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Virgin Atlantic Files for Bankruptcy

From my perspective, I don’t think there‘s much of an issue of being envious about when a multi billionaire makes his first port of call the British tax payer when his train set is getting in trouble and he want’s £600M of public funds to fix it.

Branson does portray this nice guy attitude as part of his PR and yet even a cursory look at the business practices used by companies using his brand and where he usually has a controlling interest shows an organisation using what I consider to be dubious methods to extract money from the gullible public.

In my instance for example, I use virgin broadband while I’m surfing places like here. My monthly bill from virgin has been running at close to £70 a month for quite some time. That includes a phone line which you used to require for the internet and their cheaper tv package.

I was originally just a few years ago paying around £34 for the same package. When I agreed to the original package, the broadband, phone and tv were each separate components that I agreed to. Virgin then proceed to up the ante price wise on each component without notifying you.

The upshot is that if you haven’t been paying too much attention to what’s going on, you find that you are now a year or two later paying much more than you originally agreed. It’s a bit like saying, here’s my bank details, please help yourself.

Finally deciding to take a half an hour to sort this out and reduce my bill, I contact virgin and tell them that I want to reduce my bill and I’m doing that by cancelling the phone and tv components of my bill. They inform me that they are not components but are just part of the package.

Their point is that there isn’t an individual price attached to those components that I can just cancel. My response is, well there was when I agreed them in the first place. So basically virgin are saying it’s all part of your deal with us and that’s that!

My response is, well that’s a change you didn’t inform me of but anyway, I still don’t want the tv part of it or the phone bit of it so what are you going to do about it?

Eventually, we get to a situation where they will take those elements off the bill after they have squeezed another months fee’s out of me for them. That brings my bill down to £49. I query this further and they haven’t taken the phone bit of it off. So I tell them again that I don’t want that and that brings my bill down to £42 just for the broadband.

That’s still top dollar for a broadband package and I’m only on their basic one. So I’m now looking around for a decent replacement to swap over to. I think the top end of twenty quid or even something in the low thirties is plenty to pay for broadband at home.

Afterwards, I find that virgin are offering the broadband package I’m on to new customers for £24 a month. I also find out that despite my cancelling the phone part of my deal, it hasn’t actually been cancelled so I’m still paying £49 a month.

Not even the equivalent of a grain of sand in the scheme of things generally but when you consider that if every virgin customer experiences similar issues with virgin, you are probably looking at a large pile of sand.

As far as I‘m concerned, his airline can take it’s chances like every other airline and if it’s needs a bailout, it’s multi billionaire controlling shareholder should use his money to sort his airline out.

Bailouts for major commercial concerns is just socialism for the rich. Watch people like Branson throw their hands up in horror and shout heaven (Sorry, I really meant the British tax payer ones) forbid that we might give some extra public money to the poor but when their cash cows need it, despite their enormous personal wealth, the pubic purse is their first phone call!
You should always threatened to cancel when you contract is up. I get BT for 19.00 a month
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
As soon as they had no choice in the matter, it turned out they had simply been blocking it for their own idiotic reasons.
Oh, totally agreed. Dinosaur management, as personified by the IT Director at the last company I worked for directly. It was all about his own little fiefdom, not what was technologically possible. He just wanted to strut around the office lording it over his staff.

IT allows you better than anything else to monitor people's output - actually down to the keystroke.

On the flip side, a big worry for some people as individuals has been the attitude to work - that being at home would be distracting. I've worked at home, pretty much alone, for the last six years. A lot of people in that time asked me how I stayed motivated. The response was a simple one: if I didn't work, pretty shortly thereafter the mortgage stopped getting paid.

Having been forced to work from home in recent months, many others have now also realised this. Quite a number of friends have gone from "I could never work like you" to "I never want to go back to the office five days a week".

And, it'll be bloody hard for any company to suddenly insist on that again, having proven it's not necessary. In fact, it'll be bloody hard to retain staff if other companies operate a more enlightened policy.

All good news, as far as I'm concerned. It'll allow better family cohesion, there'll be (for many) no more 12-hour days for a 7.5-hour working day, and so on. I'd like to see the effects on air quality and local environment (stand fast the loss of fuel tax revenues).

Change has been forced, and we actually have the chance here to do something radical.
 
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You should always threatened to cancel when you contract is up. I get BT for 19.00 a month

Virgin like a lot of companies bank on people not really keeping tabs on stuff they are paying for.

They use that factor to then rip you off. A good example is car insurance. How many people stick with the same company for many years and then decide one year to sit down and go on a price comparison site and suddenly realise they’ve been paying well over the odds for years.

Many businesses don’t value their long term customers for their loyalty. They value them because they hike their prices to them and they often don’t notice and just keep the direct debit going.

It’s a disgraceful attitude but people just say that’s business and shrug their shoulders as if that’s ok.

There should be a mandatory regulation that a company must contact you and get a specific further agreement to continue at the end of each contract period but that won’t ever happen.

