Virgin Media punters stung in mobile data bill cock-up
Telco yet to 'fess up 'small error' to Ofcom
A number of Virgin Media customers were wrongly billed for mobile data usage last month due to a system error, The Register has learned.
However, the telco was unable to tell us exactly what had gone wrong.
A Virgin Media spokesman assured El Reg that customers who had been incorrectly billed needn't worry as the ISP is contacting those affected and dishing out refunds if they were overcharged. Here's the company's official statement:
Due to a billing systems issue relating to our Virgin Mobile service, some customers using mobile data in late July may see incorrect charges for this element of their service on bills covering this period. We have now resolved the issue and are automatically adjusting customers' bills, meaning customers will not end up paying more than the correct amount for their services. We apologise for any inconvenience.
The billing cock-up miscalculated mobile data use between 22 and 26 July. VM was unable to tell us how many people had been affected by the system failure, which the spokesman told us had a "maximum impact" of an inaccurate £9.95 charge.
One punter who complained about the billing error on the company's community forum said:
Interesting; I have just received my bill and had the same issues [as other customers] during the same period - but I have been charged £1.99 for 0Kb of internet per day - despite being on the unlimited Premier tariff.
The matter is being investigated internally, but Virgin Media hadn't yet reported the matter to communications watchdog Ofcom, which takes a dim view of such errors (for reference, just ask TalkTalk).
Virgin Media couldn't immediately pinpoint how many of its mobile customers had been wrongly billed for data usage, either.
One Reg reader told us that when he contacted VM about the error on his bill the call centre staffer informed him he was "the fifteenth caller in the last hour" to complain.
That said, VM does appear to be actively contacting its customers via email and SMS to warn them of what the spokesman described as a "small error" that has now apparently been "rectified". ®
Re: good for them
Now now in all fairness you often hear about a problem before the company resolves it. This is something were hearing about from the company, so fair play to them.
I dont work in PR (probably wise) nor have any direct or indirect involvment with VM in any way shape or form.
That said friend recently got sold a couple of contracts (they have TV and cable with landline currently) via a sales call and the deal they were sold is downright disgusting, but thats another story.
Ofcom's dim view
I'm sure many would agree Ofcom's view is often dim, as are many of its policies, "solutions" it suggests for consumer problems and the quality of its logic when it comes to (infrequently levelling) fines. It also appears to view the public as dim, or so one must assume from the number of times it tries to pull the wool over our eyes or persuade us that collating complaints for a (very) rainy day is the same thing as being useful and errrrrm, regulating.
I suspect the dimmest their view of Virgin will get is the same type of benign, indulgent, fatherly dimness they appeared to be expressing toward the Murdoch Sky bid before the long overdue excrement hit the fan and they were forced into a 180 turn marginally quicker than a Sopwith Camel.
If you want a vision of the future, imagine a thousand Ofcom's doing absolutely nothing useful, forever.
Re: note really
ALl that extra work and paperwork for Virgins mistake.... My original point still stands, Its is NOT good news and worth patting Virgin on the back for.