back to article Punters even more dissatisfied by Virgin Media's package

Ofcom's latest customer satisfaction report is out and it doesn't look good for Virgin Media, which languished at the bottom of two lists representing its core business. The communications watchdog placed the telco in last place for landlines and pay TV. Meanwhile, it was second worst in the fixed broadband stakes, where …

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  1. John Warlow
    Facepalm

    They can't even port their own number back from BT

    Three years ago I left VirginMedia for Sky+ TV and BT phone/broadband, I ported the phone number from VirginMedia to BT without a problem. Now I'm trying to get everything back to VirginMedia and the new Tivo box but VirginMedia are having issue porting the number back ?!?! I'm waiting for a call today, if they say it can't be done I'm going to cancel unless they offer TV XL for free!

  2. Ian Todd
    FAIL

    Hate their existing customers

    I currently pay £25.25 for their 10Mb broadband. I contacted them to reduce the price but they refused, and wanted me to pay £35 plus £30 one-off fee for 30Mb! Time to move I think. Plus you can only INCREASE your service on their 'self-help' website. You need to call to downgrade. Arses.

  3. Tim of the Win
    Thumb Down

    VM customer service is woeful but I stick with them simply because I refuse to pay for a landline I don't need.

    If you write to VM customer services specifically asking for a written reply all you get is an acknowledgement letter and a lot of missed calls on your phone.

    1. sprouty76
      Thumb Down

      Except you need the phone line if you want their TV service... I'd quite happily change broadband supplier but I'm not paying for 2 phone lines, neither of which I need. And I can't put a dish up, so I'm stuck with them for the TV too!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not so

        You can get TV without their phone service because I've got it. You can't do it via the website

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "You can get TV without their phone service because I've got it. You can't do it via the website"

          1) Just because you've got it doesn't mean it's still available.

          2) I used to have VM broadband+TV without the phone. Having left Telewest before because of poor service, I didn't want cablephone again, but one day wandered into a street salesman who said he could do cable broadband, plus basic TV free for a year, in an offer only available door to door. So I signed up for the broadband+free TV. After three months they started charging me for the TV. It took months to get a refund, me and the salesbod were both accused of lying, and when my minimum term was up, I left. Again.

          Fool me once, shame on you.

          Fool me twice, shame on me.

          Won't get fooled again.

          Not to mention I don't like Branson much.

      2. Tim of the Win
        Trollface

        Who needs a TV service when you've got the Internet? I've been living off iPlayer, ITVPlayer, 4od and Demand5 for over a year with no problems. Best part: no TV Licence required since no live streaming.

    2. Pete the not so great
      Meh

      Its cheaper to have the phone line and not use it, due to their bundling.

      1. Tim of the Win

        Only if you have TV too. If you just want broadband it's cheaper to not have a landline. £21/month for just BB

  4. melt
    FAIL

    Fix. The bloomin'. Superhub.

    1. David Robinson 1

      Allegedly, the Superhub can be configured to act as modem-only, allowing you to use your router of choice. VM don't supply modems anymore, probably to make life easier for their script monkeys. "Turn off your hub, wait five minutes then turn it back on again." I wish they gave us the choice of hub or modem, with the understanding you may be on your own with some support issues.

      1. Martin
        Happy

        It;s not allegedly...

        ...it's actually.

        One click, reboot your superhub and bob's your uncle - you have a high-speed modem.

        Works a treat.

        1. Mike Taylor

          Where is this click of which you speak?

          1. Giles Jones Gold badge

            It's in the advanced settings and called Modem Mode. If you don't have it then you need to power cycle your superhub as it grabs the latest firmware on start up.

            As for Virgin and others, they're all penny pinching as the masses want really cheap Internet. So we have to put up with contention, traffic shaping and bandwidth limits.

  5. Grease Monkey

    "Satisfaction with Sky’s customer service was significantly above average, with customers particularly pleased that advisers took their questions or issues seriously,"

    What?! A friend was having trouble with her Sky broadband and I tried to give her some help. The customer service we received from Sky amounted to "it's a free service, what do you expect?" every time it was reported. That's taking customer's seriously is it? Needless to say she dumped Sky and Sky couldn't understand why. It appeared to me that the people we spoke to took the attitude that the broadband service wasn't part of the main service and was just tacked on.

    Admittedly this was some time ago so things must have changed.

    For myself I wouldn't knowingly touch anything that had any connection with the Murdoch family, no matter how good it happened to be.

  6. Anonymous IV
    FAIL

    So long as nothing changes, it works well...

    The VM cable service is quite good, consistently fast, and quite reliable - most of the time. If anything goes wrong, then it's an entirely different matter.

    And the VM techies dealing with email must surely hang their collective heads in shame and lie about their job at parties because of a) the migration of the original mail service to becoming Gmail-hosted, and b) the length of time it has taken them to migrate the old blueyonder and ntlworld email domains to the new VM email domain. This was promised about two years ago - and it still hasn't happened. And nobody seems to be sure that it will happen in 2012, either. An utter, utter, shambles! (And that's being kind.)

