Yesterday I posted a lament about lack of access to RTÉ channels. It included the following:
Cable had to be Virgin, formerly NTL. To our surprise, they didn’t include RTÉ channels in any of their packages.
It now turns out that we were misinformed and you can get RTÉ1, RTÉ2 and TG4 on Virgin.
How did this happen?
In February, we received a leaflet through the door, quite by chance given the situation with the chimney and Sky as described yesterday, informing us that we were already connected to Virgin Media. It suggested we might like to switch, proposed a special offer until 31st March, and gave a number to call or web site to visit. The number was 0800 052 1216.
That was the number Nick called, and he was told there was no RTÉ service available.
I called the same number this evening, and was put through to a very helpful woman who confirmed that when my postcode was typed into her system, it did not say RTÉ was available.
The web site is no better. It provides a list of channels available which doesn’t include RTÉ, no doubt because the service is only available in Northern Ireland. I checked that myself at the time and again this evening.
The leaflet suggested a third option for getting more information: ‘pop into a Virgin Media store’. Now whoever on earth does that nowadays unless you know what you are going to buy once you get there, after having checked it out on the internet? Of course we didn’t pursue that option - until this evening. So where was the local store? No details in our brand new phone book, delivered a few days ago. But the Virgin Media store locator on the otherwise useless web site told me that there was a Virgin Media store in Castle Court. The phone was answered almost instantly and the sales assistant confirmed that yes, RTÉ was included and we should come into the store to arrange installation and discuss a number of current special offers. Through gritted teeth, I explained why we were not in a position to do that.
I am steaming mad about this. So how can I complain? With great difficulty:
• The call centre woman couldn’t find a phone number for me to do so.
• The web site includes a complaints form that only accepts complaints from existing account holders. I want to complain that I wasn’t able to get that far. So I can write a letter – come on guys, this is the 21st century!
• Ofcom requires me to take the matter up first with the supplier – which in this case is not my supplier.
• Most ludicrously, the local store doesn’t accept complaints to Virgin as a company because ‘we only sell and install their products’. I’m sure we are not the only customers they have lost due to misinformation and they are not prepared to do anything about it.
So what are we going to do? I intend to write to Virgin but I don’t expect to get a response. The practical issue is that we have to decide whether to write off £134 and go for a Virgin service anyway, now that we know we can get it.
Problem is – after all this, do we really want to become their customer?