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Virgin to charge 25 pence per minute for support calls
Wednesday 13 June 2007 02:21:17 by Sebastien Lahtinen

Virgin has recently announced that from July it will be charging 25p/minute for calls to its broadband support line. In an e-mail to customers last week, it explains the huge call volumes its support teams are facing about "other issues not related to [their] service" which it claims are not practical for them as a business to sustain.

This illustrates a clear problem with IT support in general with users of IT services not understanding what they are buying or the responsibilities of their suppliers to deliver a service. Within the ISP industry, it is not uncommon to hear the phrase "Is the Internet down?" on the phone as if the inability to access a particular website would indicate that the entire global network of networks known as "the Internet" on which so many transactions occur, would be inoperable. The problems often lie in the general lack of understanding about Internet technologies and thus needing to turn to the first port of call, which usually ends up being the ISP helpdesk, even though the problem may well be on the local computer, or on the other side of the world outside the ISP's control.

Virgin's price increase will no doubt be controversial and is likely to upset users with genuine problems. The company states it hopes this will encourage users to use the online support tools on its website before they call for support, although this is quite difficult if the Internet connection is not working.


Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
perhaps they should bill Microsoft instead ?
Posted by harryhound1 over 9 years ago
As a Madasafish customer, I am happy to walk next door and use a neighbour's connection to explain my problem by Email and have THEM phone me back !
As a former support bod, in the days when "nobody ever got sacked for specifying IBM"; I used to pretend users had to put their problem in writing; this exercise "solved" 4 out of 5 problems.
Posted by keith_thfc over 9 years ago
Is this really the case in reality or are Virgin just using this old chestnut as an excuse to hike up the prices/cut support staff.

I certainly wouldn't trust them given their recent track record on transparency.
Posted by hoodamanny over 9 years ago
They have oversold the capacity on my local exchange and it has been undergoing "routine" maintenance for the last month, i have asked them several times to put a message on the automated line, so I don't have to call and hold on for ages just to get a status update. now they want me to pay for their incompetance.... I think I will give be a call.

@harry this problem solved 4 out of 5 problems, because they probably left you guys and went elsewhere.. now they are someone else's problem, err.... customer
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
LOL nice, so Virgin now throttle their broadband even for cable users, they charge 5 quid extra a month if you dont want to pay by direct debit, and still that is not enough for the greedy swines so now they charge a premium rate for phone support LOL bring back telewest and NTL, thank goodness i didnt pick them a few months back when i was shopping about for higher speeds than the standard upto 8Mb.
Personally cant see any positives to have broadband with Virgin now, not even if you can get their cable.
Posted by keith_thfc over 9 years ago
I bet Uma Thurman doesn't get charged 25p/minute when she calls up to collect her big fat pay cheque.
Posted by madmans over 9 years ago
When you do get through the people in the "Priority Complaints" unit are pretty useless at best and actually lie to us as well. I was recently told that there were no other complaints in my area - then I happened to find their technician working in the local cabinet and he told me their were several affected customers on my street.
They also told me that they had no idea when the "planned maintenance" was taking place and relied upon customers to call in to report troubles. So now they want to charge us more to find out what is happening on their own network. Great way to make money !
Posted by jrawle over 9 years ago
As with usage limits, I bet they'll not be contacting customers to tell them about this. They've been trying to phone me on my mobile - I know it'll be promoting their phone service. They hassle me about that, but never have the courtesy to tell me about new charges/restrictions

I guess there're incompetent computer users out there who phone up about things that are not Virgin's fault. But for me this is extremely irritating as I would never phone unless I'd checked absolutely everything first to make sure it's a problem at their end. (They last thing I want to do is phone them, after all).
Posted by jrawle over 9 years ago
I presume there will still be a standard number for customer services about billing etc., so this is what I'd call with a genuine service problem (which as far as I'm concerned would be a cable infrastructure problem, not a broadband problem). There are freephone or geographical alternatives to Virgin 0845 numbers on, by the way.

As a last resort, I'd bill them for any premium rate calls I've had to make to resolve a problem at their end that has resulted in their failure to provide the service I already pay for.
Posted by greig2000_uk over 9 years ago
I was wondering just recently "How are Virgin gonna manage to steal more money from me, I havent had a mail from them for a few weeks so I must be due a price hike"
Well I got my mail today and.....25p a minute for their useless helpline right on top of the £2 for a non existant 20MB connection I havent received from them yet!
Just how more GREEDY can these crooks get? erm, I will let you know the next mail I get from them!
The GREEDY people responsible must realy make their mothers proud!

Telewest was great, long live Telewest :)
Posted by tailormaid over 9 years ago
Paying 25p a minute to tell them that there is a problem is daylight robbery, I recently upgraded to 20Mb as part of a TV and phone package. At present 10Mb is available, but I can only achieve download speeds of 1Mb and uplink of .5Mb
I'm quite capable of resolving technical issues at my end without resorting to call Virgin, so I'm not intending to pay anymore into Branson's coffers.
I'd just like to get the service that I pay for.
Posted by ykcub over 9 years ago
Just as a matter of interest Virgin Net have been charging 25ppm for support for quite a number of years. Needless to say with the quality of their support they should be paying us!!!

Robbers and Highwaymen.
Posted by lierobs over 9 years ago
If they are charging 25p for all calls now then they should start hiring staff trained with knowledge of what they're providing support for. Rather than just having them read the same bloody support sheet down the phone everytime i call! Then the cheek of it, previously they had an 0800 number for faults - all that did was link you to 0845 numbers so they could charge you, even though you initially phoned up an 0800 number. If it was up to me i would have left a long time ago.
Posted by redhedgehog over 9 years ago
It would help if their network status reports on the free 0800 number were actually kept up to date.
Their front support for Mac users is often downright ridiculous. Even when told they are dealing with a Mac user, they still insist on suggesting Windows cures.
In addition they have the cheek to terminate a call if the fault is not resolved in what they consider to be a reasonable time. At 25p a minute this is an insult and an example of an indefensible customer service ethos.
Posted by geofferz over 9 years ago
I'd like to see an 0800 number for support/faults and an immediate £10 charge and call termination for customers calling in reporting flickering screens/broken keyboards. That would teach 'em, as well as freeing up the lines for actual issues.
Posted by apples33 over 9 years ago

I recently signed up for the 3 for £30 bundle with the TV & BB being XL, the day after installation i cancelled the TV & Phone and kept the BB as i was pleased with the speeds, i then recieve a letter telling me my bill is going to be high, i ran Virgin to be told that i'm downloading too much and am being charged?! i have a 'No Download Limit' what are they on about?
Posted by MattMckay over 9 years ago
You can report your complaint to ofcom at and to icsis who regualte this

If you have a transcript of the call to the tech support hotline, Icsis would be very interested in hear it.
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