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We ordered a car (diesel Ford Fiesta) from them in May. There were no problems with delivery, after they got my deposit (22nd May) the car was delivered in 3 weeks time, on the 12th June.
However, the car was not air conditioned, as we requested and they promised (they had this on tape luckily). Also, its steering wheel was 10-15 degrees out! We rejected the car the same day, and were told that we would get our deposit back within 10-14 days (although their Terms and Conditions specify 30 days).
This is where the nightmare began. For 2 weeks they were promising to get us an air conditioned Ford Fiesta, and eventually they came back saying that it was impossible (!!) to find one. When I told them that I was actually going to a Ford dealership to buy one the next day, they offered to get it for me, which I would have agreed to, but needless to say, they never even contacted the dealer. (I did buy that car in the end and it is lovely!) So I officially cancelled the order on the 12th June.
Despite several calls, and after hours spent on the phone to their customer service team, I still didn’t have my deposit back by the 24th June, when I wrote them a letter threatening with legal action. In the meantime we tried to get rid of the car, i.e. repeatedly asked Virgin and their depot in Sheffield to take it away. Every time we were promised someone would get back to us to arrange a time - which they never did.
27th June : I got a reply to my letter saying that the deposit had been refunded. It very obviously hadn’t. 29th June: I was told that they can’t refund us until they have the car back! 6th July: they finally took the car away
After that, it took them ANOTHER 21 DAYS to refund our deposit. (Several times we were told by Customer Services that we will get it in the “next few days”, and that “we are the second ones on the list” etc.) By this time (as we paid by credit card) we were charged interest by the bank, for the whole period, obviously. I spoke to our local Trading Standards Office, and was advised that since Virgin breached the contract (by misdescribing the goods to us), they also have to refund us for any consequential losses (i.e. any costs/financial damage we have suffered as a consequence of their actions).
At the moment they are refusing to pay us back for the interest, which amounts to nearly £100 and as a matter of principle I will be going through the small claims court to get it back if nothing else works. They also told me I should be happy I didn’t have to pay a cancellation charge!! I used to be a fan of Virgin, and both my husband and I had Virgin phones, life insurance, and we went to a Virgin gym. Not any more.
Ms Charlotte Brown is the head of customer services, if people don’t get back to you, ask to speak to her. Also, the Trading Standards Office are very helpful in consumer matters, don’t be afraid to contact them.
It is a shame that any branch of a company so famous for being customer-centered should provide such appalling service. I wonder if Sir Branson knows...
I will be calling Ms Charlotte Brown tomorrow - thanks! I have been waiting for my car for weeks....
gandy 15.09.2004 20:44
I rated this somewhat helpful only because I did not read it time - I have my own story under Vigincars.com on ciao.
The name of Ms Charlotte Brown will come in handy though - thanks.
These guys also go under the guise of Makro Cars too