back to article Virgin Media deletes customers

A purge of unregistered cable modems by Virgin Media, part of a records clean-up, has left hundreds of customers without internet access for up to 10 days. The programme has been running without problems since February, but in the last two weeks has hit active customers using old hardware. Virgin Media has been trawling its …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Suck it and see

    "A small percentage of unregistered modems were in use by customers, however due to incomplete records inherited from previous guises of the company, identifying these customers was impossible."

    Perhaps I'm being unneccesarily cynical, but sounds as if they've taken the attitude that the easiest/cheapest way to resolve this was to disconnect them and wait for the the ones that were "live" to ring in and complain.


    1. Sooty

      Neccesarily Cynical

      They use that philosophy for everything else, so i don't see why this should be any different.

      Lower their prices accross the board... keep everyone on the same price they were on and lower it only if they ring up and complain.

    2. No, I will not fix your computer
      Thumb Up

      Re: Suck it and see

      What's the alternative?

      Only people with unregistered modems were affected, these people wouldn't have had their free upgrades (2Mb->10Mb), maybe billed incorrectly and not been able to get correct support, my ex NTL line was registered to my next door neigbour which caused enough hassle (his was registered to me).

      Yes, it's hassle when NTL has screwed up and Virgin has inherreted this, but then they have to find and block cloned modems, this is overdue imnsho, people have been making money off the back of VM by selling cloned modems to thieve service, and the users that used the cloned lines (being theives themselves) probably wouldn't stop at downloading huge amounts of software, video, music etc. through their uncapped "free" broadband, and who pays for this? the genuine VM customer.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Not just unregistered modems

        It wasn't only people with unregistered modems who were affected. I was told that, in my area, it was every single ex-NTL customer. My modem was issued 3 years ago by Virgin media. I have now been without service for 11 days and am still waiting for a new modem to turn up in the post. And I just received my bill, which does not contain any deduction for the tie I have had no service. If I had any alternatives I'd be telling Virgin where to stick their service. I thought NTL were bad but Virgin take crapness to a whole new level.

        Dictionary definition:

        Virgin (n) Something that has never been F**cked

        Virgin Media (n) Something that is permanently F**cked

        1. No, I will not fix your computer

          @AC (nob)

          >>It wasn't only people with unregistered modems who were affected. I was told that, in my area, it was every single ex-NTL customer

          Must be true then if "you were told" and that's why the whole country is up in arms about it.... oh wait

          >>And I just received my bill, which does not contain any deduction for the tie I have had no service.

          Given that the bill would be prepared while you had no service it's very unlikely that any deduction would be on your current bill (numpty)

          >>If I had any alternatives I'd be telling Virgin where to stick their service.

          1. No service

          2. A BT line based service (unless you're in a strange "has cable but no ADSL" area)

          3. 3G

          4. Satellite

          Or you could stick with Virgin for a cheaper and more reliable service; 99% availability is pretty good, I suspect that, given you had a Virgin modem already your issue is probably nothing to do with the NTL switch off and may be related to the 50Mb upgrades as older Virgin modems don't support it, which also may explain a local area outage.

  2. Nazar

    Premium Storage Costs?

    "... this, saying it merely aimed to spruce its records. "


    As if storage and hard drive costs weren't at an all time low....

  3. Anonymous Coward

    byebye freetards....

    the NTL accounts management were a joke, many customers billing details and even existance having been lost in the process....

    their old accounts handling system was soo full of holes, but then thats what you get when you have hundreds of monkeys pounding away on keyboards in a different time and language zone.

    so it looks like they have dumped everyone who has gotten away with it till now and also taken out a lot of actual paying customers.

    oh well the real paying ones will kick up a fuss and come back into the billing system shortly.

    the real freetards will switch to the neighbours wifi connections...

    good job i got away with only 18months free service,

    god you gotta love them monthly refunds (when they get out of control)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Who needs a title?

      I too got about 11 months of free broadband out of them. We simply asked to change the billing name on our account and they stopped billing us but still had full service. We eventually phoned them to see why we hadn't had a bill, they got very arsey with us, cut us off, and billed us for 11 months service.

      They didn't see a penny of that bill, but they did eventually reconnect us and start billing us again. I mean, how hard can it have been to change a name on an account?

      I had similar issues recently when moving, they neglected to put my apartment number on my address. When I raised this with them, it delayed the install by over a month as they closed my old account and reopened a new one, and in the process fucking me over by not carrying over my existing deals/discounts. It all got sorted, eventually (almost two months later).

      Bunch of fucking muppets.

  4. Ben Rosenthal

    par for the course

    with these clowns, they left my ex and her child with no service at all for almost two months due to exactly this sort of cock up.

  5. Graham Bartlett

    Could well be a lot of modems...

    ... considering that NTL/Virgin have *never* reclaimed their old cable modems. I have one old one from a previous house, one old one from the current house which was playing up, and one active which is still working. The Virgin Media guy simply wouldn't take the old ones away. All rather odd.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      If they'd retrieved their modems...

      maybe they wouldn't have this problem. When I left (what was NTL) I asked how I should return the modem, since they had always claimed that it remained their property. I received a polite letter advising me to 'dispose of it as I saw fit'.

      Not surprising that so many end up on eBay and get cloned to obtain free service.

    2. ChrisC

      Never say never...

      ...when we upgraded to the 50Mb service, our old modem was taken away by the VM tech who brought the new one.

      1. steogede

        re: never say never

        If it is their property then aren't they required to dispose of it in a suitable manner, under WEEE?

