/ Money, Technology

Have you been hit by this Vodafone billing blunder?

Vodafone

Major billing problems have hit thousands of Vodafone customers across the UK. Have you checked your bill?

Now I don’t know about you but I have a fairly strict budget. I recently purchased my first house so I’ve meticulously worked out which direct debits are coming out of my account, when and how much for.

I’m still learning what’s ‘affordable’ – currently that’s not a lot – so I would be seriously peeved if I were to discover that I’d been randomly overcharged due to known billing problems.

Vodafone billing

Well that’s exactly what seems to be happening to Vodafone customers across the UK after it recently came to light that thousands have been hit with billing errors.

Errors we’re aware of include customers being registered on the wrong tariff, and incorrect amounts being debited from bank accounts. Some have even reported large sums of money being taken.

Vodafone has said many of the billing issues are related to the migration of billing and services platforms onto a new state-of-the-art system.

With some 20 million customers in the UK, it’s likely that many more Vodafone customers could be affected by these billing problems.

Challenge your bill

If you’re a Vodafone customer then make sure you check your bill – are you on the right tariff, and is the amount you’re being charged accurate?

If you think there’s something wrong then you need to challenge your mobile phone bill by reporting it to Vodafone. You can contact Vodafone by either calling 44555 for free from your Vodafone mobile or contacting it online. Make sure you keep a record of all correspondence, including dates and the names of anyone you speak to.

We’ll also be following up with Vodafone ourselves, so tell us if you’ve been affected by billing errors and what your experience has been.

So have you been affected by a billing error? Has this been resolved for you yet? What’s your experience been?

Comments

Maybe this has something to do with it?

theregister.co.uk – Vodafone Puts Hundreds of Brits On The ‘at risk of layoffs’ List February 2016.

I’ve had several errors over the last year, mainly charging for additional data covered by my two (pay monthly) bundles and failure to recognise the cancellation of a free 6 month introductory offer of Spotify. Sorting these out was a nuisance, the longest call being one and a quarter hours long when I spoke to 7 different Vodafone staff. That said, their new system does seem to make accessing and understanding the monthly bill easier, so that has been a bonus, and I’ve had no errors for the last 4 months. My one wish is that they make the telephone contact details clearer on their website – I know they want to drive online service, but phone numbers are almost impossible to find.

We have 3 vodafone contracts and for the past 5 months the bill was wrong. My wife had to call every month as for rebate and get her correct contract rate installed. Every month they apologised and said it would be fixed, every month it was never fixed. We are sick of the poor quality of service, broken promises of its telephone staff and constant errors in its billing system. There is something very wrong at vodafone! and it needs sorting. We are definitely looking for a new provider as soon as our contract ends. On top of that Vodafone reception is one of the worst I’ve experienced in my 23+ years of using mobiles…Their current TV ad showing someone supposedly getting signals in all sorts of locations is not my experience.

GiffGaff as a new disrupter in the market are worth a look. I am with them and they have been great so far. They piggy back on the O2 network I recall and I have a scalable SIM only deal as I buy all my fruity phones.

Best of luck

Neil

Are you sure that’s not a BT ad, Mike? The Vodafone ad I saw last night was all about roaming freedom. I might be wrong because I seem to lose concentration during these episodes.

Jemma says:
11 June 2016

I had 4 no’s with them, had similar problems as you as well as a payment for £330 that just vanished! I moved to Tesco as soon as I could. So far so good, good luck to you.

Been Trying to sort out billing and payment error since april. They took too much money from wrong bank account. They reset my online access and now cannot see previous bills so cannot check. Told to go into vodafone shop last week to sort out and the shop cannot see my bills either. So reached dead end and now using resolver to make formal complaint. To add to problems my local vodafone network does not work properly since end of last year, i have to use bt landlune to contact them and this costing me money. Current bill is wrong as have double charged monthly plan charges.

Vodafone is currently a disaster, I think the regulator should urgently institute management control before total collapse. Their systems have been mangling together accounts (for instance I am now paying my son’s bills as well as mine despite never giving them permission to remove money for this from my bank account using the direct debit) and they cannot resolve despite many efforts. They give contradictory information in writing on when and how and on which phone charges were incurred and have no record of payments from and to bank accounts – for instance they charged my son, then repaid him to his bank a month later and now accuse me of refusing to pay my bills for the same amount! If you look at their facebook page it is a sorry saga of mangled credit records (one person claimed a house purchase mortgage application was nearly derailed by Vodafone mistakes) and failure to resolve things.

