/ Money, Technology

Have you been hit by this Vodafone billing blunder?


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?

Phil Smith says:
11 June 2016

I’ve already challenged Vodafone several times. I’m disabled and in wheelchair and my hands are gradually giving up, so it’s especially annoying and difficult for me. I must print out all their bills, check my bank statements and challenge them by writing to their head office. Nothing else has worked so far.

Give me an email address and I’ll send you my log of 35 hours (yes, thirty five) of phone calls to resolve billing problems over period of 9 months, which included monthly attempts trying to get unbarrd for non-payment. And when I eventually left them on 8th March this year it didn’t stop them sending me monthly bill reminders for anything up £112!

Matt says:
13 June 2016

I’m just days away from leaving Vodafone so very happy. In October ’15 I began trying to cancel my son’s Sim Only contract (we had 3 contracts running, the other 2 suffering billing errors). It took until April this year whilst all the time being charged for it……….I could go on ad nauseam, so, ditto all the comments above about hours/days on the phone. It seems almost IMPOSSIBLE to believe Vodafone’s business is communication.

Two days after reading this news item about Vodafone Billing Blunders, I got a text through from Vodafone telling me that my new bill was now ready to view and would be paid via my direct debit in just over a week’s time.
Slightly curious, because my normal £18+ charge had only just been taken out of my bank account a week before, I went online and contacted Vodafone via their “Chat Now” service on the website simply to confirm that this was an oversight.
After going through “security”, I was told to my absolute horror that this was not an oversight and there was indeed a new bill for £368+, in my name, on a completely different account, waiting to be paid.
When I had calmed down enough to ask them for the details, on investigation, I was told it was a charge for ‘terminating my contract early..!!’ Clearly, say I, as I am still on the number in question and have been billed for it a week ago, this cannot be the case….

It took two emails, two more website chats and eventually a real live person, to sort out the fact that it was indeed a mistake by the Vodafone billing department, and this “live” person would send through the necessary notification to stop the company trying to withdraw £368 from my bank account, in a week’s time which would actually take that account into overdraft..!!
As a retired pensioner on a strict budget, all I can say is that I will be checking my bank account daily for the next week, and if Vodafone pinches so much as a penny out of my account that it shouldn’t, I will be storming into their head office in Newbury shouting very loudly..!!

Harry says:
14 June 2016

Totally agree and support the earlier writers. I had similar experiences involving a DD being cancelled and then being charged for reregistering. Took over 4 months to sort out. The web site seems designed to keep customers at bay and going into a shop proves no better. I’ve been with the provider virtually since inception and came very close to quitting. It’s an unacceptable scandal that needs publicising in the hope of improvement. Hence this!

It’s not all bad with Vodafone. I was about to change providers because of the almost non-existent signal strength where I live when I got a call from one of Vodafone’s agents and as a result they sent me a free Suresignal plug-in that works fine so no problem at all in my house now. On another occasion I was on holiday overseas when I discovered that I could neither make calls nor receive some calls. After contacting Vodafone a nice young lady fixed the problem immediately. The only difficulty was finding a Vodafone contact number. I spent nearly two hours trawling through Vodafone’s websites and up several blind alleys before I found a number that worked. Clearly Vodafone are discouraging complaints by telephone.
p.s I’ve never had any billing problems but then I’ve always been with Vodafone so I haven’t experienced the leaving difficulties that some people have.

It’s maddening that a phone company does not want its customers to communicate by phone. 🙁

I was planning to leave Vodafone because even before I bought my new home I realised that the signal was so poor that I could not always make a call. Looking at their website I saw that improvements were planned and before long I had a reliable 4G connection. I renewed my contract for one year and was able to tether a laptop for the two months period of unlimited data, by which time fibre broadband became available in the area and was installed. I was disappointed that Vodafone did not give me a discount on their contract price, which they had offered for the past two years, though I have an extra data allowance. I agree that it’s not all bad.

