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Virgin Digital Help launches to relieve Britain's digital stress

Computer crashes are more stressful than giving up smoking or not having sex for a month

Brits have wasted £7.27bn on digital stuff they can't figure out how to use

London, December 16th 2009: Virgin Group launches its first new company in the UK for 3 years - Virgin Digital Help. The company will revolutionise the way British consumers solve problems with their digital stuff using a combination of downloadable tools, online and phone support, and home visits.

To coincide with the launch, Virgin Digital Help conducted research with 2,000 British adults that shows how valuable technology is to consumers, how stressful it is when it stops working, and how technical support from digital companies is letting Brits down. A third of the British population say that digital stuff has caused them real stress, with 78% having shouted at their technology, 21% having thrown gadgets against the wall, and 14% have even punched technology.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, says: "At Virgin we've made it our mission to always step in when we feel like people are getting a raw deal. Virgin Digital Help will do exactly that with bells on! Digital products are fantastic but the industry, as a whole, has done very little to support consumers when they get back home and try to make it all work. It's amazing that 56% of Brits are wasting their hard earned money by having digital stuff at home that they can't use."

"Virgin Digital Help is dedicated to relieving consumers' stress and helping them get the most out of the technology which is so important to them - without being limited to particular bits of kit, technologies, or service providers. Modern digital technology should be there to enhance our lives and our home, not make it more stressful. With the launch of Virgin Digital Help people are one call or one click away from making that a reality. After all, we all deserve a little less stress in life."

The research points to three main problems: technology just not working in the way it should, the stress this causes, and the frustration involved in getting stuff working again.

Problems with technology

· The most common sources of frustration with digital stuff are computers (46%), getting different digital devices to work together (28%), home wireless networks (26%), and printers (25%)

· The most common PC problems include it running slowly (58%), slow internet connection speeds (46%), and the PC crashing or freezing (42%)

· Brits waste on average 2.7 hours trying to fix a piece of technology before turning to anyone for help

· 56% of Brits have unused digital stuff at home, even though it's in perfect working order

The stress technology causes

· Brits have spent an average of £155 each on gadgets they never use because they can't get them to work

· 45% of Brits are embarrassed by their lack of technical knowledge

· 46% are afraid to try something new with technology

· Half agree that if their internet connection went down, it would be like being lost in the middle of the desert

· Losing music and photo collections is more stressful than dumping someone for the majority of Brits

The frustrations involved in getting stuff working again

· 48% of Brits turn to their friends for help first, with only 16% turning to customer support lines

· 78% of Brits would consider spending two hours trying to fix a gadget themselves instead of spending 20 minutes on the phone with customer service

· 45% of Brits normally feel fobbed off by customer care lines

· 57% of Brits think being on hold with customer service is worse than being caught in traffic

"It's clear that we love our digital stuff, but feel completely left at sea when something goes wrong," says Joe Steel, founder of Virgin Digital Help.

"Nowadays, in theory, our digital stuff should work together seamlessly. But, unfortunately, it's not always like that and when things stop working, most of us are stuffed. It's really frustrating, stressful, or even scary - valuable stuff could get lost. This means that people are wasting a lot of time trying to get their digital kit to work, and certainly aren't reaping the full benefit of it."

"We have launched Virgin Digital Help to get Britain's digital stuff to work. Now you don't have to get mad, just get help."

Virgin Digital Help will revolutionise the way we get digital stuff to work.

Desktop Digital Helper

· A free digital toolkit, packed with software to fix and tune up computers. It includes the new AVG Anti-Virus Free edition 9.0 for everyone.

· Includes over 100 free self-help guides, helping to solve around half of the most common digital problems.

· And for just £2.99 a month, consumers can turn on the full set of automated fixes and get access to 70,000 self-help solutions and over 1000 video tutorials. That's real insider knowledge - usually the preserve of the experts.

Seamless service

· Virgin Digital Help's service is entirely seamless across online, over the phone, or with a home visit. So the company remains fully up to speed with customers' problems however they choose to receive service. Smart access technologies are used to remotely control computers and smartphones during service

· Virgin Digital Help can help with a broad range of digital products and services, individually and in terms of how they work together - PCs, laptops, netbooks, printers, wireless connections, smart phones (such as Nokia, BlackBerry® and iPhone), connecting and configuring games consoles (such as Wii, PS3, Nintendo and Xbox®), music players (such as Apple iPod touch and iPod), digital cameras, digital camcorders, setting up software and kit, removal of serious virus infections, firewall and system security set-up and Windows ® 7 Operating System upgrade advice to name but a few.

For more information on how Virgin Digital Help provides IT and PC support , go to http://www.virgindigitalhelp.co.uk

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