Thursday, 14 November 2013

Virgin mobile: round two

After the last two disappointing days trying to obtain a new, 3G-accessible mobile, I was almost about to give up. Here's what happened so far; you need to scroll down to the second half.
Today, I was back in the shop, determined to walk out of there with my desired item, anticipating never getting lost again. Since I'm not a mega user, I wanted something simple, but with a good camera; something that didn't cost too much so I could use my 30 pounds rewards/credit against it and would have a new, fancy phone without having to slash out. Well, it worked ... almost.
Miraculously, the system was working again. Yay! My heart did a tiny leap. Unfortunately, the feeling didn't last long: they logged into my account and asked, matter of factly, if I wanted to use my 10 pounds credit against it. Huh, come again? Yes, it clearly stated 10 pounds. I felt the heat rushing to my cheeks as I replied that it's impossible, that my credit showed 30 for months and even yesterday, when I'd been on the website. What had happened to the other 20?
I was informed that the credits are changing, depending on the amounts and frequency of topping up. Right, I thought, despite this being a shite system, you cannot deny me what I rightly owned up until yesterday. Website updating or not. I asked them to call someone to clarify. So they did. I spoke to customer service, who wanted to first give me back 15 pounds as a 'good will' gesture. I declined and said that they've taken 20 pounds off me due to their system being down, and that we wouldn't have this conversation right now, had I walked in yesterday to get that phone, as the 30 pounds were still there. Dutifully, she went back to the resolutions team and returned with a 'last and final offer of 20 pounds'. Which I thought was okay. It was just what was rightly mine, correct? I asked if I could now pay the 19.99 and walk out of the shop, which she confirmed. Phew! I was almost there and couldn't believe it had only taken about an hour. But when we went online, it still showed 10 pounds. What the fuck?
Again, I asked if they could call someone to sort this out; my patience wearing thin ...
This time I asked to be put through to the manager, because I've had enough and wanted a solution. And I think the staff in the shop was sick and tired seeing me, too. The manager then explained that she couldn't put up the rewards, but she could put 20 pounds credit on my phone to use. O .... kay.  Of course this was a 'one-off', and a favour, etc, but I had to pay 39.99 for the phone, which would have cost me 19.99. Even though I now have credit to use, they basically forced me to top up 20 pounds, which I didn't plan. At least not this month. And the 10 pounds rewards are now still sitting unused in my account, because I couldn't use it, for I got a 10-pound discount for being a Virgin broadband customer. The real winner in this? Virgin.
After about two hours, I left the shop, rather unsatisfied with this kind of customer service. If it had been me, I'd have send the bloody phone with Royal Mail for 20 pounds and apologised for the inconvenience. In the end, it wasn't my fault that their system was down and that I had to come back three times and spend hours on the phone with them to get things on the way.
The whole thing spoiled the fun of the new phone. So, people, what do we learn from this? Go and grab your rewards when they're the highest and that pronto.

Edited to add that I just checked my account online and even the 10 pounds rewards are gone. So I effectively now lost 10 pounds. A formal complaint will follow.

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