    1. Richard Cranium

      "The VM cable service is quite good, consistently fast ..." Yes but my 20MB cable connection is now consistently fast at 7.7MB. At least when it was a 10MB connection I used to get a consistent 9.8MB.

      As for their email luckily I'd ditched it long ago as it was never "best of breed", but I had it in my Mailwasher config so still checking in case anyone still had the old address - until it stopped working altogether then it was easier to forget it than try to get it back to life.

  7. Paul 25

    I wonder if VM service depends on your region?

    I'm in Bath, which is in the old Telewest part of Virgin Media and I've never had anything other than excellent service from VM. But I know quite a few people in other parts of the country who've had woeful service over the years.

    Telewest were fantastic, and from what I've heard NTL were bloody awful, so I wonder if the customer service organisations are still split?

    I've also never had a problem with my Superhub, but I might have just got lucky with that (although I'd love one I can attach to the wall like the old modems).

    However I do think their packages are starting to look increasingly uncompetitive. If/when we move, hopefully next year if the housing market starts moving again, we'll probably switch to BT Infinity which should be city wide by the end of the year.

    I never thought I'd see the day when I was seriously considering moving back to BT.

    1. Grease Monkey

      We were Telewest customers and service was excelent. However service went downhill pretty rapidly when VM took over.

    2. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      VM BB is OK but TV/phone are a rip-off

      I only went of VM for broadband 'cos the BT line dropped from 4MB down to just under 1MB over 6 months, they said it was too many subscribers in the area and there was nothing they could do. BT promised infinity but said a max of 10MB/s was possible at £35/month. I live just north of Enfield, 15 miles from central London, so hardly in the sticks! VM offered me 20MB for £25/month, touch wood, in 9 months I have not rebooted the modem once and it's been consistently the same speed all the time. The one thing I do like about VM is that they tell you up front when you'll get your service speed lowered, so you just do everything overnight.

      VM TV and landline are a serious rip-off though, so I stuck with Sky for those two.

  8. Chris Lovell

    *shrug*

    I must be the exception here, I've got Virgin broadband and love it, decent speeds, decent service.

    To be fair, when I was with BT at my previous house, I had no issues from them either. Is this possibly a case of the vocal minorities having undue influence?

    1. Gavalar

      Not a fair assesment

      To be fair, I am please that you have had good service from both providers, and I myself had excellent service from VM all the while the service for Broadband was up. When it was up, full 10MB no probs. As soon as any issues arise and you need to engage the help desk, thats when the problems arise.

      I have had too many calls to count to the helpdesk where they a) dont understand the actual issue, b) try and fob you off with excuses

      I don't blame the helpdesk, they are scripted to provide 1st line, I get it. I am techy minded so understand some of the process. But VM's main fault is not providing decent updates/information to customers experiencing issues.

      As the the minorities have undue influence... just because you do not have issues doesnt mean nobody else is....

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      I was thinking the same.

      Been a Telewest>blueyonder>VM customer for many (more than 10) years at my previous address. Recently moved quite a long way for work reasons, and the deciding factor in which house to choose was the fact that one of them had VM cable down the street. The BT line and the satellite dish which were already at the house are now unused. Lead time from ordering to fitting - four days.

      I have never had any significant trouble with the cable services, and on the odd occasions that I have (mainly too strong a signal years ago, requiring an attenuator between the modem and the line, and the notoriously bad silver TV box two or three years ago), I always had straight-forward conversations with the folks on the phones, and the engineers have been great. This is in contrast with people who are with other providers (including a friend who works for BT Openzone, who hates the BT service he gets and only keeps it because it is free!)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Virgin reminds me of an old userfriendly comic about a guy that went and bought a massive pipe but had no idea on how to use it.

    With Virgin, however, you pay for a massive pipe that you _can't_ use even if you want to! Genious

  10. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    FAIL

    its the

    crap "have you switched it off and on yet" script driven customer 'service' lines when you get a problem.

    Then you try to understand the sometimes difficult to hear english as spoken by an Indian person(why it that so much easier when you are talking face to face with the same person?)

    then you get VM changing the channels available all the bleedin time.

    Sadly, if I want internets.... the choice is VM or a BT landline ...........

    1. Grease Monkey

      You're lucky. We're stuck with a BT landline. No LLU, no 3G and no cable.

      The annoying thing is that there is an illusion of choice in so far as you can purchase your line from somebody else, but it's still a BT line and BT Wholesale broadband into your ISP. The trouble is that most punters don't realise this. They think they are moving away from BT, but what they are getting is effectively a BT service sold by somebody else.