There is also a view that if you don’t monitor your own dealings with these companies, that’s really your problem but I don’t think that’s really a reason to continue letting companies like virgin ripping off the pubic.

There is an issue where vulnerable people who are responsible for their outgoings sometimes get taken advantage of and it goes on for years with their bank accounts being emptied for stuff they don’t really want or need.
 

Bob65

War Hero
crack on, accept the casualties as the new norm

For the last 6 weeks, deaths have been below the 5 year average. That means that COVID is so dangerous that in the middle of a pandemic, fewer people are dying than if there was no COVID and no pandemic! The new norm is that fewer people are dying that otherwise would have... It seems incredible but there it is.

 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
For the last 6 weeks, deaths have been below the 5 year average. That means that COVID is so dangerous that in the middle of a pandemic, fewer people are dying than if there was no COVID and no pandemic! The new norm is that fewer people are dying that otherwise would have... It seems incredible but there it is.

A couple of thoughts: many of those who died earlier this year may instead have died in the last six weeks but Covid hastened things along. Also, Covid lockdown may have slowed the effects of other communicable ailments.

You can't just take a six-week window as your measure.
 
Envy.... it's a Deadly Sin.... if I was Branson and lucky enough to have lived the life he has I would be looking to save on paying taxes too.... in fact I've been avoiding paying full whack tax for many years, albeit on a less grand scale. Do you have an ISA?
I think the difference is that he sits on his private island paying no tax , lecturing and pontificating at those of us in the UK who have the gall to vote for Brexit and other measures he disapproves of .
You cannot have your cake and eat it , is what most of us are trying to say .
 
I was recently (pre-lockdown) asked by a client to write a piece about what the new Garden Towns and Villages will mean for the UK. One of the centrepieces of these communities of the future was/is that they will very much be Of The Future - clean, healthy, connected and so on. They will 'open the door on working from home'.

You have to remember that working from home was a bit like cold fusion - it had been 10 years away for decades.

Then, in mid-March, it had to be delivered in a matter of days. And, pretty much, it was.

The biggest reasons given for not doing it previously were the inability to guarantee operations that were both reliable and secure. Again, both objections have been disproven.

82 percent of the population in this country (if you include retail and leisure) works in the service sector. That means that for many there is little or no need to go to a place of work. There's no factory or shipyard or colliery involved.

What mid-March did was de-couple, pretty much fully and finally, where people live and where they work - at least, for a large proportion of that 82 percent.

That opens the door to many people living pretty much where they like and still being economically viable/contributive.

That article went from being a strategic thought-piece about what was possible to a consideration of what it all means for the UK's property market.

I currently live approximately equidistant between London and Brighton. In terms of a City commute, or access to the live music/theatre/restaurant scene, it was great. At the moment, that's all on 'Pause'.

If we can now live where we like, a lot of those City and other jobs that were centred in the Southeast can happen from a far greater distance. That has profound implications for property prices and for where new developments can (and probably should) be planned. It doesn't look good for many of the businesses in Central London.

I have mentioned a co-worker in another thread on here - she is legally blind. Dog, stick, lots of gadgets to help her out. She is not very well liked in the office as she is more than a little ‘different’ - but she has a squaddie like sense of humour and I got on okay with her.

Previously she was not allowed to work from home as the accommodations necessary were ‘unreasonable’ - and her home is over an hour away from the office, a real problem for her. I wonder how many of those who previously struggled in the work place due to physical or other difficulties may now see new opportunities open up.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
I have mentioned a co-worker in another thread on here - she is legally blind. Dog, stick, lots of gadgets to help her out. She is not very well liked in the office as she is more than a little ‘different’ - but she has a squaddie like sense of humour and I got on okay with her.

Previously she was not allowed to work from home as the accommodations necessary were ‘unreasonable’ - and her home is over an hour away from the office, a real problem for her. I wonder how many of those who previously struggled in the work place due to physical or other difficulties may now see new opportunities open up.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
It brings lots of people into the job market.

A former colleaugue’s wife is a graphic designer. After their first child, she went back to work as soon as she could. She needed to remain visible and current. The childcare costs were ridiculous. After those, she effectively earned £40/month. Many people wouldn’t have bothered in a similar situation.
 
To be fair I like the Virgin brand and the guy himself, I don't think any Tom Dick and Harry legit business owner would pass up a chance to save on paying tax especially higher earners, we are one of the most heavily taxed countries in the world and the way Branson lives of course is going upset the "For the many not the few" image of Labour supporters, anyone who pisses of the terrorist sympathizer JC gets a thumbs up from me.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
To be fair I like the Virgin brand and the guy himself, I don't think any Tom Dick and Harry legit business owner would pass up a chance to save on paying tax especially higher earners, we are one of the most heavily taxed countries in the world and the way Branson lives of course is going upset the "For the many not the few" image of Labour supporters, anyone who pisses of the terrorist sympathizer JC gets a thumbs up from me.
He was very much a Labour favourite in the Blair era - something which the party and its supporting media choose to have selective memory about.
 