I had a year of nightmare communications with Vodafone when I bought a second handset and they ended up billing me and charging me extra charges completely contradicting with the agreement we had over the phone when I did my purchase, that was in addition to numerous other blunders.
Hundreds of hours were wasted trying to communicate with agents from all over the planet, which turned out that there is absolutely no communications between their call centres and no accurate log of customers calls. Whenever you manage to talk to someone, passing the first hurdle of accessing a human voice rather than a stupid machine, there is the second hurdle of talking to someone who can actually understand what you’re saying or you understand what they’re saying, followed by the hurdle of connecting and reconnecting information they missed to log the previous time you called and having to repeat yourself one million times before you get your message across, then after that, if you are lucky, you might be talking to a polite agent, a lot of them are not, and you get lots of encouraging promises and you feel better, but these promises are completely up in the air, nothing actually happens, no one do anything and you have to start the cycle all over again.
Luckily I kept a detailed log of a full year of these nightmares with which I put my case to the ombudsman, and finally my issue was sort of, not completely resolved, but not straightforward as I found out the ombudsman services are Biased and not easily convinced to rule against any telecom services. They won’t bite the hand that feed them! most ombudsman agents are either wwere or still are in the telecom business, so it makes sense to them to keep the judging against vodafone to the minimum.

kashmir says:
15 June 2016

I do not understand the structure of service at Vodafone. When I first bought my phone and the plan from their Guildford …the branch did not want know anything after sale….the head office was passing me from one to another…. for three months they messed my account and three time they charged incorrect ie more….. approaching Head Office, or the Headman useless!!….I still know there are mistakes but do not have time….to stay on lines for hours….I feel sorry for people on the street who do not understand ‘Mobile Indusry atall’……I can so many comments …….

I’ve had loads of trouble with this bunch of idiots. I had a mobile broadband, the contract expired but I left it going. Gave 30 days notice having been assured no cancellation charge. Rang as don’t trust them and was going to be charged £90 for early cancellation. Had number of calls then I said would just alter bank account number and they could sue me for the rest of the sim only contract money. Also said had so much trouble I’d report to Action Fraud as clearly deliberate. I record all conversations and go into local Vodafone shop who are ashamed of customer relations and record what is said. Now on really cheap sim only contract. My advice is BUY phone from Apple or whoever and sim only. Saves hundreds of pounds and much easier to tell the phone companies to get lost.

I have now sorted this out but not before contacting Ofcom and complaining repeatedly. But I notice that they have yet to remove the notice on my credit score?

Vodafone in whole provide a crap service. I have had trouble with them since joining. I was being charged for device that was returned, disconnected me completely mobile number when I only asked for go on pay as you go, reconnected me against my wish my tablet sim which I had previously disconnected and charging me. And still prob has been resolved. Once resolved , switching back to my old network. For me vodafone = imcompetent, unreliable, untrustworthy, thief. I have had enough of them.

It appears Vodafone have been up to this for a while – On Which Legal advice I had an issue before Christmas in which I was cut off after starting a new contract with them for four phones and four lines.

I had a right tussle in which I cancelled all four lines after transferring them to another provider but was hit with a £458 bill which I challenged with Vodafone unsuccessfully.

Which advice was wait 8 weeks then go to the Communications Omudsman which I did. Their case load is immense and there is a patient wait – more so now because it would seem that Vodafone have needed a dedicated case line to aswer queries such is the backlog!

The upshot is I have been awarded a full refund AND compensation for time and effort. Pity really, Id been with Vodafone as a relatively satisfied customer for 20 years with the same number…but with them, it does not count, you are always speaking to some call centre in remote Bangalore or wherever.

So my advice is go for it, complain to Vodafone, keep all your logs of calls and what they say – or better still go for online chat with them then the transcript is kept by you! – wait 8 weeks for a reply, if you dont get a satisfactory response, go to the Ombudsman who may well, given the weight of evidence ( I provided around 100 pieces of evidential paperwork), rule in your favour.

Next obstactle – when does the compensation and recompense arrive?

Great Result Which and thank you for the advice!

Manon Marsden says:
23 June 2016

My contract with Vodafone expired on 31st January 2016. I wrote to them giving 30 days notice, as required on 16th December 2015. Received a letter confirming the disconnection by their customer services.

I asked for a final bill so I could settle the account. They said I should receive one within 4 – 10 days. Did not receive anything. As I paid my bills monthly by direct debit, I stopped my D.Debit in December 2015.

Kept receiving emails saying I owed Vodafone £81.41 for early termination. After numerous emails and communications on their online chats, to rectify their error, I did not get any joy. Still continued saying I owed them this large sum.

To clear my account for the final month of January 2016, I send them a cheque. This should have solve all the problems but I kept receiving demand letter saying I owed them £84.14, which I ignored.

