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  • FIRST POST
    • Keane16
    • By Keane16 18th Jul 19, 11:23 PM
    • 45Posts
    • 22Thanks
    Keane16
    Virgin Atlantic Black Card Dispute & Compensation
    • #1
    • 18th Jul 19, 11:23 PM
    Virgin Atlantic Black Card Dispute & Compensation 18th Jul 19 at 11:23 PM
    Hi,

    Iíve 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 couldnít 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 didnít know why. They advised weíd 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 couldnít get the documents to the correct department and weíd have to post).

    After the first attempt a few weeks passed without reply. I called Virgin Money and they advised they hadnít received the documents, theyíd 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 wasnít worthwhile. I was also annoyed my wifeís card was blocked without warning. Finally weíve 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 couldnít verify my wifeís details (but sent the cards anyway?!).
    • Feb 17th 2019 - a block was applied to my wifeís 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 wifeís details (they didnít say which) were entered into their system incorrectly - this led to delay in issuing the new card (this makes no sense as they hadnít received the verification documents - we sent them for the third time on June 14th - until they got them they couldnít/shouldnít have reinstated my wifeís card).
    • As part of Tís&Cís they canít guarantee cardholder will be able to use their card or card details so canít 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 donít 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 Iíd ask here if itís the best I can expect. Or should I pursue this and try to get some meaningful compensation. I feel theyíve made numerous mistakes. And havenít even got the facts straight in the explanation letter.

    Any advice welcome. Thanks. (Sorry for the long winded post!).
Page 1
    • Anthonyuk95
    • By Anthonyuk95 19th Jul 19, 12:58 AM
    • 40 Posts
    • 22 Thanks
    Anthonyuk95
    • #2
    • 19th Jul 19, 12:58 AM
    • #2
    • 19th Jul 19, 12:58 AM
    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.
    • Ben8282
    • By Ben8282 19th Jul 19, 1:18 AM
    • 3,171 Posts
    • 1,736 Thanks
    Ben8282
    • #3
    • 19th Jul 19, 1:18 AM
    • #3
    • 19th Jul 19, 1:18 AM
    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)?
    • Gary_Dexter
    • By Gary_Dexter 19th Jul 19, 7:25 AM
    • 5,875 Posts
    • 3,879 Thanks
    Gary_Dexter
    • #4
    • 19th Jul 19, 7:25 AM
    • #4
    • 19th Jul 19, 7:25 AM
    £75 is about £75 too much.

    No financial loss or hardship has occurred so be grateful they’ve even offered it at all.
    • Keane16
    • By Keane16 19th Jul 19, 9:33 AM
    • 45 Posts
    • 22 Thanks
    Keane16
    • #5
    • 19th Jul 19, 9:33 AM
    • #5
    • 19th Jul 19, 9:33 AM
    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.
    Originally posted by Anthonyuk95
    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.

    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)?
    Originally posted by Ben8282
    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).

    £75 is about £75 too much.

    No financial loss or hardship has occurred so be grateful theyíve even offered it at all.
    Originally posted by Gary_Dexter
    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.
    • lev441
    • By lev441 19th Jul 19, 9:57 AM
    • 32 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    lev441
    • #6
    • 19th Jul 19, 9:57 AM
    • #6
    • 19th Jul 19, 9:57 AM
    Hi,

    Iíve 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 couldnít 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 didnít know why. They advised weíd 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 couldnít get the documents to the correct department and weíd have to post).

    After the first attempt a few weeks passed without reply. I called Virgin Money and they advised they hadnít received the documents, theyíd 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 wasnít worthwhile. I was also annoyed my wifeís card was blocked without warning. Finally weíve 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 couldnít verify my wifeís details (but sent the cards anyway?!).
    • Feb 17th 2019 - a block was applied to my wifeís 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 wifeís details (they didnít say which) were entered into their system incorrectly - this led to delay in issuing the new card (this makes no sense as they hadnít received the verification documents - we sent them for the third time on June 14th - until they got them they couldnít/shouldnít have reinstated my wifeís card).
    • As part of Tís&Cís they canít guarantee cardholder will be able to use their card or card details so canít 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 donít 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 Iíd ask here if itís the best I can expect. Or should I pursue this and try to get some meaningful compensation. I feel theyíve made numerous mistakes. And havenít even got the facts straight in the explanation letter.

