back to article Virgin coughs up digital tech support for clueless users

Virgin Group has launched a tech help service that will compete with the likes of DSGi's Tech Guys in the UK. Virgin Digital Help is the company's first new UK consumer biz in three years. It was created in partnership with outsourcing outfit Sutherland Global Services, said Virgin. The service is pitched at clueless Blighty …


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  1. davtom
    Thumb Down

    What about working links?

    I've been to their website, and some of the links on one of their pages - not far from the home page - simply don't work in Firefox.

    I wonder if they're going to ask themselves how to get them working?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    most people are proudly ignorant

    A non-tech friend of mine asked how to download stuff with Bit torrent recently.

    I got as far as "download a bit torrent client and then go to a bit torrent site and ... " at which point they cried " too difficult, you do it for me". Obviously the answer began with F and ended in Off, but its fairly typical of most of my non-tech friends, easy questions based on laziness as its easier to ask than to try.

  3. John Tuffen

    Tech Support Cheat Sheet

    It'd probably be cheaper to just follow this handy flowchart:

  4. Jeremy 2

    What a crap name.

    Seriously, I thought 'Geek Squad' was bad but Virgin Digital Help has got to be the worst name for a company I've ever heard.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Could be worse

      Could they answer "Hello, VD Help"

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Says something about the state of the industry

    While I am no great fan of the bearded one, he is known not to dabble in stuff that will not bring a healthy margin. So here is a lesson for all vendors and telcos:

    1. Your tech support is currently not up to scratch

    2. Someone who is better than you businesswise has seen a possibility to get money out of something which you perceive as an unpleasant overhead.

  6. Adam Salisbury

    Clueless Users

    I'm barely satisfied with the level of technical 'expertise' displayed by their field engineers perpetually fiddling in the green cabinets so IMHO you would indeed have to be some special kind of clueless to ask them for tech support!!

    On the other hand maybe us "tech-savvy, power users" will get slightly fewer informal support requests from our friends and loved ones now :P

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pot calling kettle black surely

    'The service is pitched at clueless Blighty folk, who don't know the first thing about how to get their "digital stuff to work."'

    You mean clueless Blighty folk like Virgin Media?

  8. Nusato
    Thumb Up

    How much to have Richard Branson come directly to my home?

    I have some loose cables lying around.... strategically placed.... *evil giggle*

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      virgin multimedia isn't virgin's just some people who licensed the name for a while. You'll just get another dull little grey man in a suit to strangle, or maybe someone telling you to do your research and not make assumptions.

      Sorry to poop on your dream:)

  9. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Geek Squad doing poorly? I'm shocked

    Geek Squad (assuming it's the same one in the US) isn't doing well because they are (for the most part) incompetent. Apparently when Geek Squad was independent they hired technicians. When they became part of Best Buy, they hire salesmen... it doesn't matter if you know a thing about a computer; if you can tell a customer "Hey I accidentally erased your hard drive, hopefully there wasn't anything important on there... and it'll be $150 to reinstall", and get them to pay up, you are in. The goal is not to repair the computer, the goal is to either charge for a windows reinstall, or get the customer to buy a brand new computer. When they get competent techs, they'll fix problems less expensively, which makes Geek Squad less money so they'll be canned sooner or later.

    Secondly, low pay doesn't help -- this is common with tech outsourcing companies here too, they'll charge $100+ an hour then pay the tech that actually does the work like $8-$12/hour. This is not very strong motivation towards the tech doing more than the bare minimum.

    Anyway, I can't see this going well -- so many people are completely incapable of reading what's on the screen, typing what they are told to, clicking on things, or the wosrt -- pressing a key within a time limit (OK, hit the reset button, then hit F2 when the Dell screen is up -- they INVARIABLY pause at least 30 seconds, then say it didn't work.) I can't see Virgin POSSIBLY having generalized phone tech support work.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Sad but true...

      The big-box-store guys seem more motivated to sell product than services. I started a small business doing tech support for small business/ home business and home users. My biggest competition and biggest source of revenue is the "kid next door" who is "a wiz at computers". I make it a point to not stock hardware, I'll shop around for a customer and get then the best I can within the budget they allow, I charge for this service, but the hardware is not sitting on a shelf in my shop needing to be sold.

