Vodafone Customer Service

July 21st, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

frustrates me. Some of the time they give great customer service – especially if you engage with their Twitter people who several times have sorted problems out for me within minutes.

But at other times the customer service is sub-standard.

In January I moved apartments. As part of that I gave both Telecom and Vodafone advance notice. Telecom scheduled the phone number to transfer for a specific hour on a particular day.

I was hoping Vodafone could arrange for my DSL connection to transfer the same afternoon as the phone transfers. But alas I was told they could not even log my job into their system until the Telecom transfer was done!

Then once the job was logged I was told there would be a 10 to 15 working day delay until my DSL connection was transferred.  In the end it took 16 days (including weekends) to get my DSL working again.

Now this wasn’t the end of the world as I had a vodem, and could survive on mobile broadband even though it is not as fast. So I got through the 16 days okay.

But then I got the bill for the vodem. And on top of the normal $50 monthly charge was $602 of excess data charges!

As I only used the vodem because my DSL connection was not available (which I was paying for incidentally) I e-mailed Vodafone on the 7th of March asking them to consider remitting the excessive usage charges as it was their own inability to reconnect my DSL within a couple of days, which caused the excess data charge.

I go an auto-reply which said:

We appreciate that you have taken the time to write and you can be assured that we will be in touch as soon as possible.

And apart from a further acknowledgement, I’ve never heard back.

The $600 I got whacked is reason enough to be less than happy. But that is not even the biggest issue for me. If I had got a reply saying this is our decision, then I would at least have a decision on which I can base my future purchasing decisions.

But just getting no reply at all is incredibly frustrating. I don’t have the time to spend hours on the phone being transferred from person to person while trying to find out what has happened. I expect a major company to have a system which ensures customers’ letters are replied to – especially those seeking a refund.

UPDATE: Vodafone have contacted me and the issue has been resolved satisfactorily. My thanks to them for this. I use Vodafone for my mobile phone calls and texts, plus as my home ISP, and also as data for my Blackberry, ipad and Vodem. Most months they get $300 to $500 from me, which is fine – but I did object to an extra $600 in the conditions outlined.

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19 Responses to “Vodafone Customer Service”

  1. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    Speak to someone on the phone, and tell them you’re not going to pay that $600. Any sensible manager would allow that.

    Vodafone is the Jetstar of telecommunications. They don’t really care what you think of them because they are ubiquitous and they assume they’ll always have customers. But really, you should leave them.

    The problem is that Telecom is not much better. I don’t know anything about 2degrees, but they’ve pissed me off much less in my lifetime than the other two.

    When I get time I’m going to move to 2degrees because of this comment:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/5299272/Maori-should-get-cash-from-spectrum-sale
    “Vodafone chief executive Russell Stanners is proposing Maori should get a cut of the proceeds from the sale of radio spectrum”

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  2. Bed Rater (239 comments) says:

    Spare a thought for those in similar situations who are probably not going to get a call in the next hour or so offering a makegood.

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  3. berend (1,676 comments) says:

    Really, you used your vodem and didn’t buy some 500MB or 3GB data packs? That would have been only a few dollars.

    No wonder with customers like you they’re busy and are unable to really help people.

    [DPF: How are they busy with a customer like me? They have never ever responded to my e-mail.]

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  4. ben (2,414 comments) says:

    Good post David. I imagine you’ll be hearing from them in 30 seconds or less and refund on its way.

    However, for those few of us without nationally-read blogs to complain on…

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  5. wreck1080 (3,815 comments) says:

    You should have talked to vodafone up front about using your vodem in place of dsl.

    In any case, large company ‘support’ email addresses are usually black holes for getting customers off their backs. These companies know that if it is really important the customer will eventually phone.

    Larger companies also try to avoid customer support phone calls too. Just look at the websites –check sky, vodafone, telecom, and some banks. You’d have thought one of the most important items of information would be their phone number —given people will often go to the webpage instead of using phone directories. But, they never put the phone number on the front page.

    At one point, Sky TV hid their phone number so well I had to use white pages!!

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  6. Sadu (129 comments) says:

    Yeah Vodafone are random alright.

    I got a letter the other day saying that because I have been paying my bill on time, they have removed the $250pm account cap (which is basically a protection against the above situation happening). Except I like having that layer of security because my account never goes over $60pm.

    So I called them up and asked them to put it back on – and they sprung into action like a team or hamsters getting the wheels in motion. I didn’t think it was a big request, but hey. The Vodafone rep even called me back at 10:30pm to confirm that I wanted to go ahead before making the final change. WTF who calls at 10:30pm? And why would this kind of change need double-opt-in extra customer confirmation? Took about 4 days to get the thing finalised.

    Fair to say the service was over the top but hopelessly inefficient. Maybe that’s why they don’t bother to get back to you.

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  7. badmac (139 comments) says:

    The only good thing about Vodafone now days is that they have made telecom improve their act.

    Now a little story to illustrate why why vodafone are the new telecom (bloated, faceless slow, only care about profits).
    I own a medium size business, we spend a few thousand a month on mobiles.
    2degrees approached us (bought us a coffee, we are so cheap!).
    They presented there new business plans with the $149 all calls inclusive with free group calling, 2500txts and 1.5th data. That was about a %300 saving just on my phone let alone across the business. So we decided to swap. Out of interest I contact my vodafone account manager to see if they have any new pencils to sharpen. I was told vodafone have new plans coming 1aug that will “blow the others out of the water”. I asked if I could see those plans or even just some hints. I was told, NO they were top secret.

