I'm done dealing with Virgin Media and I will now not be giving them anymore of my money, so I am in fact going to be cancelling my service within the next few days. I'm bound to get asked why in regards to a Tweet I made, so this will serve as an explanation as to why I'm annoyed and going to cancel, though there's not really a lot of things they can do that'll get me to change my mind, I'm out of contract so I can leave any time I want. Upload Speed and Upload Throttling
I've become more dependant on my uploading for YouTube Lets Plays which you can see at the top of my blog, and on the YouTube channel itself (duh) and some of these can total more than two or three gig in filesize because they're 1080p which causes it as well as uploading those Lets Play videos to a Cloud Backup service (Backblaze
) for archiving.
That leads into the next point of the "Data Management" which throttles your uploads once you hit 900MB in an hour. Apparently, my upload speed of a mere 1.9MBit/sec is capable of doing faster than that, and because I have a lot of data to back up with the Lets Play videos being so large, that 900MB disappears rather quickly which slows the backups to a crawl.
I stand strongly that bandwidth is so widely available, and so cheap that throttling on neither up nor down traffic needs to be throttled regardless of the protocol being used, be it HTTP, FTP or even P2P. Other ISPs are capable of not having to throttle traffic, so I thing there's no excuse here. Pricing
I wanted to save money by not having to pay Line Rental. Virgin Media is the only ISP in the country that offers that ability because they use cable connections instead of ADSL, this resulted in paying £31.50 per month for 60MBit broadband and nothing else. That turned out to be a very bad call as thanks to an offer I found for an alternate provider, I found a Fibre Broadband connection offering upto 74.3MBit plus a Basic Weekend phone connection, plus a basic TV set up AND Line Rental for £30.50. Sure, I'm saving a quid, but think about the added extras that are included.
I like charts so here's a comparison run down on the differences on what I'm getting and what I pay.
||60MBit/Sec (Reaches 62MBit/sec wired 30MBit/sec Wireless)
||Up to 74.3MBit/sec unconfirmed
||1.9MBit/Sec (Reaches 2.2MBit/sec wired, 1.1MB/sec Wireless)
||Upto 19MBit/sec unconfirmed
||Throttles 33% up after 900MB in 1hr and 66% after 1.2GB in 2hrs
||None Present for up nor down
||Basic Weekend Package
||Basic TV Package (70 Channels or such)
|Price for ALL services
||£30.50/month for 12 months, then £40.80 after
Not quite so unlimited when it comes to uploads now eh?
Even after you take into account the after 12 month price, the price is still cheaper then a comparative plan with Virgin. (Which is nearly about £50 for 100MBit/sec since they no longer offer the 60MBit/sec plans)Silly Extra Fees
Virgin Seems to have a thing with tacked on fees that don't help the consumer, in fact, I'm actually going to straight up say that they're anti-consumerist. These fees include £5 admin fees for paying by ANY method that is not direct debit, that actually includes manual online payments that DO NOT REQUIRE ANY VIRGIN MEDIA STAFF AT ALL
. So, I'm paying a fiver for their staff to NOT communicate with me, and to NOT process a payment, because I'm doing it myself instead.
Lateness fees occur when you don't pay a late bill on time, which is obvious, but as a student at the time those situations were occurring, I was given no reprieve. I get being late on a payment is bad news, but are late fees needed, just tack the previous bill onto the end of the next one and be done with it, that's what the previous ISP I moved from BeBroadband did (now part of BSkyB), my time with BeBroadband was decent enough with quick resolutions to issues I had, the only reason I left was Line Rental which is become a moot point now because I can apparently get both broadband and line rental for just as much resulting in more services for the same price.
I've been getting these charges because of a situation that's server side, recently when I've tried to set up a Direct Debit to get out of these fees, I get White Screens of Death, which causes the data to not get processed, meaning that the Direct Debit is not set up. I should actually start demanding refunds on that. Impatience
Some context is needed here. I was once so late on a payment that my services had to be cut off. How long for you ask? One month? Nope. A week maybe? Also no. The answer is ONE DAY
. I had to pay a bill by the 2nd of January 2014, to which I got paid my student loan on the 4th, two days later. I told them this on the phone when they tried to establish a "payment plan" and I use that term loosely, since when I explained the situation of when I got my loan I was given no reprieve to delay the disconnection for a mere one day, a Friday (3rd), wherein I sent the money on the Saturday (4th)
But that's not the end of the tale, on the following Monday (6th) I got a SMS text message to contact their Debt Collectors, I did that and they told me everything was fine, and that their systems were out of date, which is fair. A few days later, I get a snail mail letter about it, which was dated the second
of January, the day my services were due to be cut off, meaning that Virgin Media wasted literally no time in getting their debt collectors involved.
