Saturday, 24 May 2014

Virgin lies?

Virgin have stated to me (as a residential customer) that BT do not offer any "Fibre to the Premises" service, it is *all* Fibre to the Cabinet only. I pushed him on this point several times, and he even went away to check, but he is absolutely adamant.

Untrue[1] - BT do offer, in some areas, to residential customers. FTTP.

Virgin stated that they use twisted pair from the cabinet to the premises. That is what coax is, it is twisted pair!

Untrue[2] - coax in not twisted pair.

Virgin stated there is no-one I can take to alternative dispute resolution.

Untrue[3] - they use CISAS (as he said later in the call).

Oh what fun... So this seems to be a deadlock.

Recording is here (stereo)

Yes, I am being a bastard, but I am none the less quite shocked at the way they handled this. So, do I go to ADR? If I get compensation I'll donate it to charity to be honest - I am trying to see how the system works.

[1] http://www.productsandservices.bt.com/products/broadband/faster-internet
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coaxial_cable
[3] http://www.virginmobile.com/vm/media/pdf/Complaint_code_Jan_11.pdf

26 comments:

  1. Go to ADR. I want to see how this plays out :D

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  2. What is it that you are disputing? The accuracy of their statements / advertising? Or that you had a poor customer service experience (which was not promised in their contract)? :)

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    1. That the service is not in fact "fibre optic broadband" and not per there statement that from the main cabinet they use fibre optic cable to install the service at the customer premises. The fact that they did not do the install at the agreed time and I took an extra half day off work. The fact that their customer service staff lied to me. :-)

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    2. Seemed clear enough to me what was being disputed. The Customer Service aspect just added fuel to make it an inferno :) (quite fitting given the untruths cascading forth)

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  3. Amusing to listen to - clearly he thinks just because BT use FTTC in most places that they don't possibly offer FTTP in some.

    I think report to Ofcom re stating no ADR, and then definitely worth taking to ADR - will be interesting to see if CISAS make a more technically accurate judgement than Ofcom.

    Also I wonder what the chances are of them actually writing to you...

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  4. My boss at work has BT FTTP to his house. It's pretty funny, he's in a grade 2 listed cottage all on its own surrounded by fields and miles from anywhere. The Fibre comes over the old BT poles above ground. He gets this because he's on the Bourn exchange which is FTTP only I believe, they were one of the winners in the Race to Infinity marketing gimmick.

    It's actually an A&A FTTP line now, it was originally a BT line but they kept double billing him and all sorts of other crap, and even kept billing him after he'd terminated and gone to A&A. Total nightmare, he's sworn never to use BT again.

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  5. An ISP owner misusing the ADR system to make some kind of point about a competitor would look pretty shabby to me. I find it hard to see any way in which the reputation of AAISP or RevK would be improved by the process.

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    1. Well, I am not actually misusing ADR at all, am I?

      I have a virgin line that was not installed in the agreed time-slot, and is not actually "fibre optic broadband" and customer service staff that lied to me.

      If if you say "You knew fool well the 'fibre-optic broadband' was a lie when you ordered, what did you expect?" the other two points remain valid complaints.

      Because I also own an ISP does that mean I am not as entitled to *use* (not misuse) ADR in the same way as any other person?

      The outcome will show the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the ADR process. It may also give rise to changes in Virgin and AAISP having gained a better understanding of how ADR works in practice. Hopefully it will also show how stupid much of the stuff in ADR really is and help steer change on that front, as BIS are currently consulting on possible changes.

      Are you really suggesting my complaints are not valid cause to go to ADR? If so, why? I am interested.

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    2. Sorry, I thought it was all about the tedious pedantry of what's fibre broadband and what isn't. (Or for that matter, what's 'broadband' and what isn't.)

      I didn't know you had real problems that they hadn't been able to resolve (I now see they're mentioned in a follow-up comment, so sorry about that), so I suppose ADR is a legitimate response to that - is it compensation for the missed appointment you're looking for?

      I stand by my first impression that it looks shabby, because the 'dispute' appears to be /largely/ manufactured (you even described yourself as 'a bastard', so some internal voice must be sounding some caution), and raising a dispute against a competitor mainly to explore how the process works seems like an abuse of the system to me. Why not just ask one of your own customers to take some trivial complaint to ADR and report their experiences?

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    3. Thanks. But I would like to say that I don't consider the issue with it not being fibre to be tedious pedantry either. They sell those with a specific description of a key attribute of the service and the do not deliver that. Let's put it another way: if sold "fibre to the cabinet" broadband, would you be unhappy if what you got was actually copper pair the the cabinet (ordinary adsl) on basis that it is fibre to the exchange, a hybrid fibre/copper service to the cabinet? Would that be tedious pedantry. Where do you draw the line with something being actually untrue being pedantry or not)

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    4. I'm rooting for you on the basis that a successful ADR complaint (re: the service does not utilize fibre-optic termination) could very well be the grounds for a successful complaint made against the ASA.

      It would be very amusing if dissatisfied Virgin customers could cite your complaint as a reason for early contract termination!

