06-03-2012 11:15 AM - last edited on 06-03-2012 12:05 PM by Andy
Here is a letter I have sent to Guy Laurence at Vodafone. This has been going on for a year. Nobody has been able to explain this massive spike in data usage while I was in China.
I've now written to all the Directors. I just want someone to look into this data. What is it ????
I am writing in complete desperation. I have tried and tried to get a conclusive answer out of someone at Vodafone but it appears impossible. The last person I spoke to today was David (removed for security) in Customer Relations and he had to be the rudest person I have ever spoken to at Vodafone and during the last 12 months I must have spoken to about 50. Some of which I have to say were fantastic.
My case may appear complicated but it is simple. I have been a Vodafone customer since 2005 and I have had a Blackberry for over 5 years. I travel with work and my bills reflect this. Since receiving my first Blackberry to date my monthly data usage averages around 23MB. My call charges vary depending on my travel patterns.
In February 2011 I went on a business trip to China. I landed on Sunday February 20th 2011 and switched on my Blackberry. I couldn’t receive any emails access the browser to look at my webmail. The only functions available were calls and text messaging. This was the case for the whole 5 days I was in China. I have witnesses from our office who can verify this.
On Wednesday February 23rd 2011 I received a call from Vodafone asking me if I was aware that I had used data to the value of £1,109.99. (334MB in 2 days) In my opinion I hadn’t used any data and if I had it certainly hadn’t made its way to the handset. I asked them what the data was and they were unable to tell me. In fact I’ve been asking this question for the last 12 months and still nobody can tell. What was this data?
I have been through The Ombudsman (OTELO) and they couldn’t get Vodafone to tell me what the data was and how my Blackberry was capable of using such huge amounts in such a short period of time without me knowing or if in fact this usage would even be possible in China. I have since been told by industry experts that usage is in fact impossible with my handset over this time period through China Mobile.
I have had Vodafone Customer Service staff tell me that they can’t see how this is possible and that it must be a mistake but when I ask them to remove the charges they say they are being told they can’t.
My question remains unanswered. What was this data? If nobody can answer this then why are Vodafone still insisting I used it? I was the person in possession of the handset and I know it wasn’t receiving data. That should be enough to end this dispute. In any other business if you supply to a customer, if they ask, you have to show a proof of delivery and a delivery note to detail what was supplied before you get paid.
I actually don’t want to stop using Vodafone, your coverage is good and when you get it right you are as competitive as any other provider but I simply cannot pay for something I never used. I have spent over £15K with you in the last 4-5 years I would have thought I might have been listened to rather than told. I am the customer and by not taking into account my version of events Vodafone are questioning my integrity as a person.
I have now been cut off and so I have had to start paying this bill in installments. I could pay it outright but it’s the principle. Vodafone have stolen from me. This is theft, and I am determined to find the correct media platform to let people hear about my experience.
I don’t expect a reply. Nobody at Vodafone has ever had the courtesy to reply to my letters in the past. I will plough on.
Robin (removed for security)
06-03-2012 12:18 PM
07-03-2012 03:48 PM - last edited on 07-03-2012 04:06 PM by Matt
This is the response I get ...How can you discuss anything when the mailbox isn't monitored. It's like arguing with your 3 year old sister!!
"Dear Mr Robin Beaumont, Thank you for your recent email. As I understand the complaint the complaint was taken to the Ombudsman and they didn t receive a response to their final decision. The full balance is liable for and Vodafone wouldn t review the complaint again. Yours Sincerely Lucy Vodafone Customer Relations please do not reply to this email as the mailbox isn t monitored"
07-03-2012 03:59 PM - edited 07-03-2012 04:00 PM
Looking at the reply
as far as voda are concerned the Ombadman had decided against you. something you failed to mention in your OP
Voda therfore have no further need to discuss anything other than a payment plan
I also don't agree with your point that voda should eb able to tell you what the data has been used for, the only way they could do this would be if they were examinig data packets crossing the network which would not only be expensive and technically challenging, but something which would have serious implications for customer privacy,
07-03-2012 04:02 PM
My understanding of this response would suggest that, based on your complaint to the ombudsman, that they contacted Vodafone and came to an agreement regarding the complaint. The ombudsman would then have contacted you with the outcome of this and asked you to reply to the agreement that they offered. Because you haven't accepted this then you will be liable for the full balance. Vodafone will now not make any further offers as both Themselves and the ombudsman have deemed the offer made as sufficient already. Therefore your options now would be to pay the full balance or contact the ombudsman again and see if the original offer would still stand.
If you continue to decline the ombudsman's offer then Vodafone have no obligation to make any further offers and are fully within their rights to continue to ask for the full balance which you are contractually obligated to pay.
