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Old 27-06-2013, 15:54
Zee_Bukhari
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Do I have any right to cancel my virgin mobile contract early? When I took out the contract I was told I would be on an unlimited internet tariff, I have now come across the reason for the slow speeds is due to the 3.5GB limit and them imposing a 384K speed limit on the service.

There is about 18 months left of the contract which my brother uses and it could become near impossible for him to use streaming services on such a low speed.

Do I have any right to cancel this?

Thanks
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Old 27-06-2013, 16:20
John_Patrick
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Do I have any right to cancel my virgin mobile contract early? When I took out the contract I was told I would be on an unlimited internet tariff, I have now come across the reason for the slow speeds is due to the 3.5GB limit and them imposing a 384K speed limit on the service.

There is about 18 months left of the contract which my brother uses and it could become near impossible for him to use streaming services on such a low speed.

Do I have any right to cancel this?

Thanks
If you regularly used more than 3.5Gb and you are going to be disadvantaged by the limit then yes. It would also have to be a definite change from 'unlimited' rather than them reconfirming that they really meant it was limited when they said unlimited (as the other networks did)
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Old 27-06-2013, 16:36
Zee_Bukhari
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If you regularly used more than 3.5Gb and you are going to be disadvantaged by the limit then yes. It would also have to be a definite change from 'unlimited' rather than them reconfirming that they really meant it was limited when they said unlimited (as the other networks did)
cheers.

I called the cancelation department and they said I could not cancel it as its "unlimited"

I've been happy with them for so long, but feel we cannot stream the Wimbledon now due to this limit.

How do I go about getting this cancelling, they really shot themselves in the foot as I've been stupid enough to recommend them to people in the past.
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Old 27-06-2013, 16:58
Trsvis_Bickle
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cheers.

I called the cancelation department and they said I could not cancel it as its "unlimited"

I've been happy with them for so long, but feel we cannot stream the Wimbledon now due to this limit.

How do I go about getting this cancelling, they really shot themselves in the foot as I've been stupid enough to recommend them to people in the past.
If you've still got 18 months on the contract to run, I'm assuming the 3.5Gb fair use clause was in place when you took out the contract. So I can't see how you have a 'right' to cancel. If you're going to quibble over the definition of 'unlimited', good luck with that as virgin aren't the only company to impose a fair use modification. As they say, 'language evolves'...
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Old 27-06-2013, 17:14
Zee_Bukhari
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If you've still got 18 months on the contract to run, I'm assuming the 3.5Gb fair use clause was in place when you took out the contract. So I can't see how you have a 'right' to cancel. If you're going to quibble over the definition of 'unlimited', good luck with that as virgin aren't the only company to impose a fair use modification. As they say, 'language evolves'...
I don't believe it was as I took it out in January and to my knowledge this change was made on 24th January 2013, I took mine out before 24th Jan.

Or am I wrong?
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Old 27-06-2013, 17:20
carnivalist
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If you've still got 18 months on the contract to run, I'm assuming the 3.5Gb fair use clause was in place when you took out the contract. So I can't see how you have a 'right' to cancel. If you're going to quibble over the definition of 'unlimited', good luck with that as virgin aren't the only company to impose a fair use modification. As they say, 'language evolves'...
Nope. The "Unlimitacular" promotion they offered at the time was promised as truly unlimited with no fair use policy a la 3. I confirmed this with two separate sources.

It was a classic bait-and-switch - the promotion ran for a couple of months, enticed customers like me away from their existing provider, then they stopped it, but introduced limits on everyone who had signed up, albeit slightly less severe than those for new customers. I too recommended them, unfortunately.

If what they did was not illegal, then it was extremely mendacious and I will not be renewing with Virgin on any terms as a matter of principle. If other companies follow their lead, then no offer or retention deal would be worth anything. Changing the terms of the contract for genuine reasons is one thing, but this is quite another.

I would urge everybody to avoid Virgin Mobile and those already a customer not to renew when their contracts run out.
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Old 27-06-2013, 18:38
Chris1973
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I would urge everybody to avoid Virgin Mobile and those already a customer not to renew when their contracts run out.
+1 to that

I was also a victim of their bait and switch campaign, however their mobile internet speeds were pathetic from day one even before they began reducing their Fair Use policy, removing tethering and rolling out their so called "trial capping" of mobile internet speeds to 2mb down / 0.5mb up

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/03/05/virgin_choking/

This 'secret' 2mb speed cap, which was implemented without any advance warning or prior consultation with their existing customer base, eventually led to 40+ pages of complaints on their own forum, yet despite this volume of complaints, it took a further two weeks before their own rep finally gave an explanation and admitte that there was a cap in place.

