Saturday, January 17, 2009

You don't know until you ask...

While the financial climate is in it's current condition, I think you can be forgiven for pushing your luck with sales people.

It's been in the back of my mind for a while now that I ought to give Virgin Media a call to discuss what they are charging me for my TV, phone and broadband internet package. Not that I think I've got a particularly bad deal at the moment, but it irritated me to see that they appear to tempt in new customers buy offering my package at half price, but do little to reward existing ones for their loyalty.

I wasn't overly surprised to hear that the half price deal is only available to brand new customers so by being a loyal, trouble free, timely regular-paying customer for over three years, I didn't qualify. Then young laddo starts with his sales pitch:

Pitch one: he could give me a free weekday phone calls and upgrade my broadband service to 10MB for only another 95 pence a month. Quite tempting, except that I don't really need cheaper weekday calls as most of the ones I make are on Skype which cost nothing. Perhaps he could find a package that would actually save me money.

Pitch two: existing phone package, existing TV package and 10MB broadband for a reduction of £3.50 a month, the only catch being that I would have to subscribe to a new 12 month contract. I admit, he almost had me there. It was only when he went off to check some details that I decided to push them further. I actually get by quite nicely with my current 2MB a month and if they can offer this 10MB package for a £3.50 reduction, surely they can reduce the cost of my existing package even further. Apparently he couldn't, but facing the harsh reality that he had just lost his sale, he somewhat begrudgingly put me through to customer services.

As it turned out, they couldn't offer anything better either, beyond knocking another £1 a month off for e-billing rather than paper bills. Rather more worryingly, they advised me that the 10MB deal in pitch two would only last for a month after which it would revert to my existing speed (unless of course I chose to upgrade at that point). Apparently, it's not unusual for their sales team to overlook this short term detail.

So while I consider the virtues of Freeview over cable TV and how necessary a landline really is, at least I am happy in the knowledge that my call to them didn't cost anything...

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