I chose not to post my thoughts on the proposed acquisition of Virgin Mobile by NTL last week on the grounds that my experience was purely personal. But Emily Bell airs her opposition in Media Guardian today. So here goes.
I was a pioneering NTL broadband customer in 2001. It wasn’t an easy relationship as their technical support is notoriously poor. Yet I was a good customer paying about £50 a month for cable TV and broadband until I moved house in late 2003. The company subsequently chased me for what it felt was overdue payment for the final weeks before I moved house. (I felt I had given them sufficent notice in writing.)
The letters came for over a year (sent to my old address of course). Eventually a debt collection agency was called in who traced me and bombarded me with increasingly threatening letters to my new address. I allowed this to continue because I was amazed a public company could justify this expense for a trivial sum (about £30) – and the risk of alienating a customer for life. I’m now a SKY subscriber (wonderful customer service) and have a wireless community broadband setup. I will never be an NTL customer again if I have the choice, and I’ll end my Virgin Mobile account the moment the takeover goes ahead. There: that feels better.