      For me the market should be shaken up. Any ISP that advertises LLU services should be forced to provide ISP services at the same price to any property that can be connected to the BT network. Sure it would still go through BT Central, but they should be forced to charge the same price. I've seen plenty of bilboards advertising broadband for ridiculously low prices in areas where LLU is not available. Walk right up to the billboard and you see the small print reading something like "Where available. Prices may be significantly higher in some areas." Given that you can't usually read the small print since you're passing in a bus, train or car it's a pretty cheap trick. This to me this sort of advertising ploy is much worse than the "up to" business.

      It's also amazing how many ISP sites you can visit where you are quoted something like £4.99 pcm right up to the last page where suddenly it has risen to something like six times as much even though you put in your phone number on page one.

  11. burnard
    FAIL

    What's the point in 50mb if you can't stream anything?

    If you look at Virgins forums, or have a Virgin internet connection yourself, you will know that you cannot strem youtube or iplayer videos over Virgins internet. My uncle has Virgin, as does my place of work. It is rubbish. Thank god I have Sky broadband at home.

    1. Growler
      WTF?

      I'm sorry but...WTF?

      I'm on Virgins 30MB cable and I can stream Youtube, iPlayer and anything I choose!

      Whilst I accept that there may be people who have issues with their connection your statement that "you cannot strem youtube or iplayer videos over Virgins internet" is complete rubbish!

    2. PaulR79
      Thumb Down

      I have 30Mb from VM and I can stream just fine thanks. I have no problems with my connection speed and regularly getting just over 30Mb on speed tests. Sure it gets slower during busy times but it's still far better than most BT customers will get at around 16 - 25Mb. I don't know how you can be thankful for Sky broadband...

      1. Grease Monkey

        The issue of slow speeds over Virgin or any other ISP is quite a complex one, but too many retards assume it to be simple. I'll give you a nice example.

        I often hear statements such as "I'm on ISP X and I can't stream youtube or iplayer so it's crap." The first advice I give is always "call the ISP" and the response is usually that the ISP say everything is fine. And the ISP usually denies shaping the likes of youtube and iplayer.

        The next advice I give is to run tests on at least two of the popular speed test sites. These usually come back as being slow.

        Then I get the user to check the sync speed of their DSL (if they're on DSL) and they will usually tell me it's nice and high.

        The next question is usually to ask what speed their wireless connection is. It's amazing at this point how many tell me that the speed is 1 or 2Mbps. And they still blame the ISP - they provided the router after all. However I usually find the problem is not down to specific router problems, but commonly using the default channel when everybody else on the street is using the same channel. Sometimes it's other things. Like my neighbour who's wireless card simply refused to run at anything other than 1Mbps. My card in her machine was fine at a minimum of 48Mbps anywhere in the house. A new card sorted her problem, even though she'd spent weeks bitching about her ISP.

    3. mike_ackee

      I had this problem too. Fixed it by going into the superhub options and enabling multicast. Been fine since then.

    4. Rob Crawford

      Dear burnard,

      My tolerance level is low today.

      You obviously don't know what you are talking about so, follow the old advice of :

      It's better to sit quietly and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

      VM's service is dependant on which region you live in, in a previous job you couldn't use VPN connections within some regions.

      The constant sources of crap with VM seems to be their Indian call centre for the following reasons:

      1: The VOIP system that is either incorrectly configured, or bandwidth starved

      2: The inability of said staff to understand that when you say you want to reduce costs, they try & sell you a more expensive package

      3: The call centre's inability to understand any form of regional accent

      4: If it's more complicated than turn it off & back on again it's a 3 day wait for their 2nd line staff to contact you (who then say have you turned it off & on again)

      Once you get a hold of the UK staff things do improve though.

      I dare say that if the Indian staff got some proper training it would probably help matters a lot.

    5. Richard 51
      FAIL

      Don't assume just because you have a problem everyone is in the same boat

      VM customer service is about as good as BT or any of the others that use call centres, call queuing, scripted conversations and poor technical training. However to assume that one specific experience describes the entire customer experience is stupid. I have VM tv, phone and broadband. TV is a bit of a ripoff, particularly when you discover to keep your own rates in line with advertised rates you have to call them and ask for it. Broadband almost always delivers the headline rate or near as damn it. (DNS lookup is sometimes a bit slow) and Phone is basic and what more can u say.

      So all in all a could do better scorecard from me... but I don't presume to know everyone elses experience. So why should you.

    6. houst0n
      Trollface

      Eh? I have the 50mb package and I watch hd content on iplayer no problem.

      NNTP via easynews I get around 5.6Mbyte/sec.

      Maybe you need to purchase some clue?

  12. Pamplemoose
    FAIL

    100mb is buggar all use when they *still* treat gaming traffic as P2P and prioritise it accordingly.

  13. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    Shit customer service in 2 countries

    The NTL leopard has never changed its spots nor will it.

