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  • FIRST POST
    • halifaxmortgage
    • By halifaxmortgage 8th Sep 18, 10:21 AM
    • 115Posts
    • 16Thanks
    halifaxmortgage
    Help with Virgin Claim going to Court
    • #1
    • 8th Sep 18, 10:21 AM
    Help with Virgin Claim going to Court 8th Sep 18 at 10:21 AM
    Hi guys,

    I'm in a serious situation with Virgin Media and would be very grateful if you could help regarding making a claim against them for damage to my property at Small Claims Court. I'll try to give you a short history, without dragging the story too much.

    Problems/Damage:
    • I've been having problems with phone 2-3 months
    • VM sent out installers early August
    • They damaged areas of my garden, including gulley hopper, landscape, patio stones etc with bodged up cement works.
    • They also dug in the center of the garden and the cable wire was laid only 1cm below the soil.
    • Due to it being a strong cable wire, it's lifted the soil ground and is clearly visible.

    After contacting VM:
    • They kept me on hold for ages on numerous occasions, passing me from one department/person to the next.
    • I Logged my first complaint & was only offered 35. The complaint was almost immediately deadlocked.
    • I got a builder to look at the damage, but he's advised that since VM own the cable wire, he can't touch it and he's unable to give a quote.
    • I then called VM retentions to exit the contract. I was advised that the complaint handler should not have deadlocked the complaint & as a way of apology, I was given a small goodwill gesture and 2nd complaint ref was setup.
    • However this was closed down very quickly due to it being related to the same issue.

    I then contacted VM CEO email address with a letter before claim. I have now received what seems to be a bog-standard snail-mail reply stating that I need to follow the procedure on the deadlock letter, which is to contact CISAS. I've already done this action and been advised by CISAS that they only deal with actual service issues and since I don't have anymore service issues, they were unable to take on my claim.

    So I've now contacted CAB, whom have advised that I wait 28 days from issue of email and if nothing is done by VM, that I apply to gov.uk Money Claim Online website - This is where I'm stuck and have a number of questions that I'm hoping to get help with:

    1. Once VM's 28 day period is up, what do I need to do to take VM to small claims court?

    2. In order to resolve the complaint, my original offer to VM was that they rectify the damage done by their installers and provide a small goodwill gesture. In the event of them not responding, am I allowed to increase this amount?

    3. As mentioned earlier, I have been unable to obtain a quote as part of the job requires someone to dig up the land, remove the cable wire and reinstall it in it's new location. Would the judge not accept my case of the basis of this?


    Thanks in advance for your help and I look forward to your replies.
Page 4
    • halifaxmortgage
    • By halifaxmortgage 12th Oct 18, 9:44 PM
    • 115 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    halifaxmortgage
    Thanks for your help waamo and to everyone else. I'll start calling around tomorrow to see who would be willing to give me a quote. My concern is that the quote won't include the cost of removal, re-route of cable and also may cost me to obtain.
    • waamo
    • By waamo 12th Oct 18, 9:53 PM
    • 4,865 Posts
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    waamo
    Just to be pedantic try asking for an estimate rather than a quote. You may have more joy.
    This space for hire.
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 12th Oct 18, 9:53 PM
    • 2,946 Posts
    • 2,925 Thanks
    steampowered
    Just put a crude estimate for what it would cost to put right, for the purpose of issuing your claim.

    You do not need to have any evidence at this stage of the process. You could always get an expert involved or a more formal quote at a later stage, if Virgin do not settle the case.

    You do however need to put an upper number on the value of your claim. And do claim interest on it - interest running from the date the damage was done.

    The judge won't be remotely interested in the pre-action process - the judge will simply be interested in whether your claim is valid or not.

    VM don't require a copy of anything. The court will serve the claim on VM once you issue it.
    • halifaxmortgage
    • By halifaxmortgage 12th Oct 18, 9:57 PM
    • 115 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    halifaxmortgage
    That's good to know. I've posted a quote request on mybuilder.com. Let's hope they get back to me with written quotes via email. I'll also call a few places tomorrow.

    Really appreciate your help.
    • waamo
    • By waamo 12th Oct 18, 10:09 PM
    • 4,865 Posts
    • 6,302 Thanks
    waamo
    That's good to know. I've posted a quote request on mybuilder.com. Let's hope they get back to me with written quotes via email. I'll also call a few places tomorrow.

