Claim Compensation From Virgin
If you're lamenting the loss of Sky One, would free phone calls, TV channels or even cold, hard cash discounts off your Virgin bill help ease the pain?
There can't be many that missed the recent tussle between BSkyB and Virgin Media. Failed negotiations have meant that Virgin digital cable customers no longer have access to basic Sky channels. And while this news may not have interested a lot of Virgin customers, fans of top US TV shows including Lost, The Simpsons and 24 (shown only on Sky One) will certainly be missing their favourite programmes.
If you're one of the 3.3m households with Virgin affected by this change, what can you do? Well, obviously BSkyB hopes that you'll buy a dish and switch to its service. Sky is even running huge advertising campaigns offering discounts to Virgin customers that switch, as well as offering catch up weekends, where it will re-screen missed episodes of the aforementioned shows.
But what if you can't switch, or simply don't want to? Surely you should be entitled to some sort of compensation, especially if you only chose Virgin because of its access to the basic Sky channels?
Well, as a Virgin customer myself I, like many others, was not best pleased by the loss of Sky One. And after watching my husband almost implode with anger when he couldn't get to see the latest episode of 24, I decided to phone Virgin and vent my spleen (politely, of course!). And it worked out pretty well.
Firstly, the guy I spoke to apologised profusely for the loss of Sky One, and offered me free evening and weekend telephone calls to compensate (we previously had free calls at the weekend only). I then asked if I could have free calls during the day, instead, and he said OK, I could be upgraded to its Talk Unlimited package, giving all calls beginning 01 and 02 free for three months (worth £14/month). So far, so good.
I then asked what else he could offer -- to which he explained I could have a free TV package upgrade; we are currently on the basic, free package (M), which could be upgraded to the next one up (L). However, as the extra channels this would bring didn't interest us very much, I asked what else he could offer, instead. Finally, I was offered a £4 discount/month permanently.
So for the sake of a five minute call, I had reduced my bill by £4/month, and gained three months worth of anytime calls, worth £14/month. Not bad, eh!
Now, since mentioning this tale to friends and family I have been told that Virgin regularly offer special deals and discounts to people that phone up and ask, so my small victory may have been achievable regardless of the Sky situation.
What's more, I'm pretty sure Virgin looks at customers on an individual basis, and applies discounts according to how long you've been with the company, and which services you have (we have TV, phone and 2MB broadband). I say this because friends without broadband have not been offered as much, while friends with faster broadband and more TV channels were offered larger discounts.
But regardless of all of this, if you are a Virgin customer, a quick, friendly call to express your disappointment at losing Sky could be well worth five minutes of your time. Even if you've never watched those channels before in your life!
Finally, if you do call, remember to be polite, friendly and patient as it may take a while for your call to be answered. And don't forget you can do so for free by dialling 150 from your Virgin phone. Good luck!