Background: My BT Infinity 2 gives me speeds around 37Mbps only, so I decided to try Virgin’s XXL Broadband 152Mbps. The installation was smooth and first speed check run after installation at noon shown 160Mbps. Wow! As I quickly learnt timing of the test was crucial – the Virgin infrastructure can’t gets congested around 6pm. On most of the days the actual speed around 7pm was between 30 to 80 Mbps, but on Sunday it dropped to 11Mbps. What’s worse the pings were quite unstable, up to a point that response time was noticeable on Ajax based websites (like facebook). Torrent downloads weren’t that great either even during the day – I tried to download Debian .iso and uTorrent never shown more than 50Mbps, so I suspect some kind of traffic management, which I do not like. All in all we decided to cancel Virgin and stay with BT.
Cooling off period vs Virgin Media
Virgin doesn’t want you to cancel and they play tricks to make you give up and stay with them. When you join you get a paper letter titled “Your right to cancel before installation”. The last line of the letter says “If your new Virgin Media service(s) have been installed within 14 days from the day after you placed your order, you can no longer make a cancellation under this policy.”. I’ve googled a bit and they say the same everywhere.
“Crap” I thought…
But then I remembered that there is a EU rule saying that we have a right to cancel any contract bought on-line in 14 days (more info here), so I gave Virgin a call. The friendly guy on the other side of the phone listened to me and redirected me to “customer relationship specialist” who offered to lower the price to £31 (from £41 – great deal!). I declined and when I used “cooling off period” phrease he agreed to cancel my contract without any fees – basically he agreed to obey a law. The call took less than 10 minutes.
Where’s the catch?
I’m not a lawyer, but I think Virgin’s catch is in the last few words of the letter they send – “under this policy”. Yes, you can’t cancel under this policy, but there’s a law above it that says you can (not under THIS policy though). That’s a nasty trick. Shame on you Virgin for hiding the information!
Can I pay less, please?
£31 Virgin offered was a better price and I thought BT may be flexible as well. I called them and told them I want to stay with them, but Virgin is cheaper. The guy spent 30 seconds clicking and came with a special discount of £6.15 a month – £73.8 a year for a another 10 minute call. Fair deal to me!
Appeal to British folks
I understand this is against your nature, but get the phone, call your providers and demand your rights or at least lower prices!