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Dead Man's Virgin Media bill goes viral on Facebook

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#16 Actually Jim

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 10:11

One of the advantages of the Internet is that it provides a level playing field for everyone to state their opinions. I was pointed here by a friend, so please allow me to answer some of the issues that have been raised. I hope it helps.

[quote name='nik louch'] OK, as bad as it seems, I can see 100% how this happens. Has whoever is executing this deceased persons estate contacted the service providers? I would guess not. This is THEIR failing, not Virgin's. [/quote]

Thank you for your comment 'nik louch'. Your 'guess' is incorrect. We had completed our legal obligations (indeed more than our legal obligations) and informed Virgin Media of my father in laws passing. Several times. Therefore, I do not understand what failing you are referring to?

[quote name='Nashy'] Just because your loved one dies, doesn't mean their bills will automatically stop coming. And in some cases, you are still required to pay for the services out of their estate. [/quote]

Thank you for your comment 'Nashy'. We are fully aware of this and have no issue with paying for services used up until the date of his passing, our objection is to being fined extra money and receiving yet another months bills because of the companies inability to administer his account correctly, after we had spoken to them several times beforehand.

[quote name='Tumbleweed_Biff'] Amen! There is nothing for Virgin to apologize for. Just because the person died, does not mean that their bill goes away, any more than their electric bill, gas, rent, etc. It is the responsibility of the executor of the estate to norify any/all service providers and to PAY from the estate and payments due up to the time the executor notified the provider to halt service. [/quote]

Thank you for your comments 'Tumbleweed_Biff'. If you would like to read the publicly available information on this matter, you will see we have no objection to paying what is legitimately owed, and I refer you to my comments above.

[quote name='Rappy'] Yeah when my Dad died last year his widow had to clear his Talk Talk contract unless she proved he was dead which she did [/quote]

Which, out of interest, we also did.

[quote name='Growled'] I agree. It is the heir's responsibility to take care of the bills and to cut of any services no longer needed. It was rather childish for them to post it on Facebook. [/quote]

Hello 'Growled'. Thank you for your comment. We did exactly this, but when we were ignored (actually ignored, passed around various departments etc) we used a legitimate avenue of communication.

Do you not believe the internet is a valid channel of communication (bearing in mind you appear to be using this forum quite happily)?

[quote name='Neobond'] So it's a company's fault that they sent a bill to a man who owed for services and didn't tell them he died?
[/quote]

Thank you for your comment 'Neobond'. You appear to be missing the key fact - we DID repeatedly tell them, and prove to them, he had passed on. We even mention it in the letter.

[quote name='Hum'] Yeah, maybe Virgin could excuse the late charges, but the family should still pay off his bill. [/quote]

Which we have done.

[quote name='techbeck'] Sounds like they just wanted attention. Most companies would excuse charges like this...all they had to do was call. No need to make it public. Besides, their own fault [/quote]

Again, I refer you to my comments above...

The fact that 97,000 people shared it, is entirely down to those that shared. We merely wished to highlight the problem via legitimate channels.

[quote name='nik louch'] Yes, ok, it says Deceased. It would be nice to think they could raise a flag an pick up on this to stop such issues surely?[/quote]

This is precisely what Virgin Media are implementing now, and should have implemented to begin with.

[quote name='nik louch']However, Virgin do not (and should not) action anything on an account without the account holder's authority. In this case, the authority falls to whoever is executing the estate. They chose to contact the bank (possibly: close the account, transferal of funds after executing the will). They overlooked contacting service providers. This is their responsibility. [/quote]

Again, assuming any facts much (see above)?

[quote name='nik louch']Let's assume that this dead man had a wife. She is mourning the loss of her husband. Her TV, phone and internet stop working. She receives a bill - ah OK this explains it all. She can reinstate the service under a new payment profile.[/quote]

In this case, your assumption is again incorrect. My father in law lived alone.

[quote name='vcfan'] oh look,its the typical facebook warriors. companies would rather just apologize,even if they aren't at fault and move on. this internet mob mentality is ridiculous. [/quote]

I quite agree 'vcfan'! Look at how the mob mentality appears on this forum when people do not know the facts, or worse, assume facts.
It all get rather ridiculous rather quickly, as you can see.

To those of you who have been rational and logical about this situation, my thanks.

To everyone else, I hope these facts have assisted in your understanding of the situation, but please do let me know if you need any more.

With kindest regards,

Jim


#17 +Nik L

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 10:26

Jim (let's work under the assumption that you are who you say you are),

You present a quandary here... You see, you introduce elements that neither the original post here, nor the article quoted mention. The major element being that you had originally contacted Virgin - this has not been mentioned at all, anywhere related to this thread.

You see, you accuse me of assuming things. That is correct, I formed an opinion on what had been posted, NOT on what had not been posted.

