CISAS decision setting precedent to help Virgin overcharge customers

47
Found 30th Mar 2012
Hi everyone,
I had to take Virgin to CISAS because of their persistent wrong bills and overcharges and guess what? CISAS decided that I was wrong.
Read the decision here where the adjudicator also summarises the case very well.

1
DECISION
by D, Adjudicator.
An adjudicator appointed by CISAS under the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme.
Decision date: 27th March 2012
Adjudication Reference: XXXXXXXXXX
Between Mr G v Virgin Mobile Telecoms Limited.
 The claim is made by the customer, Mr G ("the customer") against a telecommunication and internet services company, Virgin Mobile Telecoms Limited ("the company").
 The claim dated 9th February 2012 is for a decision to be made that the company pay compensation to the customer in the sum of £2,780.36, correct errors with their billing system and give an apology
 The determination of the company is explained in its Defence dated 27th February 2012 which the customer responded to by a reply dated 29th February 2012.
 The customer’s claim is that the company have not billed him correctly and that when he complained they did not deal with his complaint in an appropriate manner.
 The company's position is that they have billed the customer correctly.
Decision
1. The claim is unsuccessful and is dismissed.
Main issues
2. I consider that the main issues in this adjudication are:
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a. Whether the company has billed the customer accurately and did they respond to his complaint in an appropriate manner.
Background information
3. In order to succeed in a claim against the company the customer must prove on a balance of probabilities that the company has broken some term express or implied of the agreement which existed between them, or failed in the duty of care which the company owed to the customer and that as a result of this breach the customer has suffered loss. (A duty of care is a responsibility or a legal obligation of the company to avoid acts or omissions which can be reasonably foreseen to be likely to cause harm to others). If no such breach or loss is proved the company will not be liable to pay compensation however disappointed or upset the customer is.
4. The customer and the company are aware of the facts of this case. I do not propose to recount all the facts in the same manner and order as the parties have done in their documents except where it is necessary for the purposes of this decision. I have carefully considered all of the documents submitted by the parties in support of their submissions and presented to me. The parties should also be reassured that if I have not referred to a particular document or matter specifically, this should not be taken to mean that I have not considered it in reaching my decision.
Customer’s and company’s positions
5. The customer has provided a comprehensive chronology of the contact he has had with the company. He alleges that the company has not accurately charged him for their services and that further they have not dealt with his complaint in an appropriate manner.
6. The customer identifies how he requested a refund of £84.86 for telephone calls that he had been charged for but had not made and that he has also requested a refund of £5.93 for other incorrect charges applied to his account over a 12 month period.
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7. The customer states that he has highlighted conspicuous and erroneous charges applied to his account over the previous 12 months but he states the company has failed to act upon his request for a refund and this is the case even after admitting the fact that they had overcharged him.
8. The customer states that if he had not inspected his previous 12 months’ bills the company would have kept his money but he states in any event they have not returned the amount he has been overcharged.
9. The customer disputes the company's assertion that their billing system is a true and accurate record of network usage. The customer draws my attention to correspondence that he sent to the company dated 23rd December 2011 and 6th January 2012. The customer kindly summarises the matters of which he complains.
10. The customer states that calls made to 789 are not listed on his bills making it an inaccurate record of network usage. He also states that Internet charges appear on the bills on a regular basis, even though this service had been disconnected for one line and the phone used is not Internet compatible. The customer states that in respect of his other line that the Internet is included in his package but he states that the company still overcharged him for Internet usage. He states that the company has admitted this as a ' system error'.
11. The customer also states that hundreds of telephone calls have a duration of one minute and that sometimes two calls are recorded on the bill as having been made at the same time and to the same number.
12. The customer also states that voicemail charges had been applied to the account whilst he has been abroad even if the Sim card was not inserted into the phone. He states that the company offered to refund these charges but they never honoured that agreement. Finally, the Claimant states that the company's automated billing system is still issuing bills after the termination of the contract.
4
 
