When beginning our new-found frugal lifestyle changes were made across all areas of our life, we cast a careful eye over everything that costs us money on a monthly basis, deciding whether we needed it, if it was essential or not, could it be cut to save us money?
We carefully studied every bill, subscription or purchase cutting where necessary or negotiating a better deal to stick to our budget. The one area we made large cuts were entertainment, we had Netflix, Prime and the top package from Virgin, simply too much.
It made perfect sense that the streaming services had to go and to save further money and downgrading our Virgin Media package from the top tier down to the bottom.
I’ve been a faithful Virgin customer for at least eight years now, we’ve always had top tier full package usually coming out to £75 per month, no longer required and not in contract let’s give them a call and let’s get that sorted.
I rang spoke to the operator and explained that as we’re down to one income for the moment and trying our best to save hard, unfortunately, we’d like to move our package down to the lowest tier of “player” bundle advertised on their website for £33.
“Certainly not a problem, that’ll be £56 per month”
“But the website says its £33 per month” was my reply
“new customers only, I’m afraid”
Needless to say, as a long-standing customer, being told I would have to pay £56 per month when new customers got the exact same package for £33 per month to me was absolutely absurd. There was nothing that needed doing, no further installs (as Mr New Customer would require), just a downgrade of the package and me quite happy to sign up to a new 12-month contract.
I put this point across of the course of a total of five further phone calls, the first call they were adamant that a move from £56 was totally not a possibility. On the second phone call, the operator finally moved to £48 which was a slight improvement but still not the elusive £33, so I said I’d think it over.
Still unhappy the third phone call was to cancel my service altogether and then miraculously the £48 was topped up with a £50.00 bill credit, but alas still not the mystical £33. I told them again I would think about that further and call them back.
I made the fourth call and spoke to an extremely unpleasant operator this time around, although as ever keeping my cool and being thoroughly pleasant. I don’t believe in ever being abusive or even raising my voice when making these types of calls but even operator four was pushing my buttons, he was beyond horrible and left me shaking with anger.
They moved on price but we argued about the fact that he wanted to charge me £44 across 18 months with a £50 bill credit, where Mr New Customer still gets it at £33 for the 12 month contract period (and £51 per month after that), leaving them the ability to leave or renegotiate after 12 months. This locks me in really for a further six months over Mr New Customer to get near the same deal.
So essentially this is how they broke it down:
New Customer cost over 18 months = £702 = £39 per month
Mr Loyal Customer (me) cost over 18 months = £742 = £41.22 per month
This offer to me was still unfair and took a hell of a lot of persuading over the course of four phone calls of considerable duration each time to even reach this point. Operator four was getting wound up because he thought I didn’t understand how they’d worked out the plan, I totally had but to me, it was still a poor deal.
I told operator four to make a note of it on the account and I would think about it and call back tomorrow. I slept on it and decided the next day to go ahead and make the call and take the deal, I knew I wouldn’t be able to make them move any further.
A total of five phone calls and roughly 2-2.5 hours of my time, my descriptions of the phone calls are massively abridged for you, the readers benefit, but make no mistake not one of them was pleasant.
All to achieve what Mr New Customer can do simply by pressing the order button, how is this fair? Why is the loyal customer treated so badly and the new customer welcomed with open arms and great deals?
Upon doing further research into the subject I quickly found information that 59% of Virgins customers have been with them for over 10 years and those that never change their package are known as “Sleeper” customers. So, the loyal customer that doesn’t challenge their package price plays a large part in the company’s profits, so it pays them well to treat loyal customers badly.
Challenge your provider about what you pay, go in with all the relevant information to hand by doing your research first on the services they provide and what they charge for them and their competition too, so you’ve got a good comparison.
What about the people out there that hate confrontation and having such conversations? If you’re still too nervous to make these calls, then try using a website like ismybillfair.com to help you to succeed in getting cheaper monthly bills
Overall it was a poor customer service experience for me all around and although unpleasant I implore you if you’re out of contract to challenge what you pay for your services whether it be Virgin or any other company. I know they’re a business and I know they have to make their money, but not by treating loyal customers badly.