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I was asleep.

It’s been a long week, and going back to bed at midday seemed like the best option. However, real life had other ideas, and so, there was a knock at the door.

“Hi. Are you Nicholas Avenell?”
“Er, yes.”
“I live next door, we keep on getting Virgin Media bills addressed to you. We’ve tried phoning them and getting them to change the address, but maybe you’d have more luck”
“That’s odd. I’ve also been getting Virgin Media bills.”
“We’ve been getting ours too.”
“Strange. Thanks, I’ll give them a ring.”

So I found an piece of paper with my account number on it and phoned the number. When we moved here (in Juneish) I transferred the existing account to the new flat. I should point out that VM were calm, courteous and helpful though the following exchange, and the use of lolcat is a grave disservice to them. However:

“Hai. I can has accont number ant passward?”
“The password is ‘*******'”
“Hai. Dis is support, I am support cat. Your troubles, show them to me”
“I have this bill. My neighbours are also getting this bill. Please fix this.”
“Hokay. Plz hold.”

(I am put though a rendition of a White Stripes single that has been subjected to the kind of compression that makes sound engineers become alcoholics)

“Hokay. Can haz account number?”
“Can has neighbours address?”
“Can has your address?”
“Hold plz”

(Once again, another otherwise innocent tune is ground into dust before my ears)

“I dose not understand. Supervisor does not understand. Manager does not understand. Nobodi understands me. Woe.”
“Hmm. Okay, I’m going to see if I can dig out one of my old bills to see how long this has been going on”
“Hold please”

(The supportdrone is put though the kind of silence that people who have been put through Virgin’s hold music long for)

“Hmm. So I have two bills in front of me. One has my address, the other my neighbours. One has account number , the other account number ”
“Found anything?”
“Invisible disconnection! Both accounts still active!”

And then I was escalated with the force of a thousand rockets, or – more obviously – at the force of the discovery that someone has been quite staggeringly incompetent and hoping to hell it wasn’t them. Support forwarded me to Home Moving. Home Moving forwarded me to Collections. Collections forwarded me to someone with a name. Turns out when I “transferred” my account, they actually just duplicated my existing account with the new address, and didn’t shut down the old one. Also, due to another screwup, the new billing address for the old account – which I’d given as a “final bill” address – went to my neighbours. I have been paying twice for the last nine months or so (I didn’t notice because it’s Direct Debit, and they come out sufficiently far apart in the month that they’re on separate pages of the statement. I need to pay more attention).

I am getting a large cheque. Today could be worse

  1. They’re actually giving you a refund? Over here, a telco would say well, it’s our bad for leaving the account open, but you’ve been paying for it and didn’t say anything, and it was in your name, so, you’re the one who has to pay for the account being open, regardless of whether you were using it or not. The account existed, *somebody* has to pay for it.

    You might be able to fight them, but it would take Effort (and possibly Lawyers).

  2. I very clearly asked, of the “Home Move” department, an address transfer, which is a hole they can’t really argue out of.

    But yeah, I was kind of suprised I didn’t have to fight at all about it, and they just said “‘kay, we fucked up, we owe you a refund”

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