13. The claimant identifies that he wishes to receive a total refund of the charges wrongly applied to his account in the sum of £101.63. Further, the customer states that he wishes to receive compensation in the sum of £2,100 and he identifies how he has arrived at that sum.
14. The company in their defence identifies that the services were provided to the customer pursuant to their standard Terms and Conditions. The company states that the customer's original complaint was in respect of his bill for £95.97 which was produced on 10th of November 2011. The company also state that the customer has complained about the level of service he has received.
15. In response to the customer's complaint the company state that he has complained in respect of his November 2011 bill and the total of minutes he has allegedly used in the billing period 7th October 2011 to 7th December 2011.
16. They state that the customer’s allowance is added to his account on the seventh of each month and his bill is produced on the tenth of each month. The company states that as a consequence a bill may not show all of the usage.
17. The company states that on the bill in dispute the customer is shown to have used a total of 510 minutes. The company states that as per their Terms and Conditions they round each call up to the next minute and they state that the customer has been charged appropriately after he has used up his allowance and this was pursuant again to their Terms and Conditions.
18. The company states that they have explained to the customer on a number of occasions that the charges on his account are correct and that he is liable for them as he has used the service.
19. The company states that as a gesture of goodwill they have applied credits to the value of £10.23 for usage of the Internet because the customer claims to have no access and for voicemail access whilst roaming of which the customer states that he has no knowledge.
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20. The company states that the fact that they have applied credits to the customer's account is in no way an admission of liability and that it was simply done to avoid further costs.
21. They state that the customer’s correspondence has always been responded to and as a consequence they find his claim to be exaggerated. They state that the customer's request the compensation is both disproportionate and inappropriate because they feel that he is entitled to no compensation as there is no issue on his account.
22. In concluding their Defence the company states that the customer has been advised that the disputed bill is correct and he is liable for the charges. They also state that they have provided, as requested by the customer, copies of his bills. They state that as such they have not failed in their duty of care to the customer and no Terms and Conditions have been breached.
23. The customer has submitted a Reply to the Defence which I shall refer to by exception. He draws my attention the fact that the company has asserted that 510 minutes of usage are shown on his 10 November 2011 bill when in fact he has calculated usage of 445 minutes and the company's evidence is inconsistent because they have also stated in the past that the usage for the same period was 508 minutes. The customer states that this clearly shows that the company is not able to get their figures correct.
24. The customer also states that the company failed to immediately investigate his complaint. He states that they simply dismissed his numerous telephone calls to their chargeable 789 helpline. The customer also identifies how the company used his Direct Debit when they promised not to do so before the end of the investigation into his complaint.
25. The customer states that the company has not applied a refund as they allege of £10.23. He states they have only applied a refund of £1.50. The customer
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also states that the company has admitted that they have charged him incorrectly and they have blamed this on a system error.
26. The customer also disputes the assertion made by the company that they have always responded to his correspondence. The customer in responding to the company's assertion that his claim is exaggerated states that he has only requested a proportionate amount of compensation considering the company's persistent vexatious failure to address the issues with their billing system.
27. The customer states that the company has not appropriately responded to his claim, that they collected funds from his account after he had terminated his contract. The customer reiterates the fact that the company are stating that they have credited his account as a gesture of goodwill and yet they have admitted that they have placed erroneous charges against his account which they have stated arose from system errors.
28. In conclusion, the customer states that he has never claimed that the company breached their Terms and Conditions he states that his claim was initiated because of their unfit billing system.
Adjudicator’s findings and reasons
29. I find that:
a. Having considered the submissions made by the company and the customer I find, having applied the balance of probabilities, that I prefer the evidence submitted by the company.
b. I find that other than the issues which have already been raised by the company in relation to system errors that the customer has been billed correctly. I find that the errors that have occurred on the account are so minimal in nature that they do not warrant any form of compensation.
c. I find that overall the company may well have not responded to the customer’s complaint as well as they would have liked but I do not find
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that their response was such that it warrants a payment of compensation to the customer.
d. I find that in respect of this matter the company are not in breach of any term of the contract which they have with the customer nor have they breached their duty of care.
Conclusion
30. My conclusion on the main issues is that:
a. Other than for minor discrepancies which do not warrant any compensation the company did accurately bill the company and they did deal with his complaint in an appropriate manner.
31. It follows that the customer’s claim is dismissed.
D
Adjudicator



