Friday, February 17, 2012
In May of 2010 I purchased a Blackberry on a 3-year contract from Virgin Mobile. I have paid every bill in advance usually over the amount owing on my next invoice since.

In April of 2011, Virgin had some technical difficulties with their system, which meant my data services all failed for days. That was a nightmare on its own. Click here for the complete story on that. One of their technicians looked at the RIM side of my Blackberry to determine the cause & fix. From there, he used all of the email addresses that I’d validated on my phone for me to view my personal emails, and he sent me an email about the case copying every single email address I validated. I never authorized Virgin to use any of these email addresses to contact me. The email he sent was sent to my work email address and was thus copied to every member of my company’s management team. I could have lost my job as a result of Virgin’s breach of privacy. When the event was looked into, the Virgin team told me they would ‘talk’ to the technician who breached privacy:

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At the time I was out of town on work and was unable to legally pursue the issue, despite totally intending to – as even at that time they would not let me out of the contract they made me sign despite them breaching privacy terms. By the time I got back home, I was exhausted and busy with other things, like my mother’s estate and I decided to let it go.

In Sept/Oct of 2011, I purchased an internet stick through Virgin Mobile on their Supertab – so Lars could access the net while he was in Manitoba. In November or December of 2011, I realized I hadn’t been charged for the Internet stick so I went to a Virgin Kiosk and asked them about it. They explained they had created a secondary account for the mobile stick and clearly didn’t have my address correct on it as I hadn’t received a bill for it. There was a $70 outstanding balance they told me I’d have to pay in order to combine the two accounts. I paid the outstanding fee and at the same time purchased a new cell phone (not on contract) for my father. The next day, I got a collections letter from Virgin in the mail about the Internet Stick and the $70 owing on it. Not once did they call, mail or email me a bill for the thing, but they sure did know my address to send me their threatening collections letter. Knowing I’d dealt with the issue the day before, I simply ignored this despite how aggravating and insulting it was.

In January, 2012 I cancelled my internet stick with them and put a $200 credit in my account to pay off the super-tab fee owing.

Three days ago, I received a letter in the mail from Virgin Mobile stating that they had cancelled my accounts, that I owed them $30 and that they were forwarding the complaint to a collections agency.

Apparently they had not cancelled my secondary account for the internet stick, which never should have been created in the first place. And they are once again threatening my good credit because they can’t manage their accounts – nor have they sent me a single bill via email, mail or even telephone call prior to this threatening letter.

As I have a credit of $200 on my account, I contact them and ask them to do as they said by canceling all my accounts and waive any penalties for the Blackberry as I am only canceling everything only because they keep threatening and abusing me as a customer. The response they give is that they simply cannot do that and that I am stuck with them until May 2013 or I have to pay an addition $260 penalty.

If Virgin didn’t keep breaching the contract conditions on my account, or threatening me as a client I would be happy to still deal with them. I definitely do need cell & data services – in fact I have a 3G iPad with Telus and am yet to experience a real problem. Virgin told me in November that the 2nd account they created had been paid and closed – in fact, they insisted I had to pay it all off before they could merge the two, to solve the problem. I’ve been paying for the Internet Stick every month since on my real virgin account. They tell me the same thing now – that they’ve waived the $30 owing (I don’t see how the hell I owe more on it in the first place) and I should be happy they’ve now closed the account. How can I be sure that in two months time they are not going to send a bill collector after me – damaging my credit, because of some other mess up on their end? Why should the second time they say they have fixed their mistake be any different than the 1st?

It’s absolutely wrong that companies can get away with threatening their customers this way, binding us to contract terms that they do not abide by themselves, threatening and abusing their customers along the way. Something needs to be done about this!

Virgin insists on keeping me until my Blackberry contact expires in September. That’s a long time for me to come up with a campaign, eCards, perhaps even print T-shirts about their absolute lacking in service and how you shouldn’t make the same mistake I did. Don’t expect this will be the last you hear from me about Virgin's unethical business practices. Perhaps Virgin Mobile will get upset enough to bring it to the attention of their legal department. At least I’ll find some comfort in knowing they will have to pay more for any legal action than the $260 they are holding me hostage with. (I’ll gladly spend more than that warning people not to sign on with them – and defending my actions towards it!).

I am not using my Virgin Blackberry anymore. I spilled chicken stock on it a few weeks back, decided I’d rather wash it and lose it then stick salmonella-infested water to my cheek. It didn’t make it through the bath, so I purchased an iPhone from apple.com. It’s due to arrive on the 21st. I have decreased my BB plan with Virgin to the $15 minimum it can be according to their control. I will cancel my father’s cell as soon as I’m back home (I’m leaving again for Squamish tomorrow). I will sign up the iPhone with Telus or Koodoo – any company that is not Virgin. And I’ll continue to make eCards, comments and other items expressing my distaste for Virgin Mobile Canada and validating my reasoning. Who knows, maybe they’ll catch on...

I’m thinking about giving away mugs and t-shirts for free if only people promise to wear/use them and take a photo of them doing so, that I can share on my blog here. Would you like a mug or a T-shirt under this agreement?

2 words of wisdom:

Cinnamon Snow said...

You've just convinced me NOT to go with any Virgin plan (we have one pre-paid with them) so that'S one less customer for them. I say it works already ;)

Tainted Female said...

Hey there! I intend to make sure you are not the only one! Thanks for reading!

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No matter where I am, I'm lost and learning to like it. I'm a living contradiction, and the best lies I tell are the ones I tell myself.

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