Virgin Media blackout as customers warned they could be without broadband until January 2017 – your rights to cancel explained

A number of Virgin Media customers could be left with crawling – or possibly no internet connection at all over Christmas and New Year, following a technical glitch affecting parts of the country.

The multimedia network recently hiked prices for the third time this year to invest in a “bigger and better than ever before” service, – however the outage could leave hundreds of customers out of service until January 18th 2017, according to a Daily Star report.

A connection issue means some Virgin Media broadband users in south west London are suffering broadband blackouts, according to a statement, with users on social media reporting their internet dropping out every evening – with many unable to get back online until the early hours of the morning.

However, on Twitter, it would seem customers all over the country are experiencing issues – with many complaining about sluggish speeds or no connection altogether.

A Virgin Media spokesperson said: “We are aware of an issue affecting some customers’ broadband services in the Twickenham area and are working hard to resolve it as quickly as possible. We apologise to customers for any inconvenience experienced”.

In another statement last week, the firm acknowledged issues for those connecting to the web via Windows 10 which it says has now been resolved , but customers have said that they’re having to wait “weeks” for engineers to solve the problem.

Despite the outage, an Ofcom report released today, named Virgin Media as one of the best broadband providers for customer satisfaction, with Plusnet and BT top of the list for complaints.

In a statement, the regulator said: “We won’t stand for complacency when it comes to customer service. We expect providers to make it a top priority and work hard to better serve their customers.

“If companies let their customers down, we will step in and investigate, which can lead to significant fines.”

Can I cancel my Virgin Media subscription?

Poor service from Virgin Media – or anyone else for that matter – may well be a good enough reason to cancel without charges.

“Just like consumers are required to meet monthly payments, providers are obliged to deliver the service you pay for,” explains Dan Howdle, telecoms expert at broadband deal comparison site Cable.co.uk.

“Failure to do this is breach of contract on their side. Read through your contract to be sure of your position, then contact your provider to formally complain.”

Ewan Taylor-Gibson, broadband expert at uSwitch.com adds: “You should have been given a guaranteed minimum speed when you signed up to your contract. If you aren’t receiving this minimum speed then let your provider know and if they are unable to fix this you may be able to leave without penalty.

According to regulator Ofcom, customers can cancel their subscription if the minimum speed requirements are not met – and aren’t resolved. But, you must raise the case with your provider first – and give them a chance to rectify the issue.

The Code of Practice states:

Internet service providers (ISPs) must be prepared to manage customers’ problems when they report that they are not receiving the speeds that they had expected to receive when they purchased the broadband service.

As soon as possible after the problem is logged as a technical fault, the ISP must tell the customer their minimum guaranteed access line speed and explain that if the technical fault cannot be fixed then the customer will have the opportunity to leave their contract immediately and without any penalty.

If, following notification of the fault to the ISP, the ISP has taken all reasonable steps to ensure the fault is corrected (including those set out above), and the customer has implemented the measures advised by the ISP but continues to receive an access line speed below the minimum guaranteed access line speed then the ISP must offer the customer the opportunity to leave their contract immediately, and without penalty.

An Ofcom spokesperson said: “We expect providers, when faults and problems occur, to rectify the issue as swiftly as possible and with minimum inconvenience to the customer.

“We are working to put rules in place to ensure people and businesses automatically receive compensation when things go wrong with their communications services.

“In the meantime, should a customer wish to complain about a fault or how long their provider is taking to rectify it, they should complain to Virgin Media and follow its formal complaints procedure.

“If they exhaust this process and remain unhappy, they have a right to have the matter considered by a dispute resolution scheme – in Virgin Media’s case, CISAS. The scheme will consider the case and reach an impartial judgment.”

Can I get compensation for the inconvenience?

James Walker, founder of free complaint resolution service Resolver says: “You aren’t automatically entitled to a refund or compensation for a short drop in service, but the company might agree to do so if you explain the impact on you.”

Here are Resolver’s top tips to dealing with the outage:

Find out the scale of the problem: Virgin have reported problems in different parts of the country with its broadband service. But that doesn’t mean that everyone will be affected in the same way. Some people had their service reconnected after a few hours, while others may be waiting longer. If you’re affected, get in touch with Virgin Media straight away. If you can’t call them, then make a note of when you lost the signal for future reference.

If the loss of service was short term: Contact Virgin when your system is working again. If you can’t face phoning, use the option to talk to a customer service person online or send them a tweet. Have a think about the impact on you for the loss of service and tell them about it – and what you want to sort things out.

If the loss of service is long term: Canceling a contract mid-way through isn’t always easy. Most contracts will have a minimum term (a year to two years) which you agree to when you sign up. You also usually have to give 30 days’ notice too. However, if you’re being told that the business isn’t able to provide you with the service you’re paying for, you might be able to exit the contract with the fees waived. Stay calm, explain why you’re unhappy and ask them what they’re willing to do. You can find out more in Resolver’s consumer guides for broadband customers.

Source – http://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/technology/virgin-media-blackout-as-customers-warned-they-could-be-without-broadband-until-january-2017-your-rights-to-cancel-explained/ar-BBxn5Zv?li=BBoPOOl&ocid=UE07DHP

Posted on: 22nd December 2016, by : Keyline Comms