Kirit Ved, who runs Ved’s News in Stoke Newington, keeps an eye on his property because, as I reported some time ago, his local council had him in court and made him change his shopfront in keeping with its listed building status even though Kirit had not been the one to break the rules that was the previous owner.
In January 2009 he saw a Virgin Media engineer sorting out some cables in a junction box that been installed on his property without permission. He told the engineer to stop, the engineer called his supervisor and Kirit was persuaded to let them continue. Virgin Media promised that the box would be removed within three weeks. “Like a fool I agreed,” says Kirit.
One year later, a repeat performance. Kirit once again stopped the engineer, the supervisor attended and promised action within three weeks.
In March this year, the engineer was less obliging and refused to come down. Kirit called the police who didn’t get there in time to stop the work but told him that he had the right to remove the junction box.
Kirit wrote several times to Virgin Media, threatening to charge them storage fees and saying he would have the junction box removed. A new time frame of three months was once again agreed.
You can probably guess some of the rest. The junction box is still there and Kirit has been tearing his hair out. The last reply, in June, came from customer services expressing the concern that he was ‘not happy with the service you’re getting from us’. He is not a customer of Virgin Media.
So he contacted me. The trouble is, Kirit is dealing with several layers of corporate bureaucracy here, and every jobsworth he had written to or discussed the problem with has simply passed it on.
I found out the name of the CEO (Neil Berkett) and have advised Kirit that he should now write to Virgin Media once again, direct to the CEO, telling him as succinctly as possible that Virgin Media has installed an unwanted junction box on a listed building and that, if it isn’t removed within seven days, Kirit will have it removed. Virgin Media will be charged for the work. If they don’t cough up, the next stop will be the small claims court.
Watch this space.