Given it’s been a couple of weeks, I thought I’d write a little update on the fun and games with Virgin East Coast. I’ll also add another little “problem” into the mix in this post – something that has been happening in the background and didn’t seem to be an issue to start with.

As mentioned a couple of weeks back, I dropped them a line to chase things up (pointing out that the scheduled callback was long overdue) and got this reply on the 15th:

Thank you for your email reply and apologies that I did not call you on the 11th I must have missed my Outlook reminder.

I have today again tried to call our second line support team to query this again and see how far they are with this however they have not picked up so I have emailed them once again.

Last time I spoke to them on the phone the person said that it should only be a few more days so hopefully I will be emailing you again very soon with some more substantial information on this for you.

As I write this it’s the 29th and I’ve had no update. I guess this is the problem with phrases like “very soon” – you’re never quite sure if you should read it to mean in the next couple of days, or if 14 days later still falls within “very soon”. Personally, if it was me, I’d be dropping a line along the way to say “it’s taking longer than I’d like, but I’m still on it”. You know, that thing of ensuring the customer doesn’t feel like they’ve been forgotten about.

So, very soon1, I guess I’ll be sending another follow-up email to try and find out what’s going on. I’ll update when I do.

Meanwhile…. there’s another issue that’s brewing.

Back at the start of June I was on a train that was delayed by more than half an hour. This is the first time this has happened to me since I’ve been using the trains a lot and I was delighted to find that they make a point of letting you know that you’re entitled to a refund on your ticket, depending on how late you are.

That struck me as very sensible and very civilised.

So, when I finally got home, I put in my claim and on June 6th I got an email confirming I was entitled to a 50% refund and that it would be sent as a cheque to me within 28 days.

Of course, 28 days later, nothing had turned up. I called them shortly after that to find out what was going on. They claimed the cheque had been sent and suggested it had got lost on the way (in the 2 years I’ve been at this address it’s the first time I’ve knowingly had mail disappear). Anyway, they cancelled that cheque and issued another, apologising for the hassle and promising that the new one would be with me within a week.

As it was I wasn’t around for a couple of weeks after that so I got home yesterday, expecting to see the cheque on my doormat. I expected incorrectly.

I’ve called them about it again today and was told the most interesting story: apparently they can’t help me right now because they’ve closed down a call centre down in Plymouth (I think it was), which was “outsourced”, and they now no longer have access to the “computer system” with all the cases in it. They assured me that they’d get access to it within the next week or two.

Let that settle in for a moment: they apparently arranged to close down a call centre without ensuring that the computer systems that contain (some of?) their customers’ data were handed over in some way, shape or form.

That’s a touch worrying.

As you might imagine, I wasn’t terribly pleased by this news. I’m a couple of months on from when the delay happened and I still don’t have the cheque. On top of that, not having received the second attempt at sending it, I find out that nothing was likely being done about it because they’d (apparently) dropped the staff/company who would have been dealing with it. And I had to phone them (again) to find out.

I imagine that if I’d just left it to them to get in contact and let me know, I’d have waited and waited and never got anything at all.

Anyway, long story short, after pointing out that it was a bit much to ask me to let them hold onto my money even longer, just because of their system and business issues, I was passed to someone else who was able to suggest a far better and far quicker method of resolving this.

So: I’m expecting a call back from them on Monday to get that process under way. I wonder if this callback will happen?

  1. Do you see what I did there?