I was worried about the rolling contract price hike by Virgin Media, so I went and checked “How to cancel your Virgin Media contract” prior, only to realise that I need to give a 30 days notice. So today is a good day, so I phoned them up.
My current contract is for VM’s M100 package (
↓100mbps/↑10mbps) priced at £24.99/month for 18 months. If I don’t do anything, it will be automatically renewed by a rolling contract that costs £44/month, an increase of 76%. One of their competitor offers a similar package with speed
↓150mbps/↑22mbps priced at £32/month for 24 months, plus a £50 gift card - ≈ £29.92/month for 24 months after doing the maths - roughly about ↑20% increase compared to my current plan, or a whoop ↓32% decrease compared to the upcoming rolling contract.
Bots, bots… and bots #
Phoned up their “quit contract” hotline
0345 454 1111, press
1 4 4 according to their instructions for cancellation - which I got told to continue via SMS text messages - I guess not everyone in the call center is available for phone call, and work from home?
The next bot is an SMS bot, which asks me some general questions for my intentions. As soon as I requested for package cancellation, the next instruction is to continue with their WhatsApp bot. Okey…
I am a bit mad right now to be honest. But when compared to live chat, the last I need to worry is connection drop and restart everything again. I can also busy with something else while waiting for replies. The new bot asks a series of questions again, but this time with more questions, for example the reasons for cancellation and prove that I’m the account owner, where I had to validate by typing my Email address, account ID, direct-debit bill date for the month, and my last bill value.
Finally, I got contacted by a human-support after a short wait.
Come on, is 2022 now! Yet we have to jump 3 hops to get a human-customer-support.
The first human-customer-support #
The customer support whom took my request, did some look up, misinterpreted my request and responded with the following:
“I am sorry to hear that you are looking to cancel the services, you have to give 30 days notice with our customer relations team to cancel the services.”
This is annoy. I have answered the same set of questions 3-times to hear such response. I have clearly stated that my contract still had about 45 days until the end of my contract. I have immediately replied back, that “I’m here to give you the 30 days notice” - I am angry.
The person on the other end seems to finally understood my request, and forwarded me to the next level of customer support - “customer relations”. It must’ve been a busy day for them, as I waited patiently from 13:37 until 15:01.
While I was waiting, I decided to have a quick chat with my colleague, whom also thought about escape from VM. He had bad experience their customer support previously, and also got trapped to pay at a higher rate.
Customer relations support #
The second real-human support is from their customer relations department.
I got asked to answer some questions again, using their secure form. I’m not sure the reason for that, probably to prevent those information saved to WhatsApp’s history.
The question I got asked for was “The first digits of my password”.
Immediately, this feels bad - are they storing my passwords, in plain text?!
Then the second thought - I’m glad that the password was randomly generated.
However this did not work, they could not verify that I am my self. So he/she fallback to ask me some questions one by one. To be fair, I’ve already entered previously with the WhatsApp bot, so I offered answers to my predicted follow up questions to him/her.
After successfully identify my self - I got an offer for the same package, but at this time, for £24.00/month for 18 months - a ↓4% decrease compared to my current contract. I’ve double checked the contract effective date and whether it was a fixed price contract with support, and got the affirmation.
After reviewing my reason to cancel - which was mainly the cost, the level of quality was OK for most of the time - I’ve chosen to stay with Virgin Media. It is a good deal that will last until the beginning of 2024. Problem solved.
I find this second support to be much easier to communicate, as he/she goes straight to the point and provide an offer. I’d wish all future communication would be this easy.
The end, and final thoughts #
Wasted a whole afternoon for it, though it ended well. I was considering hopping around for other ISP, but the new offering is just… irresistible.
From the look it, I should definitely talk with them near the end of 2023. Do the homework to understand the offering others had, and try to negotiate a better deal… of course if their deal aren’t competitive any more, I’ll have to move on.
The cost of living in the England is getting… more and more expensive. This can be seen for the published inflation rate and increased energy prices. I’ve also heard that the price increase is going happening soon with the water…
Well, let’s hope that things are getting better for the rest of the year.