I have been with Vodafone now for a number of years and never really had a problem. Until recently that is….
Firstly I should explain that I have 4 phone lines with them – mine, my hubbies, my daughters and my second youngest son. My phone bill averages at over £100pm and I have always paid it on time and in full.
It all began to go wrong back in March 2015. We went away for a few days and my son ran up a massive bill, by using a shed load of data whilst ‘Minecrafting’ of an evening.
As soon as I saw the bill I called Vodafone to explain what had happened, and to request that more data be added to my sons number to prevent it ever occurring again in the future. ‘The Customer Disservice‘ (they don’t seem to provide an actual service so this name seems more fitting) adviser that I spoke to assured me that what I really needed was a dongle with some data on. Unconvinced but feeling somewhat pressurised I agreed and the dongle arrived a couple of days later. By this time I had realised that I really didn’t need a dongle at all, just some data adding to my sons line as requested, so I returned it the same day it arrived and received a text message soon after confirming it was back with Vodafone safe and sound.
When the April phone bill came I was disappointed to see that, along with my 4 phone lines, the dongle I had returned – unused and sealed as it had arrived, had still been billed to my account.
Being the good customer that I am, I paid the bill in full and called ‘Customer Disservice’ to ask that it be removed immediately and the money taken from my bank be credited back as a refund. She apologised for the mix up and confirmed that they would sort it out as a matter of urgency as she could see that I had, indeed returned it as stated.
Little did I know then that this was to be a pattern that would continue right up until today (November 2015) and I am still being charged for a dongle I never used. Each month I would check the bill, call Vodafone to be assured that they would remove it for me and arrange a refund only for it to appear the following month again.
This week things took a serious turn for the worse and I am now a very unhappy customer indeed – as are many
others judging by the countless complaints about Vodafone on social media, particularly Twitter.
On Tuesday morning I opened my November bill and was horrified/annoyed/upset to see that despite my countless calls every month for the past 8 months, the dongle is still on there. I called Vodafone ‘Customer Disservice’ and had a little rant about the clear lack of communication they have going on and was told that my problem was down to the returns department. Allegedly they never updated my account when they received it back and that was why I was still being billed. The representative then assured me that she had fixed everything and that the dongle would be removed the same day, I would receive a full refund on my next bill and (after me requesting some form of compensation for my inconvenience), a £20 good will gesture would also be credited to my account.
I ended the call feeling fairly optimistic that the problem would finally be resolved and I could look forward to a slightly lower bill next month. How naive was I…….
Within 5 minutes of me ending the call to Vodafone my hubbys phone lost signal and ‘no service’ appeared on the screen. Thinking this was just a coincidence I called Vodafone back and asked why the number had gone off. They talked me through several trouble shooting fixes, finally asking me to try the sim in another phone which established that the problem was with the sim itself and not the handset. She wasn’t sure why this had happened but advised me that the quickest way to fix it would be to go to our local store where that would be able to read the notes she’d added to my account and give him a new sim card there and then. Easy, right?
He duly went to the Sale branch of Vodafone where the staff gave him a new sim as suggested – he left the store thinking that it was all sorted and called me to give me the good news. Thing is, when he called it came up as my daughters number instead of his own. My daughter was in college at the time and messages me when she finishes to arrange for me to collect her from the Metro-link, so if he had her number what number, if any, did she have??
Panicked I called Vodafone for the third time that day to be told that it was the store at fault and that they had ported the wrong number to the sim card they’d given my hubby. The only way to rectify this, they said, was for him to return to the store in question so that they could fix the problem. They also confirmed that my daughters number had been disconnected at the same time, meaning that I had to phone the college to pass a message to her to call me from a phone box when she got off the Metro – something that as a 17 year old in 2015 she has never done before.
Hubby returned to the store and, after an hour of calls to various departments it finally became clear what had caused the problem. Apparently, when I called to cancel the dongle for the 8th time, the adviser that took my call actually disconnected his phone number instead, leaving the dongle online with no cancellation or refund in sight.
On Tuesday evening I had a lengthy phone call with someone in the technical department where he confirmed that they had accidentally disconnected the phone and it would take 24 hours to reinstate it as they had to let it completely ‘switch off’ before they could switch it on again. He promised that he would deal with it himself first thing in the morning (Wednesday) and would call me to let me know it was in hand.
