How to complain to Virgin Media

UPDATE: (3/3/2008)

We have now resolved the case:

The correct address of Customer Concern is as follows:
Virgin Media
Customer Concern
Matrix Court

Tel: 01792 613800 (Ex 6179).
It doesn’t have an email address. But if you have a complaint, you should send it via post (and recorded delivery, so you have evidence).

The background:

A few years ago I used to work as an editor at the now-defunct Internet Magazine (RIP). We ran a column where we attempted to solve our readers’ complaints about their ISPs. Back then, we received a load of complaints about a cable provider known as NTL. Fast forward five years – it appears that whilst the name of the company has changed, its service has still not improved.

We were with Virgin Media at our previous flat in North London. It used to be pretty good. I had a few complaints: technical support didn’t support Vista users when the OS first arrived. It also didn’t offer wireless, but we managed to get a Netgear router working well in the end.

Crucially, the Virgin Media service was reliable because this was a former Telewest / Cable London area.

It all changed when we moved to Surrey and took VM with us. Foolishly we forgot that we had moved to NTL country now!   

[Snip – I won’t bore you with the nitty gritty of the problem. Summary: 1) We didn’t actually ever connect with VM at our new place. 2) The equipment VM sent us remains in its sealed bag and unopened. 3) We called VM to close our account after 10 days. 4) The bills kept coming and coming 5) This has concluded with a lovely letter from a debt recovery company Moorcroft Debt Recovery with a "Notice Of Litigation"]

Virgin Media criticism

Virgin Media has lots of satisfied customers, but there are also loads of people complaining these days.

I found the following sites full of useful advice.

1) Think Broadband

Virgin Media do not come out particularly well in the reviews. In terms of Customer Service, Virgin Media got just a 47% satisfaction rating (based on 10,000 votes in December 2007). Compare this with Zen Internet at around 80%. It was also ranked poorly for speed, although it does better in the reliability category.I would agree with this. In the time we had VM in North London we got near 100% ‘uptime’.

2) Review Centre
Over at Review Centre, Virgin gets mixed views. I found "Joeyruss’s" comments about the struggle Virgin Media has had merging its NTL and Telewest databases to be pretty informative. One of the problems we have is that VM keeps mixing up our old and new addresses.

There is yet more criticism at MoneySavingExpert. This message board posting is by someone with a similar problem to ours –  being billed for services which they attempted to cancel.

For those that want more views on Virgin Media see Broadband Genie.

You may want to try contacting the Acting CEO which ,as of August 2007, is Neil Berkett. I don’t have an address. But The Virgin Media Complaints Department (an unofficial site) has an address for the former CEO, Steve Burch in Sheffield.   

So how do you complain to Virgin Media?

Prepare for battle!

First stop, the complaints section of the OFCOM website. Ofcom is the telecoms regulator and it has plenty of helpful advice about what to do if you have a complaint with your ISP, TV or phone provider. You also may want to read the Virgin Media’s Customer Code of Practice (Including Complaints Procedure) (PDF)

  • Calling Virgin Media: For a communications company, it’s pretty bad at picking up the phone! We called the 0845 454 111 number and selected the disconnect option and we didn’t find it funny that they cut us off after 20 minutes waiting on hold. We had more joy with a woman in the Moving / Transfer department, who said she would remove the debt on our bill. Yet this didn’t stop the debt collection agency sending another letter. We once waited 38 minutes before someone picked up the phone in the moving/transfer department.
  • Writing: always a better option! We wrote to Customer Concern in Newport. It may be worth noting that this may be the wrong address because VM responded from an address in Swansea! (SEE UPDATE)

This is a direct quote from a standard letter we received in response to our complaint:

‘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.’

And guess what? They sent this to our old and wrong address!

This is where it stands right now.

If this doesn’t get us any joy, the next step, which is to make a complaint to Virgin Media’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). In the case of VM, this is the  Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CIAS) based in City Road, London.

Unfortunately, you have to wait 3 months from your first complaint to VM to start the ADR procedure. This is a problem when a debt collection agency is seeking a CCJ against you if you don’t pay within a week.

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3 Responses to How to complain to Virgin Media

  1. Sean McManus February 20, 2008 at 9:28 am #

    Ah yes. NTL set Moorcroft onto me to recover £20 I didn’t owe them a few weeks before Christmas a few years back. This was after about seven years of always paying my bill on time every single month, so I did think that their first step should be to contact me first (which they didn’t do). It took quite a lot of ringing around to get someone to take responsibility for fixing it and calling off the debt collectors.
    I suggested a nice way for NTL to reflect their regret at the hassle and stress they had caused would be to make a seasonal donation to a charity of their choice. They said: “Nah.”
    I had always thought Virgin was pretty good at customer service but the fact they bought NTL completely changed my perception of the Virgin brand.
    Good luck sorting your problem out.

  2. Steve February 20, 2008 at 4:29 pm #

    Thanks Sean.
    It sounds like this is common practice. The money Moorcroft are chasing is pretty small – but it’s money we don’t owe. So I’m not paying!

  3. Virgin Media Complaints March 28, 2008 at 1:29 pm #

    The link to Virgin Media Complaint Department is missing as a result of virgin media shutting down the site.
    The site has now re-appeared at: