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My son lost his mobile phone in Jordan in late October (number 07917-XXXXXX, one of three contract phones on my account with you). That was not your fault. However, that is the only part of this episode that is not your fault.
I Skyped a friend in the UK who reported the loss of the phone to you. The unfortunate friend’s phone is also with Vodafone. It took most of a wasted evening to prevent Vodafone from cancelling his phone instead of my son’s.
After returning to the UK I contacted Vodafone to check that all was in order, i.e. that the lost phone had been blocked and that there had been no usage of it from the time it left the UK on 23rd October. Then I tried to double check by logging on to my online account with Vodafone. The account was inaccessible; that had been blocked too. I phoned Vodafone. After many endeavours spanning some infinite eternity of working time, the account remained inaccessible. Vodafone assured me that all I had to do was wait until the following day and the problems would have resolved themselves.
The next day materialised but access to my account did not. There have been several more identical repeat instalments over the past three weeks. None has resulted in my having access to my account. The most recent was today.
Today’s instalment was the Vodafone version of Hell:-
Having tried yet again to set up my account from scratch online, and having been failed yet again by the Vodafone website, I resorted - yet again - to the telephone. At midday I spoke to Bob in the VF call centre. Bob assured me that if I waited an hour and tried again it would all work.
Before the mandated hour had lapsed I had received 50 text messages on my mobile. Every message reads: “From Vodafone: We confirm that your content bar has been applied. Access to 18-rated services is now restricted. The bar can be lifted Online via ‘My Account’.”
This rather sick joke precipitated a serious sense of humour failure on my part. Why?
1) I have not at any time (present, past or past historic) made any request whatsoever for the application of any content bars, and...
2) Vodafone has eliminated access my account online.
Yet again, I was left with no alternative but to telephone Vodafone. There was no longer any need to listen to the extensive menu for I knew it off by heart. At 12.40pm the umpteenth course on the menu was dished up with the first human voice: that of Lorraine-password-1465. The probable ensuing dialogue having hitherto committed itself to memory along with the menu, there seemed little point in pursuing the same route again. In the interests of simplicity, I skipped all repetition, informed Lorraine-password-xxxx that I was livid and asked to speak to a senior member of VF’s management. Lorraine was reluctant and asked me to explain the problem. I replied that that should be apparent from the notes of her screen. Lorraine departed in search of Management. The management was not available. I was put on hold for some eternity during which The Management failed to become available. Lorraine returned to the line and assured me that a management person would telephone me by 1.15pm. It is now 2.05pm and the phone has yet to ring.
So it seems I must sit here and wait for longer. So I will continue to explain the many causes that VF has given me for complaint ....
On 8th November I received a new SIM card for my son. Along with an invoice (number BM9XXXX) for £12-27. At the time of ordering the SIM card, VF informed me that I would be charged £5. Bob of above conversation agreed to credit me with the excess charge. I trust you will check that this has been done as I have no way of being able to check.
All of the calls that I have had to make to VF have had to be made from a BT landline. This is because our mobiles operate at home from a Vodafone Sure Signal hub. Our house has thick stone walls. Only text messages are able to penetrate the walls. I was not informed of this problem at the time of taking out my contract – even though I did ask this specific question.
I first commenced dealings with VF on 22nd February this year. It was not until 12th March that the service functioned. It took many eternities on the telephone and 5 days waiting for couriers to obtain hardware and service from Vodafone.
In April we lost another week of service due to a terminal fault with the Sure Signal hub. It would only have been 48 hours of lost service but VF failed to send the replacement hub. VF failed to send the replacement hub twice.
If I add up all of the time and cost of landline calls to VF over the past 9 months, it amounts to somewhere between one and two full working weeks and a considerable number of Great British Pounds.
My daughter is currently in France on a gap year. Before I took out the contract with VF, I checked with VF that my daughter would be able to switch to a French VF contract for the time she was there and resume the English one on her return. I was assured that this would be no problem. The only reason it has failed to be a problem is because it is not possible at all. I am therefore tied into paying for a contract that cannot be used while my daughter pays for a French pay as you go SIM.
It is now 2.34pm and the phone has yet to ring.
WEDNESDAY 24 NOVEMBER 2010
It is now 8.30pm another day on and I have not yet received any call from Vodafone. I have been in for most of the day and my mobile has been with me [and switched on] at all times when I have been elsewhere.
Yesterday the VF call centre staff resolutely refused to furnish me with the email address of The Chairman’s Office. So I sent emails to your Customer Care department and the media department, to act upon and forward to you, Sir John Bond. The media department replied stating that this had nothing to do with them and contact could only be made via the VF website. From Customer Care I received an auto-response to the same effect.
The Vodafone website route comprises completion of a form that only accepts complaints to a maximum of 900 characters. That is wholly inadequate.
I understand that Vodafone does not wish to hear complaints from its customers. If I am in any way representative of those customers, the company would have long since drowned in complaints.
So perhaps Vodafone should adapt the above advice of its call centre staff – All you have to do is wait and the problems will resolve themselves – to a more accurate mantra: All you have to do is wait and absolutely nothing will happen.
I shall continue to wait in futile anticipation of the aforementioned promised phone call from your management.
Tomorrow I will check my bank statement to ascertain how much you have debited from my bank account. That payment is scheduled for tomorrow. My current inclination is to cancel my direct debit. For that, I surmise, would guarantee immediate communication from you. But honour decrees that I should not violate a contract that I have entered into.
Perhaps you will now prove that you are possessed of honour too; prove it by honouring your contractual obligations to me. I know that you have power but that, as Machiavelli observed, does not always run in tandem with honour. And I presume that, in your capacity of Chairman to one of the world’s major telecommunications companies, you have access to a telephone.
You could call me. Unfortunately you will not be able to call me on my Vodafone number because, as I have pointed out, it will not work here. So you’ll have to call my BT number: 01722-781150.