I was paying Virgin Media £103.96 per month and knew this was very high so decided to leave. The retention team offered me a new deal at £56.62 per month, upgraded my internet and added 12 months of free line rental.
Then, £203.27 was taken by direct debit when I was on holiday. At the same time, I received a credit note for £299. Virgin said the £299 should have come off my invoice and that it would send a cheque.
I received the money owing on June 17 last year. Then, in August, I received a bill for more than £200, with a credit note in the background! The executive complaints team offered six months of free monthly service as compensation, which I accepted.
Then, from September to April, I had to ring Virgin with more problems — twice claiming back money: £269.89 in September and £192.01 in March.
Virgin’s retention team offered one reader a new deal at £56.62 per month, upgraded her internet and added 12 months of free line rental
I was at my wits’ end when I received a £399 invoice on April 8. I was initially offered a further free month, which was later raised to four months. I feel this is inadequate and we have reached deadlock.
Meanwhile, the retention team has now offered me a new deal at £67 per month, which I have accepted as my contract had gone up to £97.
P. T., Greater Manchester.
Phew! Reading your letter I felt like I had been transported back to the Seventies with Esther Rantzen running us through a consumer saga on That’s Life!.
It’s one thing for a company to make a mistake. But to keep on making the errors, even when the executive office is involved, suggests someone, somewhere, is failing to pick up responsibility.
I must say I am rather surprised you stuck with Virgin. If I had received that service, I would have said thanks but no thanks to its new offer.
Going back, it seems your monthly charges were initially split over two statements rather than one. This was apparently a ‘systems error’ (code, I suspect, for some bumpkin pressing the wrong button).
Next, an ‘IT error’ (wrong button again!) meant the credit added to your account was not applied by the billing system. So you continued to be charged even though you were in credit.
Virgin has spoken to you about this and the money taken in error has been returned. It has now also agreed to give you an extra six months of free services — making 12 months in total.
In addition, it has applied other discounts, leading you to accept the new contract.
But perhaps best of all, it has created an entirely new account for you to ensure you won’t have any further issues, and it sends fulsome apologies for the difficulties you have had.
You Have Your Say
Every week, Money Mail receives hundreds of your letters and emails about our stories. Here are some of the best from our story about home owners who are tricked by rogue solar panel salesmen
Don’t be so daft as to buy solar panels from doorstep salesmen. I can’t believe there are still people gullible enough. Just say: ‘No thank you, I’m not interested.’ Then shut the door.
C. T., Canterbury.
If you retired with a nice nest egg and paid cash to buy solar panels, you might make a modest profit over the 20-year Feed-In Tariff period. But if you borrowed to install, you will lose out significantly because of the high interest on the loan.
C. K., Gloucester.
I was cold-called by a company which gave me the hard sell. I went to my bank and arranged a low-interest loan. I have paid it off, my electricity bills have fallen and the Feed-In Tariff payments mean I will soon start making a modest profit.
L. N., Essex.
We installed solar panels in 2013, costing £8,000. With an average income of £650 and electricity savings of £95 per year, we will have recouped our investment by year ten at the latest.
As the Government incentive scheme runs for 20 years, we will have doubled our money. Solar panels are a good investment if you pay up front.
K. B., Cheshire.
We took a huge loan to pay for solar panels three years ago. We were told the Feed-In Tariff money would cover the repayments, but that is not the case. I wish we’d never got involved.
B. P., Liverpool.
Solar panels in England just don’t make sense — it’s cloudy most of the time. Even in California, solar panels would take around seven to ten years to pay for themselves in reduced power bills — longer if you took out a loan.
L. N., London.
I bought a condenser dryer from Argos for £233.99 in June last year. Even on a cool setting, it melted a mattress cover. At the beginning of August, I phoned Argos to complain and was put through to the manufacturer.
I was told an engineer would look at it, but that it would cost me around £100 if no fault was found. I was not happy as this meant it would be my word against theirs.
I phoned Trading Standards and was advised to send a registered letter to Argos stating my complaint and asking for a reply within 14 days. That was on August 7, 2017. I did not get a reply.
I tried using the dryer again and this time it melted two dressing gowns and a throw, putting the total cost of its damage to just less than £200.
We then had a family crisis, which took over, but still we needed to dry clothes so we were forced to buy another machine. We are £233.99 down.
F. H., Oxford.
When you buy something from a store, your contract is with the retailer, yet some insist on putting you through directly to the manufacturer and then attempt to ignore their responsibilities.
The law is clear. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, your rights are against the retailer, not the manufacturer. Goods should be of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. Your tumble dryer was neither.
If you discover a fault within six months of delivery of a product, it is presumed to have been there when you bought it (unless the retailer can prove otherwise). When I put these points to Argos, it referred to the manufacturer’s warranty. This is irrelevant under the act and is additional cover.
Argos agrees that you were not comfortable with the potential call-out fee. I wouldn’t have been either. As I explained to the retailer, a £100 charge feels like a strong disincentive to getting a potentially dangerous machine fixed.
Argos says that when you went back to its customer services team, you were asked to provide proof of purchase and any evidence of the fault and damage the product may have caused.
It says it did not receive this. You said you sent it by signed-for delivery. Perhaps Argos should search its post room.
Argos has now repaid you the cost of the machine and added £50 gift voucher as compensation. This won’t fully cover your losses, but at least you are rid of this dangerous tumble dryer.
Straight To The point
A week before my 80th birthday, I received a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions saying my State Pension will increase by 25p a week. What is this?
P. C., London.
This is known as ‘age addition’ and is paid when someone turns 80. You have to have reached State Pension age before April 6 to get it.
When the payment was introduced in 1971, the State Pension was only £6 a week, compared with more than £125 now, so it was a more meaningful sum.
My Nationwide two-year fixed Isa pays 0.75 per cent. But I opened the account a year ago and saw the rate had increased to 1.35 per cent. Will I be paid this on my savings?
L. C., Essex.
With fixed-rate bonds and Isas you lock in to a deal until the account matures. So no, you will not see your return boosted. This applies only to new customers.
My credit card expired at the end of April and its replacement never arrived. I called Tesco Bank and it said it would send another.
This didn’t arrive either, so I called and checked it had my correct address. It sent a third, which also never arrived — yet I still receive statements.
T. B., London.
It seems Tesco Bank has had two addresses on file since you moved a few years ago. The card was sent to your old address and statements to the new one. Tesco has apologised, changed its records and sent another card.
My wife and I spent around £10,000 on a 35-night P&O cruise to America. It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, but it was impossible to get into the entertainment areas because the ship was overcrowded, the lifts were out of action and the power to our cabin failed six times.
It’s not a luxury we’ll ever be able to afford again as we paid using the maturity of a small bond.
M. C., West Somerset.
P&O cruises admits that entertainment venues on the ship tend to be overcrowded and apologises that this negatively affected your experience. It says the lifts have been fixed, but it appreciates your feedback and has offered you £650 as a goodwill gesture.