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The Demise of Vodafone?

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4: Newbie

 

I have been a loyal Vodafone client since 1991 when the company was widely considered to be the best for business users other than BT and Air Call.   Since 2007 I have noted a marked decline in Vodafone's attitude towards its customers, both corporate and personal.  I opened a business account in January 2007 with a data and voice allowance plus an upgrade package so that the contract and all phones contained within the package ran from year to year on a rolling 12 month agreement.  In 2010, after a number of issues with Vodafone and several client manager changes we decided to move to O2. We were advised that Vodafone had changed the terms of the agreement in line with the date of upgrades (in essence now all of the corporate phones had separate terms of agreement (a total nightmare to manage) this was done purely to advantage Vodafone and to prevent us from a wholesale move.

In 2015 my daughter was due an upgrade on our 6 device personal account. We went to a Vodafone store and were advised that the upgrade was free and that it was for a further 24 month period. The contract did not contain any reference to upgrade cost.  The next month I received a £120 charge for the upgrade.  Phones Vodafone and told sorry, it a matter between you and the store. Visited store and presented paperwork to be told I was a pest and lier.

 

March 2017, purchased a mobile data hub 30G with Euro roaming as advertised for £25PCM for 30 day contract.  Email from Vodafone confirmed 30-month contract.  Went to Vodafone store and was advised not to fulfil that order but to pay another £35 instore and get what I wanted.  Ordered 30G 30 day with roaming option.  Went to Portugal and France and yes, got a £30 bill for data roaming. Called Vodafone and told to visit store. Visited store and told to call head office as they cannot amend contracts instore. Call Vodafone and told to revisit store. Revisited store and told they would rectify the matter.  2 days and nothing, no refund as promised or change to the contract. Called Vodafone again and put through to complaints. They advised termination as they cannot and would not do anything for me. Contract terminated.

I have issued a lawsuit against Vodafone Group PLC for breach of duty of care and fiduciary duty and breach of contract. I am not worried about Vodafone or their inept management or legal team, in 2009 I sued Microsoft, Yahoo and Real Networks all companies far larger than Vodafone and won in each instance.

My real disappointment is for all of the good people that work for this company and their shareholders. Dealing with Vodafone is akin to dealing with Enron, they share many of the same top down management styles and corporate governance towards their customers and charges. They have the same smug 'go to hell' attitude if you raise a complaint such as the recent issue with billing or the loss on access to billing online. They were fined £4.6m by OFCOM for poor customer service, mis-selling and inaccurate billing. OFCOM have two further investigations into Vodafone which are likely to levy further fines. Put simply, Vodafone don't give a damn as these fines are a small price to pay when valued against all of the money they chisel from their clients annually.

There is a boardroom smugness that beset Ryan Air, Marks & Spencer and Tesco of late, the notion that they are too big and powerful to see a wholesale change in their fortunes. Time will tell but people are starting to vote with their feet and when Vodafone admit they have a problem, it may well have passed point of return.

Only the collective might of the large shareholders can prevent this from happening, One would urge them to call for an EGM to instigate a wholesale change of management and reconnect with the core values and listen to customers through focus groups. Your customers are shouting as loud as they can but you have installed sound proofing, you can only hide in Newbury and behind an inept Indian call centre for so long.

Vodafone is sailing ever faster into troubled waters and their relevance as a company is diminishing. 75% of all mobile data traffic is now short form video a market the carrier retains no share.  2020 will see 5G, which will deliver a massive boost in speed but at the cost of a lower per gig price point.  Vodafone's Bedrock (Flinstones) price plans are another example of how backward this company is, selling talk time (are you kidding me? No one uses their phone to call anyone these days and if you spend all year on it you probably wouldn't dent your monthly data allowance). Anyone can attest who uses publich transport, you see everyone staring into their phones like they have lost their souls in cyberspace and desperately trying to locate them

The fact remains that Vodafone has only one thing to sell, data and its getting cheaper.  A  single product offering in a world of emerging telcos such as  Huawei are progressing an aggressive expansion policy. They and run all backbone operations for Vodafone. I suspect they will eye Newbury for the position of a shiny new Huawei sign given they have the resources  Vodafone has all the ingredients for a few rough years ahead, economic uncertainty surrounding the UK and Brexit will fuel this position.   The UK now more than ever needs teleco providers to prevail and support SME business in a world that is rapidly becoming mobile centric. Vodafone needs to re-establish is core values and raison d'etra, rediscover its DNA and  support the UK and its business community and banish the open cheque book policy.