  6. Greg J Preece


    How could they not have seen that coming? Better call the old man - he's running a SurfBoard 4200!

  7. SynnerCal
    Thumb Down

    NTHell rides again

    A VM spokesdroid said "...however due to incomplete records inherited from previous guises of the company..."

    Translation - NTL was about as good at record keeping as they were at customer service. Bozos!

    Maybe it's a coincidence but my VM 10Mb/s connection seems to have speeded up recently - it used to drop off post-midday, but I'm getting 8.0-9.9Mb/s in the afternoon too at the moment. (Not that I'm complaining).

    1. jai

      mine too

      this week i've had good performance from my 10mb/s

      the last month or so it had felt like it was getting worse and worse

    2. Brian Gannon
      Thumb Up

      Might prove a good thing

      If one assumes that the sort of person who uses a cloned modem is also the sort of person who likes to try and download the whole internet every night then paying customers should be better off.

  8. JasonW

    @AC 10:40

    You're wrong - this is simply Virgin's legendary* customer service in action.

    *Legendary in as much as there are stories it exists, but no concrete evidence.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear

    I run a legit payed old NTL modem and a cloned modem using the MAC from my friends house. Meaning I have two separate lines in effect into the house. I wondered why it had died!

    AC for obvious reasons

  10. GrumpyJoe
    Thumb Up

    Close shave

    I had an old NTL100 grey cablemodem (7+ years old) up until a few months ago that was getting nowhere near the 10Mbps it was set for, so I phoned in for a replacement that means I get 1MBytes per second - looks like I just avoided this.


  11. Inachu

    Hahahahahahahaha! poor customers

    Reminds me of my own network here at work.

    We have many remote wans and when they are located around the world sometimes the connections lag.

    Due to this lag when they poll computer names using I think a VB script against the AD computers names for last time logged on if they never logged on (PC is always kept turned on) then the pc gets disabled and denied access. Peopel hate rebooting due to slow pc and they are now prevented from doing work.

    These tech need to use their brain and use the contact info in the AD properties of the pc first.

    Sometimes I think our AD admin is on crack......


  12. itchychin

    Virgin Media deletes customers

    "A small percentage of unregistered modems were in use by customers, however due to incomplete records inherited from previous guises of the company"

    Not strictly true. I was affected by this issue and had to have a new modem sent out to me to get online yesterday after 4 days down. My original modem was a replacement sent to me by VirginMedia when I upgraded to their 10mb service in April 2008 and is the same as my new one..

  13. Gerard Krupa

    It's not unusual...

    When I called them up a few months ago to ask why my 50Mbit service didn't seem to include all the broadband extra freebies it was supposed to I was told it's because my account was registered as freephone dial-up. Seems they'd misspelled my name when I migrated and I unknowingly had 2 accounts with them. Still, nice to know the email service was still working on an account I hadn't dialled into in almost 10 years.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am not a Virgin shill but ...

    The same thing happened to me about two weeks ago. The connection was fine at 7am when I checked my email but went down between then and 8am when my wife logged in.

    I had an older modem from my previous address and used that rather than jumping through VMs hoops to get the new modem registered (supplied when they installed at my current address). It had been working fine for nearly two years.

    I called VM and had the MAC address ready. I was re-registered and up-and-running by lunchtime the same day.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      You lucky person

      Mine went down in a similar way, 6am fine, 6:30am dead as a dodo. Calls to Virgin have done nothing but fob me off with

      "We are working on it, it will be fixed in 5-7days".

      Phrases such as

      "Oh this seems to be happening alot lately, we don't know what's going on, we will pass it to second line support"

      did nothing to reassure me, and now with this revelation have just made me slightly madder.

  15. RW

    @ Nazar

    "Sprucing up the records" isn't a matter of saving storage space at all. If you've ever worked with a largish database containing information that originated from disparate sources, you know that such data is often quite "dirty" and can't be entirely depended on. There will be wrong data, missing data, and God only knows what other screwy entries in such a database. Virgin sounds like they're in this situation and are trying to rectify it. Which is not a bad thing, by any means.

  16. Wavey

    just another big c*ock up

    their intentions might have been good, but you would think they would have made some sort of plan to deal with inevitable wrong disconnections, leaving customers without any service for upto 10 days is just foolish, heads should roll!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    freetard removal?

    new smartcards for the STBs, flushing out of unknown MACs.... sounds to me like they

    are starting to combat the people hooked up to their service as freeloading leeches.


  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To an old colleague...

    this was an accepted method of performing any kind of system move / upgrade.

    Install the new system, add in the records you want and whoever suddenly loses access will squeal.

    Those that don't obviously either weren't using the service.

    Whilst I was at first horrified by the idea, the more administrative functions I'm charged with, the more appealing the method seems.

    Perhaps he now works at Virgin.

  19. markp 1

    looks like I dodged a bullet there... being in an ex-Blueyonder ex-Telewest ex-Birmingham Cable area, still running the Surfboard they issued us back in 200x (?!?) when they launched the midlands' first broadband service (we hopped on tout suite, thanks to being stuck with a by-then-unsupported 56kflex... "512kbps? GIMME!"). Never been disconnected, only once or twice powered down, and just soldiered on nicely, giving us up to 10mbit at the moment (though if we hammer it, the cap comes in down to 5 then 2.5, so it's all moot).

    They sent us a new flashy black one that's a quarter the size, but we couldn't get the damn thing to connect, so the old motorola remains in place :-D (because the new one just arrived unbidden in the mail, and they never demanded the original back)

    So not *everyone* with old kit is affected, at least.

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