/ Technology

Have you been let down by Vodafone?

Vodafone store

Vodafone has been handed a hefty £4,625,000 fine by Ofcom for serious and sustained breaches of consumer protection rules or mis-selling, billing blunders and poor complaints handling. Is this fine enough to earn back your trust for such failings?

Some of you may recall that this news comes only a few months after Vodafone hit the headlines after thousands of customers were hit by billing blunders. Well, today’s announcement from Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, comes following two investigations into Vodafone.

One investigation found that pay as you go customers lost out because Vodafone failed to credit their accounts after they topped up their mobiles.This blunder cost 10,452 customers a total of £150,000 over a 17 month period. The second investigation found that Vodafone had failed to comply with customer complaints handling rules.

Vodafone customer service

Back in June it came to light that thousands of Vodafone customers had been hit by a series of billing errors following changes to Vodafone’s  billing and services systems.

On Which? Conversation, we heard from Vodafone customers such as KDMT, who told us about their frustration:

‘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. They 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!!’

Vodafone has responded to Ofcom’s fine. Once again, the blame has been pinned on the migration of customer data to new systems. The company has offered its ‘profound apologies’ and said it’s ‘determined to put everything right’.

The telecoms giant has refunded or re-credited 10,422 of the affected 10,452 – but conceded that it’s unable to track down the remaining 30 customers. To make up for that gap it’s donated £100,000 to various charities in the UK as it has ‘no intention of profiting from this issue in any way’.

Also, Vodafone claims that IT issues are now resolved and that Ofcom has said it’s satisfied that this can’t happen again with the new IT system in place.

Improving service

But, Vodafone doesn’t have a great history of customer service – in the last Which? mobile satisfaction survey Vodafone scored only 49% and was joint second bottom of the table alongside EE.

In fact, Ofcom data also shows that Vodafone attracts huge levels of complaints. According to the latest Ofcom complaints data Vodafone is the most complained about mobile provider with 23 complaints per 100,000, followed by Talk Mobile with 8 complaints per 100,0000.

This isn’t a ringing endorsement for a telecoms company considering the Which? Consumer Insight score for the industry is already pretty low, with only 38% of people saying they trust mobile phone providers.

If you have a problem with your mobile phone provider or feel let down by its service then you should first complain directly to the phone company to try to fix the issue. If that fails then our guide to complaining about your mobile phone provider can take you through the steps needed to escalate your complaint.

Do you think Vodafone customers should expect more? Is a fine enough of a penalty to ensure service is improved?

Comments
Danielle says:
13 April 2022

I took out a brand new contract with Vodafone as a brand new customer after experiencing multiple issues with EE.
3 days after trading in my old handset with the store, I still didn’t have any service as the store team didn’t request to have my number switched over.
This went on for 3 weeks with no service, including myself chasing multiple times for this to be fixed. Once my number had been switched there was still an tech issue where my number hadn’t fully been transferred to ee. Again, multiple visits to the store out of my time to chase and get this resolved.
7 weeks later, my complaint is still ongoing with a discount of £30 offered but not applied for an ongoing complaint!
I’ve never had a gesture of goodwill not applied to a complaint when matter hasn’t been resolved.
In addition, the advisor was constantly mentioning that once the trade in had been completed ( again not sent off by the Vodafone store, causing more delays) she will help me with compensation. However, now “apparently” Vodafone do not offer compensation for errors on their part that their customer had to chase to fix!

I would never have gone to Vodafone had I have known. They are a nightmare and customer relations team no help!