Once upon a time, I used to be a big fan of Virgin, and the empire that Richard Branson had built up. To the point where I would have listed him in my top 3 heros if you’d have asked me five or so years ago. Alas, this is no more, to the point where I can honestly say hand on my heart I HATE VIRGIN. They completely messed up their takeover of NTL, and their trains aren’t much better. What’s worse than giving a really bad service? Not even having half way decent customer service to pick up the pieces.
Latest example – I was due to go to visit a client in Birmingham, and the track on which Virgin trains run had a signal failure that meant *all trains* out of Euston were cancelled that morning – so, all Virgin trains heading north. Thankfully I had a very good and kind client (Antonio Gould @ Maverick TV) who was fine for me to do the rest of the consultancy work from Chinwag‘s offices in London, so at least I didn’t loose a day’s work.
So, I followed the reclaim ticket refund to the letter, and sent my tickets recorded delivery back to customer services, with all the bits quoted, to get a refund for my £50 return ticket that I couldn’t use.
Today, 5 weeks later, I have received a letter with a cheque for £23 from Virgin THAT CAN ONLY BE USED TO BUY MORE TRAIN JOURNEYS. Why £23? Well, Virgin’s logic is that even though they are obliged to refund the whole ticket, because in theory I could have used the return part of my ticket (which I didn’t, and they know I didn’t as they received it with my correspondence, seeing as how I couldn’t get to Birmingham) they only have to give me money to cover the part of the journey that was cancelled.
I am absolutely livid, and from hence forth will be boycotting all Virgin products.
Richard Branson – for running a set of companies that has beyond any doubt in my mind the WORST service I’ve ever encountered, I no longer think you anything other than a shyster and showman. You couldn’t run a business if it bit you on the arse, you’re just good at making money from cutting way too many corners. You should be ashamed.