  14. DaveyDaveDave
    WTF?

    "Satisfaction with Sky’s customer service was significantly above average"

    Really? Unless I'm reading the article wrongly, 64% satisfaction (Sky's score) isn't even "significantly" above the lowest (57%), let alone above the average, which must be higher than 57%.

    Either way, if the very best customer service still only satisfies 64% of people, that's a pretty damning indictment. This article suggests that Ofcom are using Sky as some kind of shining example of service that all other companies should aspire to - hopefully that's not the case!

  15. jestersbro
    FAIL

    Cost cutting works, doesn't it?

    So, having embarked in 2010 on a massive cost cutting excersise that is supposed to streamline the business, make it more efficient and allow it to concentrate on it's customers it would appear that it isn't having the desired effect.

    The whole process is part of the 40/40 programme that is supposed to get VM working so well that it's share price increases to $40 (check out the current and long term performance) whilst making a 40% efficiency improvement in operating costs. The principle architecht of this programme is a very famous bean counter who came across from a large retail organisation and is trying to run VM in exactly the same way.

    Because supermarkets and tech companies are the same. Aren't they?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think this was an accurate rating for virgin

    We are on the 50Mb service, which rarely hits the mark.

    This year has seen many outages, once for 3 days. Whenever I ring to raise a fault, the default response seems to be "your router is broken". It never is.

    My modem gets disconnected VM side, and they maintain it is connected. Once one of their more enlightened support people refreshed their connection and saw that the modem was down. Finally someone listened.

    I don't want the landline, but I must have it and pay for it.

    They can't do an ADSL and cable connection to the same house to give me some redundancy in broadband provision.

  17. Ech00hcE
    Devil

    Broadband is OK, but the phone charges...

    Broadband is OK, but the phone charges are a ******* rip off!

    My BT phone bill used to be about £20 a month, Virgin charge me in excess of £50 for the same usage...

    1. CD001

      http://shop.virginmedia.com/phone/phone-line.html

      http://www.productsandservices.bt.com/consumerProducts/displayTopic.do?topicId=25512

      Can't argue with you there ... not that I notice as I only use the landline to ring my parents at the weekend.

    2. kwikbreaks

      Ditch the VM phone and use a VOIP service instead. Vonage costs £5.99 a month for 2000hours of UK geographic calls. 0845 0870 a few pence a minute and no connection charge. You also get free calerid for with VM charge £2 so the actual cost is ~ £1 for virtually unlimited landline calls.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You need to use 18185 or 1899

      I heartily agree with you - the solution is simple - sign up with a phone overrider like 1899.com or 18185.com and watch your phone bills drop dramatically

  18. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Meh

    As always, depends which way you cut it

    We're on the "M" bundle (no longer offered) so get basic everything. Former Telewest customers. Can't fault the cabled broadband. Blazingly fast (I have a BT-supplied BB for work-from-home so I can do comparisons) and has only ever gone off once in 10 years.

    TV service is so-so.

    However, their marketing is abysmal. So I'm an existing customer ... and can't see any reward for my loyalty. Everything they do is about gouging the customer for £x/month more. I wanted premium number block- that's £1.50 ... A MONTH. Same for caller ID.

    It would be tempting to move, but the neighbours did a few years back, and it seems they have never had a week when they haven't had to contact one of their TV/Phone/Broadband supplies about something - despite changing them every few months. So I realise that my premium is buying me hassle-free time. But it is a hell of a premium.

    I did enquire (by email) about buying a second line, when work-from-home came up. No reply meant BT got the gig - and that's gone down twice this year.

    I also asked if they could do a combined package with mobile minutes in it - ideally spread over 3 phones (me, wife, sprog). Again, the silence was deafening.

    Maybe beardie could come back and kick ass ?

    1. Rob Crawford

      @jimmypage

      I was getting irritated at the charges in general, in the end I went to the disconnections dept and said asked them to give me a reason to stay with VM.

      They where helpful and I ended up with a tivo, keeping the original VM box (in a different room), larger tv package, faster internet, and a bill reduction.

      Don't bother with any of the other customer service people.

  19. Marty
    Gimp

    BE THERE

    I have been with BE for my broadband for over 3 years now... untill i subscribed to be, I would switch service as soon as I possibly could to try and find a good service provider. Prior to BE, ADSL24 was an awesome service until entanet made changes to the service and screwed everything up.

    Since joining BE, the only time I have had a drop in service was when i requested them to change some settings on the line to improve speeds when I first joined. Speeds areconstand day and night, nothing is throttled or limited in anyway except for the price. I called them a year or so ago and got them to fix the price of my connection for the life of my subscription. £18 per month for a 24mbit down and 1.4mbit up connection.... and I constantly get those speeds... (I can hit the exchange with a half brick from my front step, which probably has something to do with it!!)

