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Virgin Media held to task over coverage
Wednesday 31 October 2012 09:42:02 by Andrew Ferguson

In a circular sent out to a consumer which suggested that their cable services were available in the specific street, one of the residents receiving the leaflet complained to the ASA because they are actually unable to get the service.

"Dear Householder We've already done all the hard work and connected your street to our state-of-the-art fibre optic cable. In fact, you may have seen Virgin Media vans driving around your area. We've done the checks for you and you're ready to go. So it's easy to turn you on to a world of entertainment … All the hard work's already been done. We've connected your street, run the checks and you're all ready to go. In fact, all you have to do is pick up the phone. Call today, and we'll arrange a time for an engineer to pop round, install everything and show you how it all works …".

Small print included "SERVICES AVAILABLE IN VIRGIN MEDIA CABLED STREETS ONLY. Subject to network capacity, status and credit checks. In limited cases, cabling may not extend from the street to individual premises. A survey will confirm this as soon as possible after enquiries being made. Check if your home's connected at virginmedia.com..."

Extract from Virgin Media circular

The complaint was upheld, even though the small print indicated that a survey to confirm availability of the service would be carried out. The ASA determined that the small print contradicted the main body, and thus the advert should not run in the same form and importantly told Virgin Media to not make claims or imply that people were able to obtain their services if this was not the case. In short the main headline for any future adverts that target specific areas need to be clear that not every premise will be able to get the service.

What is interesting in this case is that Virgin Media appears to have several availability databases, and the leaflet was based on the ability to receive TV and broadband, but the property in question was unable to get a telephone service. This in itself seems an unusual situation, as the coax from the street cabinet is fed with a pair of copper wires for the telephone attached (yes, no fibre is present in the final run to a property), we therefore presume either the copper pair is broke or just not present due to the age of the original coax to the property. Even so it is a surprise to find out that in a street with the cable infrastructure and a property already connected Virgin Media is not willing to fix the connectivity when someone places an order.

Comments

Posted by leejhamilton over 4 years ago
At least he was able to get broadband/tv. I have Virgin media leaflets put through my door every other month telling me how i could have their great service, yet my street is one of a couple in my estate that isnt cabled up. Gets very very annoying, very quickly.
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
Every other month? You are lucky I get at least one or two from Virgin every other week
Posted by gcarter over 4 years ago
We recently moved into a newly built house, and lo-and-behold, no fibre underneath the streets. However, the next street down to us had fibre optic services... to cut a long story short... Virgin media were able to run a cable through our garden fence, up the wall and boom - x4 months of waiting and now have all the services, when previously we were told it was impossible - my hat off to virgin media!
Posted by finaldest over 4 years ago
I wish I had a pound for every leaflet or phone call that I have received from Virgin despite being a customer.

VM need to sort themselves out. How many potential customers are lost each year due to refusal to fix an existing connection or add new customers via network in fill.
Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
I am a VM customer and I still get at least one a week, nothing I can do to stop them as they addressed to the occupier so not included in royal mail's junk mail service.
Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
finaldest yeah, perhaps if they diverted their marketing budget to rollout expenditure these infill's would be done.
Posted by ferretuk over 4 years ago
One of the issues in the past has been lack of capacity on the local VM phone switch. Perhaps if they changed their position on needing a phone from them whether you want it or not in order to get the best package price they'd release a few ports or be able offer service to customers in the position of the complainer?
Posted by Popa_Mintin over 4 years ago
I've been complaining to VM for a few years over this very point. I've said many times I'd be willing to pay to have cable run from the Next Street, a matter of a couple of hundred metres, I shredded another copy of that particular flier only a minute before reading this article. :)
Posted by michaels_perry over 4 years ago
My brother had one of these leaflets in Southampton and enquired of them about broadband. Yes, they said, you can get xxMbps broadband. But when they checked in the street, no fibre, no cable, no coax! Just ordinary copper pairs! So they are still on ADSL and with BE not Virgin.
Posted by michaels_perry over 4 years ago
He complained to OfCom who denied all responsibility as it was an advertisement and not a failure on contract!
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