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Virgin Media - Not taking payment then contacting a debt collection agency

Since moving house I've had a real problem getting Virgin Media to take my payment and close my account at my old house. This is despite continuing as a customer getting my phone, TV and Broadband from Virgin Media.

Despite telling me my account was clear I have now received threatening letters from both Virgin Media and a dept collection company acting on their behalf. This isn't even for a lot of money, it is for less than £18 and I've been paying them over double that each month for the services they provided.

This could all have been avoided if they had either taken a payment by direct debit, which was still in place and they are able to continue using, or if they had not given me false information and turned down my attempts to pay them over the phone.

Below is a letter that I am posting to Virgin Media customer concern about this issue. I will of course post an update on how this works out. The letter is identical to the one being sent except for some of the personal / account details which have been blanked out.

Customer Loyalty Manager

Virgin Media Customer Concern

Concord House

Concord Business Park

Threapwood Road


Manchester. M22 0EY

10 December 2007

Dear Sir

I am writing in complaint of the way in which I have been treated since attempting to close my account when I moved house. I have already tried to address these issues through customer services on the phone, but when I have, I have either been provided with the wrong information or passed onto another group or answer machine service.

I moved house on the 26 October 2007, moving from my old address of ************** in Coventry to ************** in Redditch. Prior to moving house I had been a Virgin Media customer, originally starting as a NTL customer several years previously. Payments for my accounts were all made using direct debit.

I first contacted Virgin Media to inform them that I was due to move house about a week before the actual move date. I had found some of my past statements to obtain my account number and had realised that I was being charged against multiple account number, so I made the customer services representative aware of this at the time. As part of the house move I asked to continue as a Virgin Media customer signing up for TV, Telephone and Broadband services at my new address. At the time the previous occupants of ************** had not informed Virgin Media of their intent to cancel their service and as a result Virgin Media was unable to register me at the new address; the cancellation of my services at my former address was not cancelled either.

My previous account numbers were ######201, ######301 and ######401. I have now got a new account number for my new address of #########; this new account number is not directly related to the issues in this complaint.

I then contacted Virgin Media again on the 25 October 2007 again to cancel my previous accounts and to request services at the new house. At the time I made the customer services representative aware that I had multiple accounts and that they were all to be closed. As all my past payments had been made by direct debit, and the other utilities have successfully taken direct debit payments for my final payment it seamed logical to expect Virgin Media to do the same.

I then received a further invoice from Virgin Media which requested a payment and had no reference to it being taken by direct debit. I therefore called Virgin Media on the 19 November 2007 to pay my outstanding bills. I had two statements at the time, one for account ######301 for £12.50 and another for account ######401 for £17.18. These both had a statement date of 12 November 2007. When I called Virgin Media I had both statements and first gave account number ######301 and paid the £12.50 over the phone by debit card. I then asked them to look up for account ######401, which they said had nothing owing as it was already included in the other account.

I then received an invoice for account ######201 asking for £9.75 with a statement date of the 15 November 2007. I phoned Virgin Media about this on the 22 November 2007. I was first told that it was an active service and that it had not been ceased. I was then transferred to someone else who said that it had been ceased and was just waiting for the final payment of £9.75, which I paid over the phone by debit card. As there had clearly been some confusion over the accounts I then asked them to check again for any other accounts for ************ and specifically gave the account number of ######401, which I was told was clear. Again I was not able to make any payment to the other account because the customer services representative told me that there was nothing owing.

I then received a letter from Virgin Media on 1 December 2007 which threatened legal action against me claiming that I had breached the terms of my contract through not paying the £17.18 owed for account number ######401. I was angry when I read this letter as I had already made two attempts to pay this bill, and the only reason that it had not been paid is because Virgin Media had told me that there was nothing owing. I tried to pay this immediately. The first person that I spoke to from Virgin Media was unable to help me and then transferred me through to an automated answer machine. The message asked for my contact number and stated that I should receive a call back, but I was not called back. As the next day was I Sunday I then tried again on the 2 December 2007, where Virgin Media took my payment of £17.18 by Debit Card.

Despite this and having paid the default notice well within the 7 day period given I have then received another letter from a debt collection agency for payments owing to Virgin Media. This letter was not sent to my current address, but instead to my former address in Coventry, which was then redirected to me.

This whole issue appears to have been incompetently handled by Virgin Media as I have been given false information on more that one occasion by Virgin Media staff.

I now need the following information from Virgin Media to confirm that this matter is actually resolved:

1/ An explanation of why I had 3 accounts open each incurring monthly charges

2/ An explanation of why Virgin Media staff repeatedly told me that I did not owe anything else on this account but then continued to pursue a claim on this money through threatening letters

3/ Confirmation that the debt collection agency has been informed that I have paid the money on my accounts and that they are not to pursue this any further

4/ Confirmation and evidence that any information passed to credit reference agencies as threatened in the default notice has been withdrawn. I require written evidence that my credit rating has not been harmed in anyway from this.

Please respond as soon as possible as I am particularly concerned by the threats in the default notice and that this has been passed on to a debt collection agency.

Yours Faithfully

Stewart Watkiss