October 16, 2011

Virgin Media installation - enough to make you despair - UPDATED

Just a few weeks ago a friend of mine decided to switch from Sky/BT to Virgin Media. Her main desire was for faster broadband for her family, but was interested in the TV too. She signed up for 50Mb broadband and M+ TV.
She lives in a listed building in SE London. She called me shortly after the installation and asked if I could help with the TV as it seemed to have been set up poorly. She was right: the clowns had plugged cables in seemingly at random and had left it all connected via SCART (despite there being HDMI cables available to connect it correctly). Worse, the broadband was fluctuating between 45mb and an unusable sub 1mb speed (according to speedtest.net). She had reported this several times since installation and had been told it would be fixed "in the next few days". Three weeks later and the broadband is still erratic and seen by my friend as worse than her old BT 8Mb.
But the worse thing is the cabling outside the house. See the pictures and judge for yourself: that neat black cable in the BT and Sky cabling, the white cable, looking suspiciously like one for internal rather than external use, is Virgin Media. Have you ever seen such a botched, rushed, ugly cabling job? The box is not secured, hanging on by sheer will power alone. One strong wind and the whole lot will come down. And remember that this is on an historic building over looking the Thames.
Makes me despair.
If anyone from Virgin Media reads this, please contact me and I can put you in touch with my friend to sort this out. She's ready to switch back to Sky/BT and I can't blame her. Come on VM, you're better than this...

UPDATE: Can't fault Virgin Media's response to this posting: I had an email from Virgin Media's Head of Customer Experience at 7am on Monday morning, quickly followed by another from the Head of Services and Installs and my friend has an appointment for Thursday to rectify everything. Thanks guys!


Square eyes said...

tell your friend to send the pictures to VM through the complaints dept or to even call and ask for a service manager to come and take a look at the mess they have made. 150 from her landline if if is VM or 08454541111 if is not.

Adam Jacobs said...

Scary, I have them installing three TiVos next month - mega room for error!

Francis said...

VM came to install a neighbour's service, without asking, I got back home to see they'd drilled holes in my wall, round my front garden to the neighbour. The worst part? This is the 3rd time they've done this. Last 2 times, they (after months of calling and telling the story) came and filled the hole and painted.

Love the service, hate the customer service.

Ian said...

I had an installation like your friend with two HD boxes and was similarly appalled. The second box was to go in a study so the guy decided to drill a hole through the dividing wall but used much too big a drill bit - huge crack up the wall and great chunks of plaster out the wall above the cable.

Said they only had one HDMI cable so had to use SCART on the other box.

Had no paperwork indicating a phone switch (which had clearly been requested) so I have a new number instead of the old one I asked to be transferred.

My installtion guy had been in the job 2 weeks and spent most of the time complaining it was taking him longer than it should because he couldn't get the router connection to work properly.

All-in-all, very poor service, but at least it works. I don't want to look at what's outside - what's inside is shoddy enough workmanship.

bluemonkeymagic said...

I had a shocking installation when I moved house. They turned up at 8pm on a friday night to do a 4 point installation and refused to do it. They pressed me to ring the area manager and get them to come back another time. He told me 3 weeks so I told them I wanted it done. They whisked through it in 40 minutes and did a shocking job. I wrote and rang in to to complain (I wrote 5 emails before I even received a reply). £20 compensation and not even an apology. I have already decided to cancel next year and go to Sky.

Alex Brown said...

Hi Nialli

I've dropped you a line, if you can send on some details we'll look into what happened here and put it right for your friend.

Apologies for this, it doesn't look good :(



Customer Experience
Virgin Media

Nialli said...

Thanks Alex. I've emailed you direct with details.

Craig said...

As a side issue can anyone explain why after I had Tivo installed as well as HDMI connection from box to tv they have also put a scart connection from Tivo box to tv so everytime I put tv on I have to keep changing from AV1 - Scart to AV4 -HDMI.

binx said...

My service was installed (NOV 2010) on a bitterly cold day when the ground was frozen. The installers could not find the green connection pipe at the end of my garden. As the ground was frozen they refused to lift the flags on the pavement (fear of breaking them and getting a bill from the council) so instead used an old feed from next door. Told me they would change it once the weather gets warmer.

Still on next doors cable ~12mths later. Lets hope they dont switch back from SKY!

sidders said...

I have to say that our experience of a TiVo installation
was at the other end of the spectrum. The engineer called us prior to arrival to ensure we were available. He installed
the TiVo box in our lounge and relocated the existing V+ box in one of the bedrooms. While the software on the TiVo was being updated he put the final touches to the V+ installation. The cables were run through the house with the minimal amount of fuss and lack of damage to paintwork. Once the TiVo had updated itself the engineer updated the TiVo remote to ensure it would operate our Panasonic HD TV. his service was outstanding and the TiVo has run trouble free since installation. The picture quality is outstanding.

