Why is Vir­gin charg­ing more?

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - FRONT PAGE -

Re­cently you printed a state­ment from Vir­gin Me­dia say­ing that it did not up­grade with­out a re­quest or per­mis­sion. This is not true.

I have been “up­graded” twice in the past five years, with­out any re­quest or per­mis­sion.

The first time I sim­ply re­ceived a let­ter telling me that I had been up­graded, with no com­ment about the ex­tra charges and no con­tact from me what­so­ever.

The sec­ond time was re­cently when our TV pic­ture started to break up. My wife phoned the Vir­gin helpline and was told that a new box was needed.

The per­son at the other end did not spec­ify any more and cer­tainly did not say there would be any charge. A week later we re­ceived a TiVo box and in­stalled it.

Af­ter that our state­ment came show­ing a £6 in­crease in monthly charges due to an “up­grade”. We were fu­ri­ous at this bla­tant de­ceit.

Look­ing at the Vir­gin web­site, new cus­tomers are of­fered the V6 box, not the old TiVo type that we were sent, for a sig­nif­i­cantly lower monthly charge than we were pay­ing.

Af­ter a phone call to Vir­gin our monthly bill has

This is a TV, broad­band and tele­phone pack­age.

Vir­gin Me­dia said the new price was due to you ac­cept­ing a cheaper bun­dle for your ser­vices.

Some­times it is pos­si­ble to rene­go­ti­ate and get a new deal that will start a new 12-month con­tract.

As for the up­grad­ing, Vir­gin said it was cur­rently of­fer­ing eli­gi­ble TV and broad­band cus­tomers a free V6 up­grade if they have a TiVo box.

It said this did not in­volve a new con­tract.

Vir­gin Me­dia said your price orig­i­nally in­creased be­cause of a £3.99 price rise, which took ef­fect on Novem­ber 1 2017.

Cus­tomers who re­ceive a price rise no­tice have 30 days from the date of the let­ter or email to can­cel their ser­vices with­out penalty.

It said you did not con­tact Vir­gin Me­dia re­gard­ing the price change un­til Jan­uary 11 2018, when you re- con­tracted to the new deal. There are clearly loose ends in all this that I can­not tie up. You are 80 and lat­terly your hus­band had been in de­clin­ing health. He had been with Bar­clays Stock­bro­kers, which be­came Bar­clays Smart In­vestor last year.

Ini­tially, those who wanted to open a new Smart In­vestor ac­count but who were not al­ready with Bar­clays Stock­bro­kers had to have a Bar­clays cur­rent ac­count. This con­di­tion no longer ap­plies.

Some­how, a mix-up must have oc­curred in which an ap­pli­ca­tion was made for a new Smart In­vestor ac­count for your late hus­band, with­out ty­ing it to his Bar­clays Stock­bro­kers ac­count.

Hence the men­tion of a cur­rent ac­count that he did not need, as he was be­ing au­to­mat­i­cally moved to the new plat­form.

A sep­a­rate let­ter with the head­ing “We’re al­most ready to move your ac­count to Smart In­vestor” con­tained in­for­ma­tion about log­ging in and mem­ber­ship.

Given the pre­vi­ous cor­re­spon­dence, you un­der­stand­ably mis­took this in­vestor ac­count for a cur­rent ac­count.

Af­ter your hus­band’s death you wrote to Bar­clays re­quest­ing the bal­ance. Your let­ter was re­turned un­opened ad­vis­ing that the ad­dressee had gone away.

A Bar­clays branch could not help and two other let­ters you wrote to the be­reave­ment team failed to clear up the con­fu­sion.

A Bar­clays spokesman has now said: “Mrs B made a sim­ple re­quest to us that should have been passed on to the rel­e­vant team and dealt with im­me­di­ately.

“We have spo­ken to Mrs B and apol­o­gised for the dis­tress and in­con­ve­nience we have caused at this dif­fi­cult time.” Bar­clays has sent flow­ers.

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