With no offer of a temporary sim card or emergency phone number from either the tech team or ‘Customer Disservice’, I ended the call and headed to the Vodafone shop in Sale to see if they could help. I explained that they still hadn’t switched the phone back on, despite me explaining that my hubby uses it for business and it was costing us both time and money while we were being passed from one incompetent call handler to the next.
I have to say that the Sale branch of Vodafone were extremely helpful and gave me a temporary pay-as-you-go sim with some credit on so he could at least make calls in the meantime. The manager was disgusted at the runaround we’d been given and explained how frustrating it was for her and her colleagues to be on the receiving end of such complaints without the proper support to resolve them. I was also informed that there was another customer with a very similar complaint that had been without their number for 6 weeks before it was finally sorted out……..
Despite being told by Vodafone on several occasions that someone would call be back to no avail (for the record the only Voda representative to ever return my call is the assistant manager at Sale branch, thanks Dean), I duly waited until lunch time Wednesday and, having no call back from Vodafone as promised, I decided to call them again.
This time I was on the phone for 50 minutes, passed between 6 call handlers and asked my full name and phone number a staggering 9 times. I was then told there were no notes from the night before so we were no nearer the phone being switched on, but not to worry as they would do it straight away and we could expect the phone to be operational within 24 hours.
At this point I began to feel like I really was being fobbed off every time I called – told to wait 2 hours, 24 hours and, latterly 72 hours and the line would be active again and also meaning that there was no point calling back until that time had elapsed as they can’t/won’t give you any further information. I’m sure the buffoons staffing Vodafone ‘Customer Disservices’ are given a script to read and if you try and discuss anything other than a general enquiry with them it leads to total communication breakdown, cross wires, tears (mine) and long painful silences (theirs).
Another 24 hours passed and my phone line was still not active so, on Thursday I decided to call Vodafone. Again.
I had to explain my whole situation again but was optimistic once again when Omar in ‘Customer Disservice’ apologised and said that he would action it straight away and my phone would be up and running in 2 hours. I questioned this, I mean 2 hours is too good to be true, right? He confirmed that he would ‘handle it personally’ and it would be on for sure so I had no option but to hang up and wait some more.
2 hours later…….phone still not on
I called Vodafone ‘Customer Disservice’ yet again (see a pattern forming here) and this time was told that the phone number couldn’t be reactivated by them at all and every time he tried to submit the reactivation form it was coming up with an error and not allowing him to continue.
- I asked why Omar had promised me it would be on within 2 hours if this was the case. He had no answer.
- I asked why it was taking days to reconnect a number that Vodafone had cut off in error. He had no answer.
- I then asked why I was being told something different every single time I called and why the notes that were put on my file were incomplete, wrong or, in some cases, totally absent. Again he had no answer.
- Instead he stuck to his predetermined script in a drone like manner repeating that he would refer it to the reconnection team and it should be on within 72 hours.
At this point I was seriously losing the will to live and had developed a banging headache from being on the phone to Vodafone so much without getting anywhere so I ended the call having absolutely no faith in what he’d said at all and feeling rather despondent.
This morning (Friday) I decided to visit the Vodafone Sale branch in an attempt to get the phone put back on before weekend, they had been so helpful on Tuesday that I hoped they would be able to do what so many ‘Customer Disservice’ team members had tried and failed.
Unfortunately this wasn’t the case – they were extremely helpful in so much as they gave us more credit on the temporary sim they’d given us on Tuesday, and the assistant manager did try to sort the issue on the phone, but he got no further than I had managed the day before. After spending a ridiculous amount of time on hold and repeating himself several times he too was told that it should be on at some point on Saturday.
I asked what time Saturday but they were unable to provide me this information, despite it being them that put a 72 hour time span on it in the first place. The staff at Sale Vodafone advised me that if it didn’t come on as promised then to call them back and they would try again, also that they aren’t open on Sundays but the Trafford Centre branch is…….
So that brings me to where I am now.
- It’s almost 8pm Friday night and the phone line is still inactive.
- I have no idea if it will actually come on tomorrow and the thought of having to repeat myself to Vodafone ‘Customer Disservice’ again is making me feel physically sick.
- My husband, who is self employed, has lost an immeasurable amount of business and numerous calls as people try to contact him and get a dead tone.
- Remember the dongle I mentioned? It is still on my bill and showing as active………
Have you had a similar experience with Vodafone? – I’m interested to see if this is a widespread problem and if anyone else is still waiting to be reconnected.