Pricewatch reader query: Was switching from Eircom to Vodafone the wrong call?

Customer switched after ‘a long and pushy campaign and a moment of madness’

Last September, a reader called Deirdre switched her home phone account from Eircom to Vodafone as the company "appeared" to offer a better package for less money.

She says she did this after “a long and pushy campaign and a definite moment of madness on my side”. She blames pregnancy hormones for that.

She was told that the Vodafone sales person would organise the switch and she did not even need to call Eircom. “They made it sound so easy that I happily went on their advice,” she says.

The switchover process happened within a week. In October Deirdre received her final bill from Eircom. “I had been expecting an account in credit as I had just paid my bill before the switch so had prepaid line rental etc. Instead I received a bill for €106.93; this was a bill for ‘early cease charges’ to the tune of €140.71 less the aforementioned credits due for the prepaid bill of €33.78. I was shocked, as I had not budgeted for a bill this size to come in the door.”


She called Eircom immediately and explained the situation. “The first person I spoke to said it was nothing to do with Eircom; that I had decided to switch over to Vodafone and they were under no obligation to inform me that I was breaking a contract and tough luck but I owed them this money. I rang a second time as I was not happy with the person’s answer or attitude.”

On the second occasion the woman she spoke to was more understanding and explained that Vodafone should have called her and told her that she was breaking her contract with Eircom. “She said Vodafone were refunding these ‘charges’ to new customers and advised that I should call them and explain the situation. I rang Vodafone straight away and explained the situation and the guy I spoke to agreed that, yes, I should have been advised that I was breaking a contract and said that Vodafone would refund me the costs owing to Eircom.”

He asked her the amount of the invoice and she told him and asked if he needed a copy of the bill. He said there was no need and that she would receive a cheque in the post within 10-14 days.

“Fast-forward to November 14th, and, with no sign of the promised cheque, I called Vodafone and spoke to a woman who explained that I was not getting a cheque as I needed to send a copy of the Eircom bill. Posting it was not an option, nor was faxing it, so she advised that I go to my nearest Vodafone shop and ask them to scan the bill and send it to their email address.”

So Deirdre went to her local shop in Co Cork on November 17th, handed the bill in, explained the situation and gave him the email address. “The guy in the shop went off and came back with my bill and said it had gone through. On November 20th I called Vodafone to see if the bill had gone through, and, after much toing and froing with calls, they advised they had not received the bill.”

She was told she would need to send a copy of the bill through again. She did this on November 21st from her husband’s smartphone.

“We received an email back stating they could not read the bill. We could clearly read the bill and explained that to a senior customer services agent, who said he would look into it and call me back. I received no further call.”

Last week she called Vodafone again, to be told she would need to send the full bill again. “What I would really like to do at this stage is cancel Vodafone and move back to Eircom, as, in the 15-year history I have with them, I have had no problems whatsoever with the account, and I’m so annoyed that I ever considered the move to Vodafone. What I would like to know is can I actually do this or am I tied to the 18-month contract with Vodafone?”

We contacted Vodafone and it set about making contact with our reader. “The query involves a number of areas, so we are following up and reviewing the history of the customer’s experience to identify how the issue arose,” a spokeswoman said. “Customer satisfaction is very important to Vodafone, so if there was a breakdown in the process we will ensure that it is revised and that the same issue does not arise for other customers in the future.”

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast