Pricewatch: Readers’ queries

A happy outcome for one reader over Vodafone tablet deal, a warning about driving licence delays, and a goodwill gesture from Sony over a broken laptop

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 was ‘mistakenly’ offered as part of a Vodafone customer deal. Photograph: Stephen Lovekin/Getty

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 was ‘mistakenly’ offered as part of a Vodafone customer deal. Photograph: Stephen Lovekin/Getty



A reader called Pina was a 3 Ireland customer before ringing Vodafone last spring to see what deals they had. She was offered a Samsung Mini phone and a 10in Samsung tablet on a 24-month contract at a cost of €55 per month.

“I wanted an iPhone 5 but was convinced that what I was being offered was a better deal and that if I wanted the iPhone 5 it would cost €199. I was told an iPhone 4S was free,” Pina writes.

So she signed up, and three days later got a Samsung Mini phone but no tablet. “It never arrived. After two months, Vodafone investigated my claim and admitted they had made a mistake and that the tablet Samsung 10.1 was not on offer any more. They offered me an iPhone 5 to be collected at a store, but when I went there nobody knew what I was talking about.”

She kept calling Vodafone’s customer service, to be promised they would sort the problem. After two months of constant calls she eventually got a 7in tablet and not the 10in one she was promised.

She persisted. Last November she was offered an iPhone 5 if she returned the Samsung Mini and the tablet, but 24 hours later she got a call saying the previous call had been made in error and the best they could offer was an iPhone 4S.

“Remember that this phone was free from the start. It has been seven months of stress with the feeling that I was getting nowhere,” she writes.

We contacted Vodafone, which eventually agreed to give our reader an iPhone 5S and a Vodafone tablet. She picked them up last Friday.


“Are you aware that there continues to be significant delays in issuing new or replacement driver licences?” asks a reader called Tom. “My licence expires on February 11th, and when I sought to get a renewal last week I was advised of an eight-week delay in issuance. When I called the helpline I was told it would take between three and four weeks to get the new licence. I travel to Australia and New Zealand at the end of January and I intend to rent cars while there. The RSA or NDLS has no facility to issue urgent licences,” he says.

He says he is now facing a big dilemma and is concerned about the absence of any public notice of the delays. “The impact on people going away to work is obvious, not to mind implications for people in my situation. The NDLS helpline is a misnomer if my experience is anything to go by. If the public were aware of the backlog they could at least plan accordingly and apply three months in advance, which is the longest lead-in time allowed.”

We contacted the RSA and were told that the new licence-issuing service had “greatly improved since the go-live in November”. A spokesman said it was “on track to deliver driving licences within five to eight working days by mid to late January.”

He said it did not take eight weeks to get a driving licence “and this customer shouldn’t have been told this. Such a delay related only to those who applied in November, during the initial start-up period. We have followed up with all the NDLS centres to correct this.”

He also said that urgent applications are prioritised “and in this case we will get this gentleman’s licence out to him in good time. The fact that he was told that it couldn’t be done was unfortunate and the correct procedures will be reiterated to staff at the call centre.”


Last week we featured an item about a reader who was having trouble with a Sony Vaio. It stopped working, and she was first told by PC World to buy repair disks, which cost more than €60. They did not work, so the shop sent it to Sony, which said that the fault was due to it being dropped, which was not covered by the warranty. She was asked for more than €70 to cover the cost of returning the unrepaired laptop to her. She said she was not told she could incur costs for the return of the laptop if the repair was not covered by the warranty, and was less than pleased to have spent €60 on useless repair disks.

An update from Sony: it will cover the cost of the recovery disks, and also the cost of repairing the laptop as a goodwill gesture because of the inconvenience.

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