    Really appreciate your help.
    Originally posted by halifaxmortgage
    Estimate! You don't seem to able to get a quote. They are very different things and do have a different meaning in law.
    This space for hire.
    • robatwork
    • By robatwork 13th Oct 18, 9:41 AM
    • 4,728 Posts
    • 5,301 Thanks
    robatwork
    I'm afraid you're in a bit of a cake-and-eat-it situation.

    You want to take VM to court, but also want to continue your relationship with them.

    I think you will have a big problem with the judge if you don't have some quantifiable losses ie. a quote or 3 estimates.

    You'll be arguing in court how awful VM are, while acknowledging they give you a great service. Not impossible, but shaky ground. If you don't get some quotes or estimates you may be wasting your energy. Would a BT connection at 80Mb really not download everything you could realistically need for a home connection?
    • halifaxmortgage
    • By halifaxmortgage 13th Oct 18, 11:05 AM
    • 115 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    halifaxmortgage
    waamo - Estimate it is

    robatwork - Providing an on-going stable broadband/phone/tv service is different from a one-off physical installation IMHO. If they were both the same thing then CISAS would take on the role of resolving installation issues too.

    The way I see it is that the judge should be assessing:-
    1. Has the customer informed the company of the damage?
    2. If so, have virgin responded?
    3. What has the customer/company done to resolve their issues?

    From my point-of-view: I've contacted VM, CISAS, Trading Standards, Citizens Advice Bureau. I've also threatened them with legal action and within the letter offered them to repair the damage or use the alternative dispute resolution to bring the matter to a close.

    From VM's point-of-view: They've not sent anyone out to assess the damage, they've deadlocked the complaint on two occasions and simply keep referring me back to CISAS, whom have written an email stating they only resolve service issues and do not resolve property damages.

    In case your wondering what CISAS wrote in their email, here it is

    "Thank you for your telephone call. Unfortunately property damage does not fall within the scope of our scheme and so we would be unable to accept your application if it is solely relating to the issue of property damage. You are welcome to bring your case to us if for example customer service is an element of your claim, however, the property damage element would not be looked into. Trading standards would be the forum we suggest you get in touch with regarding property damage issues. Their number is 03454040506."
    • pmduk
    • By pmduk 13th Oct 18, 7:48 PM
    • 9,545 Posts
    • 7,196 Thanks
    pmduk
    In these cash-strapped times, Trading Standards are loath to get involved in individual cases.

    Other than suing their contractors direct I'm not sure who to pursue. I rather suspect VM will join them in any litigation anyhow as I suspect their contract with VM indemnifies them from causing VM any damages.
    • halifaxmortgage
    • By halifaxmortgage 13th Oct 18, 8:18 PM
    • 115 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    halifaxmortgage
    pmduk - I agree - hence my reason for going down the court route.

    steampowered - I am very sorry for not seeing your post earlier. You see, I was thinking the same thing that although estimates/quotes are important, in my case I can't see how a judge could insist that I provide estimates/quotes for removing and replacing something that is the property of VM. However I have made contact with one builder/landscaper whom may pop down next week to give me a quote. Let's hope he agrees to a written estimate, otherwise I'm back to square one. If I still don't succeed, then I might take a gamble and pay the court fees and pray for the best.
    • halifaxmortgage
    • By halifaxmortgage 16th Oct 18, 6:42 PM
    • 115 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    halifaxmortgage
    Evening everyone. I have got a quick update. So far, I've only had one guy provide a single estimate and it's quite a bit less than what I originally requested in my "Letter Before Action". However it does not include the costs connection/disconnection or adjusting of the VM cable, which the guy said he could not due for reasons previously mentioned.
    • Am I now supposed to resend the Action letter to them with a different quote?
    • If not, do I have to make an adjustment to my original amount on the Moneyclaims website or do I stick to it and explain the issue to a judge?
    Last edited by halifaxmortgage; 16-10-2018 at 6:53 PM.
    • waamo
    • By waamo 16th Oct 18, 6:54 PM
    • 4,865 Posts
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    waamo
    No. The LBA sets out your position and they are free to dispute it. Ignoring it is not disputing it.

    Put the value of the estimate as your claim.

    You are good to go.
    This space for hire.
    • halifaxmortgage
    • By halifaxmortgage 16th Oct 18, 7:00 PM
    • 115 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    halifaxmortgage
    No. The LBA sets out your position and they are free to dispute it. Ignoring it is not disputing it.

