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My husband was deployed overseas with the RAF for four months. I am at home in the UK with our two young children. We depend on her having a working phone to stay connected as her Wi-Fi access is hit and miss. He received an email from Virgin saying that his old sim would soon stop working and that a new one would be installed and would need to be activated. My husband immediately explained his circumstances and asked not to be cut. His base record is unreliable and takes an average of four weeks to reach him.

Virgin assured him it would not disable his SIM until he returned. Two weeks later it was done and there is no replacement. Virgin just offered to send another new sim to our UK address. When he returns to the UK in a month he won’t be able to let me know his arrival times or landing. Those exciting details have now become stressful.
AT, Lincoln

Military families sacrifice a lot in the national interest and it’s a shame that Virgin Media couldn’t make that small adjustment to keep you connected. I asked the company in vain why the sim had to be replaced. You were told it was for security reasons and that all customers were affected. It turns out there was never an option for the old sim to remain active, but the conscientious agent, assuming otherwise, canceled the replacement card to continue his service.

In effect, the move automatically terminated his service. Virgin tried to send an email, but your husband’s phone was incompatible. Turns out sims can’t be activated overseas so a canceled replacement would be useless anyway. The press office has promised to post the pre-activated sim to your UK address for transfer. It reached him three weeks later, just in time for his return to the UK.

Virgin has offered a £200 refund and is advising customers who travel abroad frequently to buy an international sim to avoid complications.

DT: In Banstead, Surrey is also cut off from family and friends because of Virgin. The widow, in her 80s and in poor health, switched her phone and broadband service to the company, then discovered her landline number of 37 years had been changed. “I missed doctor’s, optician’s and hospital appointments,” she says. “I’m too old to memorize a new number and let all my contacts know they’re taking me next summer.”

Shamefully nothing was done to help her after she complained to her old and new providers, but within three days of contacting the press her old number was recalled. Virgin has apologized and offered compensation and says it will act on DT’s request that customers be asked from the start if they want to keep their phone number.

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