      The other sad truth is many people seem to be mentally spinning their wheels, thrashing about with no real intelligence behind their actions and many "techs" have become the equivalent of the stereotypical auto-mechanic, ripping off those who know nothing (and I mean absolutely nothing) about the workings of their PC.

      Paris: Because she represents the stereotypical clueless person who either can't or does not want to actually use their head and think.

  10. Chronos

    £2.99 to fix issues...

    Branson's Ransomware. Did this thing originate in Russia, by any chance? AntiVirus 2010 has detected malware on your computermabob and is requiring much wodka to be fixing him.

    Joking aside, if this becomes a legitimate practice, how do we expect the lusers and n00bs to spot the real ransomware before it's too late?

  11. Captain Hogwash

    "Virgin Digital Help is offering a download tool..."

    Linux version?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    *Customer goes to car dealer and buys car*

    "...err...excuse me Mr.Car-dealer, I bought this car and I have sat in it for 30 minutes now but it isn't doing anything. I want my money back because you are providing me with a service that doesn't work."

    Punters need to wise up and not buy services or goods if they haven't got a clue what to do with it or cannot be bothered to read the manual.

    It is an absolute joke that people buy computers, mobile phones, television, and so on, simply because someone tells them they should.

    Worst users of all... iUsers (you know the ones I am talking about).

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Windows 7 'not adequate'.

    I thought I'd download and run the tool to see what it made of my machine. I'm running Windows 7 Professional and when I ran the setup.exe I got a dialog box pop up informing me " The operating system is not adequate for running the desktop Digital Helper." Well at least I got a laugh out of it!

  14. Anonymous Coward

    For older readers..

    ..this is like Eddie the Eagle giving ski-jumping lessons.

  15. Fred 24

    PC abortion World!

    It was only monday that one of the genius as pcworld tried to tell me that a DDR memory card will fit into a pc100 slot, given that example of recent experience I can only think that virgin are on to a winner (but lets not mention how t tech guys also ganged up on an elderly couple to convince them that they 'needed' to pay £120 to get rid of a virus on a brand new pc!)

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Oh the irony

    Having recently endured Virgin's own help desk I pity the poor souls who turn to it.

    As a email non-delivery problem went through, re-boot your modem, delete and re-type your account details, and was clearly heading towards re-install Windows, when they got to "press F5 ... before the computer powers-up" my patience finally snapped.

  17. Stuart Halliday

    People are clueless

    You've no idea just how totally absolutely clueless the average person using technology really is.

    They don't know the name or shape of the various connectors coming out of their VCR or using in their TV. They just know they want a 'wire' to link a PC/Game Console/VCR to a TV.

    Oddly enough they seem to all assume that the electronic industry has this sort of thing standardised. Just why they assume this is probably worthy of a University phD study.

    I've saved a few peoples lives as they've tried to connect a mains cable to their dinky plastic gadget in order to power it and come in wondering why the fuse keep blowing even though they fit a bigger rated fuse each time.

    The first time you see a iPod hard wired to a bared Mains cable is a sight worthy of blowing your socks off.

    My brain has been totally blown apart by the level of ignorance of the general public since I started working for a major retail store. Every week it seems I come across a new person running on even less brain cells.

    1. CitizenErazed
      Paris Hilton

      It's because they don't *care*.

      And this is our fault - well, I say our, what I mean is the marketing behind new devices. For a decade or more they've been busily telling the nation that new device x is going to be faster, more powerful and easier to use than old device z.

      Paris, cos she's an easy new device.

  18. Andy 4


    So they are extending their useless, clueless, idiotic, rude, pathetic, technically challenged call centre service?

    My cat is more adept at solving technology issues than those piles of tripe.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    To those...

    ...that are slagging off "useless users"

    Why should the end user need to know the difference between HDMI, DVI, h.264, MPEG-2, DVB, YMCA for their telly. For almost a century, you had a single cable that went into the back of your box, end of.

    How are you mean't to know how to connect to a wireless route using WPA2 connection, ooo do I need a Hex key or a certificate?

    How many of you know the difference between G77a and G711u? Yet chances are you use them every single day.

    The biggest reason people struggle is because anally retarded techies come up with these super ideas and then beacuse they lack genuine social skills, presume everyone else has 3 days to understand a badly written Chinlish manual (proberby supplied on a CD in PDF format).

    If people actually designed things properly, they wouldn't need to read the f**king manual.