07-03-2012 04:17 PM
Thanks Magicman13 .. I have had 5 outcomes from the Ombudsman and I have replied to each one explaining why I didn't accept their judegment and I kept repeating the same questions. "What was the data?" and "Why is there such a huge spike in usage compared with every other day of mylife using a Blackberry 4 yrs previous and 1 yr after?" On the Monday we are talking 300 times my usually usage level. The Ombudsman couldn't answer so in the end I gave up writing to them. Just before I did that I send a letter to the CEO of OTELO and he ignored me completely.
I wonder how neutral they are anyway to be honest.
I just want 2 questions answered. That's all. If the answer I get is satisfactory and is acceptable to other industry experts then I will be happy and we can move on.
07-03-2012 04:24 PM
Thank you for your post SynthFG,
The Ombudsman failed to answer my questions. This isn't a decision it's a misunderstanding of the case. I wrote to the CEO of OTELO explaining this and I was ignored.
I'm only asking them to examine my data packets and I am happy to sign a data protection agreement to say I give them full backing.
Again you have missed the biggest point here. My average daily usage for 4 years prior and 1 year after is 800KB. How can this rise to 243MB on one day ? How can this happen on this day but never before and never again? I never tethered the handset and I have no Apps.
07-03-2012 05:04 PM
Hi again ratman.
As synth mentioned, the Data protection side of things would prevent Vodafone from pulling the Data transmitted as this data may contain sensitive info such as banking details etc. even by signing a disclaimer this info cannot be obtained. I know through experience that even a request from a police liason department would be met with a stern NO.
This is due to the data having to be source via Vodafone and also the companies etc that the data was viewed from.
So not only would you have to waive dpa with Vodafone, but also every single owner and financer/sponsor for all web pages viewed etc. Logistically this would be nigh on impossible.
07-03-2012 05:13 PM - edited 07-03-2012 05:15 PM
Reading your original post it seems obvious to me that you've been scammed in some way, although I'll confess that I can't see how it was actually done, and you've ended up in a "computer says no" scenario. I can fully understand your reluctance to pay up, and your insistence on some sort of explanation of how the charge was incurred.
07-03-2012 05:36 PM
It is highly unlikely that Ratman has been scammed. more likely is what has happened is that, on arrival after a long haul flight to China,
the OP's phone has stacked a couple of file/app updates which as soon as he has logged onto a network, the handset has done the smartphone trick of background updates. Thus running up charges for any App etc that has needed an updated, therefore incurring high charges for the data used in performing the updates. a simple way to prevent this is to turn off data/cellular roaming on the handset before travelling. that way the only charges incurred for data will be for manual connections to gprs/3g.
07-03-2012 07:04 PM
07-03-2012 07:07 PM
07-03-2012 07:33 PM - edited 07-03-2012 07:34 PM
Actually you own the handset and are responsible for everything it does on the voda network
It was in the nature of a gift to you for taking out the contract, (tho the contract terms will see voda more than adiquatly covered for the cost of this gift)
Voda offer a standard warenty tho this is on top of the manufacturers warenty for repairing any defects due to manufacturing issues or software faults, but the handset was your property for you to use as you pleased from the miniute you recieved it
TBH unless you were teathering or straming video / audio over the phone then the data is excessive for normal use, however the 2 mentioned uses are legitimate ways of running up that data,
Being as you were having internet issues from arival in China it is possible that the phone, the Chinese network and blackberry got their nickers in a twist and the phone was constantly trying to connect to the blackberry servers meaning that the phone was constantly sending or recieving datain the background even if it was garbage
either way all that voda can demonstrate is that on the specified dates your phone used so much data, they have no way of knowing what that data was or where it was going to / comming from. They also don't store the data so there is no way of tracing after the fact (Can you imagine how much data crosses the voda network daily)
Voda have obviously proven to the Ombadsmans satisfaction that the data was used on your acount. It's a bad situation but unless you are willing to take the matter through the courts there is little else that can be done. Given the ruling that has already gone against you I wouldn't highly rate your chances, tho voda may opt to offer a settlement if you persue this route, also not sure if you would be entitled to legal aid
07-03-2012 07:56 PM
07-03-2012 08:15 PM
07-03-2012 09:57 PM
Given the state of your claim I'd suggest that the eforum is not a place you will find satisfaction,
It's unlikely that any of the staff here would have the authority to involve themselves as it's been through the ombadsman and is as far as voda (corporate) are concerned a closed issue
If you are unwilling to go through the coursts, you can keep on at the executive management or persue recourse through the media (watchdog if you can interest them) as you see fit
07-03-2012 10:13 PM