The last straw was when I received a letter dated 14th June 2016, saying it was a final notice and if I did not pay within 14 days, they would register me as a bad debt with a credit agency. They have instructed a debt collector to collect the payment.

I was annoyed and tried to talk to someone at Vodafone with great difficulty – was given the wrong number, being cut off, kept waiting. After about an hour of waiting, thankfully I did managed to speak to customer service who sorted the mistake, after I reminded him that I did not owe them a penny.

Below is a complaint I sent to Vodafone in May and then a lady called Lucy started to call my son and spoke to him each week and told him there is a system error and trying to sort it. It is now 6 weeks since she made contact and my son is working abroad and this lady is still saying the same thing to him. I am currently using a resolver from money saving expert website and things are no better. I am at the end of my tether……….

I was a customer with VODAFONE for approximately 10 years paying for 3 phones. During his time I had no issues with them until last year. One day I tried to log on to my account and I couldn’t get my bill to load. After numerous calls I was told that you were changing systems and that is why I couldn’t log on, so I decided to leave. Then my son still had an account with them, which was still being paid by me. He then got his first job and decided to pay for it himself and I was told by your operator that it was very easy to transfer ownership….. Well this is where it became a saga and very stressful as follows:

1. Transfer of ownership was done over the phone (didn’t take the Asian ladies name) in June 2015 and my son gave his bank details. She informed both of us that this is all done and will be in the July statement.
2. A few months after I asked my son if he had the payment taken off his bank and he checked and it hadn’t. Nothing had come off mine, so I had presumed that it was coming off his. He called up and was told it would be sorted.
3. Again we checked in October and my son spoke to a Scottish gentleman called Jamie. He seemed to be very helpful and even spoke to his supervisor and assured him that it was all okay and totally apologetic and said he would not be billed for the money owed, as it was Vodafone’s fault, but it may take time to sort.
4. In January my son noticed it was still not being taken out of his account and called again, but forgot to take the gentleman’s name. He again apologised and said it will definitely be taken off.
5. Then in March I got a bill for £64 and it came off my bank account again, which infuriated me, as I didn’t realise I still had my direct debit active.
6. In April my son and I decided to go in to the Vodafone shop to try and speak to a person face to face to make sense of it all. A young lady (whose name I have forgotten) tried to help us, but told us that she has to phone the same number as we do and was met with the same frustrations as us. She couldn’t find my son’s account on the system, so he yet again had to speak on the phone to give his bank details yet again. When he asked why he was billed for £64 he was told that they don’t know as they couldn’t bring up his bill. Now he is being billed double when it is supposed to be £37 per month. The young lady in the shop told me to cancel my direct debit, because he has given his bank details enough times.
7. Again on 19 April I then got a text to say my son’s bill is £54.80. Why me? He phones up yet again another operator, who was an Irish girl called Kerri. She was again trying to be very helpful and sort it out. He yet again gave his bank details. She told him that she has been dealing recently with another problem like this?? It seems your company is some big mess!! She promised to get back to him in a few days, he is still waiting!!
8. On 30 April I receive another text to say that the payment is overdue, because Vodafone has obviously tried to take it from my account, which I cancelled, on the advice of their employee. You shouldn’t be taking it from me any way, as the bank details are in my name not my son’s.
9. Then on Thursday 12 May my son has his phone cut off, so he can’t make calls or texts. This is what I feared you would do, because of your incompetence.
10. He then spent ages on the phone again telling another operator the same old saga over and over. He was then put on to another person called Heidi and she did put his phone back on, but told him his card is new and needs to be actioned in his bank and this is what he has to do. I have never in my life had to action a card for a direct debit?? I spoke to Heidi also and vented my pent up frustrations on her and told her that my son better not have to pay back what is owed, because he has tried about 10 times to do so! She guaranteed that he wouldn’t.
11. On Friday 13 May my son went to his bank and explained about the payment. They said they don’t know what you are talking about, as there is a direct debit active from Vodafone on his account.

I am appalled at the stress they have put me and my family under just because of a mobile phone. Their system is seriously flawed and dealing with 10 different people does not solve any problems. Not once has anyone contacted my son to find out why there was no payment. How long would it have been before you noticed if he had not called you? I believe in integrity and paying my way in life and I have never owed money to anyone and I have tried to instil this in my own family. I am very concerned that this will give him a bad credit rating when he is only starting out in working life. My credit which is unblemished is now going to be affected. He is going to need his phone for his work and can’t afford for to be cut off and he his tied in to a contract till next March. I wish he wasn’t because we could end it now. I will never return ever as a customer.