They have also developed a business model which they say allows them to charge consumers for unsolicited SMS messages sent to their numbers (including abusive messages). Apparently you can only stop these charges if you block all premium numbers but Vodafone don’t tell you that the default is that you can be charged or give you any warning – this is very counter to the trend towards consumer protection. The default should that premium services are blocked and when you apply for them you get a warning of the potential cost implications. Vodafone also gave wrong information on where the premium sms originate and when I tracked down the perpetrator Moblix Media they immediately promised and sent a refund cheque – obviously buying off the 1% to 2% of angry consumes who track them down before they complain to a different regulator for premium messages, this regulator only gets involved if a customer can find the perpetrator and not get their dispute resolved. Interestingly Moblix Media had previously been fined £100,000 for scams . If not checked it could grow into a scandal similar to PPI in potential scale and proportion, I wrote to my MP interested but it seems he doesn’t care for constituents’ consumer protection.

Vodafone does not reply to letters written (and signed for). The customer services team explained this week this is because they are a telecoms company and prefer to talk things through. However, they acknowledge that they also do not scan the letters received or make them available to the customer services team, so you have to read your letter out each time a new customer services person talks to you, usually claiming they are at the highest level of dispute resolution and guaranteeing to resolve the problem, only for nothing to happen after hours of talking. This seems to be a cynical structure to avoid tackling any complaints and to driving customers into psychotic depression by repeated efforts which have no outcome until they give up complaining. I have never encountered such a cruel customer service approach and whoever designed and runs it at Vodafone should be gaoled for cruel and inhuman treatment.

Needless to say, I have now reached 8 weeks of wasting over 20 hours with Vodafone and am going to Ofcom, as are many of the others writing on their facebook page.

Allan says:
10 June 2016

I have a horrendous dealings with Vodafone. My complaint is with the ombudsman. Best of luck with your complaint they continue to make mistakes even though they must know the complaint is with the ombudsman!!!! Never again with Vodafone.

I know full well that Vodafone’s migration to their new system (mentioned in the article) started around August 2014. For more than 5 months from that date I was unable to access my account online and check my bills, they overcharged me every month, and I spent a ridiculous number of hours over those months calling Vodafone Customer Service to correct things. From the numerous complaints in Vodafone’s user forums it was clear that many others were similarly affected. Both over the phone and in their responses on the forum, Vodafone made repeated assurances that the issues would be resolved quickly, but that wasn’t the case. The description of Vodafone’s Customer Service as per this recent article certainly rings true even now, 2 years later:

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-3567086/Stop-solving-problems-just-make-customer-happy-complaints-against-Vodafone-soar-whistleblower-claims-obsessed-satisfaction-ratings.html

Ultimately they resolved the problems on my account, but it’s farcical that a such a major, well-established business should be so utterly disorganised (verging on incompetent). I’ve worked in the IT industry for decades and it was perfectly clear that Vodafone had not fully tested their new system and resolved all the bugs before migrating to it.

I’m still with Vodafone as they provide me with the monthly bundle that best suits my needs at the lowest price. However, the details shown by my online account still don’t match what’s shown by the Vodafone app on my phone. Consequently I thoroughly check my bill and the actual amount of the direct debit every month, and call them immediately if there’s anything wrong.

I have no problems with Vodafone’s coverage and network reliability, but their internal systems and customer service need serious improvement. And it seems they know it, as their latest promotion of offering a 30-day trial period after which customers can leave without penalty smacks of desperation to attract new customers.

My last mobile bill included an additional data charge which I ordered as my data use was high that month. However, they also charged me for the additional data, above my standard bundle, separately. I had an extended chat online with a Vodafone customer services rep and they are, apparently, reimbursing me that additional charge. No sign of a refund yet, or any confirmatory email, so I am hoping it will appear on my next months bill, which I will be checking carefully.

