Saturday, 30 June 2007

Is This Really How Richard Branson Wants To Make His Millions?

As I've said below (and by the way, thank you for all the messages of support following my last post) I've been targetted by a silent caller. Thankfully this has now stopped. There is now a bar on the phone line so that withheld numbers can't get through. However I've had to really battle with Virgin Media, whose phone system I use, to get anything done.

When I first rang the malicious calls bureau at Virgin Media all they were interested in doing was selling me new products. Apparently they think that silent calls are a good way to make money. Their so called customer service advisors seem to be nothing more than sales people. Frankly I was appalled that they want to make extra profit out of people in this way. The advice that they gave me was also wrong. They told me that:

a) The police wouldn't want to do anything - not true, the police were very good and very helpful;
b) Making silent telephone calls isn't a crime - Even when I pointed out to them that I am by profession and training a criminal lawyer they stuck to this incorrect line - in case anyone has any doubt it is an offence under s2 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1996 to pursue a course of conduct which causes another person harassment, alarm or distress, and this sort of behaviour is exactly what the offence is about; and
c) That is was probably just an automated dialing system - not true because we are TPS registered, an ex-directory number and I could hear someone present at the other end of the line.

The malicious calls bureau also told me that it is impossible to tell where calls have come from without having a trace on the line. Friends who work for BT tell me that this is in fact something which is very easy to do. I'm no expert on that, but I'm happy to trust the expertese of my friends. Even when the police said that they wanted a trace put on the line to check where future calls were coming from Virgin simply didn't want to play ball.

I never signed up to Virgin Media. They bought my old phone company. The temptation to now change to someone else is very strong. I feel very let down by them.

I'm sure that somewhere in the higher reaches of Virgin they will have a customer service charter or something like that. The senior management will tell themselves that they really do put customers first. Unfortunately experience on the ground shows that this is simply not the case.