Sowhat the adjudicator is saying is that as long as they overcharge us by a minimal amount, we have to swallow it and shut up.
My point is: if they overcharge £10 a year per customer and they have 20 million customers, that is £200 Million in illegittimate charges.
Does it sound minimal to you?

Also, Virgin produced very little evidence (just some bills showing that they never gave me a refund), while I had all evidence in writing; not my notes, mainly their letters and emails!
I am a prosecutor, I know how to put evidence together.

The adjudicator could have awarded any amount up to what I requested.
He could have at least asked Virgin to refund the incorrect charges they admitted being a 'system error', instead he decided that I had to accept the illegal extra charges because minimal.

CISAS is a limited company, so I suppose they don't want to upset the companies keeping them in business.
We will see what a county court judge thinks about 'minimal overcharges'.
If they say that customers just need to accept this, I will open a grocery shop and overcharge every customer by a few pennies.
Would I not been committing theft? Or fraud?

By the way, I have rejected the decision and taking Virgin to county court were I will seek a simbolic £0.01 compensation to set the correct and just precedent.
No company should overcharge any customer by any amount, no even a penny!
If you want to help with the court case and you are or have been overcharged by Virgin, it would be ideal to have a statement which I could produce in court as corroborating evidence.
PM me if you want more info.
Any comment much appreciated

47 Comments

Original Poster




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Also, I forgot to highlight the fact that they still charged my account 2 months after the contract had been terminated, but again, being only a 'minimal' £10 or so, it is ok.
Unfortunately for them the bank doesn't think so and they have asked for all documents.
They said that it is Virgin's duty to cancel a direct debit, not mine.
Today I have posted all the paperwork to them and they said they will get a reverse charge from Virgin (or something called in a similar way).
Abuse of direct debit is theft.
These are the words used by the bank employee, but somehow, because the offender is a communication giant like Virgin, this crime cannot be reported to the police.
If you ask me I say that I smell a giant rat here!

By the way, I have rejected the decision and taking Virgin to county … By the way, I have rejected the decision and taking Virgin to county court were I will seek a simbolic £0.01 compensation to set the correct and just precedent.


IF you were in fact a prosecutor you would know that county courts do not set precenents - you'd have to get a crown court judgement

karenhornby

IF you were in fact a prosecutor you would know that county courts do not … IF you were in fact a prosecutor you would know that county courts do not set precenents - you'd have to get a crown court judgement


Crown courts don't set precenents.

karenhornby

IF you were in fact a prosecutor you would know that county courts do not … IF you were in fact a prosecutor you would know that county courts do not set precenents - you'd have to get a crown court judgement



Where does he say he is a prosecutor? Since when did CC deal with civil matters? And CC do not set precedents....

tl;dr

Cliffs?
Edited by: "thesaint" 30th Mar 2012

Original Poster

You can always refer to a previous judgment in any court.
It is not binding, but it always carries its weight.
If county courts ruled against me, Virgin could mention the judgment in future cases and viceversa.

cbryanp

Where does he say he is a prosecutor? Since when did CC deal with civil … Where does he say he is a prosecutor? Since when did CC deal with civil matters? And CC do not set precedents....




Also, Virgin produced very little evidence (just some bills showing that … Also, Virgin produced very little evidence (just some bills showing that they never gave me a refund), while I had all evidence in writing; not my notes, mainly their letters and emails! I am a prosecutor, I know how to put evidence together.