    Any advice welcome. Thanks. (Sorry for the long winded post!).
    Originally posted by Keane16
    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..!
    • lev441
    • By lev441 19th Jul 19, 9:58 AM
    • 32 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    lev441
    • #7
    • 19th Jul 19, 9:58 AM
    • #7
    • 19th Jul 19, 9:58 AM
    £75 is about £75 too much.

    No financial loss or hardship has occurred so be grateful they’ve even offered it at all.
    Originally posted by Gary_Dexter
    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.
    Last edited by lev441; 19-07-2019 at 10:00 AM. Reason: had addition to make
    • Gary_Dexter
    • By Gary_Dexter 19th Jul 19, 10:00 AM
    • 5,875 Posts
    • 3,879 Thanks
    Gary_Dexter
    • #8
    • 19th Jul 19, 10:00 AM
    • #8
    • 19th Jul 19, 10:00 AM
    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...
    Originally posted by lev441
    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.
    • lev441
    • By lev441 19th Jul 19, 10:07 AM
    • 32 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    lev441
    • #9
    • 19th Jul 19, 10:07 AM
    • #9
    • 19th Jul 19, 10:07 AM
    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.
    Originally posted by Gary_Dexter
    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.
    • Keane16
    • By Keane16 19th Jul 19, 10:52 AM
    • 45 Posts
    • 22 Thanks
    Keane16
    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..!
    Originally posted by lev441
    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.

    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.
    Originally posted by Gary_Dexter
    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.
    • Keane16
    • By Keane16 19th Jul 19, 10:55 AM
    • 45 Posts
    • 22 Thanks
    Keane16
    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.
    Originally posted by lev441
    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.
    • Terry Towelling
    • By Terry Towelling 19th Jul 19, 8:17 PM
    • 1,767 Posts
    • 1,481 Thanks
    Terry Towelling
    In some respects the legalities of a situation are not really the point. Maybe Virgin can refuse to issue an additional card and maybe they can take as long as they like to tell you that but that's not really what Virgin was doing here.

    If they were refusing to give an additional card, they should have just said so - they didn't.

    They sent you and your wife cards to use and said nothing about ID verification for anyone. Both cards worked, then one stopped and nobody said anything to you about this. You had to do all the running to work out what had gone wrong and, to this day, Virgin has not been able to give you anything meaningful by way of response.

    They've fobbed you off with stock responses about admin/data entry errors, promised the additional card and still not delivered.

    So what we have here, in my opinion, is not Virgin exercising its rights to refuse this that and the other, but Virgin just being plain inefficient and, possibly, making stuff up to fend you off.

    Whether £75 is a fair offer is the moot point here. It's just over half the fee which sounds reasonable in some respects but, if you consider why you are paying a fee in the first place, maybe it isn't. Personally, I believe you should have the right to expect a much higher standard of service and exclusivity for this amount of money. You haven't really received anything approaching that (from what you describe) and I think they should have waived the entire fee.
    • Keane16
    • By Keane16 23rd Jul 19, 10:25 AM
    • 45 Posts
    • 22 Thanks
    Keane16
    Hi Terry, thanks for summarising my point in a much better way than I have.

    • 5 months in card fee terms is £67.
    • I averaged the air miles I earned for the last 4 months we had 2 cards and the 4 months where we had 1. We lost out on about 35k Air Miles. Crude calculations I know but that's a Premium cabin flight to New York or £525 worth of miles if I was to buy them.

    I have no expectation that that they'll be reimbursed, especially as Virgin are legally covered as others have said, but from a service level point of view as you mentioned it's a poor showing.

    They've been trying to call me for a couple of days but I've been in meetings at work. Will try to get hold of them and see what they say.

    In other news my wife's card arrived last night. So at least we're back up and running.
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