Cancelling Virgin Media: A story of 6 calls and over 3 hours

Cancelling Virgin Media: A story of 6 calls and over 3 hours

In Janaury 2021, Virgin wrote to all their customers to tell them they were increasing their prices by £3.50/month and, because of this, offering customers the opportunity to cancel without paying any cancellation fees

I don't mind Virgin Media, my connection with them has been reliable and fast, however, there is a good chance we'll be moving soon and won't be in an area covered by Virgin at all so the opportunity to cancel without cancellation fees is a good option for me right now.

I always knew that calling them was going to be an uphill battle but I did not anticipate the level of fuckwittery that I experienced here today. The story begins by calling the number they quote on their website (0345 454 1111).

We're sorry, right now our team are all busy. You might like to give us a call again later. Thanks and good bye. This person's phone is unavailable, please try later or send a text. [hangup]

Not a good start. I immediately retry and get through to an IVR. After going through a few options and warnings that waiting times will be up to an hour, I get through to a first line cancellations/retentions team.

I'm asked why I want to leave I say that I'm not happy with the price increase and wish to cancel because of that. Pretty simple. This is accepted and I am passed through to a second line cancellations team.

Adam answers and asks me for my mobile number so he can call me back if we're disconnected. I provide it. He then asks what I'll be doing instead of Virgin and I say that I'll be using another provider. He asks who that provider is and I tell them. He then asks for lots of details regarding the price I'm going to be paying, contract lengths etc... I tell him that I just want to cancel and I don't want to give him lots of details because they don't need to know. He then just hangs up on me. Without warning.

To give him the benefit of the doubt, I wait a few minutes in case he wants to call me back (afterall, he took my number for that very purpose). He doesn't.

That first call was 15 minutes.

I call back. I go through the same IVR, choose the right options, enter my password and eventually get back to the first line team again. I explain that I've been through all this before. He ignores all that and does the same tedious retention nonsense (putting me on hold a few times) as the first person. Eventually, I get put through to second line and, for the forth time, I give my details and explain I wish to cancel. This man is more persistent and really doesn't want to take no for an answer. In order to try and get through the process, I make up a few details of my new provider - he proceeds to analyse this information to determine who my new ISP might be - BT, Sky, TalkTalk - none of which are correct. He doesn't just talk about the price differences, he's commenting on how much I use the connection and that I use it more than an average person (perhaps true but could equally just have been made up to try and keep me).

Eventually, I convince him that I really don't want to stay and he says he's put the cancellation through and they'll be sending me some packaging to return the equipment. Now, I may have moved by the time the 30 days notice have expired so I explain that the packaging needs to go elsewhere or they just need to give me an address to return it to.

He says he cannot do that and will need to talk to the moving team. He puts me on hold. I sit on hold for about 30 minutes listening to what is probably the most awful holding music/adverts I've ever heard - the same 10 or so bars of music with adverts every 10 seconds. The same 4 adverts for Virgin services that I have no interest in whatsoever: "want fast broadband?", "hello to the Virgin TV V6 box where awesome entertainment comes together", "truly unlimited mobile plan", "ready, set, virgin tv go". Aaaah!

Now I'm pretty persistent and I'm not going to let these bastards convince me to stay purely by them being totally incompetent. I call back...

We're sorry, right now our team are all busy. You might like to give us a call again later. Thanks and good bye. This person's phone is unavailable, please try later or send a text. [hangup]

Ah, that old chestnut! I redial immediately and get back to the IVR, go through the details and then end up on hold.

16 minutes into holding, I'm offered an automatic discount of £3.50/month for 6 months. Presumably, the dark pattern here is that I'll be fed up with holding and I just want this hell to end so I'll accept! Seconds after declining this, I am connected to first line cancellations again.

Jenny answers, says she has "captured my number" so will absolutely call me back if anything goes wrong - so all that nonsense asking me on the previous call was just pointless call centre theatre. She's apologetic but has to transfer me to the retentions department apparently. I speak to someone in retentions, explain the situation again and am told she cannot help me and I need to speak to another department and am put back on hold. We're now 26 minutes into the third call.

50 minutes into this call (24 minutes on hold), I am once again disconnected. This is absolutely absurd. What is wrong with this company? My blood pressure is rapidly increasing. Is the disconnections department just a big joke at Virgin and their sole purpose is to just disconnect callers?

I will not be defeated. I call again. 18 minutes on hold, then disconnected for the forth time. This time. however, I get a call back within a few seconds from Jake who apologise and tries to put me through to disconnections. Jake says he'll stay on the line until I'm connected, however, guess what? The call is disconnected again. Jake does not call me again.

I am just about at my absolute wits end with this company. What this process has solidified is my desire to NEVER work with Virgin ever again and recommend that to everyone I speak with.

I will not give up although my patience is now fully exhausted.

All the cancelled calls are them rejecting the call.

Call #6, on hold for 24 minutes and, hurray, I am speaking to a human again! Apparently, they are from the disconnections team and she has the ability to handle this without any further holding or transfering.

There lots of silence while she does this. My breath is baited. Is this really the end? Is it really going to be that easy? I'm just praying never to have to hear the awful  hold music ever again. Charlotte brings me a toasted sandwich - I've been doing this since 11:52 and it's now 15:06 and I'm starving so the sight of sustenance brings me huge pleasure. I mute the call while I take a bite.

Right, that's all gone through. Your final bill will be ....

It's done. I shouldn't feel this elated. The person I spoke to on call #6 handled the whole thing in less than 10 minutes from when I spoke to her. If the whole saga just consisted of call #6, this post would never have been written.

Confirmation received a few minutes after the call.