A MATTER OF SIZE -A MATTER OF SERVICE-A MATTER OF STRESS -A MATTER OF STUBBORNNESS
There can be few people who have not been aware of the problems of dealing with large companies when wishing to cancel contracts or change services or complain of inadequate service or whatever. Many must now be of the opinion that if it is at all possible to prefer the smaller concerns where you are able to speak to an individual instead of a machine and get the service you expect for
The following article clearly illustrates the difficulty if one happens to want a service which is only available through an organisation which is in place for the convenience of the business and
NOT OF THE CUSTOMER.
This will no doubt bring back memories of similar shabby treatment you have or are still receiving from those who promise much but when they are after
LESS or NOTHING
A timely article by
[Daily Mail -Friday November 9, 2007.]
I stared at the wall in utter despair. Was I going to see Richard Branson in court again?
ALL anger long spent, I rested my head on the Kitchen table and stared blankly at the wall in utter despair at the pointlessness of human existence.
I'd just read the letter from Virgin media and it lay beside me, fluttering in my breath as I let out sign after sigh. It was signed 'Stuart Turner, personal Account Manager', and printed with the London address of Virgin's head office.
THIS IS HOW IT BEGAN:
Dear Mr Utley, Act now to avoid debt collectors visiting your home. We have tried to contact you on several occasions about your account. As you still haven't paid the outstanding balance of £134.50, we will soon be passing your details to a debt collection agency. We were hoping that it wouldn't come to this...'
Oh, so was I, Mr Turner. So was I.
Only three days earlier, I'd thought I was at last getting through to Richard Branson's people.
I'd received a chirpy little letter - this one signed 'Regards, Customer Support Team'-saying:
Thanks for taking the time to contact us...we'll try to get back to you within the next two weeks to help you resolve your complaint but we're really busy at the minute so it could take a little longer. please just bear with us and we'll be with you as quickly as we possibly can be.'
Just bear with us. How many times have my wife and I heard those words from Sir Richard's staff since we first tried to get our simple message across to them, ALL THOSE MONTHS AGO?
It was way back in May when we began our attempt to cancel our cable TV account with
Like so many others -more than
70,000 of us
according to yesterday's papers - we were switching from
Cable to Satellite
after the row between Branson and BskyB boss Robert Murdock, which meant we could no longer receive Sky programmes.
Now, I'm not for taking sides in the fight between two titans of the media world, which is inching its way towards the courts as I write. ALL I KNOW is that my sons insisted on their daily fix of
and there wouldn't be any
PEACE in our HOUSEHOLD
Until we got it back.
So while I was at work, my wife rang the number on our latest statement from Virgin (fully paid up, I'll let you know, by direct debit from our joint account).
Well with 70,000 others trying to get through to
their subscriptions, perhaps that wasn't such a surprise.
But my wife was no quitter. She tried again and again. Sometimes the number was engaged, sometimes it just rang and rang. One day her patience was rewarded and an actual human voice asked her how it could help.
She gave our account number and said we no longer wanted Virgin's services.
'I'm afraid you can't close that account'
said the voice.
'It's in the name of a Mr Thomas Utley.'
'Yes, he's my husband. He wants to close it.'
'Then he'll have to contact us himself'
My wife knew that the chances of getting me to dial a number half a million times in the hope of getting through were virtually
As for writing a letters, I'm ashamed to admit that I always take an eternity to get round to it - as many hundreds of my correspondents will be only too ready to testify.
But then my wife had a brainwave: 'What'll happen if I just cancel the direct debit? she asked.
'Then your contract will be terminated,'
JUST WHAT WE WANTED IN THE FIRST PLACE
So the men from Sky came to install the satellite dish and disconnect the cable box, the boys were happily reunited with
and my wife cancelled Virgin's direct debit.
Weeks passed in perfect peace. But then the bills began to arrive, this time from an address in Swansea - and then the threatening letters. Every now and then I'd try to get through on the telephone, but without any success. Occasionally, Virgin would leave messages for me at home during office hours, while I was at the office.
At the end of September, I had a demand for £93 , with a letter from an address in Manchester headed
'Final Reminder of Overdue Account'.
