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Ombudsman Decision

2: Seeker
2: Seeker

Hope someone can explain this to me,

I recently complained to the Ombudsman over charges used by my WIFI dongle, purchased from my local Vodafone store in May 2017. I was on a 50gb plan for £30 per month. In August whilst on holiday with my 4 teenage kids I received a text to my mobile phone stating that I had exceeded usage (£2300). My complaint was that Vodafone did not inform me that a cap was not in place on the plan and that Vodafone should have contacted me earlier regarding excessive use. I did try to register the dongle on the Vodafone website and kept getting a message saying "Sorry not eligible for this service". I was later advised by a Vodafone customer service agent that this was a problem that technical was looking into. The Ombudsman have rejected my complaint saying the following...


In respect of the online account and app, I do not doubt you experienced difficulties, and I recognise this means you could not have managed your usage through the online account.

However, I would like to clarify that the notifications were not viewable via the online account, or app. The notifications would have shown on the Vodafone Mobile Connect software. This is the software that opens on the device used to connect to the internet when you access mobile internet using a dongle. Consumers can only access the internet via this software, and therefore if it did not open there would be no way to use data at all.


I have until Friday to accept this decision but would appreciate if someone could explain how I would view notifications shown on Vodafone Mobile Connect software.




17: Community Champion
17: Community Champion

It's been years since I've used the software. There's a list of FAQs on here if it's any help to you. I just tried to download the software on my Mac to see if I could see a menu or 'notifications' but the download wouldn't complete, unfortunately.

For the record I was always told that the bill would be the final say on any data questions or disputes. This is because software can crash, fail to update, usage can be reset and so on. 

Vodafone customer since 2004. Attempting to help where I can on the Community

17: Community Champion
17: Community Champion

@Dmasonltd wrote:

This is the software that opens on the device used to connect to the internet when you access mobile internet using a dongle. Consumers can only access the internet via this software, and therefore if it did not open there would be no way to use data at all.

Back in the day's when all you could get was a USB dongle that you had to plug into a computer to use this would have been the case.  With a Mobile Wifi solution, there is no need to run any software so this avenue of notification wouldn't have been available.

@Dmasonltd I would get back in touch with the Ombudsman and make them aware that mobile wifi doesn't require the use of any software to access the internet.

Regarding the data capping facility, this should have been available on your account, however, is not switched on by default so you may have easily been able to go over your usage.

13: Advanced Member


You might want to make it clear to the Ombudsman that Vodafone advertises it as not requiring software. See where it says

"Your ultimate Wi-Fi hotspot

Wireless internet access isn’t just for laptops. If you want to get the most out of your device on the go, then Mobile Wi-Fi gives you the freedom of a portable wireless Wi-Fi hotspot. There's no software to install and you can connect multiple devices at the same time easily."

Thanks for your replies, I have contacted the ombudsman this morning with the suggestions you have made in this forum. Please find his reply below. I am grateful for the input recieved so far and would apprecciate if somebody could suggest to me the next course of action i should take. 


Thank you for your email. 


To clarify, Vodafone's network systems automatically send notifications at 80% and then 100% of a data allowance, although how the notification arrives depends on the device service is provided to. With a mobile handset, it will be an SMS text message; with a dongle it is via the VMC software; with a data-only SIM, for instance in a mobile broadband router or using a hot spot service, the notification shows on the app which is a condition of the service.


You told us, at the outset, that the service and device was a dongle, which would mean notifications would show on the VMC software. Your original comments to us were that you had 'purchased a mobile dongle in store'. In the event you do not have a dongle, and instead were using a 'mi-fi' type mobile broadband service, then I would agree with the comments from the forum stating that the VMC software is not needed.


However, it remains the case that Vodafone has demonstrated that notifications were sent. In any event, the notifications should be considered as an additional prompt, rather than the primary means to manage usage. Consumers are expected to manage their own usage and spending, and remain within inclusive allowances if they do not wish to incur additional costs. Vodafone provides a range of channels for consumers to manage usage and spending in real time, such as the online account, the app, or by calling 44555.


I hope this clarifies. Please bear in mind that there is no further opportunity to appeal our decision. You can only accept or reject. If you accept, this is binding on Vodafone and is in full and final settlement. If you do not accept, then you would be free to take your complaint elsewhere, such as a court, if you wish. Your response is due by no later than 26 January 2018.


13: Advanced Member

I'm afraid I started the hare about mifi devices. Though, if it were one of those, I'm a bit puzzled that there's no software to install, and yet the app is a condition of the service - is the app not software which it would be necessary to install?