Thursday, July 30, 2009

Virgin on the ridiculous

The Gnomad is singularly unimpressed with Virgin Media.

The internet connection to the Gnomad habitat keeps dropping out. At high usage times this can be as many as six to eight times an hour, for up to 2 minutes at a time. It is now necessary on almost an hourly basis to reset the modem and wireless router to regain the connection.

Emails have been exchanged between the Gnomad and Virgin Media Web Team (what they call their customer(don't)care line). Each email is met with a variation of the same response "try these diagnostics to establish what's wrong (with your computer)" with the implication that there is nothing wrong with the connection. At each stage the diagnostics are done, results returned, suggested remedies put in place, all to no effect. At various points Virgin Media have suggested, amongst other things;

Problems with compatibility of our OS and their network: the network has three different computers running different OS, so it can't be this.

Spyware and adware on the computers: the Gnomads habitually remove this on a daily basis so its very unlikely to be this.

Interference in the wireless connection: two of the computers are on the wireless connection but one is on an ethernet cable and all have the same problem, so its not this.

The Gnomads have done traceroutes, netstats, removed all adware, spyware (such as there was, since the Gnomads habitually run these clean-ups on a daily basis) run virus checkers, changed the wireless channels and many other fiddly little things that only change things on the Gnomad's side of the modem. All to no effect.

This has been going on since the beginning of May, and no improvement in service has been forthcoming. Virgin Media Web Team are no longer replying to the Gnomad's emails.

The Virgin Media service has now deteriorated so far it is as bad as they experienced in the Magic Kingdom and the Peninsular Gulf State. the Gnomad strongly suspects that the poor connection has the same cause as it did in the Middle East: too many subscribers for not enough bandwidth. the symptoms are exactly the same. Two weeks ago the Gnomads decided enough was enough and cancelled their subscription.

"We will send you a jiffy bag in which to return your set top box, modem and router" they said, "it will arrive next week." Having not received this mythical jiffy bag the Gnomad has called the customer (lack of) service line to be told, "well they usually arrive in 7 to 10 days so its on the way". the Gnomad pointed out that it had already been about 10 days. The help line helpfully suggested calling another telephone number for collections to arrange for them to pick up the set top box, modem and router. The Gnomad called the collection line. The bad=gs are on order they take about 14 days to arrive. So the ETA of the jiffy bags has gone from less than a week to 7 to 10 days to 14 days. The Gnomad pointed out that this would mean that the bags arrived after the Gnomads had left the property. Collection were only prepared to collect the items on the Saturday. The person at collection made it quite clear that he thought the Gnomad was being completely unreasonable not wanting to wait in all morning for the collection person to turn up on the day that the Gnomad was physically moving house. The "best" solution this person could come up with is as follows:

The collection department dispatch a new jiffy bag to the Gnomad's new address. The Gnomad has to take the set top box, modem and router with him when he moves house, wait on the arrival of the jiffy bags and take them to the post office for mailing once they arrive.

This is all very well but, with the best will in the world, there are risks involved in moving house, things can get damaged. The Gnomad's will of course take every care with the packing and transportation of Virgin Media's property, but will not accept any liability for any damage that might occur as a result of the move. Virgin media should have arranged for the collection of their property in a timely manner, since they have not, the Gnomad is doing more than he needs to in assisting in their safe return.

The persistently poor quality of the internet connection is irritating, all of the unnecessary faff of returning the hardware is really quite annoying, but the icing on the cake, and the real reason for the Gnomad's ire, is that the collection department person was downright rude. He continually interrupted what the Gnomad was saying to the point that the Gnomad had to specifically say "do not interrupt me while I am speaking" and "have the good manners to let me finish speaking" during the conversation.

Customer service involves listening to the customer, not speaking over them and trying to shout them down. What with this and the Grumpy Goat's (also on Blogspot) experiences with Virgin Airways, the Gnomads will not be using any of Mr Branson's services in future and will not be recommending them to anyone.

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At 03:36, Blogger Grumpy Goat said...

On lost luggage.

On Virgin Trains.

On First Great Western.


At 12:37, Blogger Gnomad said...

Thanks for those links GG, I still haven't worked out how to do that myself.


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