With all this in mind, it gives me great pleasure to announce that i've never once recommended Virgin Mobile and never will. In fact quite the opposite.
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Old 27-06-2013, 20:54
Zee_Bukhari
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I've sent a complaint over to the executive office to get this looked into as I don't believe what is happening here is correct.

I knew I should have just kept his contract with Three, very silly of me to have switched!
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Old 27-06-2013, 21:19
Chris1973
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I'd take a screenshot of the official announcement on the Virgin customer forum if it still exists. The one where it announces that the fair use policy was being reduced to 3.5gb, and also get a shot of the date it was posted on the forum.

I suppose that if you signed up to your contract prior to the date that it was announced on the forum and also the date that the new 3.5gb FUP began being enforced, then it could be used to at least prove that a major change was implemented AFTER you agreed to the contract, especially as the announcement was made on their own forum by a member of their own staff

This would at least bolster your complaint that the FUP was changed AFTER you became a customer and signed a contract. It would be difficult for them to argue that the current FUP policy was in place and formed part of the terms when you originally signed up and agreed to them, if they didn't announce it publicly nor actually implement it until a much later date - as demonstrated by the screenshot.

I believe that a 10GB FUP policy was originally put in place at some point between October (when I signed up) and it further being reduced again to 3.5gb. So I would think that it was the 10GB FUP in place when you signed up (if it was after Oct 2012 and before the end of Jan 2013), however whilst most networks are freely allowed to implement a FUP, Speed Caps etc in order to protect their network, you could argue as to whether a reduction of 65% in one go in relation to the FUP (when it reduced from 10gb to 3,5gb) could be considered as being "reasonable" within the industry when introduced on a tariff marketed as being 'unlimited', especially when it was done without any form of individual notification (e.g a letter) or the opportunity to leave your contract without prejudice or penalty, if you didn't agree to the change.

I can't speak for everybody, but I certainly didn't get any letter or email from VM regarding the change in FUP from 10gb to 3.5gb, the limit of the official notification seemed to be a pinned post on their forum followed by an internet rumour which eventually led me to their forum post. So you could use that also, to make the point that the change in terms wasn't conveyed to you in any official way. I think this 65% reduction could be construed as being a significant enough change to warrant at least a letter informing you of the changes.

Send a letter, covering this as bullet points, along with copies of the screenshots which you have taken, to the Virgin head office by recorded post, stating that you wish to raise an official complaint based on the points which you have highlighted and that you wish to pursue it through their internal complaint procedure in order to release you from the remainder of your contract on a goodwill basis, and that they should contact you by post, to inform you of their final decision once it was been reached.

You could also ask them to send you a copy of the letter, (along with proof of postage) which they [should have] sent you informing you of the change / reduction in relation to the FUP back in January as i'm not sure that a forum could ever be considered as a sole official method of communication.
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Old 27-06-2013, 22:11
alan1302
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If they are only slowing your internet speed down rather than stopping you download as much as you want is it still not unlimited?
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Old 27-06-2013, 22:26
Chris1973
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If they are only slowing your internet speed down rather than stopping you download as much as you want is it still not unlimited?
It seems that the ASA didn't think so, after a couple of customers complained

http://community.virginmedia.com/t5/...s/td-p/1873976

Put it this way, in the (unlikely) event that you were to download constantly 24/7 for the full thirty days at the capped maximum 384kbs speed, isn't there are maximum amount of data which you could ever possibly download at that speed in that period, compared to the amount of data which you could potentially download from the same network in the same period if they hadn't have implemented the 384kbs cap?.
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Old 27-06-2013, 23:36
Zee_Bukhari
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I'd take a screenshot of the official announcement on the Virgin customer forum if it still exists. The one where it announces that the fair use policy was being reduced to 3.5gb, and also get a shot of the date it was posted on the forum.

I suppose that if you signed up to your contract prior to the date that it was announced on the forum and also the date that the new 3.5gb FUP began being enforced, then it could be used to at least prove that a major change was implemented AFTER you agreed to the contract, especially as the announcement was made on their own forum by a member of their own staff

This would at least bolster your complaint that the FUP was changed AFTER you became a customer and signed a contract. It would be difficult for them to argue that the current FUP policy was in place and formed part of the terms when you originally signed up and agreed to them, if they didn't announce it publicly nor actually implement it until a much later date - as demonstrated by the screenshot.