Edited by: "Nailez" 30th Mar 2012

Original Poster

karenhornby

[quote=]IF you were in fact a prosecutor you would know that county … [quote=]IF you were in fact a prosecutor you would know that county courts do not set precenents - you'd have to get a crown court judgement



You are right, I'm not a prosecutor, I am a professional bullsh**ter :-D

You wanna answer to the post or start a pointless argument?
I could I possibly benefit from saying that I am something I am not on an online forum?

Banned

karenhornby

IF you were in fact a prosecutor you would know that county courts do not … IF you were in fact a prosecutor you would know that county courts do not set precenents - you'd have to get a crown court judgement



nope thats wrong too
OP Where did the £2100 compansation come from and how much was the alleged total overcharge?

Original Poster

Figures from previous cases heard at CISAS gave the £2100 quote.
The overcharge they admitted was £15 or so but never refunded, the overcharge I calculated was £101 and a few pennies.

Banned

So you wanted a £2100 payout because they overcharged you between £15 and £100? I'm still not sure what you were wanting compensating for.

cisas.org.uk/med…--2

looked through that and can't see anything there anywhere near £2k for what you have had done?

So you're the sort of person who lies about what you do for a living and are asking £2100 compensation because you're due a small refund and it's taking a bit of time to sort out? Can't decide either way as I can't see the evidence but I think you're probably calculating calls in seconds where they're actually rounded up to the minute. If you want to post the evidence here then we could probably all have a laugh.

Original Poster

colinsunderland

So you wanted a £2100 payout because they overcharged you between £15 and … So you wanted a £2100 payout because they overcharged you between £15 and £100? I'm still not sure what you were wanting compensating for.http://www.cisas.org.uk/media/text/Bulletin-Issue-17---September--2looked through that and can't see anything there anywhere near £2k for what you have had done?



The figure was calculated based on several different counts of failure.
It's not just a matter of the overcharge, they persistently ignored my communication to avoid solving the problem.
I ended up contacting companies house to get the directors particulars.
Edited by: "jimmy2007" 30th Mar 2012

Original Poster

Benjimoron

So you're the sort of person who lies about what you do for a living and … So you're the sort of person who lies about what you do for a living and are asking £2100 compensation because you're due a small refund and it's taking a bit of time to sort out? Can't decide either way as I can't see the evidence but I think you're probably calculating calls in seconds where they're actually rounded up to the minute. If you want to post the evidence here then we could probably all have a laugh.



You got your name right.
You must be related to the adjudicator who said: "It's ok for a company to overcharge customers, as long as it is minimal".
The minutes I counted were already rounded to the minute, so no confusion there.
On this planet 2+2 is 4, apart for Virgin (and maybe the moron boy).
In any case they admitted overcharging me.
Constructive comment will be appreciated, insults of any sorts will be ignored from now on.
Thanks

Some people have too much time on their hands...

jimmy2007

You got your name right.You must be related to the adjudicator who said: … You got your name right.You must be related to the adjudicator who said: "It's ok for a company to overcharge customers, as long as it is minimal".The minutes I counted were already rounded to the minute, so no confusion there.On this planet 2+2 is 4, apart for Virgin (and maybe the moron boy).In any case they admitted overcharging me.Constructive comment will be appreciated, insults of any sorts will be ignored from now on.Thanks



I didn't insult you, you insulted me, so I guess you mean you're stopping now right?

Where are you counting these minutes from, they've said that some of them may not show until the next bill due to when it's generated.

Maybe you're due a small refund, but you're having a massive laugh with over 2k compensation!!! Show us where it's cost you that amount and we might take it seriously!

Banned

jimmy2007

The figure was calculated based on several different counts of … The figure was calculated based on several different counts of failure.It's not just a matter of the overcharge, they persistently ignored my communication to avoid solving the problem.I ended up contacting companies house to get the directors particulars.



so your loss by having, at most, a £100 overcharge, was £2100? What losses did you incur? I'e looked through a couple of the previous adjudication reports too and the only people getting £2k payouts tend to be businesses wo actually suffered loss or people who had defaults placed on their credit file. As far as I can see neither of those applied to you, which cases were you basing your figures on?