    Put the value of the estimate as your claim.

    You are good to go.
    Originally posted by waamo
    Thanks waamo for clarifying this. If I may say, surely I can claim higher than the amount of estimate, because it doesn't include:

    1. The costs of VM cable being moved/re-routed
    2. The time I've spent off work to try and resolve this (I know I haven't lost money in salary as such, but that's because I've used my own leave and flex-hours.
    3. The whole inconvenience I've had.

    Many thanks
    • waamo
    • By waamo 16th Oct 18, 10:09 PM
    • 4,865 Posts
    • 6,302 Thanks
    waamo
    1. If you can get a rough estimate for it you can add it but without a value you are just guessing. The courts don't like guesses.

    2. That isn't part of the claim but judges sometimes allow costs to be awarded. They aren't always awarded so keep evidence of any costs you have accrued. If it goes to court and it's discussed you want to be organised and well prepared.

    3. No.
    This space for hire.
    • halifaxmortgage
    • By halifaxmortgage 16th Oct 18, 11:54 PM
    • 115 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    halifaxmortgage
    Waamo your a star buddy. Really appreciate your help and advice.
    • halifaxmortgage
    • By halifaxmortgage 17th Oct 18, 8:52 AM
    • 115 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    halifaxmortgage
    Oh sorry, I forgot to ask.... The court legal costs... Am I supposed to include that in the amount too or is that automatically included?
    • waamo
    • By waamo 17th Oct 18, 8:59 AM
    • 4,865 Posts
    • 6,302 Thanks
    waamo
    There is a box that you enter the court fee in. You then have to enter the total at the bottom. The court fee is added to the initial claim.

    There are about three boxes for various fees. Most wont apply to you so leave them blank.
    This space for hire.
    • LiGhTfasT
    • By LiGhTfasT 17th Oct 18, 9:12 PM
    • 133 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    LiGhTfasT
    Is it just me or does it not even look that bad? Its not great but how else can they run a cable to that point? Did you specify a route? to me its better like that instead of them lifting the flags and possibly damaging that drain or cracking a flag imho.

    You could just chisel some of that cement away to tidy it up a bit, once you've brushed up and its weathered in you wont notice it.
    • halifaxmortgage
    • By halifaxmortgage 18th Oct 18, 2:54 PM
    • 115 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    halifaxmortgage
    Is it just me or does it not even look that bad? Its not great but how else can they run a cable to that point? Did you specify a route? to me its better like that instead of them lifting the flags and possibly damaging that drain or cracking a flag imho.

    You could just chisel some of that cement away to tidy it up a bit, once you've brushed up and its weathered in you wont notice it.
    Originally posted by LiGhTfasT
    I understand what your say, but see it from my point-of-view mate. As some forum members will know, I've tried my absolute best by using helpful advice on here to resolve this amicably with virgin. I used various methods such as phone calls, emails, written letters, but to my frustration, I've been unsuccessful, each time hitting a brick wall.

    Let's say for the sake of it, even if the job is reasonably easy to rectify, why didn't they just send an assessor out or a team out to do the repairs and resolve this swiftly? Even their online forum staff agreed with me. All their excuses were that they don't send out repair people and that the letter is deadlocked .They just kept telling me to go to CISAS, even though I clearly told them that CISAS have already advised damages are not their responsibility:



    and Trading Standards have stated they don't deal with utility/broadband companies.

    For me it's the principle and the fact that I have no right to connect/disconnect their cable which is only 1cm or so in the ground. Let's hope no one trips over the cable, otherwise they'll be looking at an injury claim too.

    Just to let everyone know - Today I've submitted the claim and will keep you fully informed. I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped me and especially to Waamo.
    Last edited by halifaxmortgage; 18-10-2018 at 2:56 PM.
    • waamo
    • By waamo 18th Oct 18, 3:15 PM
    • 4,865 Posts
    • 6,302 Thanks
    waamo
    Good luck.
    This space for hire.
    • halifaxmortgage
    • By halifaxmortgage 5th Nov 18, 2:10 PM
    • 115 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    halifaxmortgage
    Hi guys. Just a quick update....VM had until 7th Nov to reply. MCOL now says that VM have "filed an acknowledgment of service on 05/11/2018".

    Could anyone please explain what this means, what happens next and whether I need to do anything?
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