    I have only ever had to call CS a few times regarding billing, and the issues were resolved with no problems (the billing problems were my fault, changing banks)

    on the whole, an exelent service I cant fault in any way shape or form !!

    and I dont work for them .....

    1. Kevin Gurney
      Thumb Up

      I can second that - been with Be for about 5/6 years and have never had any issues.

      Solid 18mb connection with no limits and no shaping.

      I pay a premium for it over Skys free offering (use BT for phone and Sky for TV) but well worth my £20 odd a month.

  20. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    I'd like to ....

    Make that Virgin Media spokeperson eat all the Junk mail I get from them in a month. All addressed to 'The Occupier'.

    Is there any way to get it through their thick heads that NONE repeat NONE of the people in my household will buy anything from them. Never in a million years. The more they send it, the more we will refuse to use their service.

    'Suck on this VM'

    1. CD001

      Heh - they send the same crap (to "The Occupier") even if you ARE a customer :\

      1. Grease Monkey

        We get their marketing crap even though they don't provide a service in our area and say they have no plans to do so. Brilliant.

  21. Avatar of They
    FAIL

    Is this going to count as Ofcom trying to earn their massive pay? Probably.

    Shame. To me it is just evidence no one does a good job for customers and a lot of people are unhappy in some way.

    My BT experience is talking to 4 call centres about infinity and their sales and techy departments and being told the home hub 3 CAN'T allow you to set up port forwarding or opening firewall ports. Then installing my mums who isn't into online games or work VPNS and finding out you can. So my mum now knows more than an asian man I can't pronounce in an indian call centre who allegedly IS the tech support for BT.

    I used to work at NTL and won't go near Virgin as a result, so that isn't a shock.

  22. squilookle
    Flame

    Virgin Media and TalkTalk are rubbish. I'm currently trying to leave talk talk. I called them and was told I need to give 5 days notice, but that seemed unlikely, so I emailed and got a reply saying 30 days. Fine.

    So I emailed and asked if I could give the 30 days by email and was told

    "Please note we require 30 days notice".

    ... well I clearly know that already and it's not what I asked, so I sent an email stating that that email WAS my 30 days notice and I wanted the account closed 30 days from that date, and asking for confirmation the notice had been received. The response I got said:

    "Kindly note you need to provide us with 30 days notice"

    ....okay.... so I sent another one, but more harshly worded, saying that I wanted the account closing in 30 days, and that they had now received notice. Could they please acknowledge it. I received response, which is where are are at the minute. Guess what the response said... no clues.... I guess I'll have to write to them next or something, though it would be helpful if they would tell me I have to do that and give an address, if that's what I have to do.

    And just to rub it in, the end of each email tells you to visit help.talktalk.co.uk if you require any more information. All the entries on there regarding the closing of accounts tell you to call or email them. D'oh!

    Believe it or not, I went to TalkTalk in the first place because I had an even worse experience with Virgin Media... but that was a while ago and would keep me typing this message all day...

    1. Mad Dave

      Write a letter, and send it 1st class recorded. It'll get there tomorrow , and you'll have your proof of them having received it.

    2. Chris007
      Flame

      @ squilookle

      Never confused incompetence with revenue generating actions.

      As others have noted a lot of companies allow you to /upgrade/ online very easily and without much effort.

      However when it comes to /downgrades/ or /cancelling/ services they make it very difficult by:-

      Not allowing downgrades/cancellations online

      Making the information on how to downgrade/cancel very difficult to find on the website

      The information then states that you have to write to them or perhaps call an 084xx [revenue generating] number

      In this way a company can either get a few more days / weeks revenue or even keep a customer because that customer found it too difficult to change.

      It would be easy to solve - If you are in the BB/TV/Phone business then if you provide an online service to sign-up / upgrade you MUST also provide an equivalent to cancel / downgrade otherwise you lose your license to be in that arena.

  23. CowardlyAndrew
    Devil

    Does it not strike people as odd that Virgin Media do so poor in this survey when talking to customers, but when publishing Ofcom speed test data Virgin Media does so well?

    Surely there should be hardly anyone complaining of connection speed issues with the cable service, if the over 30Meg average from the 30Meg service is true?

    Reality being that the service varies greatly from town to town, wonder which towns have the Ofcom testing kit in them?

    1. Anonymous IV

      @CowardlyAndrew: Which towns have the Ofcom testing kit in them?

      All of those where Virgin Media has a presence, probably, because SamKnows has provided the volunteers with a pass-through router which transparently monitors a whole series of network variables, mostly when your own router and the cable line are idle. It works extremely well.

      See http://www.samknows.com/broadband/faq/monitoring

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "SamKnows ... works extremely well."

        I'd agree it seems to work well in principle, better than any competitive offering (are there any?).

        But the Samknows setup here (a Linksys from the 2nd round of early adopters) hasn't been reporting my own stats to me for literally years, and there appears to be no one at home at Samknows to sort it out. Mildly worrying, given the near-god-like status which Samknows is now being given (it was well deserved in the early days).