That's actually a first for having Debt Collectors after me
. I posted about this in a private area on Simple Machines
since I'm a team member there, one of the other team members who worked as a Customer Support rep for an ISP in Australia outlined their processes for the same situation I had with Virgin and he was genuinely surprised because for his company to escalate the situation to Debt Collectors, it would take them four months
, zero days is a bit much I'd say.
I've also had billing reps try to get me to pay my unpaid bill which is fair, that's their job I don't fault them. I fault their attitude, which has been some of the rudest
I've ever had from a representative of a company. One situation was where I was trying to explain a situation of when I can pay the bill because that would've been the day I got my student loan, same scenario as before, but different time of year, just before the new academic year was about to start, this representative literally said to me "pay by the 27th of August or well cut off your services okay" then before I had a chance to say anything, they hung up. I had to borrow money from an online friend just to keep Virgin happy.Silly Marketing
This has been resolved sure, but that's not the point. The point is that even after you're signed up, you'll get marketting snail mail about their "oh-so great" phone and TV services (in my case) because they think that I'll like them. Nope, I have a mobile and I haven't watched TV proper since 2007. (DISCLAIMER: The new ISP plan is split between me and my mum, wherein we pay for services that we use the most, Virgin's was paid exclusively by me so it featured only services I used) I knew from day one what I wanted, if I wanted Phone and TV, logically, I would've ordered them on day one. I even got phone calls about it, and told them on multiple occasions I'm not interested. Obvious hints were not taken. I had to message on twitter about it and Opt-out.
And speaking of marketing, what's the point of telling me that 80% of my neighbourhood is connected when I myself am one of them? I had to opt-out of that too.
Marketing messages like both cases should be opt-out by default.Snail mail abuse
This is also added to the situation with billing where the company will send snail mail reminders that you bill is not paid, upto at least five times, then if needed a notice that £10 lateness fee has been added, and then one more to say that your bill has been paid in full and settled. We joked that they spend more money on notifying me that my bill is unpaid then what said bills are actually worth. Intermittent Connection and Hardware issues
These were rare admittedly, and the former situation can happen to anybody, but what really annoyed me is that they for some mysterious reason always happened when I was preparing coursework and were within a few hours or so of that coursework's deadline, and it's strange how that happened on more than two occasions. They lucked out that their engineers were fast enough to resolve the situation and I can get my coursework submitted on time, but what if I had failed because I missed the deadline? Would Virgin pony up the £3,100 tuition + £4,500 maintenance to resit? My answer would be no.
Then there's also the fact that my mother often works from home which requires an internet connection, not being able to connect means loss of income because her work is based on commission.
The hardware issue is a new one springing up today, using their Superhub 1 (since I believe they've come out with a 2 since I joined) and has for no explicable reason rendered all Ethernet connections void, which covers five different devices (two laptops, my mums work phone, my PS3 and PS4) offline, all but the phone can be switched to Wi-Fi as needed since that still works, so for the time being £70 worth of Powerline adapters and £15 worth of Ethernet cables are temporarily obsolete.
The router itself runs the default settings except for a couple of Ports being opened for Minecraft and Remote Desktop, so any explanation as to why it would stop Ethernet while I was out is beyond me especially since my mum would have no clue on how to even access the router to make any setting changes to begin with. And to tell the truth, I'm not interested in getting it fixed since the service is being replaced, I can put up with Wi-Fi latency until then.
So... that should probably answer a load of question as to why I'm going to cancel my services and switch to a different provider. My online style and requirements have changed and Virgin's services don't fit the bill, but their price gouging, poor attitude and other factors only make me all the more willing to move. Even though the new service has been purchased, and I've already received the router, the only reason I'm maintaining the Virgin line for now is to have a connection whilst we wait for the engineer to re-establish the phone line once done, I'll be making the call to cancel.