It was signed by 'Anne Curran, head of Contact (sic) Management, Virgin media', and contained the threat (laughably hollow in the circumstances): 'It is important you pay immediately otherwise your services may be temporary suspended.'
I resolved to end this nonsense once and for all and devoted the whole morning of my day off to dialling the number on the letter, allowed the telephone to ring for as long as it took. At last I got through and made my little speech about my efforts to
CANCEL MY ACCOUNT.
I was told I would have to ring another number.
It rang. And rang. And rang. Eventually I was through, and I repeated my speech.
'I'm afraid I'll have to transfer you to another department.' Grrrrrr.
After another eternity of waiting another voice came on the line. I told my story again.
'I'm sorry,' said the voice. 'The whole system's down. Could you ring again in a couple of hours?'
'Why don't you ring me?' I said. 'Then we can be sure of making contact.'
Sorry, I can't. The whole system's down, you see.'
A couple of hours later, I rang again, as instructed.
I broke a habit of a lifetime, put pen to paper and poured out my story in writing to Anne Curran, head of Contact management, begging her to close my account and explaining that we switch to Sky Satellite month ago.
More than a week passed, and then a letter arrived from someone called Steven Wrench, head of Credit Management Virgin Media. this one, demanding £134.50, was headed:
Its tone was distinctly menacing. For obvious reasons, I did'nt mind about the threat to disconnect my cable TV. Nor did I worry about his warning that
I would lose my telephone number
'which means friends and family will not be able to contact YOU'.
As it happens, I don't get my telephone from Virgin. So sucks , Mr Wrench.
But I did mind very much about the threat to send round debt collectors and put me on a credit blacklist for the next six years.
So I rang Virgin yet again, this time in a blind fury. I finally got through at 2.25pm on Friday October 26 (I was taking notes by now). I told my story for the umpteenth time, demanded that they stopped charging me and closed my account immediately.
The reply left me flabbergasted.
'I'm afraid I can't disconnect you and I can't close your account while you're in arrears.
Reader, I'm sorry that I said something rude. Then I apologised and said something rude again.
Now I understand what Neil Berkett acting chief executive of
want when he said on Wednesday that he was seeking to focus the company's energy
ON RETAINING CUSTOMERS.
That's easy, isn't it, when you just refuse point bank
TO LET THEM GO?
All of which brings me to this week, which began so promisingly with Virgin's chirpily apologetic letter and ended with my head on the kitchen table, staring blankly at the wall.
WHAT'S A MAN SUPPOSED TO DO, WHEN HE HAS A GRIEVANCE AGAINST A HUGE CORPORATION
bombarding him with threats from all points of the compass - LONDON-MANCHESTER and SWANSEA -under dozens of different names.
Which brick wall has the authority to
DEAL WITH MY COMPLAINT.
Is it you, Mr Turner, or Ms Curran, or you, Customer Support Team? Or is it one of those thousands of disembodied voices in that call centre, who knows where?
A tiny voice in my head tells me just to cough up that £134.50 and put an end to all the hassle.
BUT NO, DAMMIT I'M BRITISH
and we British don't take kindly to demands for money with menaces for services
WE DON'T WANT AND DON'T USE'
Funnily enough, the only time I've ever seen Sir Richard Branson in the flesh was in the High Court, when I was reporting on his libel action against an American supplier of lottery machines. Maybe I'll see him there again.
BUT ,Oh, I DO HOPE NOT.
* * *
[Font Altered-Bolding & Underlining Used-Comments in Brackets.]
* THE PEOPLE HAVE
SPOKEN-IS THE EU COMMISSION LISTENING? *
Ditch the EU TREATY after IRISH
REJECTION SAY VOTERS by Daniel
[Daily Mail-Wednesday, June
MORE THAN HALF of voters believe Britain should
drop the controversial European Treaty in the wake of its
rejection in last week's
The poll comes as the Tories launch a last-ditch
bid in the
HOUSE of LORDS
today to delay the
have signed a
within the past few days
, calling on the
NOT TO RATIFY THE BILL
[WHY DON'T YOU?]