  24. uknutz

    Been with C&W -> NTL -> VM for many many years now.

    100MB Broadband 9/10

    TIVO + XL + Sky sports & Movies 8/10

    Phoneline 1/10

    Support 1/10

    Only one BB & TV outage that I can recall in the last couple of years. The broadband is far superior to the 5Mb max that BT can offer. Even when it is in slowdown mode (which isn't that often) it is 10 times better than my old BT line.

    However, the superhub is shite, thats a fact*. The support is even worse, fact*. Only last week my superhub wasnt playing ball, kept disconnecting everyone every hour. Support was adamant that everything was ok from their end and it was my PC, My Mac, the boys Xbox360's, my SGSII, wifes iphone, and my network drives that were all at fault! That was tech support in England. Rung back and got through to India where I was rather hoping to get the standard scripted response and get an engineer out. They didn't disappoint and 2 days later the engineer replaced one fault Superhub. Job done. Thank god for the script readers.

    TIVO is a good but still evolving product. I don't like the fact I paid to be a beta tester, but ho hum, thats the price of wanting the latest gear. Now they have finally got Sky on demand on board it makes the TV package a little better value.

    The phone pricing is terrible. Back in the NTL days you could get a second line in for £5 a month and call costs were comparible with BT. Now they have ramped it up so high, we only use the phone for incoming only so they get no additional charges out of us. Mobiles & VOIP all the way.

    * Fact in so much that my two superhubs have been rubbish, and that my experience has been shocking with all levels of support from VM since they took over.

  25. mgq
    Unhappy

    Virgin Media is absolutely shocking

    I'm a student living in Bristol. We pay £28 a month for 30MBPS broadband. At peak times it is simply unusable, with up to 40% packet loss and a bandwidth of 0.16MBPS. It is truly abysmal. Virgin have said that the 'fix' date is today, but I don't believe anything is going to happen judging from the past posts on their forum. The international tech support is a joke and costs a ridiculous sum to ring from a mobile.

    In Bristol they just oversold the package to all the students. The broadband was fine at the end of August, and crashed within the first couple of weeks of October. Guess what also started then. The new uni term!

    I sent them a letter, and the response was insulting, offering me £14 off a bill. If we paid them for what we receive it would be more like £2 a month!

  26. ukaudiophile
    Thumb Down

    Gone downhill since I joined

    I've been with VM since they were Telewest offering free dial up access back in 1999. I then moved to their 1MB broadband offering as soon as it became available. Back then they were superb, the customer service was the best available and any issues were swiftly resolved, usually within an hour or so. All the techies I spoke to were well trained and knew their stuff.

    Then NTL got involved and it started to go downhill, but if you got through the front line tech support then the guys were still very capable.

    Then it became Virgin Media and the rot set in, overseas call center operators who would ahppily lie to you, if they understood you, and customer services who were only interested in selling you more products, rather than actually answering your questions.

    I am still with them solely because their 50 Mb service is finally stable since we moved to R30 of the SuperHub firmware and I cannot get BT Infinity in this area. Most of the issues would be resolved if they moved their CS back to the UK and recruited quality UK support engineers, then actually invested in their backbone so it didn't die in the evening when you try to stream iPlayer HD streams.

  27. Scott 62
    Trollface

    I'd rather eat my own face than use VM again.

    Sky customer service is very very average, but compared to VM they are shining beacons of excellence.

    It's all relative I suppose.

    1. jp1000

      Totally agree

      Not only is their service rubbish but pretty much every single interaction I've ever had with them has been a disaster. This includes having to make more than 10 phone calls (20 minutes on hold each time) to get them to enable the correct TV channels after they moved our service from an old address to a new address, tech support who don't know the difference between bandwidth and latency, support people telling me they sent our new decoder card to our old address because "they have no record of the new address" despite the fact that they'd been billing us at the new adddress for more than 2 years, support people insisting our account has not been debited when it has, service which is unusable in the evening for weeks on end - I could go on and on. They're probably the worst company on the planet for customer support. I have also dealt with them in a business capacity and they are not much better in that section.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "the worst company on the planet for customer support."

        You're not a Santander customer then?

        Consistently at or near bottom in any customer survey, this week's example being the JD Power Retail Satisfaction survey:

        http://www.jdpower.com/Finance/ratings/UK-Retail-Banking-Ratings/

        They've inherited me as a customer and the only reason I'm still a customer in any way is because of the effect on my blood pressure when I attempt to deal with them. E.g. sending me letters with the wrong Santander telephone number on (one which gives number unobtainable) because "we're using up old stationery". E.g. unilaterally cancelling my home insurance and writing to tell me A YEAR LATER (closely related to them sending letters out that I can't reply to because they gave wrong contact details).

        Avoid. Worse than VM, however hard that may be to imagine

        Is there a J D Power for broadband?