13. The claimant identifies that he wishes to receive a total refund of … 13. The claimant identifies that he wishes to receive a total refund of the charges wrongly applied to his account in the sum of £101.63. Further, the customer states that he wishes to receive compensation in the sum of £2,100 and he identifies how he has arrived at that sum.



Your greed was your own undoing.

Original Poster

As said, they didn't only overcharge me.
Read the all post and you'll find that the £2100 came from different counts of wrongdoing.
Again, the adjudicator could have ruled that Virgin had to refund at least what they admitted as overcharge, but he decided that it is ok to bill customers a little bit extra.
This is the core problem.
It is legal and right to overcharge customers as long as it is a 'minimal amount'.
Do you agree?

The first thing I noticed was the £2000+ claim, had I been an adjudicator that would have been enough to dismiss the claim.

Original Poster

pinkleponkle

The first thing I noticed was the £2000+ claim, had I been an adjudicator … The first thing I noticed was the £2000+ claim, had I been an adjudicator that would have been enough to dismiss the claim.



I understand.
I have given them all the necessary evidence to sustain my claim, over 200 pages.
I should have probably kept it simple and ask for a couple of hundred pounds, but they claim of being barristers, lawyers and solicitors, so I assumed they would have applied the law.

jimmy2007

but they claim of being barristers, lawyers and solicitors, so I assumed … but they claim of being barristers, lawyers and solicitors, so I assumed they would have applied the law.


So do you, hilariously.

Original Poster

I am not a solicitor, nor a barrister, nor a lawyer, I am a prosecutor and in my job I do apply the law, more then others apparently

Original Poster

Dispatches tonight on channel 4 revealed the true and corrupt face of Virgin and "Sir" Richard Branson.
What a bunch of crooks!
I will host the party of the century when this individual will go behind bars.
If they have corrupted the top brass at the nhs, who is stopping them puppeting the 'adjudicators'?
Edited by: "jimmy2007" 29th Oct 2012

Banned

So do you have £2.1k yet or are you still crying

Original Poster

Not quite the 2.1K but I recovered my losses.
You're right, I was crying for justice, but many on this forum are more interested in taking the michey than understanding the potential catastrophic consequences of this sort of ruling.
Such injustice should be punished harshly and robustly to avoid re-offending.
Unfortunately in the dog bites dog society we live in, there are some sick individuals applauding Branson and company for their bold disregard of the law.

How muchdid you get then?

Original Poster

Ongoing £55 a month

jimmy2007

Dispatches tonight on channel 4 revealed the true and corrupt face of … Dispatches tonight on channel 4 revealed the true and corrupt face of Virgin and "Sir" Richard Branson.What a bunch of crooks!I will host the party of the century when this individual will go behind bars.If they have corrupted the top brass at the nhs, who is stopping them puppeting the 'adjudicators'?



There is no link between Virgin Care and Virgin Mobile/Media.
I think you need to try and understand how the Virgin Group works - it might save you further embarrassment.

Banned

Tears of a clown......

Original Poster

gizmouk

There is no link between Virgin Care and Virgin Mobile/Media. I think you … There is no link between Virgin Care and Virgin Mobile/Media. I think you need to try and understand how the Virgin Group works - it might save you further embarrassment.



To use the Dispatches words: "The taxpayers are funding Sir Richard Branson rocket travel through the NHS" or something to this effect.
The entire Virgin organization works on one principle: Make as much money as possible and disregard safety, care, life and health.
All the different branches of Virgin bring money into Branson's pockets or do you know any different?
Are the Dispatches people wrong when they claim that he will travel in space at our expenses and then will also make a profit on the bookings?
It's a no-risk investment if you ask me: NHS funds rocket, rocket takes people in orbit, Virgin takes profits.
No money risked by Virgin as a whole.
Edited by: "jimmy2007" 30th Oct 2012

Original Poster

dimebars

Tears of a clown......