If we take your word that you (?) had contacted Virgin, then this completely changes my opinion here. In my opinion it completely changes the story.

It puts the onus of responsibility on Virgin, and I wholly see the blame (and financial responsibility) as their issue and not yours.

Thank you for the clarification. Sometimes it works better to not just post an out-of-context photo...

#18 Fahim S.

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 10:40

It's poor form, but probably more an edge case in software development that has caused this to happen more than malicious intent from Virgin Media. I am not their biggest fan but I genuinely don't think they are to blame here.

I can imagine the majority of Business Systems don't process this return code from the Bank as well as they should do. Hopefully this 'viral campaign' will get some companies looking at how it works within their organisations to save themselves a similar embarassment.

To the family of the deceased - I am sorry for your loss.

#19 MikeChipshop

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 10:42

Got to agree with Nik here. It's the person managing the estate of the deceased person who has the obligation to make sure all affairs are properly tied off.
Unfortunately in this case Virgin were obviously missed and quite rightly they're chasing what is owed to them which will come out of the remaining estate, that's how it works.

As for the bill stating 'Deceased' on it. Of course it does, the reason the transaction has failed is provided by the bank and then printed on the bill as a line of information back to the person ultimately in charge of the finances so they know exactly why the transaction as failed.
I see nothing out of ordinary here and certainly nothing Virgin should be apologising for.

#20 Actually Jim

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 10:50

Jim (let's work under the assumption that you are who you say you are),

You present a quandary here... You see, you introduce elements that neither the original post here, nor the article quoted mention. The major element being that you had originally contacted Virgin - this has not been mentioned at all, anywhere related to this thread.

You see, you accuse me of assuming things. That is correct, I formed an opinion on what had been posted, NOT on what had not been posted.

If we take your word that you (?) had contacted Virgin, then this completely changes my opinion here. In my opinion it completely changes the story.

It puts the onus of responsibility on Virgin, and I wholly see the blame (and financial responsibility) as their issue and not yours.

Thank you for the clarification. Sometimes it works better to not just post an out-of-context photo...


nik louch,

I entirely agree, and as always with cases reported in the media, only the most sensationalist elements of any story will be put forward. Attached to the photo that the BBC article did not mention, was a letter with some key facts that may have placed this in context as well as additional facts on the Virgin Media homepage.

I know that other people may agree/not agree with what has happened, but I thank you for allowing me the opportunity to put my case forward and now some more detail has been brought to the attention of the forum, your debate can continue on a more even footing.

Apologies for my intrusion, and with my best wishes,

Jim

#21 +Nik L

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 16:59

No apology needed. You brought clarification to a poorly reported issue. I am glad of this. I have happily climbed down from my stance :)

#22 Growled

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 02:46

Do you not believe the internet is a valid channel of communication (bearing in mind you appear to be using this forum quite happily)?


Not for everything, no.I don't post every time my wife and I have a argument, for example.

#23 JJ_

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 14:09

My condolences to the family of the deceased.

Virgin Media customer services (namely their offshore call centre which is an overflow telephone answering service at best) leave a lot to be desired for. I'm probably clutching at straws here, but judging by my past experience and loads of other customers as reported on their community forums, offshore support must have played a part in this case.

#24 Javik

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 14:22

Most of these letters are sent out by an automated service, probably not even checked by humans. The fact that the bank returned the DD because of the customer having died doesn't necessarily mean one of Virgin's staff saw it. An unfortunate incident but no intended callousness on the part of Virgin here.

#25 OP Hum

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 16:04

To those of you who have been rational and logical about this situation, my thanks.

With kindest regards,

Jim


WOW -- always a shock to hear from the actual people involved with these stories. :huh:

Thanks for your post ....

#26 Wakers

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 23:15

So they add a late payment charge a day after (at the very latest) they've been notified that the account holder has died and somehow this is the fault of the deceased's family?

Nice logic guys.

#27 +Nik L

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 23:29

Have people suddenly lost the ability to read anything other than the first post?

#28 Javik

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 19:10

So they add a late payment charge a day after (at the very latest) they've been notified that the account holder has died and somehow this is the fault of the deceased's family?

Nice logic guys.


The bank were notified, Virgin were not. It's not necessarily the family's fault, it's easy to forget things when you're suffering bereavement that I understand it's just being said that people are perhaps being to quick to demonise Virgin when it wasn't really their fault either.

#29 Wakers

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 22:43

The bank notification is on the Virgin bill - how does it get there if Virgin were not (The guy involved has actually posted in this thread that they were told many times) notified?

There is a bank notification on the virgin bill, which can only mean they've been notified, in this case by the bank, put it onto their bill and then, after they've been notified, added a late payment charge.

How is that not Virgin's screw up, even without the information we learned previously from the actual guy who received the bill?

#30 Javik

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 07:09

It's an automated message provided by the bank when a DD is returned. The late payment charges are also added to an account automatically.



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