JUNE 18-2008 *
13th October,2007 So You Want Out
Of The EU THEN WHY NOT SIGN THE RENUNCIATION of EU CITIZENSHIP
WHY WE ASK YOUR SUPPORT When we first saw the petition we reasoned
that it had no chance of success from No 10 but we supported it
in order to gauge the number of Britons who would publicly put
their name to a list which stated that they wished to
RENUNCIATE EU CITIZENSHIP and retain only BRITISH.-THAT
IS WHAT THIS IS ABOUT. Some might say that to hide behind a
negative premise is both cowardly and playing into the hands of
the EU FEDERALISTS. DON'T LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT-
Place your vote so ALL can see that YOU CARE. about
YOUR COUNTRY and YOUR FREEDOM.
THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN-IS THE EU COMMISSION LISTENING?
Ditch the EU TREATY after IRISH REJECTION
[Daily Mail-Wednesday, June 18,2008]
MORE THAN HALF of voters believe Britain should drop the controversial European Treaty in the wake of its rejection in last week's
The poll comes as the Tories launch a last-ditch bid in the
HOUSE of LORDS
today to delay the
RATIFICATION OF THE TREATY.
have signed a
DOWNING STREET- WEBSITE
within the past few days
, calling on the
NOT TO RATIFY THE BILL
[WHY DON'T YOU?]
Downing Street website is
So You Want Out Of The EU
THEN WHY NOT SIGN THE
RENUNCIATION of EU CITIZENSHIP
WHY WE ASK YOUR SUPPORT
When we first saw the petition we reasoned that it had no chance of success from No 10 but we supported it in order to gauge the number of Britons who would publicly put their name to a list which stated that they wished to RENUNCIATE EU CITIZENSHIP and retain only BRITISH.-THAT IS WHAT THIS IS ABOUT. Some might say that to hide behind a negative premise is both cowardly and playing into the hands of the EU FEDERALISTS. DON'T LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT- Place your vote so ALL can see that YOU CARE. about YOUR COUNTRY and YOUR FREEDOM.
Details from petition creator
With the signing of the Maastricht Treaty the people of Britain were given
EUROPEAN and BRITISH
The extra tier of citizenship was thrust upon the people without their consent -and in many cases knowledge.
The PEOPLE of GREAT BRITAIN should be allowed the option of opting out of the EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP if they so wish. The GOVERNMENT will then be able to provide those who have opted out with
-only such as British (not EU) passports, driving licences and other national documents.
EU laws will also NOT APPLY to those who
HAVE OPTED OUT OF EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP
[PETITION OPEN UNTIL OCTOBER 08]
"ASK US FIRST"
METRIC MARTYRS WIN VICTORY OVER EU
SOFT TALK FROM EU ON EVE OF OUR BATTLE AGAINST NEW TREATY-THEY
NOW BACK DOWN TO ALLOW IMPERIAL MEASURES TO REMAIN FOR EVER
[Daily Mail - Tuesday, September 11,2007]
[Latest Addition - June07]
Daniel Hannan - Forming an OPPOSITION to the EU
SIGN TODAY ON LINE
* July 18-2007
JOIN THE 10 DOWNING STREET PROTEST
Readers can add their support to the growing clamour for a REFERENDUM on the '"REFORM TREATY" by signing up to a 10 Downing Street 0n-line petition
The Petition reads as follows:
"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to guarantee that the British people will be permitted a binding REFERENDUM on any and all attempts to resurrect the EU " CONSTITUTION" (and any or all of its content) regardless of nomenclature."
Deadline for the PETITION is 31st January,2008
Eurofacts 27th July 2007.
'The Spirit of England'
In London on St.George's Day -1953
WITH THE ONLY PARTY WITH A MANDATE
TO SET YOU
UK INDEPENDENCE PARTY
THE QUESTION THAT THE VOTER MUST ANSWER
‘DO YOU WISH TO BE GOVERNED BY YOUR OWN PEOPLE, LAW AND CUSTOM OR BY THE CORRUPT ,EXPENSIVE UNACCOUNTABLE AND CORRUPT ALIEN BUSYBODY BRUSSELS’
-SIMPLE IS IT NOT?
TO RECLAIM YOUR DEMOCRACY DON'T VOTE FOR THE TRIPARTITE PARTIES IN WESTMINSTER
SMALL PARTIES THAT SPEAK THEIR MINDS WITHOUT SPIN AND LIES.
[All underlined words have a separate bulletin]