Virgin Media, the British telecommunications company, is being investigated over contract cancellations.
Ofcom, the telecommunications regulator, is investigating Virgin Media after complaints that cancelling their contracts with Virgin Media is difficult.
Complaints included customers saying they were struggling to speak to customer service agents via phone, with calls being dropped, or getting stuck in long queues.
Virgin Media has said that complaints regarding “difficulties leaving” have gone down 50% over the last year.
Earlier this year, Virgin Media also caught flak for disruption to their services.
The media giant issued an apology 3 months ago in April, as thousands of its customers were without internet access twice in one day.
‘Downdetector’ which tracks websites, showed that over 54,000 people reported that their broadband was not working.
And only last month, Virgin Media email users couldn’t send or receive emails for 36 hours.
Even after that issue was resolved, some customers could not access their mailboxes two weeks after the resolution.
Before all these issues had arisen, telecommunications companies had raised their prices significantly.
Virgin Media told its customers they would see an average 13.8% increase in their bills.
Ofcom is also investigating how the media giant has handled its complaints.
Ofcom says that companies should tell their customers they have the right to escalate complaints to an independent ombudsman.
Ombudsman schemes are impartial, so they don’t take sides.
Ofcom’s chief executive, Dame Melanie Dawes, said “Our rules are there to protect people and make sure consumers can take advantage of cheaper deals that are on offer,”
Continuing, “That’s particularly important at the moment as households look for ways to keep their bills down.”
“We’re taking action today, on behalf of Virgin Media’s customers, to investigate whether the company is putting unnecessary barriers in the way of those who want to switch away.”
The regulator said it is important that customers can switch providers freely to keep the telecommunications market competitive.
People can take advantage of new, better deals from another company.
If Ofcom does find that Virgin Media has broken the rules, it may fine the company and tell Virgin Media to change its procedures.
A spokesperson for Virgin Media said, “We are committed to providing our customers with excellent service, supporting them with any issues and giving clear options should they wish to leave.”
“Complaint rates relating to ‘difficulties leaving’ have halved over the past year, showing the progress we’re making, and we will keep working with Ofcom throughout its investigation while making further improvements in how we handle customer complaints to provide a better overall experience.”
Alex Tofts from the comparison site ‘Broadband Genie’ said, “Any allegation that Virgin is making it tough for customers to cancel its services is a very bad look for the UK’s third-biggest broadband provider, particularly in the midst of a bitter cost-of-living crisis,”
Continuing, “If Ofcom’s investigation finds the company in breach of its rules the damage to its reputation is likely to far outweigh any fine.”
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