While the Virgin Media services are generally functional, it's certainly not unusual to have problems.
When systems are working, it's decent product, the reliability issues however more than counter the benefit of their offerings.
To the point where I really want to leave Virgin Media, unfortunately I'm locked in thanks to only having Virgin Media connection at the flat I'm living in for phone line.
So at the moment we get our internet, TV and phone (not mobile) service from Virgin Media.
Once we move, I shall certainly be putting some effort into finding an alternative to Virgin Media. In the mean time, I thought I'd document some peeves I've had with Virgin Media over the years (it's been quite a few!) as a customer.
Besides being far from a cheap service, at every opportunity Virgin Media are looking for ways to increase my bill. Fair enough, they are in the business of making money, but it gets a bit galling when everytime I speak to them there seems to be an attempt too upsell me something.
The website for example (when it actually works), when I login to review my package, never shows options to reduce my package. I don't believe I'm on the lowest package, but to change my package downwards I have to call. Upgrading to a pricier package? Yes, I can usually do that through the website.
Phone line costs?
I spoke to Virgin Media about removing the phone element of our package, for which on our last bill (Apr-May 2018) was £19/month. It is billed as its own item so I figured I should be able to remove it and reduce my bill by that amount.
I spoke to an agent on the phone a couple of years back, apparently my bill would be exactly the same after removing my landline.
Yes, I'm being billed £19/month for phone line, but removing the service doesn't affect my bill by any amount. How is this even legal?!
Gadget support premium support
I recently had a problem with my (cable) internet connection. Virgin Media decided my "Super Hub" was the problem so sent out a newer version of the hardware.
Virgin Media insisted they send a technician with the replacement rather than letting me plugin myself (as I have in the past without problem. So that's a wasted day for me as I have to stay in to wait for the guy).
I then had problems with the new hardware (trying to get it working in modem only mode), which after several calls and numerous settings/reboot/reset type cycles with both my kit and the Virgin Media Super Hub 3 just would not function with my router.
The cause of the problem was ultimately a setting in my router (I just wanted a modem from Virgin Media), but this was a setup that had worked previously with the last Virgin Media hub. So I felt the problem was introduced by new kit.
The usual support line refused to help as it was a compatibility issue with my kit and Virgin Media kit.
Support offered to put me through to the "gadget support team". Now the gadget support team are an additional paid for service, ok, I'll have to pay.
Here's the pain.
The gadget team is a subscription of £5 a month. Ok, I'll sign up for a month and cancel, nope. Minimum 6 months subscription.
Oh and there's also a £20 "setup fee" for the gadget support team.
So that call was to cost me £50, and I need to remember to cancel it later (and they failed to provide a permanent solution)
They wanted to remote desktop into my laptop to run some tests, when I told him he wouldn't be able to to because I use Linux he laughed and ended the call without a solution.
I guess they are hoping it'll end up like so many gym memberships and just sit there gathering money for no-use. In my case, literally gave Virgin Media for nothing.
Would've been nice if I could have got a "if gadget support team fix it you start paying" agreement. I guess I shouldn't be so optimistic.
Reliability and "support"
My Virgin media package features an up-to 100Mbps cable connection. Now, don't get me wrong, when it works it's great. Unfortunately when it doesn't work, I seem to have at least one episode a year, the support process is painful.
Every time you call you have to go through countless menus on the phone.
Sometimes after going through the menus to try and find a real person you end up with an automated reset of something or other, closely followed by an automated hangup.
You then have to go back through the menus to try again to find a real person on the other end.
When you do finally get through to someone in support, they won't do anything without going through the usual flow chart. A flow which often seems to break when they ask if I will let them remote onto my machine which, beside me not liking the very idea, they aren't able to do because I don't use Windows.
Problems I've experienced have included complete internet dropouts, DHCP failures, low speeds, poor pings. Like I said previously, while the service works, it's great. It just fails too frequently for the premium product they are trying to convince me they are offering.
Spam phone calls and rude sales agents
I've had a number of calls over the years to my phone telling me they have great offers for me, not unusual for any landline really, despite being registered with TPS. Most clearly don't know anything about me "you've had an accident", "let us give you cheaper broadband" etc type calls.
My favourites are those that reportedly come from Virgin Media. These calls ask for me by name, so either it is actually Virgin Media sales team cold calling me OR Virgin Media are selling my data (name/phone number) to someone else to try and generate sales.
Neither of those I like.
Just another reason to bin the phone line.
Why did I head this section with 'rude'? on the last of these Virgin Media sales calls the guy was quite persistent, so I agreed to listen to what upgrade deals he had for me.
At that point he starts asking "security questions". He got really quite shirty when I tried to explain that he called me and I wouldn't be answering any security questions, in fact he should be telling me about my account so I can verify who he is.
After 5 minutes of that discussion he signs off saying that as I'm being "rude and unhelpful" he'll be ending the call.
If anyone at Virgin Media reads this page, it is worth passing to your sales team that you need to find a better way to conduct cold calling!
Virgin Media TIVO box / TV service
Like all the services we buy from Virgin Media, the TIVO service when functioning correctly is great. Record 3 channels at one, what's not to like?
Well, there's certainly some things not to like with the Virgin Media provided Tivo box!
It's soooo slooooww! The TIVO box that is.
Like any TV service, there's a button to bring up the channel guide (EPG). Sometimes this seems to take minutes to come up (it's not actually that long, but it sure feels it!).
Navigating around the TIVO menus generally is painfully slow. I don't really understand why, but it seems to go through (not infrequent) episodes of being really slow.
Don't even bother with the red button (eg when a big event like Wimbledon tennis or Olympics is on), sometimes it takes minutes to bring up a menu, yes we've timed it. Sometimes the red button does nothing. Sometimes red button couases the Virgin Media TiVo box to just crash.