Reader frustrated with Vodafone as mother left without functioning phone

Pricewatch: Woman says firm’s customer service was worst she’s ever experienced

Vodafone apologised for the disruption the woman faced after she upgraded her phone. Photograph:  Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Vodafone apologised for the disruption the woman faced after she upgraded her phone. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

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A reader called Claire contacted us on behalf of her mother who was having serious issues with her Vodafone account.

She has been a customer “for the past number of years and on May 19th she went to the Vodafone store to upgrade her phone. She paid €60 for the upgrade and kept her plan the same which is, in comparison to most plans available on the market, quite expensive.”

The phone functioned well for a week “however the following Saturday it stopped working she could only receive calls but couldn’t make any, send messages or use her data,” Claire says. “It is now 16 days later and my mom is still without a functioning phone.

“She has been to the Vodafone store and on the phone to the customer service team a number of times and yet they cannot tell us what the issue is nor when they’ll be able to fix it. Not only this but they initially told her it was a service issue and that it would be rectified in a number of days. They then said they couldn’t see what the problem was, the phone was functioning, the sim card was live they couldn’t see the issue and had a team looking at it.”

Cancel contract

Claire says that every time her mother went into a store or called the company, the story kept changing and they kept extending the period as to when it should be working. “We got to the point at the end of last week where my boyfriend had been speaking to them and we said we’d like to cancel the contract. We were told by customer service and by the store on Grafton Street that we could cancel the contract if we were to go to the Mahon Point store in Cork where she purchased the phone, all we would need is the original box,” she says.

With that in mind and having double-checked with the customer care team Claire went with her mother to cancel the contract. “The girl in the store had to contact the customer care team. I was told however that I was unable to cancel the contract as the issue was being looked at by a team and would hopefully be rectified in a further five days.”

Claire said she didn’t want it rectified and that her mother simply wanted to cancel the contract so that she could have a functioning phone from another provider. “As an aside, my mom suffers very badly with asthma and as you can imagine it’s very worrying for her to have no phone and no ability to be able to contact us if she needs anything.

“The person on the phone repeated that they could not cancel the contract and even when the issue is fixed (assuming it is) they wouldn’t be able to cancel. I asked to speak to a supervisor and was told that there was no one there, that I could request to speak to someone and they could get back to me within 24-48 working hours which in my opinion is absolutely insane.”

She said the reason why she was contacting us was to find out if her mother was within her rights to cancel her contract. “It is just over 3 weeks since she signed the contract, however, the phone has only been functioning for one of those weeks. I believe standards say that you need to be within two weeks of signing the contract to cancel, however, surely as they are breaking their side of the agreement providing no service for the past 15 days so there should be an exception here?”

Crazy

She concluded by saying that she had never dealt with Vodafone before “but after this, I will never deal with them again”.

“For the last two weeks we have been dealing with a number of people both in store and on the customer care team and have been fobbed off each time. We have been told different things by different people and more recently have been lied to by a member of staff and customer care in our ability to cancel the account. Why would they not tell us the truth in the first place instead of sending us down another dead end?

“The other crazy thing is that when you go into a physical store, the staff member is unable to access any of your customer service records to show your history on your account. You need to ring customer service from the store and in two instances where we had to do so the phone in the store was in use so I needed to ring from my phone to contact them. It is the worst service I’ve ever experienced.”

We got in touch with the company and in a statement it said that it had investigated the issue “and have found that when she upgraded her phone and changed her plan a technical issue arose and her new plan failed to activate correctly on our system”.

A spokeswoman said that “the resolution of this issue took longer than anticipated and we regret the disruption to the customer’s service during this period. We recognise that [our reader’s mother’s] experience was frustrating and well below the standard of customer care that we aim to deliver. We have contacted her to apologise for her experience and the inconvenience caused.”

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