 

 

 

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4: Newbie

Let’s hope Vodafone don’t up it back up to £35! Three has all you can eat for £24 and EE with their superior speeds and coverage gives you 20GB for £21 and all pay monthly customers now get free Apple Music Subscription on EE. That leaves o2 hmmm... I don’t think anyone cares but they still do 20GB for £21. Let’s not start on the VMNO carriers. Oh and EE and o2 has visual voicemail and allows you to share your data. 

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55 REPLIES
17: Community Champion

AAs this has gone legal, I doubt the Vodafone forum people will be able to respond.   It would also be very difficult to address historical issues at this stage.   £120 sounds like a lot for an upgrade, even if it was for a recently-released premium device on a very low-price tarriff.    Did the shop not give you paperwork that would have confirmed the deal you thought you'd agreed?

There was an issue with 30-day tarriffs reporting incorrectly, but that was quite a while ago and I thought it had been sorted.   The underlying terms were correct, but I seem to remember months displaying rather than days.   I think there were also some issues with supposedly inclusive roaming being charged for but, as far as I'm aware, they were resolved when a query was raised.  Again, this is a while back.

In terms of tarriffs, yes, most mobile network traffic is indeed now data, which is probably why you tend to get very generous alowances of texts and talk-time.   You'll also notice that all tarriffs list the data amount first for the same reason.

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4: Newbie

My point is that voice traffic is data traffic with the exception it uses a whole lot less bandwidth. If you have a 10G data package what do you need 500 minutes of talk time? It's a total joke, it's all just data and offering it as voice minutes is another example of tired old corporate practice. They are selling you the same thing twice.

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2: Seeker

Hi,

I've been a Vodafone customer for 17 years, but I'm in the process of raising crowd funding to take a class action against Vodafone in that they deliberately avoid their duty of care to the customer.

 

Scenario is, to April 2017 I had my wife and three children on a "Sharer" contract, sharing 20Gb of data per month.  Under this plan my children were unable to exceed their usage allowance.  When I went to upgrade the 'phones in April I was told that Vodafone no longer offered the sharer plan and the call agent advised I had to take them to a normal contract, with 8GB of data.  He confirmed that these contracts could be capped.

 

I later learned one of my children was able to upgrade his data by responding to a text sent out to him, this despite the fact that when I call to do anything I have to give full details to prove I am who I say I am and that I have authority (i.e. if my child had called they would not have had the details and therefore could not have effected any change).

 

I was later told, in writing, that Vodafone advise the user they are close to their limit, warning them that if they continue to use data they will incure charges.  They went on to say that because the child continued to use data they lifted the cap and allowing further use and charges.

 

In their defence they say they "cannot block users from..." from such actions, something I refute as on the sharer plan my children could not exceed their usage limits.  Furthermore, they have the technical capability to confirm whether or a user, as opposed to the account holder, has authority to incure charges as they could always call or text the account holder before such charges are incurred.  Banks and credit card companies do this all of the time when they suspect someone is doing something with a card or account for which they have no authority.

 

The reason Vodafone choose not to protect the account holder is obvious and I suspect a very large part of their massive profits are due to children exceeding their usage limit, deliberately or otherwise.  I also believe a court will see this and uphold it.

 

I've complete confidence I will raise the required funding as I suspect there are thousands of parents who feel the same.  Indeed, in the last two weeks I've had about ten voice similar concerns and enthusiasm to join the claim.