I thought that I was a special case of badly managed billing from Vodafone. This is the 4th month that I am complaining to Vodafone about incorrect billing.

I have 3 devices and 2 direct debits. This was working until I got a deal on one of the mobiles and then we hit the Vodafone wall of billing issues
– Incorrect billing per line
– Amalgmation of bills to one account
– I have spoken to over 30 different people in multiple departments to get stuff resolved.
– They ask me when terms changed, which should be on their system.
– The Service Staff take notes every time and yet when I ring back I have to go through the same cycle again. Yes they do state that this is the last time that this corruption can occur.
– multiple departments that each required your identification and validation
– The myVodafone site does not have the correct discounts applied and you “hope” that the correct information is accessed by the billing system.
– They record our conversations – why not use it to resolve issues when I am not on the phone !!!

They do not process letters or emails of complaint, only the phone which is the worst medium to track long standing problems.
– I was promised to speak to a manager and I was told none was available and then one will call me back in 2 days – neither of which happened.

I did manage to speak to a manager and I was told that this was a special case and I would be contacted

KDMT says:
10 June 2016

I am not surprised by this at all. I’ve been overcharged, mischarged and everything in between. The latest was me responding to their offer to increase my data allowance and finding a charged for £688 on my bill that no one could explain or would deal with. The took it from my bank account, forcing me to cancel my direct debit. The hours I’ve spend online, on calls and writing letters for this and other issues is ridiculous (incorrectly being told I had 2 entertainment packages under a different tariff but being charged different amounts every month for 6 months). If any other provider covered my Glen, I’d switch in a heartbeat!!

Ant says:
10 June 2016

Doesn’t surprise me at all, last year they billed me for hundreds of text messages I apparently sent whilst in the USA with work. I have no idea whose number it is, mobile data was turned off (and I also have a work paid for phone that I had with me to use – for FREE), complained and they just said “our records show it was you, so deal with it” then refused to respond to me anymore. Their customer service team are awful.

I am a Vodafone customer onPAYG. But I have known for a long time something has been awry. They updated their paying system recently so I no longer can top up my phone online. No explanation as to why l have to do this by phone. They are a a disgrace and treat you as if it is your fault but when you try to pin them down they go all TalkTalk cryptic style – remember the cyber attack? I asked Vodafone if they had suffered the same – no comment. All smoke and mirrors. I found that l had to use two different routes which meant being charged twice. I had to demand they sorted it out. You have to watch them as if they are criminals. So l’m not surprised that Vodafone are reluctant to sort this out. I feel this is their deliberate policy. They can feign innocence and plead being at the mercy of the technology but take their time rectifying it. They know from past experience that if they give customers the runaround when they claim legitimate refunds many give up and go away. A ‘nice little earner’! for them. The government? Probably fiddling as Rome burns. Who is governing and looking after our people?

Anthony says:
10 June 2016

I am on Vodaphone Pay as you go but kept being charged for Messages sent to Saudi Arabia. I only used my Wi Fi system to use the internet on my I phone and texts to another I phone are free anyway. Luckily I have a second mobile, which is on Three for normal text messages and still use my I phone through my B.T. Wi FI. I, keep getting messages from Vodaphone telling me my bill has gone up but now just ignore them. I would never use Vodaphone again

If I was a betting girl, I’d put all my money on the fact that I know that they are currently attempting to replace all their old IT systems, and it’s proving very problematic. Their fundamental communication problems between the business (who use the systems) and IT (who provide them) leads to the creation ineffective testing, so everybody gets what nobody wants. If they don’t really know what they’re doing, how can we be surprised at this breakdown in function?

I have been trying to obtain copies of my bills for the end of last year and early months of this for more than six months. I reported Vodafone to Offcom which did generate a response and the last conversation with Vodafone I was told that it is not possible with the new billing system to get previous bills, the IT guys are working on it. I’ve been out of the UK since April without my records so unable to chase.
I think it’s time the whole of Vodafone was investigated, network coverage and quality, redundancies the taking back on contract, site negotiations etc etc. How were they able to get away with charging “£3” per day when in Europe for so long, that’s £90 per month – what a con.

