Over the last few months I've deal with a whole bunch of companies, as a customer. Three stand out. One awful, one iritating and one today, fantastic.

Virgin Media

Last year when we moved home we moved out of a cable area, generally being happy with Virgin Media though and not wanting to pay the early termination fee we opted to go with their ADSL service. Of course these things never go smoothly and we had to have the ADSL line already here terminated, a new account created when that happened and it was all going to take a few weeks. So I cancelled my account, they told me I'd have to pay the termination fee, but that it would be refunded when our new account was opened. A few weeks later, more or less on time the ADSL line was connected and we were online. About a week later I get a nasty letter from the Virgin Medial collections department warning me to pay what I owe. I rang them - not a free phone number might I add and after some time got to the bottom of it. They dropped the termination fee from their demand but I did have to pay a month that was still outstanding on the account. I paid that on the card, on the spot. fail - Virgin really should have some sense and the ability to link my new account, old account and know that I'm just moving home and shouldn't need to pay the early termination fee. The fact that I can cancel within the connection period just isn't good enough, I shouldn't be penalised for shortcomings in your systems. Also, what is up with needing me to pay the last month by card? What happened to the direct debit straight from my bank account which they used every other month? And all that's before we get into the fact that I'm an existing customer and they're sending me nasty letters. If the connection hadn't been setup already we probably would have gone elsewhere, just because of that- having said that, they're a decent ISP most of the time.


Last year some time I signed up with 3 for a USB data card, when I was in the store I offered a £15/month skype phone contract, which would half the cost of the data card. It seemed like a good deal and I though at the very least the skype phone might be useful (it wasn't) so I agreed. Some time later, after the 6 month contract was over I called to cancel the phone. I was on the phone for at least 30 minutes and must have told the operator on the other end at least a dozen times that I just want to cancel the contract. I said I was happy with my existing options for a backup phone and that even at £5/month with a brand new phone, it just wasn't worth it for me to continue; I said it again, and again. Eventually he put me on hold for 5 minutes  and came back an announced my account was cancelled. fail - The problem with someone hard selling to me when I'm trying t0 cancel the account is that I can't just put the phone down, if I do I won't get the account cancelled. No means no, after saying no 5 or 6 times I wasn't likely to change my mind. If he'd looked into the account he would have seen that I hadn't even switched the phone on in months - if he can't see that, he should be able to.


Last week, completely different. My poor used and abused macbook needed some fixing. It's over 2 1/2 years old and to be fair has travelled thousands of miles a bit of wear and tear is to be expected. The top case was a bit cracked, a somewhat common problem and the wire at the magsafe connector was a bir frayed . So I booked an appointment at the Genius Bar in the Trafford Centre this morning. Got in the car and drove an hour there. Since the power supply was out of warenty I could get it replaced under a repair and it would cost less than the retail part. Then he took a look, said that they'd replace the top case for free and book the power supply in under the same ticket so I'd get that free too. They said to drop back in an hour and it should be finished. So I left the machine with them and half an hour later they called to tell me it was fixed. 30 minutes, and my mac looks as good as new! impressed - I honestly couldn't be more impressed. I booked myself in online in a few minutes and since I had an appointment I was served as soon as I got in the store. It took the Genius behind the bar a few minutes to asses the problems and book the machine in. 30 minutes later they had it fixed.