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    5. "Where do you draw the line with something being actually untrue being pedantry or not)"

      AGREE 110%

      http://aa.net.uk/broadband-FC.html
      "Includes an BT supplied VDSL modem as part of the ongoing service. Customers will need a PPPoE capable router or software to use the service."

      So i need a ROUTER???

      followed at the bottom by...
      Note that FTTC works differently to typical ADSL broadband and includes a BT VDSL router which talks PPPoE."

      SO errr do you supply a ROUTER or not????

      Perhaps it is best not to throw stones about truths and untruths when your products in many regards say one thing one minute and another the next.

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    6. Well for one, technically the VDSL modem is a router but just not configured as such. The real difference is that we will correct that typo on the web site right away and not blindly insist that we have supplied a router to someone that had believed what we said. Indeed, if someone had not got a router based on that, and somehow ignored the bit saying you need one, I'd be happy to send a PPPoE router.

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    7. OK typo on the A&A site corrected. I really don't think that virgin calling their service "fibre optic broadband" is simply a mistake on their web site though.

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    8. But surely it's in part because the ASA has no clue and allows such description to the detriment of those truly providing it.

      Maybe OFCOM could kick the ASA in the right direction, but for whatever reason they (OFCOM) have presumably watched from the sidelines or stuck their head in the sand rather than comment on this matter, and what ISPs are allowed to do, in terms of honest description whether on the phone, web, or in writing.

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    9. "OK typo on the A&A site corrected. I really don't think that virgin calling their service "fibre optic broadband" is simply a mistake on their web site though."

      The point though is i knew that was just a mistake on your website and a mix up over MODEMS and ROUTERS much in the same way i suspect you knew Virgin product is a hybrid fibre and coax solution and does not run fibre to your premises before you even ordered it. The statement on your site mistake or not was an "untruth".

      There is ultimately no difference. In the past i have agreed with some of your moral crusades (the BE wholesale broadband congestion debacle and BT as just a couple) but this i am sorry to say you have lost on. You attacked the representative that called you over mistakes in information they were telling you but your product pages have errors in them thereself.

      You can not just go around ranting calling INDIVIDUALS (not the company but that individual that called you) liars when your product pages have errors also or as you would call them lies if it were another companies website.

      The rep that called you was obviously not trained in what other organisations products are capable of or the technicalities of them. To expect a Virgin rep to know what BT products are capable of and vice versa without speaking to an actual engineer from both organisations, is IMO unreasonable.

      As also mentioned above by webmaster you are attacking the wrong individuals. The reason "fibre broadband" has became a credible term is due to the ASA. It is them you need to go after or Ofcom to clamp down on what the ASA are allowing in their industry.

      Virgin call their product fibre,
      BT call their FTTC service "Superfast fibre optic broadband",
      Talk Talk call their FTTC product "superpowered fibre",

      all 3 in some capacity you do business with are you saying all 3 are "lying" and if so have you called them up to moan?

      Lets be honest as you suggested you are being pedantic nothing else, we can all be pedantic rather than apply common sense though.

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    10. Hmm, well I am not one to ignore peoples opinions. I know there are people who definitely agree with me. And yes, people do make mistakes. To be honest, he really had not reason to bring up BT FTTC other than to defend their position of providing a hybrid but if he did not know of a competitors product, why claim to know, and then go and check, come back and still say things that are wrong. If he had just said "as far as I know" or conceded that I may be right about it in some places but can't really say, then fine. To be adamant about a "fact" like that is a concern.

      Calling a "fibre/copper hybrid solution" is quite simply untrue though, sorry. It really is not the same. And even Virgin highlight how copper is inferior to fibre themselves in their own marketing. It if was really equivalent, which it is not, then why would they do that? They cannot really have it both ways.

      Yes, the ASA are really the problem here. And they create an issue with people selling "real" fibre solutions now. The fact companies have to do that shows how wrong it was to call the hybrid "fibre" in the first place.

      I suspect we'll have to agree to disagree on that, sorry. I can't agree with everyone. I know I am a pedant, and I know some times I am unnecessarily pedantic (as if there was such a think :-) ) but what I have here from virgin is not fibre optic broadband and that is a simple fact which is common sense - just look at it and see the copper!

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    11. "he really had not reason to bring up BT FTTC"

      Agree in part, there is no reason to mention competitors products i think what he was trying to do there is use another example of a similar technology to explain the similarities more than try to put down anothers product or endorse their own. The trouble is due to lack of knowledge he did that very poorly. The clue in the conversation which shows he is not that technically minded is when he refers to coax cable as twisted pair. Saying things like that id like to think it was more a case of poor training than "lying" deliberately as anyone from the conversation prior to that statement would realise you knew enough to know coax cable is not twisted pair. And a deliberate lie like that would just sound stupid where as if it is "training" (cough) he was given he would know no different.

      "If he had just said "as far as I know" or conceded that I may be right about it in some places but can't really say, then fine."

