personal finance

'Cynical' Virgin Media signed my mum up to Sky Sports package

I believe my 86-year-old mother has been the victim of a cynical Virgin Media saleswoman who who in 2018 convinced her to take out a Sky Sports package.

Going through her bills after Christmas I noticed her Virgin Media bills were far higher than they should have been – with most of the extra costs due to Sky charges. As her TV viewing comprises mostly of network quiz shows and Coronation Street, I was curious as to why she felt she wanted to start watching sports. She said she didn’t and hadn’t, but then remembered an unsolicited and prolonged call from a Virgin Media representative in 2018.

She said that she found the call confusing and intimidating and was unable to extricate herself. She remembers, “just wanting the young woman to go away but I couldn’t get her off the phone”.

Virgin Media insists that it will not refund the £400-plus that I estimate she has overpaid, as my mother had failed to cancel the package within the cooling-off period, and it is more than 12 months since it began.

I pointed out that my mother was elderly and not “market savvy” but this has cut no ice. SD, Shoreham-by-Sea

You are not the first telecoms customers to complain that they have been the victim of an a over-zealous salespeople. We asked Virgin to take a second look at this case and suggested listening to the sales call in which your mother allegedly agreed to take the expensive Sky package.

However, Virgin Media says that it doesn’t keep sales calls for more than six months. However, it accepts that your mother has never watched the sports channels and has now agreed to a £450 refund (that’s the full £379 paid for Sky Sports since it was added to the account, plus an additional credit as a gesture of goodwill). It has also added a further £5-a-month discount on future payments. It is always worth checking what elderly parents are paying for home utilities and particularly home and car insurance for exactly this reason.

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