 

I also believe that, with the right judge, this could have a similar effect on Vodafone as the misselling of PPI has on the banking industry, i.e. Vodafone will be forced to repay the account holders where Vodafone failed to confirm that the user had authority.

 

I'd be very happy to hear from any parent on this and hope you all find the crowdfunding page soon

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17: Community Champion

chrismiller1976 wrote:

 

 

 

The reason Vodafone choose not to protect the account holder is obvious and I suspect a very large part of their massive profits are due to children exceeding their usage limit, deliberately or otherwise. 

 

 


I make no judgement on your cause or case but I add this as a statement of fact to give this thread some context. Also, if you intend to pursue the company for some perceived wrong doing you'd need to get your facts straight.

 

Vodafone does not make massive profits in the UK. In fact the 2017 annual report shows that the UK, their home and domestic market, loses money. In fact we are the only market in which Vodafone does lose money. 

Jeffkinn_Sig.png

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17: Community Champion

@chrismiller1976

 

Data usage can indeed be capped and this is done by applying the cap by following the information from support below.

 

How do I turn my Data Caps on and off?

 

Contracts are only offered to the over 18s by which time they are deemed responsible and should understand how to manage the account. If you are going to give your child a contract phone, you have to take responsibility for monitoring the childs usage.  This can easily be done this by logging onto the online account, when your child was close to the limit, there is a bar you could have enabled to immediately turn off any further access to the internet.

 

Unfortunately, giving a child the use of a contract  mobile phone is asking for trouble, much better to give a PAYG phone with a bundle to take care of the essential call, texts and internet access.

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2: Seeker

Hi,

 

You raise some interesting points and I'm grateful for the feedback.

 

Unfortunately, we've been unable to access our online account, something that's been raised to Vodafone on several occassions, but something still unresolved.

 

I hear what you say but we had no issues with the children having contract 'phones before we upgraded and were moved to a different account type, having been told (falsely) that Vodafone no longer offered the contract type we were on.  I was also told, repeatedly, that Vodafone had applied a Cap to the accounts, but have since learned they also removed it, sometimes of their own volition.

 

Despite your advice I believe Vodafone have still got the responsibility or duty of care to the account holder and the position you state is their preferred position on the grounds it makes them a lot of money.

 

We'll see what happens when we get to court.


Thanks again

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17: Community Champion

Hi @chrismiller1976

 

It might be an idea to wait for one of the forum Team to get to the thread,  they will be able to access the account and when your details  have been received will be in a position to address the issues you have mentioned and get your online account online as it should be.

 

 

I hope you get the problems solved. 

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2: Seeker

Hi AnnS,

 

Thanks again.  Much appreciated.

 

Unfortunately I've very little confidence in Vodafone, thus joining this thread on the "Demise of Vodafone".

 

I have to agree with some of the earlier comments about some of the staff and I'm convinced the company would not have the troubled reputation it has if they were allowed to do what they think best.

 

Hopefully catch up again with some more positive news and views in the future.

 

Thanks again.

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4: Newbie

Hi All,

I am the person responsible for starting this thread “The demise of Vodafone” and have been dealing with Vodafone for 26 years. There is no doubt that there has been a marked decrease in customer focus and OFCOM confirmed that the complaints about Vodafone are in most cases double than for other mobile carriers. This is one reason why OFCOM fined Vodafone £4.6m for (inter alia) poor customer service. That is quite something, how many public companies would allow things to deteriorate to such an extent that it would be fined by a governing body? Vodafone simply don’t care, this ingrained in their lousy corporate DNA.

With regard to my lawsuit, Vodafone originally stated that they fully intended to fight the case but I knew the evidence would prove different. I received a call from their legal department stating that they wished to settle the claim which, in fairness they did 100% including costs.

