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Thread: Richard Branson, Virgin Mobile and Piss Poor Service.

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    Email problem solweb's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Richard Branson, Virgin Mobile and Piss Poor Service.

    I have always admired Richard Branson. He lives life with a certain panache that makes me think of the adventure movies I watched as a kid in the 60's. He is the reason that the Virgin Brand has become so well known worldwide.

    Soon after Virgin Mobile arrived in South Africa, we got “number portability,” which was great news for anyone wanting to change networks. And this made Virgin Mobile very tempting option for me. My contract with Vodacom was due to expire and I was seriously thinking about changing.

    As it happened, I remained with Vodacom, but switched to prepaid.

    I had a heated exchange of words with Vodacom and decided to switch. Being unemployed, I decided to stick to prepaid and bought a Virgin Sim card. Because Virgin's prepaid was considerably more expensive than Vodacom, so I switched back. I walked into a Vodacom Agent paid the fee to port my number to Vodacom and within a few hours, I was a Vodacom client again.

    When I started my own business, I took out a contract with Virgin Mobile. I asked for my Vodacom prepaid account to ported to my new contract. “No problem.” says the salesman. I filled out the form and told that it would take 7 days. (remember, Vodacom took a few hours). Ok, I still had Vodacom airtime to use up.

    A week later, I got an SMS advising it had been done and shortly after that my Vodacom Sim card stopped working. I swopped sim cards and am in business again. When the new month started, I forgot to check my balance, so I did not take note that my account had not been topped up. But the following month arrived and I saw that I had not received new airtime.

    So off I went to Virgin Mobile in Cana l Walk to report the problem. I got a reference number.

    The follwing afternoon, I phoned the call centre and was told it the fault had not been logged correctly, so I told my story again. The agent promised that she would get back to me the next day. Of course, she did not. So a few days later I phoned again, explained why I was phoning, was put on hold and got cut off.

    Then I phoned again and logged it again. (are you seeing a patttern?) The next day I phoned and yes, you guessed it, nothing had been done. But this time I was kept on the line whilst the call centre agent asked her team leader for guidance. Then the bombshell was dropped.. My number could not be ported because it had originally been Virgin prepaid. I could use the number that came with the contract. Except for a tiny little problem, my friends, my customers and suppliers all had the number that I had been using, all company stationery had the number.

    So, Virgin have been taking my money every month, but not providing the service I have paid for. I accept that mistakes can happen. But having worked in a call centre that handled after hours emergencies, I can find no excuse for the sort of delays I had so far in getting answers. Every thing that we did for a client was recorded and available to the client when they walked the next morning an switched on their computer. An if it was ultra urgent, we phoned them.

    So here I am faced with getting a new number, not a train smash. I can let people know the new number, I print my own stationery, so I am not having to layout money for reprinting.

    So where does the Piss Poor Sevice come in.? When the request was made to port my my existing number, why did Virgin not pickup and let me know? Why did it take 4 calls to get an answer?

    Why can Vodacom (and MTN) give you answer immediately or on the next working day, but Virgin take longer (much longer)?

    Virgin Mobile is a niche operator. They will never be as big as Vodacom, here in South Africa. But because they are competing with the “big boys” headon, they cannot afford to make mistakes.

    Actaully, I reaslise they have taught me a very valuable business lesson. You see I am also competing with the “big boys” in the field of Web Site Design and Management, and I aim to be the best.. The difference is that I do have a large worldwide organisation behind me, so if I piss a client off, I am screwed!


    Oh yes, what about that Branson fella? Well I am sure he would not be happy to hear that after having worked so hard to make Virgin a household name, that Virgin Mobile South African just don't deliver!

  2. #2
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    So basically a prepaid number at Virgin Mobile can't be upgraded to a contract at Virgin Mobile - did I understand that right?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Email problem solweb's Avatar
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    Virgin Prepaid

    Yes Virgin prepaid cannot become Virgin Contract. The "one number for life" concept seems to be above their comprehension.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    That seems rather anal - surprising that "free wheeling" Virgin should have such petty rules
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Email problem solweb's Avatar
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    The farce continues

    I arranged for Virgin to give me a new number. They gave me a new Sim Cards and were going to do a Sim Swop so that I would get the number thatwent with the contract.

    Yesterday, I switched on my phone to check messages and I got a message "Sim Card" failure. On investigation I discovered that had ported the the wrong number to the new Sim Card.

    I asked the salesman at Virgin in Canal Walk to give me the name and telephone of someone is paid sufficient so that I can scream at him. Of course when I phoned, I got his answering service!

    So the farce continue!

  6. #6
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    At least you found someone who is trying to beat the big business bureaucracy that leads to these sorts of problems.

    Hopefully they'll get there.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    This is South Africa, to expect service from any mobile service provider is expecting too much. Complaining about it might help but I find that all providers are too big to care and you are only going to harsh the temperature of your own blood and that is simply not cool. Let them do what ever... the tables are turning dude the tables are turning slowly

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    Email problem solweb's Avatar
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    Just a quick update. We finally have spoken to someone in authrity(after having used the magic words "You are in breach of contract by not providing the service paid for.") and will get our problem solved (we hope) in the next two weeks.

    The whole episode was handled in a very shabby manner that does not inspire me to use them again.

  9. #9
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Two weeks?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Email problem solweb's Avatar
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    Two Weeks

    Maybe it gets done sooner, but not going to hold my breath.

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