I have been a customer for over 20 years and never missed a payment until they had their new system, all of a sudden I was being threatened with restricted service due to non payment. I queried the amount as this was over what I would normally pay and was told they would put a fraud enquiry on my account as there had been an order for 2 phones which I hadn’t made. That enquiry ended in hours & hours over weeks & weeks of fraught calls by myself to Vodafone about my account but to no avail. They continued to threaten to cut me off if I didn’t pay, I stated I would pay my normal monthly charge and they agreed however they actually took a huge payment for something I hadn’t had and my enquiry fell on lots of deaf , non English speaking customer service staff. I should of left when I had the chance but it will cost me to leave them now. How annoying

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I am presently dealing with vodaphone and have been for the last 4 months over billing problems and have experienced everthing mentioned in above article. Eventually the vodaphone shop in Preston explained about the new billing cycle (ie being billed for an extra 22 days rental – although still not sure this is legal or morally correct) on one excessive bill but after 2 hours convinced me that the second excessive bill immediately after was due to exceeding data usage (I pay for 10GB and had used 13GB). However I did not receive any warning emails or texts advising I was about to exceed usage which is what they had always done previously. After returning home I studied by online bill and within 10 minutes I had discovered that while they had extended the billing period by 22 days they had not allowed an extra 22/30ths of data usage, hence the reason I had exceeded 10GB. 4 months of phone calls (god knows actually how many or how long) and 2 visits to the shop no one was able to work this out. I have now eventually agreed with “Live Chat” a refund of £60 but will now persue some form of compensation for all the time and money I have spent trying to resolve their mistake. However, the reason I have written this response is that If this has happened to me, how many 1000’s of other customers must have been affected by this problem ? Vodaphone customers need to check their bills very carefully. I also intend to discuss the matter with my local MP and national newspapers to get this problem into the public domain. This could be the next PPI scandal !!

I have had problems since the first 4weeks of my contract. They were never mentioned. And 18 month’s later, after an internal decision where I proved my point, even to the point of being advisd benefits of a very attractive nature should be coming my way. An old system auto mailer. Or maybe a new one?

Causes changes to the system that stop, restrict, or financially punish, on the new database. I would love to say deliberately, however I believe that allegedly is legitimate in this case. The fact no one will investigate that little chestnut, is deliberate though.

Computer says no!? After database changes at midnight, and conversations with the same analyst the next day. It was yes.

Who says it departments are not worth it?

Hi all, I joined up with Vodafone this year, home phone and broadband. I contacted them on numerous occasions to setup up an account which was already done. When I go on their system to show me my account, it keeps saying that there is no services active on this account. Told them this enough times, last call I made they said it’s done. Sadly it’s not and they have not charged me a penny as the services went live.
I’m a little on edge of what they say if I contacted them again. If they don’t want the monthly cost then it’s their problem. Advice would be great please.

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Vodaphone mucked up my direct debit, cut me off and charged me a late payment fee. Totally unacceptable. I was told they new it was themselves to blame. A nightmare but no apology.

I’ve joined Vodafone this year looking to move over from 02 to Vodafone. Sales team are helpful and that’s the only positive thing i have to say about Vodafone. After that I noticed my bills were overcharged time and time again by hundreds. I duly informed them of the errors and every time i was promised resolution and reimbursement but nothing was resolved. After repeated calls and visiting store speaking to managers again and again to sort out simple billing issue it took Vodafone 4 months to sort out and not once did they call me back even though i was promised every time.
So i decided to cancel my contract at which point they promised me maximum discount to keep me on board, against my instinct i fell for it!!! Biggest mistake of my life, incentive i was promised hasn’t been applied and now Vodafone are denying they ever offered discount!! No notes or recordings, I’ve challenged them on this as i fortunately recorded the details every time, names times dates and conversation details.

Vodafone – verdict you are better of paying more to another network then the scandalous billing issues and promises being broken.
Suffice to say I’m looking to escalate this issue, Vodafone has mis-sold their product and I intend to make a formal complaint to Vodafone, I am also contacting OFCOM to complain and I intend to ask my local newspaper to investigate the blatant lies and un-professionalism of Vodafone after sales service.