Broadband, a service which I couldn’t live without; so much so that I have backup plans both on my iPhone and MiFi should my home broadband fail. Today was just such a day, and I counted my lucky stars that I had backup solutions.
Logging onto my Airport Extreme I immediately diagnosed the problem, no DNS server and duel NAT assignment was being provided by my cable provider, Virgin Media. A quick look at the cable modem confirmed this. A quick check online revealed that all services in Leeds were (supposedly) up and running, however those in the Harrogate area (a five-minute drive away) were suffering such outages.
Being an upstanding citizen of the community, I decided that I would inform Virgin Media that the problem in Harrogate had in fact affected Leeds as well; big mistake.
Upon dialing the free phone number (yes they chose not to charge me to report a fault, big brownie points here Virgin) it took me 4 minutes (yes I timed it) to select the 5 options from my keypad, and a further 5 minute wait before I was connected to a ‘technician‘ someone who works for Virgin. They took the details of the area I was in and insisted that the issue had not spread, I was then led by the hand to reset the modem – something I had already done several times. I even went as far as offering up the information which I had with regards to the diagnostics from my router coupled with the fact that a known issue was only five minutes away. Virgin Media were convinced they knew best.
“I’m sorry sir but its a problem with your equipment, the earliest we can have an engineer call is Thursday at 4”. I rel-iterated that I didn’t think we needed one but they thought we did, and for the inconvenience they offered me a £10 credit towards my account. They were right, it was an inconvenience, me wanting to help them and them not listening, so I negotiated £20 credit instead for my troubles.
It’s not often that I say this, but I knew I was right, a few hours later the issue from Harrogate got resolved and within minutes I got a squeal of delight from my brother letting me know that our connection was up and running. So I was right, and Virgin Media were wrong. Not wanting to waste their engineers time as much as Virgin did, I decided that I would take more time out from my day to cancel this unnecessary appointment. Again, selecting the 5 options and waiting 5 minutes before I was connected to a ‘technician‘ someone who works for Virgin, they told me that I couldn’t cancel the appointment as the account wasnt in my name.
So let’s get this right, I can give the technical support Indian division of Virgin Media technical advice which they don’t listen to, get my account credited £20 for the inconvenience, have them create an appointment with an engineer which I don’t need, but im unable to cancel it? Hopefully you can see why I was getting a little angry. Upon being told ‘im sorry sir as you’re not the account holder you can’t cancel the appointment, even though you made it’ I replied with the short comment ‘fine, send him round and waste your own time’. I think they got the message and canceled it and got off the phone quickly before I really laid into them.
Every service can and is likely to wrong, an eventuality that everyone who has broadband accepts. Some people such as myself even go out of their way to help the service provider by informing them of the extent of a service outage. But after today why should we bother? Virgin Media seem to think that their customers have very little knowledge about what they are talking about, and are more than happy to waste their engineers time by booking appointments that are not needed. All that I wanted was my suggestion that a recognized fault in an area five minutes away was affecting another area; so that they could update those ringing such as myself with this information. Instead they decided to waste my time, and their time further, which will no doubt be subsidized by an increase in the prices of their products.
I for one see very little merit in me going out of my way for Virgin Media again in the future, after all Virgin Media seem to think they know best!