  28. Scott 62

    although in all fairness with VM the broadband speed we got was very very good, the old telewest / blueyonder infrastructure they took over was also excellent.

  29. Ravenger
    FAIL

    Highly variable...

    I've been a VM/Blueyonder customer for years, and ever since VM took over it's been downhill from there.

    When it works it's excellent, but VM have a habit of oversubscribing which can make the internet unusable at peak times.

    Every time they increase capacity it's great for a while, then suddenly everything slows to a crawl because they've been on a subscription frenzy and signed up loads of student houses who max out their 50mb uncapped connections 24/7.

    When this happens you can wait for months to get a usable connection back again. You can get discounts if service is poor, but I'd rather have a reliable 10mb connection than the dodgy 30mb I currently have. When it does work the usage caps on the capped tarrifs are so low that if you dare to actually use your bandwidth for a small amount of time you end up with a connection at a quarter of the speed that's unusable for anything except web browsing.

  30. stu 4
    Thumb Up

    ok with me

    I moved to them a month ago from BskyB for the able broadband. I was getting about 6 or 7Mb over ADSL with sky, I am now on the 50MB vm service.

    I pretty much always get the whole 50Mb (just over 6MBytes/sec) which lets me download a 10 gig HD movies in no time at all.

    so far, nothing to complain about tbh.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No mention of O2 yet?

    Been with O2 for a few years and never really had a problem that I can remember. Only times it's been down was when the power went out and a BT line fault (so neither an O2 fault).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Totally Agree

      Be with O2 since the service was launched and eerrr well that's it, nothing to report.

      Unlike Orange who I had to raise an officlal complaint with ISPA and file a case in the small claim court (never had to follow it through, amazing what the threat and papers do)

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    will agree that VM's tech support has been crap, however last couple of times I've called them I was greeted by a regional british accent (which confused my somewhat), the tech listened to what I had to say, didn't jump to conclusions, didn't appear to be following a script and helped me fix the problem. maybe I've just been lucky.

  33. Kieran 2

    Virgin Broadband

    Pretty fast - when it's not going down all the fucking time. I'm back on regular ADSL now and while it's slower and does go down occasionally, it's a hell of a lot better than the service I got from Virgin.

  34. farizzle
    Unhappy

    Out of the frying pan?

    We thought we'd leave the intermittent service on our 30Mb service by upgrading to the 50Mb, and soon found that although the 50 could maintain a connection where the 30 kept dropping, the 50 is the broadband equivalent of a heart attack - no consistency whatsoever.

    6 weeks estimated 'monitoring' time before a decision is taken on whether 19% packet loss constitutes a reason to release a fix - hahahaha!

    *The above laugh turned to tears in real life!

  35. Greem
    Happy

    Happy Punter

    Been with NTL/VM for nearly 10 years. In all that time we've had precisely one bit of shonky service, in Oct 2010 when the local students arrived our broadband became practically unusable of an evening.

    Being a networky type, I already had some monitoring in place. Firstly they came out and replaced the old cable modem (which apparently shouldn't have been working since they upped the signal strength for 50Mbps services) as it kept rebooting, and that sort-of solved things until the students arrived. Then it went pear-shaped from 6pm to midnight.

    I tweeted about it. Their support guys from Twitter were bloody brilliant - I sent them some graphs, and their reply was "you're absolutely right, your head end is oversubscribed, we're fixing it in 6 weeks". True to their word, they did - and offered me a substantial reduction on my bill. I cashed it in for a TiVo instead (which has also been excellent).

    It would have been better if there was no problem at all, but one service outage in 9 years is pretty good.

    Oh, and we recently ported a BT number over to them. Absolutely, totally, completely pain-free.

    Yep, happy punter.

  36. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Flame

    Note. *None* of them manages better than 70%.

    So a bit less than 1/3 of *all* the subscribers of the *best* ISP think they are s**t.

    Let me suggest this will *never* improve *unless* people make it clear *why* they are leaving and what terms they would come back under.

    If *enough* people walk a business either starts taking notice or it's out of business.

    I personally would blacklist *any* ISP involved with Phorm or anything like it (TalkTalk's friendly deal with the Chinese for example).

  37. Absent

    The worst experience I had was when Virgin silently moved me from the old network to the new network (which is meant to be for 30mbps and up, I only have 20mbps). The trouble was, the old style router isn't compatible with it. It took several phone useless phone calls to script monkey call centre technicians and several days wait for an engineer to turn up. Took him about 20 minutes to figure out what had happened and he called his boss up to check if this could possibly be the case. Apparently there's been an influx of such problems in the past few days. The engineer said to me "I wondered by there was 30 Superhubs in the van this morning rather the usual 15 and 15 regular".

  38. Greg D
    FAIL

    fucking lol

    HOW is Sky top? I have gone from VM to Sky (not by choice!) and I cant believe how shite the broadband and customer service is.