I believe that a 10GB FUP policy was originally put in place at some point between October (when I signed up) and it further being reduced again to 3.5gb. So I would think that it was the 10GB FUP in place when you signed up (if it was after Oct 2012 and before the end of Jan 2013), however whilst most networks are freely allowed to implement a FUP, Speed Caps etc in order to protect their network, you could argue as to whether a reduction of 65% in one go in relation to the FUP (when it reduced from 10gb to 3,5gb) could be considered as being "reasonable" within the industry when introduced on a tariff marketed as being 'unlimited', especially when it was done without any form of individual notification (e.g a letter) or the opportunity to leave your contract without prejudice or penalty, if you didn't agree to the change.

I can't speak for everybody, but I certainly didn't get any letter or email from VM regarding the change in FUP from 10gb to 3.5gb, the limit of the official notification seemed to be a pinned post on their forum followed by an internet rumour which eventually led me to their forum post. So you could use that also, to make the point that the change in terms wasn't conveyed to you in any official way. I think this 65% reduction could be construed as being a significant enough change to warrant at least a letter informing you of the changes.

Send a letter, covering this as bullet points, along with copies of the screenshots which you have taken, to the Virgin head office by recorded post, stating that you wish to raise an official complaint based on the points which you have highlighted and that you wish to pursue it through their internal complaint procedure in order to release you from the remainder of your contract on a goodwill basis, and that they should contact you by post, to inform you of their final decision once it was been reached.

You could also ask them to send you a copy of the letter, (along with proof of postage) which they [should have] sent you informing you of the change / reduction in relation to the FUP back in January as i'm not sure that a forum could ever be considered as a sole official method of communication.
Thanks for this post, helps!

The lady I spoke to in the cancelation department was so sure they sent out letters to everyone detailing this I asked her to prove this as it should have been on my account, a copy of the letter if they had, she said she could not.

I'll wait to see what executive office replies and i'll take it further.

They have really shot themselves in the foot with this, they will have some bad press over this, they were finally doing something right and they messed that up.

Three which started about 5 years after them is growing at a rate of around 1m customers a year and they have around 10m customers where as virgin mobile have only 4m customers.

They could have bid in the 4g auction and really did something for their brand, but they chose not to.

Virgin Media is a disgrace and now Virgin Mobile has become one too.
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Old 28-06-2013, 03:52
carnivalist
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I think MoneySavingExpert.com would be interested in this. Martyn Lewis is quite a prominent figure in the media as a consumer advocate.

I suspect this issue has flown under the radar a bit as Virgin Mobile is relatively small I believe. It would be nice if they could be made to squirm a bit. Virgin Media regularly take the P, but this mendacity by an operator is beyond a joke.
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Old 28-06-2013, 04:27
bubblegun
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Did they register your formal complaint about this issue?
You should be able to get a complaint reference number which you will need if you are going to escalate this further such as to OFCOM.
You will need to go down this line to have any hope of getting out of your contract. Some companies will back down if it goes this far.
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Old 28-06-2013, 10:17
tdenson
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they really shot themselves in the foot as I've been stupid enough to recommend them to people in the past.
I don't think the Virgin organisation will come crashing down if you cancel you phone contract Perhaps, if you've regularly gone over the fair use policy, then they've consciously decided you are not the sort of customer they want.
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Old 28-06-2013, 10:22
tdenson
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It seems that the ASA didn't think so, after a couple of customers complained

http://community.virginmedia.com/t5/...s/td-p/1873976

Put it this way, in the (unlikely) event that you were to download constantly 24/7 for the full thirty days at the capped maximum 384kbs speed, isn't there are maximum amount of data which you could ever possibly download at that speed in that period, compared to the amount of data which you could potentially download from the same network in the same period if they hadn't have implemented the 384kbs cap?.
We've had this debate before. Doesn't matter what your speed is, there is ultimately a cap which equals the result of running streaming for 24/7. It's just a lower cap when they reduce the speed artificially.
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Old 28-06-2013, 13:52
carnivalist
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I don't think the Virgin organisation will come crashing down if you cancel you phone contract Perhaps, if you've regularly gone over the fair use policy, then they've consciously decided you are not the sort of customer they want.
It might help if you try and understand the issue.

Some of us left our existing providers solely because VIrgin Mobile told us we would be getting TRULY UNLIMITED DATA and that there was NO FAIR USE POLICY - then shortly after the promotion ended and they had reeled us in, retrospectively removed that benefit.
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Old 02-07-2013, 13:34
Zee_Bukhari
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I got a call back from the executive office today and they said they would not be able to terminate my contract based on the 3.5GB limit, the 2Mbps speed cap and the 384K speed cap.