As an ex SKY customer it would take more than the offer of ATLANTIC to entice us back. Sure I would enjoy other channels that are not carried by VM such as PREMIER SPORTS and ATLANTIC but my wife and I are completely satisfied with what's on offer.

Richard said...

@craig - disconect the scart completely. You don't need it if you are connected via HDMI.

TV auto senses a scart signal and swiches to the scart channel then you have to switch TV back to HDMI manually.

The sad thing about all these stories is it is a reflection on workmanship in todays society. Its not just VM who have this problem its lots of industries.

But not all the VM guys are as bad as your stories. My last house move the installation guy sat till nearly 9 at night when he should have clocked of an hour before. He wanted to make sure everything worked. More the experience like Sidders than horrors you are mentioning.

Nialli said...

Here's an update from my friend: "Great guys came around. Tv is fab. Cleaned up all cables. Reconnected all phones. Removed White wires. Extremely helpful. Broadband - great when he tried it but is was back to .19 2 mins after he'd gone. Called him and he told me to remove all other wireless and then monitor. He wasn't sure how to do this. I have removed all ok'd ones but local ones keep returning. Will monitor. He says he'll come back if problems. Much more hopeful and Tv and phones great. Bit worried about bb as still variable. Will monitor with Fingers crossed. Great guys though!"
So thanks to all at VM who helped with this - great response from Virgin, I just hope her broadband settles down as that's the main reason she moved to VM.

devonshire drivel said...

Hi Niall,
I'm Kate who recommended that your friend switch to virgin. We have had a year of fantastic 50mb bb until 7 weeks ago when we went for Tivo /tv. We have not had broadband in the evenings since and get a miserable 2-20 mb during the day with the odd flash of what used to be. The help line is by far the worst I have come across and I worked a a consumer journalist for 15 years including Consumers' Association. The cabling was a complete disaster to cut a long story short -a knife through the cable and reattaching bb and old NTL tv cables then wrapping in tape and pushing behind a bush)- broadband has been rubbish since and the installer said he didn't know anything about broadband he was just there to install tv. Now 7 weeks, another installer who put cable join in a box and 40 + calls later including 12 hours in the last week and there is no plan to resolve the problem. Some of the conversations have been amongst the most amazing BS I have ever heard. The latest is that they cannot make an appointment or put me through to 50mb team until after the 25th oct due to a server fault in SE london. If they do I will get an immediate text cancelling the appointment....interestingly enough in september they were telling me the same thing claiming that the server problem would be fixed by Oct 2nd. They keep offering me a tenner off my bill and this has now crept up to £60. I have been told that the only way of complaining is in writing and that will slow things up because it could take weeks for them to reply! all very depressing

Alex Brown said...

Just saw the updated comment - thanks for the feedback Nialli.

Kate - Can you please drop the social media customer service team a line [http://virg.co/nq0iw] and they'll be able to get this sorted for you. Apologies for the hassle.

Head of Customer Experience
Virgin Media

devonshire drivel said...

STOP PRESS update. A very nice and- more importantly- knowledgeable man has taken over our case. He's called James White and he has worked out what the problem is- came straight to the house and checked it all out - and is getting it fixed. Everything crosses

Nialli said...

@Kate: love that Devonshire Drivel penname! Didn't get it at first...
Glad VM are sorting you out - didn't make sense it being an area issue given that you're just a couple of streets away from us and our connection's solid. How do you like TiVo? I thought you guys had Freeview.

Richard Starkey said...

I am dispairing also. Firstly VirginMedia overcharged me, not including the First Time offer for a newly installed road. Now resolved. The install (Phone & fibre for broadband and TV) started well on the 16th Nov when two helpful guys turned up on time and watched by me did a professional job of running the cables into my 4th floor flat. Out came the new TiVo box and Router to find everything dead, including the new phone line. The guys left with apologies saying there was a fibre optic fault and that the fibre team would be in touch to complete, either that evening or on the next day. Nothing heard all the next day so I complained to Customer Services, still no response until last night 18th when Customer Services got a local install manager to call me. He promised to call on me personally before 10am today 19th but didn't show up or phone (on my mobile as BT have pulled the plug on my old line as requested by VM! Just chased the local manager again who says someone will be here within the next hour. He has now admitted that advertising and sales for a new area run well ahead of that area going live. I will let our local Trading Standards know about this as the brochure says the area is live!! It appears that they are actually routing the new fibre to me as I write, it is now outside my block of flats and is due to reach the internal distribution cabinet today. I am an IT Manager - the idea that you hand brand new network cabling over to a customer without through testing is appalling. The local manager wanted me to connect up in my flat, i am insisting on a visit from an engineer to test that all is operational to my satisfaction. This also seems to be the moment when new TiVo software is being rolled out causing some grief, I await with interest how my set-up will work. Can't exactly recommend VM at the moment.......

