just their mobile numbers either.
    My Accountant lost his business number recently - during the change of contracts with Virgin - and ended up with an entirely new number.
    This week, Virgin have migrated my service from analogue to digital (internet) phone and currently don't know where my number is or if / when my original land line number will recover.
    There must be a big cupboard somewhere with all these lost numbers hiding away.
    I know this does not help, but it may assist to manage the OP's expectations.
    I guess it will affect us all because all the lost numbers will mean that OFCOM need to add another digit to every phone number so there are enough to go around.
  • Who was her contract with?

    Surly they can just provide a new number to sort the issue instead of messing around.

    In reality she will need to go through their (whoever contract is with) complaints process before taking it any further. 
    She had a 2 year SIM contract with Virgin Mobile. 

    They did provide a new number on a new SIM as her original SIM stopped working when the service dropped. They will now not give her a PAC code saying her number no longer exists and there is nothing they can do about it. 


    Mark Hughes' blue and white army
  • Johnny2323
    Johnny2323 Posts: 29
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    edited 11 December 2023 at 10:26PM
    elsien said:
    In terms of consumer rights, I’m not sure how that helpful that will be for her business contacts, because technically that part would be business to business where the consumer legislation doesn’t apply. 
    Maybe I didn’t explain correctly. This is her personal phone number but it’s the number all her business contacts have. Where can we research what her rights are? 

    Thank you for any help. 
    Mark Hughes' blue and white army
  • PHK
    PHK Posts: 1,137
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    One thing to remember is that you don't own a phone number. It belongs to the company that it was first allocated to (You can check who that is on the Ofcom website)

    When you port a number or its "moved" from one provider to another then a set of rules is followed (see mnposg.org.uk but its quite technical)

    If something goes wrong then the number is effectively returned to the company it was originally allocated to. 

    Your new provider should give you a new number and provide "reasonable" compensation. In previous cases we've seen that is equivalent to the percentage of the month the person was without a phone line multiplied by the monthly cost. For example if you pay £25 a month and we're without service for two weeks then you'd get £12.50

    If your daughter thinks she should get more then she'd need to go through her provider's complaints process and if she still remains unhappy then she can approach an ombudsman (which is a free alternative dispute resolution service)

    I would say that you need to be realistic, for example your daughter would always have been in a strange city and an ombudsman won't award anything for the worry of what might have happened. My opinion is the best you can hope for is extra for the work your daughter needed to do to let people know her new number. 

    So an apology, proportion of the monthly fee and a couple hours of her time. 

    When complaining I found its best to go for facts and conciseness. Drama and lack of clarity often causes confusion. 


  • savergrant
    savergrant Posts: 1,039
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    It looks like they foresaw this possibility in their advice to customers;
    https://www.virginmedia.com/help/mobile

    I suspect that mobile networks have the legal right to replace your number for technical reasons.  Had she received any information about being moved to o2, such as when she would start to receive o2 branded bills or get o2 voicemail?
    When did she join virgin? Which network issued the number?
  • Gavin83
    Gavin83 Posts: 8,725
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    elsien said:
    In terms of consumer rights, I’m not sure how that helpful that will be for her business contacts, because technically that part would be business to business where the consumer legislation doesn’t apply. 
    Maybe I didn’t explain correctly. This is her personal phone number but it’s the number all her business contacts have. Where can we research what her rights are? 

    Thank you for any help. 
    What does she actually want as an outcome to this? 

    I respect that in an ideal world it would be for her to have her number back. However I suspect this is now technically impossible, although I don’t work for a mobile operator. 

    She should be refunded for the time her service was unavailable and she may even get a little more on top. However I expect they don’t legally owe her any compensation and anything they do pay is likely to be minimal so I wouldn’t waste too much effort on pursuing this. As Virgin are apparently stopping this service and she’s already moved onto another provider they really have no incentive to please her.

    As others have pointed out she never actually owned the number so from a legal perspective she hasn’t lost anything.
  • Many thanks everyone. Very interesting.

    i think this is all confirming her thoughts - that it is fruitless trying to recover her number and she is better served moving on.

    How do you find an ombudsman?
    Mark Hughes' blue and white army
  • PHK
    PHK Posts: 1,137
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    You need to go through the providers complaint procedure at the end they will give you referral rights to an ombudsman. 

    For O2, it's the Communications Ombudsman.
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