An open letter to Virgin Mobile

Dear James (if that’s even your real name),

I think you missed the point.

When I posted about my call to cancel the phone contract I had for my deceased daughter and shared it on Twitter and you said you would ‘look into my complaint’, I expected at least some attempt to show you give a monkeys.

I was impressed by the speed of your investigation, though not so with the ‘template’ response (typo included!):

Thank you for taking the time to contact the Social Media Team.

Iā€™m sorry to hear of your recent bereavement and n behalf of Virgin Media, Iā€™d like to offer you our condolences at this difficult time.

I have now arranged a disconnection of the mobile account and no further balances are due to be paid.’

You know what, ‘James’, I don’t want your sympathy. I never did.

You don’t need to pretend to be sorry about my ‘recent bereavement’ – you clearly have no idea what has happened to me.

You don’t know that my daughter, Abi, died on 10th February 2013 following a brain haemorrhage.

You have no idea how I still remember buying that phone for my daughter just before her 12th birthday.

You wouldn’t begin to understand how I feel knowing on the day she collapsed that she used that phone to text me from school saying she didn’t feel well.

I still have the photos and selfies she took on that phone, her last just a week before she died…

Here, have a look at the girl behind this contract. Just a girl, like any other, using a phone her parents bought her… a girl who died in my arms and who won’t ever have the joy of playing with her smartphone, her friends, anyone.


But then, I don’t care about you or yours either so I guess we’re quits.

The sterile tone of your reply made me feel a kind of guilt, as though by ‘moaning’ I was like every other one of your hundreds of customers today who was ‘after something’.

It might surprise you to know that I’m not after some kind of recompense – I don’t want free phones, free minutes, a voucher, or any-bloody-thing – other than my daughter to not be dead anymore and for companies like yours to get a soul and make this process as painless as possible.

I didn’t need you to ‘disconnect my mobile account’ – as the guy did that for me yesterday.

I don’t need you to tell me that there are ‘no further balances’ – that was the point of my call with the guy yesterday too. I have paid my full 24-month contract like a good customer and that is that.

What I needed was for you to apologise for how poorly your guy handled that call. To tell me that you’ve spoken to him personally to make sure he understands what happened and how to handle a bereaved customer like me in future.

What I needed was for you to tell me that you were so shocked by the process which forces your staff to try to retain customers no matter what, that you are now looking into ways of getting that changed somehow.

What I needed was reassurance that, behind the emails, you are human, people with families of your own who would dread the thought of standing in my shoes for even one second.

Ironically, I dealt with Virgin Media today to renegotiate our TV/Internet package, and the woman couldn’t have been nicer – funny that, as she was retaining business, I wonder what she would have been like if I’d tried to leave … because my daughter died.

Still, I don’t hold bad feelings, how can I hold bad feelings against a ‘robot’? But I think people should know how this turned out – I think my readers would be interested. I’ve learnt the hard way that things like complaining are pointless in the scheme of things. Life is for living not complaining about. I just won’t be buying another mobile phone off you again in a hurry.