    Did Ofcom interview Sky customer only or something?

    Basically I had, in my old flat, 50mb BB, HD TV with V+ and it was good. Price not too bad, but it was 50mb and I always received 50mb, unlike the steaming pile of shit excuse for a broadband connection I have now...

    Im paying way more with Sky, and the "Up to 20mb" broadband has thus far not gone past 5mb. Not to mention the constant drop outs, woeful customer service and barmy price. I need to get my housemates to switch back to VM tbh.

    Also their TV package was much better - OK the UI was a bit faffy compared to Sky, but at least you got ON DEMAND TV and iPlayer etc. Not Sky's useless fucking "heres what we think you might want to watch" excuse for an on demand service.

    All in all, VM > most other providers. Cable broadband simply cannot be beaten by ADSL, the new Tivo box pisses over Sky's HD+ boxes and their customer service is really not too bad if you're not a moron expecting them to shit money for you. (Ok admittedly you do get the occasional retard trying to help you, but its the same for ALL the providers).

    Rant over!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "the new Tivo box pisses over Sky's HD+ boxes"

      Of course it does.

      Did you know that many years ago, Sky bought the UK exclusive rights to Tivo, simply to stop anyone else selling anything TiVo based?

      Wish I could find a reference, but I am 100% confident it's a fact (same as I'm confident Brian Cox is a megastar).

      Presumably that deal has now expired, and a Sky competitor can now bring something to market in the UK.

  39. Scott 62

    a brand new tivo box is better than a 5 year old sky+ box?

    holy shit.

    my mind is blown.

    i liked the service that VM provided, the tivo box was very good (although the interface was slow...) and the broadband was admittedly excellent but it was far outweighed by the faffing about we had with their customer service staff, they literally did nothing right

    the engineer didn't install our box

    it took 5 phone calls to attempt to get the right TV package and they still didn't get it right in the end

    the package I was initially sold by their sales rep turned out to be the XL package, which was far more than the sky equivalent for less channels

    they didn't answer several attempts contact their customer service goons via email

    our phone line didn't work for 3 weeks after activation

    the initial bill was simply exorbitant

    they didn't cancel our Sky services as promised so we were paying for both of them

    ...it was endless

  40. Blubster
    FAIL

    Absolute shite!

    "Customer service is a big focus for us and we know there is still more work to do if we are to get to where we want to be – delivering a fantastic customer experience every time – but we've come a long way and our customers are seeing the results."

    My arse.

    I repeat - absolute shite

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Before Virgin took over, the customer service and support was the best of any with Blueyonder. You could directly speak to a local engineer and not only were they so helpful, they was always friendly and could have a laugh with, and if there was a problem a engineer would be sent out either same day or next. Then Virgin took over and the customer service was farmed out to India and apart from finding it hard to understand what they are saying, they read off scripts and if your question dont fit the answers and questions they have, you have no chance. The only way now you can speak to anyone in uk is to go through options on the virgin help line until you get to I want to cancel my service, then you are put through to a uk dept. It is no surpise to me to see Virgin are now almost bottom when it comes to customer service and it is sad to see what Virgin have done to the awesome service Blueyonder offered. Cable is still the best if they are in your area and I have been with Blueyonder/Virgin since day 1 over 11 years ago, the speeds are still better than BT but now Virgin throttle connections so during peak times you dont get your full speed, always best after midnight though. For what we are paying I think Virgin need to get there customer service back in the UK and employ there own engineers again. Best place to get hold of someone these days if you have a issue, is to go to the virgin support forums, calling India is a total waste of time! Also there pricing is a mess, different prices depending on who you get through too and as a old customer you pay far more than new customers. Virgin really need to sort this mess out, although I doubt much will change as Virgin is a business on the stock market, hence its all about profit only now. I am still happy with there actual service and as long as its working its fine its great, but there customer service and pricing are a total nightmare and using those is a fate worse than death.

  42. Sirius Lee
    Thumb Down

    Ditched Virgin Media last month

    Having had enough I ditched Virgin Media last month. I do a lot of work from home and used a BT Fusion package as a backup - it also give me recordable Freeview.

    In my experience the VM service is flaky and expensive. Meanwhile - and to my surprise - the BT service has been much more stable - and cheaper - over 3 years. I really can't believe I'm writing such a statement.

    Like another of the commenters, I asked VM for a discount. Nothing doing. VM *insist* on including a phone package to provide broadband. Why? It adds ~£15/month for a service I have absolutely no use for. If the cost of broadband is, really, £15/month more then surely they should be honest and say so.

    Times move on and VM doesn't. Mobile broadband is a viable backup option now which costs just £2/day on the rare occasions it might ever be needed. Meanwhile I ditched £35/month in costs.

    I also noted the last time I called customer services those nice scalleys answering the phone seems to have moved to india.

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