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  • JDB 4,553 posts

    Address him as Mr Weiss, drop the folksy first sentence and the my name is (as that’s obvious)! Put the anglicised ‘yours sincerely’ at the end.

    The deadline of two days is unreasonable! I would give them seven days – so 4pm next Tuesday, 5 December which is still short by normal standards, so justify on the basis of that being two weeks before travel.

    Put it into a proper business letter format with your address at the top, SW name/title below that on the left etc. Make it look professional so under Dear Mr Weiss a centered underlined heading Re FC account XXX. Justify all the text so it looks neat. The appearance of your letter matters!

    Send any ID/trandaction evidence you have (all in the same PDF as the letter) rather than offering it if they ask.

    Ask them to acknowledge receipt. Maybe send hard copies as well.

    Good luck and let us know how you get on.

    JDB 4,553 posts

    Good advice on nature and tone of contact. However, I would stop short of raising possibility of proceedings on breacn of contract because it may not be necessary and the option remains open as a further step even if not mentioned now.

    I would normally agree about not threatening proceedings at this stage, but because time is so short, one really needs to give Virgin due warning that you might be going to buy other tickets if they don’t reinstate the original ones as it might otherwise count against the passenger later.

    I’m just hoping we have been told everything!

    BJ 660 posts

    I just saw your draft which posted while I was commenting on advice from @JDB. I think ut’s a liyyle too much. No need to say you hope he is well or your name, the latter and your FC number will be on the letter. No need to write about distress, implications, who is involved or consequences, just stick to the pertinent facts. If you could have explained the addresses issue you beliefe is behind this then you should do so in the letter otherwise it may simply prompt further unnecessary communications. As I suggested above, don’t mention further proceedings.

    mrcrsearle 99 posts

    The fraud dept will eventually email you.
    If there is no fraud, it will get resolved & reinstated. Could take several weeks.

    Lady London 2,119 posts

    JDB is the authority on this matter.

    I agree with everything BJ has advised.

    It’s much too long.
    There are too many redundant words. Who cares that you ‘conducted a thorough investigation’?
    And there are several other spots of redundant words. Get rid of them. If it’s not a fact, it’s not working for you here.

    At this level, politeness means fewer words, as few as possible, not more.

    Shai is never going to see this. But his EA or right hand person will. They want brevity and clarity. They want to know on Shai’s behalf “What do you need me to do” and the short clear facts one after the other.

    At this level that’s politeness. And the minimum standard to get you a result.

    Mention early that holiday season travel booked has been cancelled by Virgin due to this problem. [They’ll get the urgency of “holiday season” without you saying more at this point. Mentioning this early in the letter answers “What is urgent about this why should I read this why are you coming to me” that’s in their minds. You don’t say “urgent” from your position, you just say “holiday travel”, that’s enough to let them know why they should keep reading.

    Enclose both US and UK ID’s and proof of address for each with a copy of last statement for each of US and UK account. Just seeing those enclosures they will know the area of the problem. You can just put Encs below your signature to indicate their presence, I wouldn’t bother to list them just keep them all in same single attached .pdf .

    Give them date of tomorrow + 1 week 4pm to respond. Say after that point you will need to consider purchasing your travel Virgin has cancelled, elsewhere and you would really appreciate any help they can give, to avoid this. I think that’s enough andvis not threatening but lays a marker.

    TBH as the letter is, imagining I was the person handling it, I took one look and thought your account cancellation was undoubtedly correct and this is just a try-on, seen it so many times before, etc. If it’s slimmed down and all the excessive politeneas removed I’d be more inclined to take it seriously. As I’d then just have to lift the phone to the Head of Loyalty with a very well made short succint argument in front of me with all the factual evidence attached, to give him/her with a deadline of 3 days to sort.

    If they have any class and your case is good, they’ll reinstate your travel while they look into it if it wil take longer to finally resolve than your deadline.

    Oh and I’d keep the ‘Sincerely’ in. It’s American for “Yours faithfully”, I use it all the time, it makes sense to use it as US/UK mishmash is where this problem comes from : it points it up (and US stuff in tune with Virgin).

