Tenant adding to Virgin Media without consent!

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    Tenant adding to Virgin Media without consent!

    I have an HMO that I include fast broadband and a basic TV package within the rental price. This is supplied by Virgin Media, it has been set up like this for the last 4 years without a problem and it is what my experienced letting agents suggested.
    This month I find that one tenant has used the Virgin set top box to add more channels to the package. I found out when the bill came. After speaking to Virgin Media it seems that the parental control PIN is all that is required to do this. Virgin claim not to have a way of blocking this! I've instructed the agent to visit and change the PIN as Virgin can't do this remotely unless the PIN has been blocked by too many attempts.
    Clearly this is a major security headache.
    The solution of changing the PIN is less than ideal as tenants could work through 4 digit codes to crack the PIN. It also limits tenants as watching pre-recorded programmes before the 9pm watershed requires the PIN to be entered.

    Anyone had similar issues or can suggest a solution.?

    #2
    Switch to a broadband only package (Virgin do these) and add a freeserve TV for the TV package.
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

    Comment


      #3
      You have to ask yourself how serious is this problem? Is it in a house of 5 or 6 people all paying £400 p.m each and will an extra £20 be such a big deal? I found that providing I was fully tenanted and other bills (especially heating) were in line I could be a little tolerant of a small indiscretion. I agree that the tenant should not help themselves and for that reason I provided mostly Freeview boxes.Most young people watch TV on their laptop these days anyway.

      If the HMO is mainly blokes who watch sport and they want to watch eg the World Cup then it may be good selling point to consider providing the top package.

      I think you have been lucky so far as Virgin also provide a telephone line, which once connected to a handset can give 'free' worldwide phone calls - try sorting that one out!

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        #4
        Why cant you just increase the rent? Seems unreasonable to me that tenants are not allowed to have the channels they like to watch

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          #5
          Doing this without your agreement and without paying the bill is theft - point that out to the responsible tenant and if they dont pay the bill evict them.

          Comment


            #6
            I don't think it can be theft, as the UK doesn't seem to have a concept of theft of services. I think it might be fraudulent access to broadcast programmes. However, there would have to be an intent to avoid payment, which would require you to demonstrate that they would have been aware that payment was required. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga...48/section/297

            I don't have cable or satellite services, so I don't know the user interface for adding subscriptions, but it wouldn't surprise me if they fail to point out the need for a payment.

            Another problem with this law is that it is really intended for when the cable or satellite TV company is the victim, and therefore it is about illegal decryption devices and tapping into cables directly. I doubt if there is any real case law on resale to tenants.

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              #7
              Is the installation a home or commercial installation?

              I would have thought in a HMO it should be a commercial contract similar to a hotel or guest house where the guests can change channels but can't mess with the settings.

              If you only have a home contract then you probably have the wrong contract so no leg to stand on with Virgin.

              And if you bring it up they'll probably cancel your contract and insisy that you to get a commercial contract.

              Comment


                #8
                Thank you for all your speedy responses.

                If I knew which tenant it was, it may be easier to deal with. Unfortunately with an HMO it is difficult to pick up which tenant made the changes.

                I can't believe anyone did this without realising that Virgin charge extra for sports channels.

                If a tenant had asked I may have been agreeable, it is the deception that infuriates me.

                It is a home contract that Virgin are happy to provide to a residential home, irrespective of whether it is let out or not. On discussion with Virgin they were happy about this aspect. They even offered me a reduced deal if I agreed to sign up for another 12 month contract - so I should recoup my losses. It does mean that I can't now dump the TV package and move to Freeserve.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by leaseholder64 View Post
                  I don't think it can be theft, as the UK doesn't seem to have a concept of theft of services.
                  Theft Act "(1)A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it; and “thief” and “steal” shall be construed accordingly."

                  They have stolen money - because they have forced someone else to pay for the service. Solution is to increase the rent to cover it - and/or evict every tenant.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    While it's a bit academic, whoever did it didn't commit a theft.
                    They haven't "appropriated" any "property", the money has gone to someone else (Virgin in this case), so it can't be theft.

                    I think it's fraud by false representation.
                    The tenant dishonestly presented themselves as the account holder to receive a benefit or cause the landlord a loss.
                    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                    Comment


                      #11
                      An update: The tenant has been identified and has agreed to pay the extra cost.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by silvercar View Post
                        An update: The tenant has been identified and has agreed to pay the extra cost.
                        Tempest in a eggcup then ?

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