Virgin Media's decision to charge a $15 late fee to a customer they knew was dead proved costly after the customer's son-in-law posted it to Facebook.
The bill states on April 9 “D.D Denied-Payer deceased” and listed directly below that the a “Late Payment Charge” of £10 or $15.43 on April 10, bringing the grand total of the bill to about $100.
Jim Boyden posted a picture of his late father-in-law’s bill on Monday. Since then it has been shared 89,630 times by other Facebook users. With the photo he wrote a letter to Virgin Media, stating: “I'm really sorry for my Father in Law not paying his bill last month, but what with him being dead and all, it's probably slipped his mind. Some people, eh?”
The denial of the customer’s direct debit or “D.D Denied” by his bank due to his death should have set off bells and whistles, but no one contacted the man’s family. Instead they were plied with more bills.
Boyden wrote on his Facebook page:
I might pay it if you can prove to me he's been watching any of your channels in heaven, but given that British Sky Broadcasting is beamed in directly from the clouds I think he's much more likely to be enjoying that. Your infernal cable pipes seem only to come up from the ground (same location as Hell - spooky coincidence) where I imagine your train people in the art of customer service.
I am bitterly disappointed in your attitude, probably automatically generated by machine and unchecked by any caring human heart. The only saving grace is that my Father in Law had an excellent sense of humour and is probably laughing his arse off about this as we type, giving you the Vs, waving ten pound notes around, planning to haunt you and enjoying the content of Sky TV.
Boyden ends this “open letter” to Virgin Media with the word “Fail.”
Virgin Media later apologized for the bill via Facebook. “We offer our sincerest apologies for the wording that appeared on the bill. Automated responses from banks should not appear on customer bills and we're investigating how this happened,” Virgin Media said in a statement.
"We have a team in place to ensure bereavements are managed sensitively and will ensure this wording is removed from our billing system.”
Now that the matter has been brought to their attention, Virgin Media says the account is now closed and all late payments removed.