Virgin Media and customer in communication breakdown

Plus: broadband not as fast as promised and a company takes money from surprised reader

We were contacted by a woman called Bernadette on behalf of her sister Margaret from Blanchardstown. She would have made contact with us herself except she has no internet access, having had it disconnected by Virgin Media.

In September she paid off arrears of €189. She planned to switch to Sky but then got a call from Virgin’s loyalty department offering her a better deal so she decided to stay. Then she was disconnected and told she owed arrears of €113.57. The sisters cannot understand why.

“This is causing her great stress and we are getting nowhere,” Bernadette writes. “We are at our wits ends. The stress she is under is incredible and it is not good for her health. I have been involved in trying to help her, spending a lot of time on the phone, but it ends up being more of the same. It’s as if the previous phone call hadn’t taken place.

"Last Monday we eventually spoke to a girl in Limerick and after 45 minutes we all felt that this time everything was sorted. However my sister rang me in tears today [last Tuesday] saying she had no TV, broadband or phone as they had cut her off. These are her lifelines as she can be confined to the house. They say she owes them more money. Please, if you could help . . . as I too can no longer deal with them."


We got in touch with Virgin, which reinstated the customer’s services. “The bill has been explained and agreed by the customer," a spokesman said. "A new package has been agreed to meet the customer’s budget going forward. We are happy to have been able to resolve this.”

A reader called David contacted us on behalf of his dad Oliver who signed up for eir Fibre not long ago on the grounds that it was promising up to 100MB fibre speeds. Oliver is 76 and retired. "He's really into music, videos and reading online, so values the internet," David says. "He upgraded to get eir Fibre in Tramore for faster speeds which would be great for YouTube, videos and music/radio streaming which he uses a lot. His other motivation for moving was to get a bundled package with mobile phones, for himself and my mam."

Today, more than two months on, he still doesn’t have the faster broadband “despite 25 contacts (phone or visits to stores), 10 hours on the phone, multiple engineer visits. He has the sense he’s been pushed around from one person to the next who can’t help. Before he had 15MB download speed – the upgrade promised 24MB. Initially it dropped to 11MB and is now down to 6MB. This is terrible and he wishes he’d never switched.”

A spokeswoman for eir apologised that our reader has had such poor customer service. “We will investigate this issue further and contact [him] directly to ensure a speedy resolution.”

Malachy contacted us last week in a bit of a flap. "I have realised that Complete Savings have been deducting €15 every month from my account. This company got my details when I bought tickets through Ticketmaster in November 2015 so they have withdrawn €165 to date. Could you please give some advice on steps to see if I can get my money back?"

Complete Savings has featured on our page often. It describes itself as a "web loyalty" scheme and has partnership arrangements with companies including Ticketmaster, Ryanair and Irish Rail. People who "sign up" can get discounts on a range of products but many readers have complained to us that they were unaware they had signed up and, as a result, could not avail of the savings.

The companies insist they do not pass on any financial details to Complete Savings, which is an entirely separate company, and Complete Savings says anyone being billed agrees to give it their financial details.

But confusion still exists. Complete Savings will, generally speaking, refund those who say they signed up in error, so the first thing we advised Malachy to do was contact the company directly to get a refund. If it does not give him his money back we will return to the issue.