‘I’ve been waiting for a YEAR for Vodafone to settle our complaint. Despite all the promises about better service’

Waiting For A Year For Vodafone To Settle My complaint

Waiting For A Year For Vodafone To Settle My complaint

Jennifer Lovell, due to give birth soon, first started having problems last October. The mobile network provider was fined £4.6m by Ofcom earlier this year. Customers are continuing to struggle with Vodafone to resolve ongoing issues. Are you having problems with your provider? Here are some ways to get them sorted. Waiting For A Year For Vodafone To Settle My complaint

Waiting For A Year For Vodafone To Settle My complaint

Jennifer Lovell continues to suffer at the hands of Vodafone

Just over a month ago, mobile phone giant Vodafone was hit with a record £4.6million fine by Ofcom. This for serial customer service failings following a sustained campaign by The Mail on Sunday.

The fine prompted the company to concede that it had ‘let customers down’. 

Vittorio Colao, group chief executive, confirmed the company was ‘working on’ fixing its customer service issues. It said it ‘was determined to put everything right’.  This had culminated in inaccurate bills being sent out and complaints being handled poorly.

Yet it appears the company’s fixing is still very much a work in progress. Many customers continue to struggle to get Vodafone to resolve longstanding problems.

Waiting For A Year For Vodafone To Settle My complaint

Astonishingly, they include Jennifer Lovell, whose problems with her Vodafone account began in October last year.  Her plight was highlighted, in the aftermath of the record fine.

Due to give birth soon, Jennifer’s battle has lasted longer than her entire pregnancy. This she says has been blighted by her experience with the mobile giant.

An extra contract she did not want, was opened under her name without permission, which she was charged for. 

Her own phone was later disconnected on numerous occasions. She was fed up and had lost all confidence in the company.  Jennifer arranged to pay an exit fee in stages so she could leave her contract early. 

But with no prior warning her phone was disconnected a fortnight after paying the first instalment. 

Waiting For A Year For Vodafone To Settle My complaint

Then she was told her details had been passed to a debt collection agency. She was unable to continue with her payment plan. 

She says she tried to make a further payment but was passed back and forth. Vodafone said she had to deal with the debt collection agency. The agency denied having an account under her name. 

She now also has adverse marks on her credit file for defaulting on payments, despite trying to hand over money. Jennifer has referred her complaint to the Ombudsman and awaits its decision.

‘I can’t tell you how much physical and mental stress this issue with Vodafone has caused me over the last year. I have had to deal with numerous calls in an attempt to have my account reinstated. I have had the additional stress and worry about the impact on my credit score. All as a result of an error made by Vodafone. 

Many customers continue to struggle to get Vodafone to resolve longstanding problems

‘I feel Vodafone has done everything to show it is the bigger power and to back me into a corner.’

In another case of Vodafone incompetence, Michelle and Gary Tester say they feel ‘totally violated and helpless’. These problems dated back to spring last year.

The couple, live in Middleton- on-Sea in West Sussex with their two children. The fiasco started when their phones were upgraded in May 2015. Their three accounts with Vodafone were ‘tidied’ into one.

In June last year, £250 was taken from their bank account – far higher than what they would pay each month. Vodafone said it was an error but it could not credit their account. Rather, it would be deducted from future bills. 

The overcharge put the Testers into an overdraft with their bank account. The same thing happened the following month.

Waiting For A Year For Vodafone To Settle My complaint

Ways To Resolve Problems With Your Mobile Phone Network? 

– Expect delays. Issues with your account may take time to fix?

– Make an official complaint to the company along with copies of supporting evidence that back up your case. Do so in writing so you have evidence of when the complaint was made.

– Go to the Communications Ombudsman if your complaint is not resolved by a mobile network within eight weeks. It will weigh up both sides and decide how both parties should move forward. Any decision that favours you is binding on the network provider. Visit ombudsman-services.org/communications.

– Consider legal action as a last resort. It is worth doing, if you feel your case is serious enough, and the company owes you money. If the Ombudsman sided with your provider but you strongly disagree with its decision? Financial claims worth less than £10,000 can be contested in the small claims court. There is no need for a lawyer unless you want one.

Waiting For A Year For Vodafone To Settle My complaint

Court fees depend on the size of a financial claim and whether you apply by post or online.

Fees start at £25 for an online claim of up to £300, rising to £455 for a postal claim worth £10,000. To find out how it works visit gov.uk/make-court-claim-for-money.

– Seek free counsel from Citizens Advice. Call its consumer helpline on 03454 040506 or visit citizensadvice.org.uk.

Michelle, 48, who runs her own human resources consultancy business, says: ‘This left us in a serious financial predicament. 

‘We decided to contact our bank and cancel the direct debit to prevent Vodafone taking further funds. 

‘The situation escalated and each month we would receive messages claiming we owed money and our phones were frequently disconnected.’

Every time this happened the couple had to make multiple lengthy phone calls to Vodafone. Invoices were inaccurate – showing an accumulating debt for previous unpaid bills. Despite the couple being up to date with payments.

‘We wrote to Ofcom, the Ombudsman and Vodafone’s chief executive who never responded. Finally, we went to our local store and begged them to listen to us.’ Michelle claimed

Vodafone’s boss Vittorio Colao said Vodafone was ‘working on’ fixing customer service issues

In February, the couple paid to unlock their phones and move to a different network. But they still received messages about outstanding bills and their credit file was impacted. This prevented them from changing their mortgage. 

Michelle adds: ‘Vodafone destroyed us. I could not believe I was treated like this.’

A Vodafone spokeswoman says: ‘We’ve been in touch to apologise that we didn’t sort the issue out sooner. We reassured them there is nothing owing on the account and the credit file has been corrected.’

Vodafone said it had been unable to take any action on Jennifer’s complaint until the Ombudsman’s review has taken place.

Better service is available elsewhere.

Waiting For A Year For Vodafone To Settle My complaint
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