Pricewatch reader queries: Vodafone customer sees red over roaming

Plus: the scratch card win that never was

A reader named Gavin has been querying his roaming charges with Vodafone and can't get a straight answer.

“Everybody I talk to agrees there is an anomaly but never gets back to me,” he says.

He is on a Red Business Super plan, which includes a certain amount of roaming minutes, texts and data. He says that when he is roaming he has two choices. First he can opt out of Red Roaming.

“In this case I use the minutes and data and so on included in my plan. However, I get hammered if I go over my allowances, and I do; 300MB of roaming data in total is very little for one month,” he writes.


Alternatively he can opt in to Red Roaming. “If I do this, then whenever I am abroad I am charged a daily rate. I get access to all the calls and texts from my plan plus get 200MB of data a day when you travel, for €1.62 a day in the UK, €2.43 a day in Europe, the US or Canada and €4.06 a day in the rest of the world. Daily charges only apply on days you use your phone abroad.”

If he goes with this option, it kicks in automatically when he goes abroad and he gets charged the daily rate. But it means the allowances in his package are left unused. “What Vodafone has suggested is to opt out of Red Roaming initially, and, when it looks like I am reaching my limit, to opt back in. Problem is, it can take a day for it to opt in, during which time I get charged a fortune for the data I use.”

He thinks Vodafone should be able to set it up “that package allowances are always used first, and then the roaming package kicks in. The current situation seems very clunky for what is supposed to be their top-of-the-range package”.

We contacted Vodafone. A spokeswoman acknowledged that the customer experience for customers on Red Business and Red Business Super using red Roaming “could be simpler”. She said it will be changing: “From July, customers will be able to consume their monthly tariff data roaming allocation before the Red Roaming daily fee is charged automatically,” she said, and added that the company was conducting an early user trial in June and will be happy to add Gavin to this.

You’ve won €500. No, actually, scratch that

Amanda and her husband, Richard, won the lottery. Well, sort of. Their good fortune has turned to misfortune and they are hoping we might be able to help them.

“Richard bought a €1 All Cash scratch card some time at the end of last year, probably November; we can’t remember exactly when,” Amanda writes. “To our delight, he won €500. As we are going on a holiday (the first for many years) during Easter this year, we decided to set the scratch card aside as spending money.”

Imagine Amanda’s dismay when she went into a post office on March 20th to collect the €500 only to be told that the game has finished and the ticket is out of date.

"I literally cried. The lady was very helpful and I actually think she may have felt worse than me about it. She gave me the National Lottery contact number, which I immediately rang. The lady on the other end of the phone advised me that the end of the game was announced on December 1st, 2014, after which there were 90 days to claim the prize. This was then extended to March 6th."

She says that both she and her husband regularly “listen to the radio, use the internet, watch the news and so on, and neither of us recall ever seeing a notice that the game was ending. €500 is a lot of money to us, so if there was a hint that we would not be able to collect it, we would have collected the prize immediately.

“In addition, the All Cash game is still available. I have seen the new tickets: the exact same as previous ones except that the green is slightly darker and there is an extra line on the back which states prizes must be claimed by 90 days after game end announcement ‘published on’. The part I have in inverted commas is not on the scratch card we have.”

We contacted the National Lottery but our reader will find no comfort in the response. A spokeswoman said that, “in accordance with National Lottery rules, prizes must be claimed 90 days after game end is announced. This has been the case since scratch cards were introduced in 1987.”

She said a notice announcing the end of this scratch card was put on the National Lottery website in December, while a “special display poster” reminding players to claim their prizes was sent to shops to be displayed for six days in February. Two ads were also placed in the national press, she said.