Bob65

War Hero
I think the difference is that he sits on his private island paying no tax , lecturing and pontificating at those of us in the UK who have the gall to vote for Brexit and other measures he disapproves of .
You cannot have your cake and eat it , is what most of us are trying to say .

He's always been the first to put the boot in with obvious glee when rivals such as BA have run into rocky patches. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Some say VA is a strategic national asset but there is nothing national about it - any flag waving he has done has been purely profit driven, he has no love for nor loyalty to this country. Should we even allow those who move offshore for tax purposes to keep their citizenship? Force them to transfer it to whatever tax haven they actually live in. Bono is the same, Ireland should have booted him out long ago.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
He's always been the first to put the boot in with obvious glee when rivals such as BA have run into rocky patches. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Some say VA is a strategic national asset but there is nothing national about it - any flag waving he has done has been purely profit driven, he has no love for nor loyalty to this country. Should we even allow those who move offshore for tax purposes to keep their citizenship? Force them to transfer it to whatever tax haven they actually live in. Bono is the same, Ireland should have booted him out long ago.
Oh, yes. During the media war with BA, Branson was portrayed as the average-guy-got-lucky taking on the Establishment.

That’s the Branson who went to Stowe, versus the Lord King, son of a postman, who left school and started working at 12.
 

endure

GCM
It is not a British company. I don't think the British tax payer (not him) should keep his bit of the company going to the next crisis, where it will go bankrupt... If he wants to save it, he could himself (but why should he use his own money)?

Virgin received a tax credit of £22m in 2018 and £14m in 2017 since it was unprofitable in those years. The U.K. allows tax relief for trading losses, a practice also evident in the U.S.

The article you quote says it is:

" Branson rejects claims he moved to the British Virgin Islands for tax reasons. Irrespective of why he is there, his flagship airline Virgin Atlantic is based in the U.K. and has obligations there. “Our companies based in the U.K. pay tax in the U.K.,” Branson said. "

Companies are taxed on their profits. If they don't make any they don't pay any tax.
 

FHA

LE
No argument from me, I’m very closely involved with the human price of it all, that’s all. To be fair though, I believe he’s already pumped in a sizeable chunk of his own money, an eye watering amount to mere mortals but sadly, price tags on anything to do with aviation are calculated using very complex formulae along the lines of:

Think of a number, double it, add four 0’s.

To illustrate this, and please take this as entirely unfounded evidence, an engineer once told me that the little plastic / foam strips on arm rests run to £1,100 each. @Lindermyer might be better placed to comment though?

I’m not convinced even his very deep pockets would sort this mess even if he did develop very long arms.


That price is not far off in some cases. It’s partly certification costs: no Form One, no 8130-3 etc, then no go.
(The price tag on an IRU or FMGC would match many a pension pot.)
If the model parent in row whatever lets their spawn scrawl all over the tray tables or seat arms (or spits an entire packet of gum into the carpet at their feet)* then it completely negates what they paid for their flight. And then some.

Glad to see you’re ok (ish) for now.
I’m carrying on by agreeing to reduced hours/pay/conditions etc. I could be in trouble if the headline company goes under though.

(*actual examples of what punters do to the cabin. Like me, you’ll have seen worse. Keeps me in a job I suppose.)


Sent from my iPhone
 
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endure

GCM
From my perspective, I don’t think there‘s much of an issue of being envious about when a multi billionaire makes his first port of call the British tax payer when his train set is getting in trouble and he want’s £600M of public funds to fix it.

Branson does portray this nice guy attitude as part of his PR and yet even a cursory look at the business practices used by companies using his brand and where he usually has a controlling interest shows an organisation using what I consider to be dubious methods to extract money from the gullible public.

In my instance for example, I use virgin broadband while I’m surfing places like here.


If you're having problems with your Virgin broadband better get in tough with Liberty Global. Branson sold it to them in 2013...
 
If you're having problems with your Virgin broadband better get in tough with Liberty Global. Branson sold it to them in 2013...

I wasn’t aware of that although Branson still holds a 2% stake in it which was worth $316M at the time of the sale in 2013.

I wonder what that’s worth now.
 
I‘m absolutely certain your words, which I agree with regarding him personally, will be of great comfort to thousands about to lose their jobs.
My issue with the anti-Branson (or any other mega entrepreneur) pitch is that he got off his arrse and founded an airline. He generated a lot of well paid jobs and livelihoods from an idea. He was the one that made it happen.

Yes, he’s filthy rich and has chosen to (legally) manage his tax in a way that many abhor, but without him there would be no Virgin.

Without entrepreneurism there would be no business.
 

endure

GCM
I wasn’t aware of that although Branson still holds a 2% stake in it which was worth $316M at the time of the sale in 2013.

I wonder what that’s worth now.


Lots of people have shares in Virgin Media. It doesn't mean they're responsible for the fact that you're expected to haggle broadband prices.

If you want the best deal out of Virgin you must be prepared to go as far as giving 30 days notice of cancellation. That gets their attention.
 

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