      I think he did question himself, and realises he does not know enough. When he comes back off hold it sounds like he may have spoke to someone else as at 8 minutes 4 seconds he does say "i have checked that for you and BT infinity..." so it sounds like he spoke to someone or refered to internal notes Virgin have....... Unfortunately where ever he checked the info provided was wrong, again though that is not his fault per-say but more down to poor training or knowledge of others products. Virgin fault in that regard rather than his.

      "Calling a "fibre/copper hybrid solution" is quite simply untrue though, sorry. It really is not the same. And even Virgin highlight how copper is inferior to fibre themselves in their own marketing."

      Agree entirely but as mentioned they are all at it. BT call their FTTC "Superfast fibre optic broadband", Talk Talk likewise call FTTC "superpowered fibre". The government are even at it with BDUK and similar schemes calling FTTC rollout "fibre services".

      BT also make out how superior their FTTC is to copper in a similar fashion with claims about it being x times faster, fewer drop outs and other gibberish.

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    12. "Yes, the ASA are really the problem here. And they create an issue with people selling "real" fibre solutions now. The fact companies have to do that shows how wrong it was to call the hybrid "fibre" in the first place."

      AGREED 110% Before all of them started selling "fibre" services a definition from Ofcom or similar on what services should be called should had been agreed. Unfortunately due to spats between the likes of Virgin and BT and them complaining to the ASA about each other we have the mess we have now with them all copying each other with the "fibre" claims. Im not sure even if things were fixed now it would make things easier to understand for the non-techie.

      "I suspect we'll have to agree to disagree on that"

      Its not so much the issue you have with "fibre" not being "fibre i personally disagree on, actually i agree with that. Its more how you mullered one individual. I personally think if you feel that strong there are better organisations you could spend time educating with regards to fibre not being fibre and perhaps (though unlikely) get things changed.

      BT and Talk Talk who you buy via wholesale from are also up to the same nonsense calling something "fibre" when its only "fibre" in part. You then as a typical smaller and more honest company try to do the right thing and explain the different fibre services on your web site. You would not of even had to if NONE OF THE ORGANISATIONS mentioned in this post were allowed to get away with the "fibre" swindle (to coin a new phrase) in the first place.

      Its more an industry epidemic plague than just a Virgin issue.

      PS good luck with whatever you decide with the Virgin connection. It will also be interesting if they write back to you, though if they do i imagine it will be standard 'look im a big company look at my generic scripted nonsense response'. Type letter.

      Ill call it a day there with a double post. I think we agree with the issue of what is "fibre" at heart though, personally i think its beyond just a Virgin issue though and they all including Virgin need a swift kick up the proverbial.

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    13. It is always tricky with calls like this - and one of the reasons I resisted having a call with Virgin in the first place, trying to stick to letters. It is easier for a company to provide a more considered response from the company in writing than just being an individual - though that is not always what happens. I am not decided quite how to proceed on this.

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    14. Yep things in writing are always better. Phone calls and what was said can be denied even when recorded (call centre people not using their actual real name and other dodgy things nasty company farmed out support get up to). Better to get it in writing see you can nail them if needed ;)

      Personally Revk i think if your feelings about the 'fibre' swindle are that strong the next time you have dealings with Ofcom, BDUK discussions or similar etc (IE those at the top of the food chain) it would be interesting to watch some of them squirm if you lay in to them in similar fashion. It may even gather support from some of the smaller ISPs out there which are only doing FTTP/B. developments.

      Either way i look forward to the updates a few weeks/months down the line and seeing how far you will go to stop the great fibre swindle from all the big players and if it gathers support/momentum. I wish you the best in that regard.

      PS nice to of had a long but balanced debate with you.

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  6. I love the (unbeatable) argument "BT doesn't provide FTTP as my parents are on BT and they don't have FTTP".
    (If his parent were living here he would argue that BT only offer 20CN ADSL... or VW only offer Blue cars as his parent got a blue Polo), and those people pretend to resolve issues and have a basic analytical/logical mind?

    You would expect that if they are unwilling to staff their first level with competent people they would at least make an effort that people calling you (and not the other way round) about a technical complain have the minimum level of knowledge.

    What can I say, should make you proud of what (A&A) is delivering....

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  7. Was I the only one who laughed out loud at you exclamation of "wow, thats loud hold music"?

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  8. Many many years ago I had a Virgin (well, NTL as it was back then) sales man call at my front door.
    "Do you use the internet?"
    "Yes."
    "What type of connection do you have?"
    "ADSL"
    "What's that?"

    I can only assume that he was expecting "dial up" or "broadband" as the only responses, but I was slightly dumbfounded that a cable (DOCSIS) salesman didn't know what ADSL was, being the only competing technology being used in residential installs at the time...

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    1. You might be confusing a salesman for someone who actually cares about what they are selling. Cable Internet or Fish Fingers, all most of them care about is whether they can convince you to buy it.

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  9. I have always wanted to do the same but not being in a position money wise and it would also help being in a VM area would of helped as well.

    It is about time some one stuck it to VM about the misguided advertising of what you really get.

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