And the award goes to…

Vodafone for the Worst Customer Service Ever. #VodafoneStinks 

Since yesterday evening I have spent almost six hours online with Vodafone customer services. One chat was over four hours!! I’m not exaggerating… I have the chat transcripts.  I got the feeling they were trying to out-wait me so that I’d  give up. (I very much wanted to tell them to shove it!)

I have some junk texts (£22.50!) on my phone bill.  I’ve contacted Vodafone  (a four hour chat) and told them that I did not subscribe and these texts should not be charged to my bill.

Turns out a mobile phone provider can charge us for premium text messages without any proof of subscription.  Just like that.  [Maybe I should send them a few emails with each email costing £5 and then send them an invoice…..the more I think about it the more I like the idea.]  It doesn’t seem to matter that they have no proof of subscription or that they are fully aware of these fraudulent texts. 

A mobile phone contract is essentially a credit account for communication so you’d think our account would be safe from fraud [as with a credit card] and that the provider would have some kind of duty to ensure we’re not charged for anything we didn’t buy, right? 

I contacted PhonepayPlus and they were helpful; they were shocked at Vodafone’s responses and provided me with clear information on the next steps.  I’ve followed their advice and now it’s a waiting game to see if I get any money back. 

What I cannot figure out is whose bright idea it was to say that mobile service providers can legally pass on these premium charges to customers without the third party company providing any proof of subscription or the mobile provider providing any proof to the customer.  

Of course Vodafone makes a handy profit from these spam texts (“revenue sharing”) but that doesn’t get a mention-they just say they’re not the ones charging us.  

Well, if I have a contract with Vodafone and I’m getting the charges on my Vodafone bill and Vodafone are taking my money and profiting from these charges then they can dress it up however they want but Vodafone are charging me.

I understand the process.  It’s probably something like the third party company bills Vodafone and Vodafone pays them, Vodafone then bills me for more than the third party company billed them and they make their extra profit.  But they maintain that they are not charging me.  I get it.  It’s a handy little legal scam they’ve got going for them.

What makes this even funnier (#notreallyfunny) is that the advice on Vodafone’s website on how to deal with spam messages is to not reply at all, which is what we did when the texts were received.  They were ignored because there was nothing telling us we were being charged or how to stop the texts. 

And this is all after spending one and a half hours the previous evening getting £58 worth of incorrect charges removed from my bill.

I wish every recipient of these bogus charges would lodge a complaint with Vodafone, PhonepayPlus and OfCom but chances are people dismiss the £5 charge and can’t spare the time to challenge it so these companies are laughing.



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