He also said they do not have to send out letters advising customers of these types of changes.

I logged a complaint with Ofcom and I suggest everyone else do the same, it only takes a few minutes.

I wonder what is my next form of action, maybe legal action
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Old 02-07-2013, 13:44
Zee_Bukhari
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I contacted the ombudsman service which said they are happy to deal with the complaint, I just need to get a deadlock letter from virgin mobile if they say that decision is the final decision.

If that doesn't work I will take legal action against them companies like them think they can just get away with these things.
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Old 02-07-2013, 19:55
Chris1973
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I just need to get a deadlock letter from virgin mobile if they say that decision is the final decision.
You need to follow the exact complaint procedure as laid down by the network before the ombudsman will get involved. Hence my original advice.....

Send a letter, covering this as bullet points, along with copies of the screenshots which you have taken, to the Virgin head office by recorded post, stating that you wish to raise an official complaint based on the points which you have highlighted and that you wish to pursue it through their internal complaint procedure in order to release you from the remainder of your contract on a goodwill basis, and that they should contact you by post, to inform you of their final decision once it was been reached.
Networks hear veiled threats from customers to take their complaints to the ombudsman all of the time during customer rants as its generally the phrase of choice!, but they know full well at that stage the threat is empty and it won't go any further as a result of a phone call alone.


This is generally why networks get away with a lot of what they do, because they know customers love ranting down the phone, but generally lose interest when it comes to sitting down and taking the time required to write a detailed complaint, take it to the post office, and then wait patiently for upto several weeks for the 'final' reply which will allow them to take the matter further.

I suspect that when protocol is followed and a recorded delivery letter arrives, detailing that you want to pursue the complaint through their customer complaints procedure will start making them take notice and they'll probably take you more seriously. Generally when a customer goes to these lengths and makes it 'official' the customer is far more likely to invest the effort required to take it right through to its logical conclusion - The Ombudsman
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Old 02-07-2013, 22:28
Zee_Bukhari
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You need to follow the exact complaint procedure as laid down by the network before the ombudsman will get involved. Hence my original advice.....



Networks hear veiled threats from customers to take their complaints to the ombudsman all of the time during customer rants as its generally the phrase of choice!, but they know full well at that stage the threat is empty and it won't go any further as a result of a phone call alone.


This is generally why networks get away with a lot of what they do, because they know customers love ranting down the phone, but generally lose interest when it comes to sitting down and taking the time required to write a detailed complaint, take it to the post office, and then wait patiently for upto several weeks for the 'final' reply which will allow them to take the matter further.

I suspect that when protocol is followed and a recorded delivery letter arrives, detailing that you want to pursue the complaint through their customer complaints procedure will start making them take notice and they'll probably take you more seriously. Generally when a customer goes to these lengths and makes it 'official' the customer is far more likely to invest the effort required to take it right through to its logical conclusion - The Ombudsman
Thanks for your help.

I'll be doing this for sure, tomorrow will be sending out a letter.

Right now I will need to look through their forum for the screen shots and get those all sorted.
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Old 13-07-2013, 15:40
Zee_Bukhari
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Sent out the letter a few days ago so i'll now have to sit and wait for their reply.
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Old 24-07-2013, 00:23
Zee_Bukhari
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Its been almost 2 weeks since I sent the letter with no reply yet. How long should I wait before contacting them again?
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Old 24-07-2013, 20:17
Chris1973
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Its been almost 2 weeks since I sent the letter with no reply yet. How long should I wait before contacting them again?
Early Days yet - Anything upto 8 weeks, I believe is considered an acceptable period of time. If they haven't bothered to reply by then, and you sent it by a trackable means, then it would probably help to bolster the original complaint.

If the first letter you have sent to them clearly asked for them to contact you with their final decision in relation to dealing with your complaint, then there is no reason to contact them again in the interim, just take it to the ombudsman, (once the 8 weeks has timed out) highlighting the fact that you have already correctly followed their (VM) complaints procedure and they never bothered to reply to your complaint within a reasonable timescale.

I don't think the Virgin organisation will come crashing down if you cancel you phone contract
Adopting the same philosophy - there is absolutely no reason for them to want to hang on to the business of a clearly unhappy customer then
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Old 05-09-2013, 14:50
Zee_Bukhari
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so just an update, they failed to reply so I have now sent my complaint to CISAS who will take the matter further for me hopefully
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