    This is one thing Apple excel at (and I'm a windows user)

    And before people say I'm one of them, my first pc mod was upgrading an Atari falcon from an 030 to an 040 processor, which used a thing called a soldering iron.

    Oh and I also built my own car, how about you? What, you mean you have no idea how to set the tracking on your car, but you drive one every day! Maybe you should read the manual instead of going to that nice man in the tyre shop...

    1. Brett

      hell of an analogy,

      "Maybe you should read the manual instead of going to that nice man in the tyre shop..."

      Oh yes, good idea, then go out and by the latest in laser alignment tech and do it yourself? I think not.

      I agree you should know more about an item if you are going to use one, but the build your own car is a bit of a tall order. (I don't have the space or the money, but I do have the knowledge)..

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      My car manual has nothing about setting the tracking on my car...Other than "see your authorised dealer"...given that you seem to have a manual for this I would suggest that you are not really telling the complete truth...I'm guessing you 'built' a kit car...which isn't really building a car it's putting it together, which is totally different. Anyway, if you had bought your kit car and it came with a few billets/tubes of metal would you have a clue how to machine all of the components yourself? Even if you did you'd be really pissed off with the people who sold you the kit as you were expecting somthing they didn't offer. whos fault is that? yours or the kit makers? well it's neither.

      People struggle because they don't care about what they are buying, or how it works, just that it does what they want it to do. If you want to place blame step away from the developers/inventors and stick it to the sales people. They want to sell the fully featured all singing all dancing magic powered stuff because it gets them more money, but they don't give two fucks wether the customer needs it or not because it's not their problem to solve the issues the customer will definatly have.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      sorry you lost me at HDM thingyme

      But on a serious note we don't get the kickbacks that our superior understanding of these things should - unlike salesmonkeys

  20. Hugo Rune

    @ OH the irony

    As HDMI is to DVI so Virgin Digital is to Virgin Media. ie. different.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm not really sure if I want any "VD Help"...

  22. Eponymous Cowherd

    We are all clueless about some things.....

    But that's what mates are for.

    I'm good with tech. Its what I'm paid for, so I should be good.

    However I'm crap at plumbing, building, general DIY and motor maintainance, but I know people who *are* very good at those things.

    I fix and provide help for their computers, networks, etc, they return the favour.

    No money changes hands and we all benefit from help and advice from people we known and trust.

    Job done, and no semi-literate help-desk chimps needed.

    Beer also accepted in payment.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I annoying can do all those too

      so I must be super smart or sumit

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Missing the point

      There are several post here comparing the maintenance or building of cars to the use of technical equipment...

      ...this help desk, and all other technical support provided by electronics manufacturers or service providers, has nothing to do with that. It is not about building your own computer or TV, it is not about fixing your washing machine or draining a clogged pipe, it is not about codecs or building your own nuclear bomb, it is about basic every day use of a certain product.

      So compare it to starting your car and drive it (which actually requires you to have a license of competence, something which I personally think should be mandatory for computer/Internet use as well), compare it to doing your dishes in a dishwasher, or detonating that nuclear device you bought of eBay...

      The average 'user' is an idiot and no matter how hard developers try to make things easier, people will not care. I agree the blame is partially with sales people (driven by company targets and bonuses), developers who know how to write code but have no clue how to design a decent user interface, family members/friends who insist you should buy product X because they use it as well, and so on....but the bulk of all problems is PEBKAC and as long as no one bothers to RTFM nothing will ever change.

      As for Virgin Media support... For nearly three years now I have been trying to make them understand that a software update on my V+ box has wrecked the automatic aspect ratio switching on my HDMI output. Time and again they ask me to switch to BBC News and check the amount of space there is between the left hand side of my screen and the scrolling text bar...

      ...this is just one example of having a monkey read a script. Not surprisingly I only pay £30 a month for my XL broadband, XL TV and HD V+ service. It is a joy to do business with Virgin Media.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    I'll take a cheap shot...

    Which virgin? Even if I have only one virgin for all ten of my digits, I'll happily sign up.

    Suggested taglines --

    "We help noobs hook up!"

    "Come interface with me!"

    "Call me when it's time to get turned on!!"

    Already on the way out, guv.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Virgin Digital?

    By and large virgins already know how to help with their digits. It's getting other forms of connectivity that seems to be the problem...

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