Kris Allan says:
10 June 2016

I have read all these comments here and can see that I am clearly not alone! Exactly the same sort of things that I have experienced with Vodafone on both my account and my partner’s.
Last month, for instance, I was over-charged; and like Bramble I have been told that I will be reimbursed but that it won’t show til my next bill, which I will obviously be checking very carefully–just as I do all my bills, because you can never trust these companies, especially the bigger they are, it seems to me.
It’s not only Vodafone that do not send email confirmations of what they have promised, which I find unacceptable in this day and age when email correspondence is a given I would have thought.
Some other companies that I have had similar, or even worse experiences with, are Talk Talk, BT, BA and Currys/PC World.
You waste hours and hours, £’s and £’s and your mental health gets pushed to the limit.
I am now so scarred by all these experiences that to say that I approach all big companies with suspicion and some ready-mixed disdain, would be an under-statement!
A sad state of affairs…..

Tail of woe… sit down with a stiff drink its a long one.

For years I was getting poor reception so I decided to Leave Voda. On a number of occasions when trying to leave I was passed to their Customer Retention teams and offered all manner of incentives to stay. Some I accepted others I rejected as I looked for alternative providers. Eventually I decided to leave and instructed Voda that myself and teenage daughter would be leaving so get on with it. PAC codes were issued and the transfer of my number was achieved; my daughter on the other hand decided to take a new number due to school bullying etc. Change over day came and went all seemed good…….

However after about 2 months I was still getting calls from Voda regarding a line / number that was still active and accruing charges. I couldn’t figure out what was going on..

On investigation taking about 3 months it transpired that because I had requested but not used the PAC code for my daughters phone Voda had kept her account open and been charging line rental despite the fact that it was obviously not in use.

I had many lengthy calls with an Indian call centre which resulted in lots of verbal commitments to address the matter and pay me compensation for inconvenience and charges amounting to about £17. This went on and on and in the end I read an article about Voda’s new CEO and his investment and commitment to Customer Service in recognition of many well publicised failings. So I emailed the dude…….. I also spewed on social media too…..

I eventually got a call and follow up emails from a “Lecky” in India who was assigned no doubt to deal with the CEO’s overflowing email box of customer complaints. This guy failed to acknowledge or address the previous commitments made by Voda Customer Services to repay overcharges and compensation. But he did at least cancel what was now a £30+ bill; which was totally of Voda’s own making due to their incompetence.

I am now with GiffGaff and very happy. Voda are too big, too sluggish, poor at customer service and their products and services are at best below average.

My critical recommendation to all is that when you cancel your contract with Voda also cancel your Direct Debit. This will put you in control if charges / invoices go awry. I did this and remain thankful otherwise Voda would have been helping themselves to my hard earned….

Best of luck all.

I have repeatedly complained about ‘ghost calls’ from my mobile to my landline. Some of these have taken place in the very early morning and sometimes when I am at home – and my landline has not rung. Vodafone has insisted that their system cannot be wrong.

Additionally, they had unilaterally changed their billing by charging a full minute for calls less than a minute. They claim they sent a text message but there is no evidence of this being received. And in any case, text contracts are not legally binding.

Roseanne Gough says:
10 June 2016

My previous bill was double what it should have been because they hadn’t put my 50% discount on my account that had been arranged. Luckily I had saved an email to prove this had been agreed otherwise I don’t think I would have been able to get it rectified! Not only that the process of trying to sort it out was very stressful as I was grieving at the time for my granddad and I was getting passed back and forth, spoken to out of turn by a Manager and eventually after 4 or 5 phone calls, online messages and 2 emails, I was told it had been amended. I had been told I would get compensation for the hassle but that still remains to be seen!

No great shock about Vodafone. I have been with them over 12 years but since moving from London to Suffolk, the signal is now next-to-useless. No point in having a mobile if I can’t use it, but I’m still paying for it! I have complained at least four times but still no different. Can’t wait for my contract renewal date to come round. This cowboy outfit will not be getting my next contract.

Changed phone as part of upgrade in December 2015-have spent over 6 hours–at various times since December 2015 in conversation with some of the additional staff that Vodafone insist that they have employed to deal with the computer errors but, polite as these extra staff are, they are totally ineffective as my problem of wrong billing continues. Have referred it to the Ombudsman and await findings. Billing still wrong in June 2016