Richard Starkey said...

Further update to my install by VM, two days further on and 5 days beyond the start date. I now have a phone line working with tranferred number after a VM engineer visit on Saturday but there is as yet no fibre optic connection to my block of flats. I have called the local manager again this morning, his voicemail says he is on holiday and gives another number, this is also on voicemail. I will give it another hour then go back to customer services with no doubt another long queue. There is a complete lack of customer care from VM, things can go wrong with anything but there is no policy of keeping the customer updated with accurate information and achievable timescales. Even that though wouldn't excuse starting an install and change over of service on a date when the area infrastructure is not in place.

Sue and Steve said...

Dear VM,

I am extremely annoyed with the terrible service you have provided me and you have left me in total despair.

On the 10th on November we had a "Site Survey" from one of your members, I didn't get his name but his number was 0207 3633 955, on his arrival he promised us there was no problems on getting the installation to our apartment so as we agreed we paid a £25.00 deposit and agreed to the the XL BB and M TV package with phone, great news right?

Wrong! On arrival of your engineer on the 17th as promised between 1 and 6pm although he arrived at 11.26am he done a cable check and shrugged his shoulders and said "Hmm, there seems to be a break in the cable, I will contact my DM and arrange for another installation team to come to you to rerun a cable", fine I said and off he went.

At 1.26pm another engineer arrived and done the exact same thing as the last with the same result, I explained we had a site survey on the 10th and was told all was fine, he just again shrugged his shoulders and said, "well he didn't do it properly" and left.

I was with Talk-talk and cancelled my BB and Phone service with them for the 16th November assuming as I was OK with VM install.

I phoned your help-desk which took me a long time to explain what the problem was, they put me through to the installations team in which I had to wait 37 minutes, again like a repeating record I explained the issue, they said they would get some one to call me back, its now the 28th of November, I have had no call back, and even worse no services, Talk-talk are looking for £130 for re-installation fee's not including my loss of earnings staying at home for the engineer,

Could somebody just please provide me with a solution as you have already signed up your contract with me of my partner? 07930425424

Steve and Sue

Richard Starkey said...

This is a final update to the saga of my Virgin Media install, now complete and working very well after over 3 weeks of trauma. Rather than tell of further long phone calls and failed actions, perhaps I can just pass on this advice to others like Steve and Sue here.
1) VM do have some good technicians but talking to local managers for which you may be given phone numbers is a complete waste of time. Specifically they don't return calls to give you any information as to progress.
2) Like Steve and Sue, my problem was my 1970s block of flats not having digital cabling, I found a neighbour had also ordered, the pressure from both of us may have helped to get the block wired. Sadly it seems to be VM policy to sell you a package, then wire up your flat, then bring in cables to the block, but not tell you when. Guaranteed route to an upset customer!
3) Post on the main blog on VM's website by joining myvirginmedia and then the Forums. That got me noticed and things started to happen, first the broadband and then the TiVo box.
4) Don't call the general customer services, take option 2 I think it is for Technical support and the Broadband or TV, you may have a long queue but Peter on the Broadband team was brilliant, called me back several times and got it all moving.
Hope this helps others.

toomuchhype said...


More than 4 weeks has passed since my Virgin installation..

I wish to make a formal complaint about my installation.

When your installers arrived I asked them to explain how they set up the Broadband service to my house. They told me that a cable will be run from the road to my house. I asked for the cable to run down the side of my garden - so not to make a mess; a simple task i thought. They agreed but obviously didn't pay any attention. The cable was run down the centre of my garden making an absolute mess. 5 weeks later and the garden has not magically knitted back together. There is a hole running all the way down.

I had only just moved into the property when the install was carried out. With an ongoing house renovation it looks like the garden has now been added to my list. As you can appreciate a re turf is not cheap!

I would like an explanation as to why this was done and a solution to the problem asap.

As you can see i am VERY angry with the terrible service!

Below is a link to a photo of my garden and the mess that Virgin has left.


I look forward to your reply.

Nialli said...

Sorry to hear about your dilemma. However, this site isn't run by Virgin Media and is the wrong place to raise your complaint. I suggest you contact Virgin Media themselves.

CPA said...

Another VM saga, sitting here trying to get back through to Virgin now...been trying to get connected since first week of June (had 2 separate orders raised) and told today I will not have for perhaps 6-8 further weeks (if I don't cancel beforehand...). I don't want to bore people with all the details, but my take away is - please don't blindly believe what they tell you re:installation and think long and hard about cancelling or changing over from another supplier. Otherwise you could end up like me with no phone, no internet or anything for months (all in Central London - Olympic City my a__!!).
You had thought VM better than this with your original complaint and basis of this blog, but I simply can't agree.
C Autry