    So secret that they lost my business, doesn’t matter how good they are, I hate corporate arrogance. My phone went live on 2degrees at 9am this morning, whole company switched, no dramas or hiccups, and great customer service from a hungry new company (till they get fat and lazy, but by then there will be other choices and/or vodafone/telecom might be back in the we need you mode).

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  8. wreck1080 (3,815 comments) says:

    @badmac: could you have waited a few days?

    I can understand the commercial sensitivity around new products. If they had told you, then others would also be told and the new plans would be out in the wild before vodafone were ready with a coordinated marketing and perhaps even technical implementation .

    I’m on vodafones side, unfortunately as I don’t like doing that ha ha.

    2degrees are kicking butt at the moment, so good work.

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  9. RightNow (6,844 comments) says:

    The thing I can’t figure out DPF is why you have your DSL with Vodafone? I think you’re up with the play enough to know that they are reselling a Telecom service, which is why they had to wait until Telecom had transferred the line before they could log a move – Telecom won’t accept a MAC request on a line if there is another MAC already in progress, they perform them consecutively rather than concurrently.
    My advice (after the horse has bolted) is to move to a company that does ‘Naked DSL’ and get a VoIP phone line. Then if you ever have to move it is one circuit, one move. They’ll probably offer free national traffic and a cheaper phone service too.

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  10. Hollyfield (69 comments) says:

    By not bothering to address your issue, they have got out of issuing a refund.

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  11. labrator (1,849 comments) says:

    There really is some Telecom subversiveness under all of this though isn’t there? Sure, Vodafone isn’t great at CSR but isn’t it Telecom slowing the whole switch over date for your new connection? Seems only Telecom is capable of switching your broadband the same day as they do the hardware and the service. Service only providers get made to wait. I wonder if this changes with the unbundling, could say Orcon do it if you’re on their hardware? Of course, I may be wrong about the whole thing.

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  12. Nigel (516 comments) says:

    I’m surprised Vodafone are not more proactive with their longterm clients, speaking for myself it took a fair bit to swap away, but the odds of going back are not good, it’d be interesting to see how the next set of subscriber numbers turn out, my bet is 2degrees have gained a good chunk of market share, telecom flat & vodafone are the big losers, could be wrong.

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  13. leftyliberal (642 comments) says:

    Agreed with RightNow. Naked DSL is the way to go – much cheaper. We get more services on our VOIP phone such as answer phone, 3-way calling etc., cheap as chips toll calls, and a good internet service, all from a company with local support that knows what they’re talking about for a cheaper price.

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  14. gander (90 comments) says:

    Vodafone NZ have an online forum where you might get satisfaction. forum.vodafone.co.nz

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  15. TripeWryter (715 comments) says:

    Somebody mentioned what ‘black holes’ e-mail support addresses are.

    Problem came up last year with Norton Symantec. Got no reply or anything from e-mails I sent to the helpdesk-type set-up.

    So I went to their website, looked around until I found their executives’ addresses. I picked out the vice-president of public affairs, since that seemed a logical place to start, and at 8.45am I e-mailed her with the details of my problem.

    At 4.30 that afternoon I walked in the door, and the phone was ringing. It was a very pleasant Indian woman who said she was calling in response to my e-mail. By 5pm the problem was fixed.

    About five years ago a CA update that I had bought had not turned up. Even though they had charged me and I had paid for it.

    Couldn’t get any sense out of the Wellington branch. They said I had to talk to Sydney. Sydney said I had to talk to Auckland. Auckland said I had to talk to Wellington.

    I got fed up with that, and looked up CA’s head office, which was in New York.

    I wrote to the head of the company.

    Four days later Sydney was on the phone. Yes, Sir, certainly we will fix your problem for you. The CD is on its way to Wellington, and they will install it for you.

    Later in the day Auckland was on the phone. Yes, Sydney is sending your CD Urgently, and you should have it Tomorrow.

    If you have any further issues (‘issues’ is an awful and vague expression) please don’t hesitate to Call Me. And he gave me a whole lot of contact numbers.

    Then that evening he e-mailed it all over again.

    I was impressed. As my dear old Dad used to say: “if you’re getting the runaround from the flunkies, go to the top man”.

    I was also impressed at the speed of response. It used to take ages to get mail to and from the US. I’m still waiting for the postcard I sent to my children from Seattle almost exactly 26 years ago.

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  16. hellonearthis (10 comments) says:

    Why do you expect a refund at all? It was your choice to use the vodem.
    The outage of internet was a result of yours, your moving and Vodafone shouldn’t be held responsible for that.
    You could have got the new line connected before you needed it and then got DSL put on in plenty of time.
    Work with the system and not expect the system to work the way you want.

    [DPF: Ummn no you can't get a new line connected before you need it when the former apartment owner is still in the apartment, and you also can't do it when you want to keep the same phone number.]

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  17. Sadu (129 comments) says:

    VoIP on Naked DSL is awesome – I would never go back to a regular phone line. Being able to take your phone number with you wherever you go in the country (or world) is amazing.

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  18. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    who’s your voip with sadu?

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  19. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Poor townies, life must be a real bitch. Christmas around here is two bars on the cell phone and good weather for the satellite signal.

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