    Good luck and we’re all waiting with bated breath for the outcome.

    AP11 21 posts

    Thanks everyone for your input. I have sent them a concise letter and attached my amex points transfer statement and also the my ID and address in the UK. Hopefully I hear back soon. Will keep everyone posted about the outcome.

    JDB 4,553 posts

    I’d be more concerned that VS are talking in terms of “loyalty fraud” – while cases like this generally go nowhere in the UK due to points being deemed to have no monetary value, this may not be the case in the US. If VS had deemed that the “fraud” took place on that side of the Atlantic (due to your Amexes being linked to an address there), they may have reported it to whichever jurisdiction would investigate it.

    Well @NorthernLass I trust you saw the post earlier today, the evidence you were asking me to provide helpfully provided this morning by @Bervios to save you a trip to the library where you will find many more ‘points’ cases!

    A successful prosecution way back in 2007 under s25 of the Theft Act 1968 with Clubcard points valued at 1p each. Points do have a monetary value under both criminal and civil law/procedure.

    “Going equipped” was a creative charge (and there were probably others) to fit the offence. I think you were just unlucky to encounter a rather wet or none too sharp CPS person who not only misunderstood the concept re points having ‘no value’ but also wasn’t smart enough to find the right basis to charge. Counsel for the prosecution is now a senior judge…

    Anyway, I trust this totally erroneous trope about points having no monetary value, such that offences relating to them cannot be prosecuted as fraud or theft etc. etc. will now finally be put to bed.

    mrcrsearle 99 posts

    You will be asked to supply evidence & then you will wait for a reply. Normally an email, but ask them to also phone you.
    You will eventually get your account reactivated & points corrected. Your flights though have gone.

    paul-uk 103 posts

    I’ve found them to be excellent at solving issues

    AP11 21 posts

    I have got the below response from the Virgin Executive team last Tuesday

    Thank you so much for contacting us. Your feedback has been passed on to our dedicated specialists at the Executive Office.

    We have logged your information against reference ###, and a member of our dedicated team will be in touch within 72 hours from today.

    On friday the emailed me back with the following details:

    I just wanted to assure you that we haven’t forgotten about you and we are still investigating with our internal teams. We do hope to have further information as soon as possible.

    In regard to the above email I am not sure what’s taking them so long to investigate when they should have everything investigate on their end before suspending my account. Should i respond back or give them time to get back to me??

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 2,176 posts

    You need to give them time.

    You might think there’s nothing to investigate but what matters is that they do. They may need to speak to staff members who dealt with your calls etc and will have to wait until they are back at work etc

    The most I would do is a polite, non sarcastic response on the lines of “thank you for your email and I look forward to receiving your response in due course”

    AP11 21 posts

    Still no response from Virgin. I emailed them to ask the status on it and got no reply back from the executive team.

    I assume at the point of time my best bet would be to make another booking as I don’t see Virgin helping me in reinstating my ticket or providing me with alternate options by the time I am scheduled to fly.

    JDB 4,553 posts

    Yes, given the timeframe, you probably need to make a booking and write saying they have left you no option but to incur this cost, for which you seek reimbursement, as travel is within two weeks. Send this also in hard copy by Special Delivery (as ordinary post messed up for Xmas).

    If I were in your position, I would be getting fairly heavy duty with VS but being rather cynical and from experience, I worry there is a missing element to this tale. The fact the matter is not already resolved is quite concerning.

    AP11 21 posts

    @JDB Who do i address the Special Delivery mail to?

    Virgin had asked me for my 1M number which i provided to them and also Amex sent them separately. I am also baffled as to why they are taking so long to resolve this issue. If they suspended my account they should have already investigated and should have all the proof of it to provide me but now they are asking all this info which seems they are trying to backtrace.

    Any way to expedite this as I really don’t want to pay cash for a Business class ticket and be out of pocket if Virgin decides not to reimburse him.