See my earlier post below as an answer to your thick and slow brained comment.

jimmy2007

You're right, I was crying for justice, but many on this forum are more … You're right, I was crying for justice, but many on this forum are more interested in taking the michey than understanding the potential catastrophic consequences of this sort of ruling.Such injustice should be punished harshly and robustly to avoid re-offending.Unfortunately in the dog bites dog society we live in, there are some sick individuals applauding Branson and company for their bold disregard of the law.

jimmy2007

To use the Dispatches words: "The taxpayers are funding Sir Richard … To use the Dispatches words: "The taxpayers are funding Sir Richard Branson rocket travel through the NHS" or something to this effect.The entire Virgin organization works on one principle: Make as much money as possible and disregard safety, care, life and health.All the different branches of Virgin bring money into Branson's pockets or do you know any different?Are the Dispatches people wrong when they claim that he will travel in space at our expenses and then will also make a profit on the bookings?It's a no-risk investment if you ask me: NHS funds rocket, rocket takes people in orbit, Virgin takes profits.No money risked by Virgin as a whole.



I know exactly how Virgin Group works. You however, seem bereft of the concept of business. You also seem completely clueless as to how Virgin Galactic is funded.
And for your information, there are no "branches" within Virgin Group, that's just not how it works.

So what if the NHS is sub-contracting some services out to Virgin Care. Who's at fault ? Virgin Care / Branson for making a profit ? The NHS from mismanagement ? Or the Government for letting the NHS slide into the gutter ?
So what do you want to do ? Kick Virgin Care out ? Then what, bring the services back into the NHS - even though they can't afford to fund ? Or ... sub it out to another company ?

I think the truth is you have a chip on your shoulder regards anything Virgin / Branson. Truth is - Branson has got cock all to do with Virgin Media (owners of Virgin Mobile UK) other than being a major share holder (I believe 18%).

Banned

Step back and listen to yourself. What an embarrassment

dimebars

Step back and listen to yourself. What an embarrassment



He's wasted all that time of his life for less than £100.

All he had to do was invoice them for the amount owed. If not paid, give them final invoice. If not paid, make his way to the Money Claim website.
Add a bit on for reasonable costs / expenses, and the jobs a good un

Dead easy

Banned

As I said - tears of a clown

But I haz gaves Virgin a bloody noze....

jimmy2007

Ongoing £55 a month



They're giving you £55 a month? For the rest of your life?

Banned

Doubtful

jimmy2007

Not quite the 2.1K but I recovered my losses.You're right, I was crying … Not quite the 2.1K but I recovered my losses.You're right, I was crying for justice, but many on this forum are more interested in taking the michey than understanding the potential catastrophic consequences of this sort of ruling.Such injustice should be punished harshly and robustly to avoid re-offending.Unfortunately in the dog bites dog society we live in, there are some sick individuals applauding Branson and company for their bold disregard of the law.



Someone has to seek justice. I applaud you for your dedication. For those saying he's just bein greedy to get 2k you need to understand 2.1k is pocket change for them. Theft is theft no matter how much it is. What Virgin are doing is wrong and someone needs to find a solution to this problem.

Original Poster

dimebars

He's wasted all that time of his life for less than £100. All he had to … He's wasted all that time of his life for less than £100. All he had to do was invoice them for the amount owed. If not paid, give them final invoice. If not paid, make his way to the Money Claim website. Add a bit on for reasonable costs / expenses, and the jobs a good un




I wish I had done that at the time.
But me being naive, I trusted Virgin when they said that cisas was a government agency.
And then I trusted cisas when they confirmed it.
I only found out about cisas being in virgin's books when I got the decision.

Edited by: "jimmy2007" 30th Oct 2012
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