It is true what the moderator said about Vodafone UK, the business struggles in the UK against stiff competition from BT (EE). But it also had a disaster in India where the division was haemorrhaging cash until its merger with Ideal earlier this year. Vodafone is weak, a subdued share price and losses make it vulnerable. The mobile carrier market it very mature in Europe and Vodafone has not kept its bib clean. There is a good reason for Vodafone to consider a merger with Liberty Global (Virgin Media owner) in the US. Mr Colao dismissed this earlier this year but seems to have softened to the idea. I would predict that Vodafone will be taken over (billed as a merger) and there will be a wholesale change of management and staff (Think Comcast and Universal merger (AKA Comcast takeover)). I would like to think that this would be a terrible thing but, I am struggling. Given the poor PR that Vodafone gets and the OFCOM issues, I wouldn’t blame any prospective owner to rebrand the business. Hence, the demise of Vodafone!

I am not convinced at the timing of a class action lawsuit which in real terms could delay any prospective takeover / merger. Let’s face it, any new owner cannot be any worse than Vodafone is now?

I don’t think that this is the best place to discuss your battle plans as this forum is owned and controlled by Vodafone.

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17: Community Champion
I’m not a moderator but a customer just like you.

Jeffkinn_Sig.png

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4: Newbie

Okay, sorry, understood.

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Moderator

We'd like to help with your online account and discuss your queries further @chrismiller1976.

I've sent you a private message with details to contact our team directly. Once we receive your information, we'll be in touch as soon as possible to help.

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4: Newbie

I’ve been with a few other networks and I can honestly say Vodafone has been the best in terms of customers support when I call up, it’s just a shame they've been cutting back/not offering certain services like visual voicemail and data sharing to name a few. I must admit Vodafone aren’t the best in terms of expense and in that case I can see Lose of customers as competitors are offering better deals. I stop going to stores unless I have no other option, I do everything over the phone or internet, so I can’t comment on their customer service in store. 

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17: Community Champion

For sim only contracts I find Vodafone to be very competitive. I'm getting 20GB of data for £22 a month and I'm quite happy with that.

 

I also believe the idea that the brand has been significantly devalued and is vulnerable to a hostile takeover is quite wrong. Vodafone is a huge worldwide brand and force in the mobile phone sector. It maintains a high dividend and its share price has been quite steady over the last five years.

 

All British companies are vulnerable to some extent post Brexit but I'd be surprised if Vodafone as we know it now wasn't around on the same form in 5 years time.

Jeffkinn_Sig.png

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4: Newbie

Let’s hope Vodafone don’t up it back up to £35! Three has all you can eat for £24 and EE with their superior speeds and coverage gives you 20GB for £21 and all pay monthly customers now get free Apple Music Subscription on EE. That leaves o2 hmmm... I don’t think anyone cares but they still do 20GB for £21. Let’s not start on the VMNO carriers. Oh and EE and o2 has visual voicemail and allows you to share your data. 

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17: Community Champion

I get Spotify Premium which is a better service in my opinion than Apple Music (which I also have) and I'm not at all convinced that EE speeds are better although they do have a larger geographic coverage. Three's all you can eat data is £28 but as I don't have half of my 20gb that's of no interest to me. 

Jeffkinn_Sig.png

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4: Newbie

Each to his own... Apple for me is better, I have an iPhone so it just makes sense. Three does a £24 deal you get 200 minutes instead of unlimited which you get with the £28 deal, and all you can eat data. On average EE is the fastest network when it comes to 4G, they hold the most spectrum in 4G and operate on all 3 4G bands while Vodafone operates on only 2, still I’m happy with speeds on Vodafone so I’m not complaining.

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17: Community Champion
Everything I have is Apple which is why I have a family subscription to a Apple Music. But I still prefer Spotify and it works with my Google Home. If I didn't get it from Vodafone I'd leave Apple Music and subscribe directly.

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4: Newbie

Well for sure each to his own... all my music is stored in itunes, I like Apple musics intergation with iTunes and having all my 10000+ tracks in the cloud so I can listen to them anywhere is invaluable to me. The only other service that I find better is google play music which stores all my song for free in the cloud. The last time I had a Spotify subscription I couldn’t store my library in the cloud. If I do get or any others do get google home I’d think google play music would be the obvious choice. 

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