    PeteM 744 posts

    Slightly off-topic, but I have found VS a real pain to deal with, customer service-wise. Even compared to BA the whole operation seems incredibly chaotic and disjointed.

    They promised a refund within ten calendar days after my TLV flights were cancelled at the start of October. I eventually started a chargeback via AmEx at the beginning of December after emailing, web chatting and calling several times to chase the money in the meantime. They eventually sent an email a couple of days ago saying chargeback was the right route to take and giving me 7k miles as an apology…

    My point being I get the impression they are severely understaffed and using some shockingly bad CRM system where contacts are clearly being lost, with a lot depending on individuals doing the correct thing and following matters up.

    NorthernLass 7,993 posts

    @JDB, @Bervios admittedly this is not helpful to the OP, however you’re missing the fact that the (presumably ex) officer was convicted of “Going Equipped to Cheat” – this is not the same as stealing. He was basically using something to try and obtain something he wasn’t entitled to. If it had been possible to prosecute him for stealing points or avios, it would have been much more straightforward, but they didn’t do this, and I contend that this is due to loyalty points having zero monetary value. The reference to them being “worth” 1p simply means (for the lay reader of such news articles) that that is what you can exchange them for at Tesco. If they had a monetary value, it would be possible to realise them for cash, which you can’t.
    The press report these cases for lay people to digest so don’t need to explain these nuances.

    Now please bring on some of these other cases you claim exist in the library!

    JDB 4,553 posts

    @NorthernLass – “Going Equipped to Cheat” is an offence under s25 of the Theft Act 1968. The offender was therefore convicted of theft or stealing if you prefer. While the case didn’t turn on the issue, the prosecution used a valuation of 1p for the Clubcard points something accepted as a matter of law (ie not something for a jury to decide). You can be quite certain that if the prosecution were incorrect the defence solicitor/counsel would have raised the matter in pre-trial hearings for the judge to determine. The slightly unusual charge was just a smart way to prosecute the crime which was stealing the points.

    JDB 4,553 posts

    @JDB Who do i address the Special Delivery mail to?

    Virgin had asked me for my 1M number which i provided to them and also Amex sent them separately. I am also baffled as to why they are taking so long to resolve this issue. If they suspended my account they should have already investigated and should have all the proof of it to provide me but now they are asking all this info which seems they are trying to backtrace.

    Any way to expedite this as I really don’t want to pay cash for a Business class ticket and be out of pocket if Virgin decides not to reimburse him.

    Just address that to Shai Weiss as well. There’s no science to this, but you need to keep grabbing their attention politely but firmly! I trust you also copied Amex as suggested originally; you need to keep chasing them as well.

    AP11 21 posts

    Just got this reply from Virgin Executive team:

    I hope you are well.

    I would like to assure you that our loyalty team are still in the process of investigating. We have chased them again today for an update given the urgency of your request.

    I do hope to hear from them shortly and I would then be in a better position to provide you with further information regarding your Flying Club account.

    I do sincerely apologise for the unintentional delay and we do appreciate your continued patience and understanding.

    We will be in touch with you again as quickly as possible.

    What I am not understanding is why is it taking so long for the loyalty team as they should have all the reports of why the account is flagged as they stated they have done their due diligence before cancelling the account.

    Such poor customer service. Will never book flight with them ever again.

    cin3 168 posts

    Since when is using a mileage broker for VS fraud? I thought that was allowed?

    mrcrsearle 99 posts

    Since when is using a mileage broker for VS fraud? I thought that was allowed?

    Its against terms & conditions. If anyone has sold miles via a broker your account will be closed.

    cin3 168 posts

    Which term? I checked for this and couldn’t find anything.

    Are private sales allowed?

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 2,176 posts

    No they aren’t

    PeteM 744 posts

    4.1.10 Members are not permitted to sell or auction Rewards or Virgin Points in any circumstances. Selling or auctioning Rewards or Virgin Points could lead to the termination of a Member’s membership in accordance with clause 9.1.

    cin3 168 posts

    Yikes, thanks for pointing that out.

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