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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2850
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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Virginmedia to Talk Talk (TT) question. has sold there

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Virginmedia to Talk Talk (TT) question.
Virgin has sold there National broadband to TT (this is a slow phone line service in contrast to fibre optics or cable). TT has instituted with my bank Direct Payment without my expressed consent and I have not agreed to TT services. This occurred about a week ago. Now I have a couple of days ago agreed over the phone to broadband service with Sky. TT has sent a letter warning/threatening me not to cancel there direct payment until all payments have been made. In the letter the state: "If your TT services are being disconnected within the minimum period set out in your agreement with TT you may be liable for a termination outlined in section 10 of your terms and conditions(T&C). I have not received a contract or T&C from TT. In case TT is relying on T&C in the contract with Virgin Media it is over 2 years old. So that contract I speculate should no longer be valid. Additionally, I have never receive T&C from Virgin. I guess the question is what action should I take. My tendency is to cancel the direct payment that TT implemented as I say without my direct consent then deal with any consequences.
My name is ***** ***** I am happy to help with your question. I tend to agree with your analysis - if you are receiving a second rate service which is slower than the one you agreed then both Virgin and TT may be in breach of contract. As the drop in service is a fundamental breach, my view is that you should walk away from TT and sign up to Sky. If they want to take action then you can deal with it as and when the issue arises. However, I would recommend a letter/e-mail setting out your position so if there is a dispute your reasons for walking away cannot be disputed.
Can I assist further?
I noticed that you left a 'poor service' rating. Is there any reasons for that?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The issue is not the service and not an issue of drop in service but the idea that I was transferred to TT without my permission. I did not want TT but was transferred to them. Now since I have signed with Sky and Sky has notified TT that I am cancelling TT service TT is stating they may charge me for early termination of a contract I did not sign for, agree to, or receive T&C. So what I want to know is since I did not authorize TT to direct debit my bank account how can they do this without my permission. Secondly how can TT charge me a termination. With respect, reread my initial comments, please.

The issue is whether Virgin has the right to transfer or assign the contract you have with them to TT.
You need to look at the contract with Virgin in order to determine whether they have the right to do this without your consent.
If consent is required then a contract cannot be assigned in this way and you are entitled to withdraw from the new arrangement.
The issue with the direct debit is somewhat different; regardless of which company is taking over the contract a direct debit can only be set up with your express permission. TT's failure to obtain your permission is a breach and you are entitled to cancel the DDM.
But furthermore the issue about not wanting to go to TT is an important one. If I sign up for a Mercedes and then without my agreement I am sent a Ford Fiesta I am entitled to say that the contract has been breached because I am being provided with the service that I did not sign up for and withdraw.
Happy to discuss further
Alice H and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Good Reply. As a preamble please note, Virgin has "transfered" service for over 100,000 customers to TT.

I have had service with Virgin for over two years and have never received a contract or T&C. Additionally, I have never receive T&C from TT. In the letter I received from TT they reference Section 10 of T&C which, to repeat, I have never received. So since I have NO T&C from either company I can not determine any contract rights Virgin may have to transfer. I do recollect that dealing with other services like mobile phone that you are normally committed to a contract for two years. So do you have knowledge of the enforceability of a contract terms when you continue to have sevice beyond the initial commitment. In writing this it becoming clear I need the contract (T&C) from both companies but that may be like pulling teeth and take forever. I really now don't know what I am asking now, maybe some guidance particularly in regard to should I cancel the direct debt to avoid charges for cancelling before the minimum period.

I am a Virgin customer and have never received a T&C's document - but looking at their website and in particular the 'customer area' whcih requires a log in and password, there are terms and conditions of service available. Like you, I originally signed up for a 2 year plan but now that initial period has expired I am free to withdraw but have to give one months notice. Your arrangement might be different if, for example, you are on a different package to me, but from my knowledge & experience of these things once the initial period has expired there is no longer a 'tie in' period. But you will need to obtain confirmation of whether you are in or out of the initial contract period to be sure of your position. A transfer of a contract from one provider to another does not automatically result in a new contract and new tie in period; there has to be express agreement. The failure to provide you with information about the changeover and failure to obtain your agreement means that a contract is unlikely to have been formed between you and TT, so they can stamp their feet as much as they like but they should not assume that your silence (from not receiving any correspondence) is you acceptance of the new arrangement. That's not how the law works.