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Virgin Media: Problems with Customer Service

Virgin Media logo

Whether you’re thinking of becoming a Virgin Media customer or you already are, it’s important to know what you’re in for when an issue arises and you need it dealt with. The major providers have a questionable reputation when it comes to customer service and price in particular. This page will look at customer reviews to see how Virgin are performing.


According to Ofcom’s most recent report on broadband service quality, only 51% of subscribers to the 8 largest ISPs are satisfied with how their complaints are dealt with. It doesn’t bode particularly well - so let’s see how Virgin Media customer service and pricing stands up to scrutiny. We’ll start by looking at customer reviews generally, which may offer a slightly skewed insight as on sites like Trustpilot we will only hear from those looking to complain.


Virgin Media Reviews: An Overview

Megaphone

In line with what we’ve come to expect from the major providers, customer reviews paint a sorry picture of what it’s like to be a Virgin Media subscriber. On Trustpilot, they receive an absolutely abysmal TrustScore of 0.5/10, which is about as bad as it gets. Of the 8,969 reviews recorded, 90% were negative, with 83% giving the worst rating rating of Bad. Less than 10% of customers recorded having a positive experience.

We feel the need to mention the occasional negative review for Virgin Mobile does slip through the net, but the majority know exactly who they’re complaining about - and positive reviews are so sparse that these stray mobile gripes have no effect on the overall score.

Reasons for customer dissatisfaction are as varied as negative reviews are numerous. Reviews citing rising prices, problems in contacting Virgin to report an issue, and the difficulty of leaving even at the end of the initial 12 months are all common. Among a small number of positive asides it is mentioned that their broadband service is often good, but the increasing expense and problems once issues do occur lead even these reviewers to give bad reviews.


Virgin Media Customer Service Reviews

We’ve already touched upon the fact that poor customer service is mentioned frequently among Virgin’s negative reviews. Customers mention not only difficulty in getting into contact with them but also the ineptitude of their staff - which reviews complain are not UK-based - in dealing with queries.

All their accessible parts of their website work fine when it comes to making money with new contracts or for pricey upgrading but you have no chance of any help complaining because nothing on their site works, online chat is a joke, it never works. Try to find a way to complain then you are out of luck. Search for an email address then if you find it you have struck gold. - Brian

The tone of this review is in line with many others in which customers feel they are seen as cash cows and not people with issues that need resolving. The issue of call centres being based abroad also comes up repeatedly, with this seen as indicative of Virgin’s attitude to their customers.

If you have an issue and don’t know the best way to contact Virgin for the fastest solution, see their contact page for our full breakdown of the ways to get in touch with them.

On the whole, Virgin do not seem to be particularly responsive in terms of customer service, and the evidence against them is stacked quite high. Even away from review sites, Ofcom’s 2019 report on service quality among the biggest providers records their average call waiting times as being 2 minutes 19 seconds - 42 seconds below the industry average and a full 1 minute and 46 seconds behind industry leaders TalkTalk!


Pricing

Another thing widely agreed upon by reviewers is that they’re now paying or have paid way too much. In our page on Virgin broadband, we found that they compared pretty well with the market average for speed vs. price - though they were by no means the cheapest. This would explain the volume of customers convinced by their deals, but why all the complaints?

Money

It turns out Virgin are guilty of some pretty hefty and persistent price hikes - at least according to the complaints. When you pair this with the difficulty of getting in touch and cancelling your deal, the result is many customers left feeling helpless.

Many customers feel that their loyalty is being entirely disregarded by Virgin, who are quick to hit customers who stick with them the hardest while giving new customers a good price. If you’re looking for an easy life and for a deal to stick with for longer than a year while feeling valued as a customer, you may have to look elsewhere.

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Bills and Account Management

This is where the outlook brightens a bit for Virgin. Billing and account management is largely done through the My Virgin Media app, which is rated well on both the App Store and the Google Play Store. For iOS it scores an impressive 4.6/5 average according to its user ratings, and on Android it scores 3.7/5 - still a pretty good score, but dragged down by a minority of 1 star reviews.

For an analysis of the reviews received by the My Virgin Media app, see our My Virgin Media page where we go into it in more detail.


Complaint handling

In analysing the success of Virgin’s complaint handling process it’s useful to take a look Ofcom’s report into broadband service quality, where the major providers’ dirty laundry is hung out for all to see. Virgin’s stats on complaints and how they deal with them, as well as how they compare with competitors, are laid bare. Let’s take a look at them:

Ofcom 2019 report on provider performance graphic

Interestingly, there are encouraging signs. Overall satisfaction with Virgin’s service is above the 83% industry average at 85%. This is obviously good - it means that on the whole Virgin customers are happy with the service their getting. This statistic is backed up by another they perform well on - the number of Ofcom complaints they receive per 100k subscribers. This stands at 51, which is just below the overall average of 58. Of the eight providers included in the report, only two (EE and Sky) recorded fewer complaints.

These numbers are pretty good, but by no means outstanding - Virgin comes in third-best in both categories. Also, unfortunately for Virgin, this is where the positives end. When it comes to how they perform in the instance of a complaint, things go slightly downhill. This is also where the reviews become relevant again.

We mentioned earlier that general satisfaction with Virgin stood at a respectable 85%. What we didn’t mention was that a worrying 15% of customers had a reason to complain. This is the second-highest percentage of any provider in this category (behind TalkTalk with 17%), and explains the volume of poor reviews they’ve been receiving. In addition, only 47% of these complainants were satisfied with how their complaint was dealt with.

This can in part be explained by the long wait times that Ofcom report - only two providers (Plusnet and Kcom) put in worse showings than Virgin here, and reviews reflect this.

There’s also more than enough mention of incompetent or rude staff to cause concern, and several reviewers find the fact that Virgin’s call centre is not based in the UK to be an issue. Overall, though you may find yourself in the lucky 85% with no reason to complain, Virgin’s ability to deal with complaints seems to leave a lot to be desired.


Virgin Media Reviews: Verdict

Virgin has put in a poor showing across the board, except in managing your account and bills, which the app seems to allow customers to perform easily and without stress. In every other area, however, Virgin seems to fall well short of the mark in terms of keeping their customers happy. As such, we don’t feel able to give them a rating of more than 2 / 5 stars.

Man holding balls

We did almost give them just the 1. Seem harsh? Give their customer reviews a quick glance - it won’t take long to change your mind. You can certainly get a good deal initially with Virgin, and if you’re lucky you’ll be among the customers that have managed to avoid any issue and not had to deal with their customer service team. Those that have, however, have nothing good to say, and it’s clear that your initial good deal won’t last you long.

If you were tempted by the initial price of one of Virgin’s broadband deals, we’d advise you to have a longer think about it. In fact - get in touch with us and we can help you find something better!

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