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Member Name: mighty_scoob
Advantages: Cost effective, advertised broadband speeds, decent TV package.
Disadvantages: Throttling on broadband, bills are always wrong when you change anything.
Like many people, I have taken Virgin Media to obtain their fibre optic broadband. I have suffered for years with substandard broadband speeds via my land line, and I decided that enough was enough.
Say bye-bye 20Mb Broadband but only actually getting 1.5Mb, say hello 10Mb of fibre optic goodness.
I opted to take just broadband initially from Virgin, I also opted to take it from one of their high street Media Centres. To be honest I found the experience quite painless, the staff that dealt with me seemed knowledgeable and friendly, and I got what I came for. I also got to leave the store with all the kit that I needed rather than waiting for it to be "installed". At this point I was quite impressed with our friends at Virgin.
I also got the "installation fee" of £35 that I had to pay credited back to my account. I was a little annoyed at having to pay this in the first place given I was doing the said installation myself but hay. At least I was getting it back.
When I got home, I installed all the hardware, hooked everything up, turned on the PC and...nothing. The account had not been created. This should have been done in store as the last occupant who lived at our house already had Virgin set up, so it was just a case of turning everything back on again but attached to my account (1 - 2 hours the store advised). Not a huge problem, though I did spend longer than I hoped on the phone to have the issue rectified.
Firstly I spoke to standard customer services who then passed me through to technical support, as there seemed to be an issue with the line. Fast forward 20 minutes later and the line was up and running, though no real explanation was offered.
Everything worked just as expected though I did come a cropper when I downloaded a couple of TV episodes from iTunes. To my absolute horror my broadband dropped to just 25% of its actual speed.
This is referred to as throttling and it located within the Virgin T&C's. It's not something that they shout about from the tree tops mind, it's more an inconvenience than an issue really as everything goes back to full speed within about 3 hours.
Basically, if you download approximately 1.5Gb's of date, Virgin will throttle your service to prevent you from effecting the service of other people in your area. Given the infrastructure that is in place with fibre optics I feel that a 75% drop in speed is a little excessive, but the resulting 2.5Mb speed is still quite usable in my case and so it's not the end of the world.
However this may be an issue for heavy downloaders or people who stream a lot of HD movies. For these people I would recommend the 20Mb broadband or the ridiculously fast 50Mb service. For those services the throttle would not be quite so bad :)
So far so good right? Well not quite. Remember that £35 installation fee I was getting back? Well they did in fact credit my first bill, however they only gave me half of it back (£15) and then they proceeded to invoice me again for the full £35 "installation" on that very invoice. This left me £50 worse off when I should have had a straight forward credit for the £35 (or better still, they should not have taken it in the first place).
Queue 2 phone calls and no action. I eventually ended up sending an email to them which apparently goes to the complaints team. After about a week I received an email for a case that wasn't mine, and a resolution for an account I didn't have. The next day I received my own resolution and the funds have been credited to my account, all £50 of them. I also advised them of the other email that wasnt mine and received an apology for it having been sent in error. I was more concerned with the poor chap who didn't have his own resolution but hay (data protection anybody?).
I continued with my broadband service and was very happy with it for several months. Eventually I decided to add a TV package to my plan as the Dish I was using for my Freesat packed up. The cost of the middle package was an extra £9 a month with a few HD channels thrown in for good measure. Result. A quick trip to the Media Centre store and I would be up and running....wrong.
On leaving the store I was again £35 lighter as I was required to pay a £35 installation charge. Again I was promised that I would get this back and again it never happened. This wouldn't be so much of an issue if id not pre-empted the customer servicing team and told them that they would need to credit me and NOT re-charge me on the bill.
This time I was simply re-billed another £35 installation fee on my next invoice, no credit was applied. This ment I have been charged £70 to add something to my existing service!!! Not a happy bunny. I also had to wait 4 weeks for the chap to deliver the set-top box.
This time I simply opted to email the complaints team rather than call them. One 25 minute conversation on a call-back later and I had my dosh. Job done.
Since then my service has happily been ticking over with no issues at all.
I'm reasonably happy with my package. The TV stations are good (better than Freeview) and the broadband offers a solid service, provided you don't download more than 1.5Gb of data. Over all I would recommend Virgin if you need consistent and fast broadband speeds, but live a little to far from the BT exchange to use your land line.
Just make sure you get the package right at the start, it's a nightmare changing it (and getting billed correctly once your already subscribed).
The product is good, the servicing you receive is bad. If you don't have to talk to them then it's spot-on in my opinion.
Summary: A decent service provided you don't change anything.
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