Right to reply…

I received the following from Vodafone this evening. In fairness, I’m popping it on here in full as it does answer all my complaints. It’s amazing what you can get from someone if you whinge loudly and forcefully enough – it’s a shame it has to come to this, though.

Note that this is still not as ideal a situation as I was given initially. I have to switch to PAYG before I fly out (the SIM needs to be activated in the UK), and I have to make one chargeable call every 60 days at least to keep the number/SIM active. So I have to switch the phone on while abroad (*kerching*) or leave it with someone here and ask them to make a call every 2 months. If I take it with me, can I “charge” it with credit while in Thailand or Vietnam?

Time for another reply. But in fairness, my complaints have been addressed…

Queries Regarding Your Account.

Good Evening Mosh,

Thanks for your e-mail, I’m sorry you feel you have received poor customer service from Vodafone, Vodafone prides itself on high levels of customer service, I have passed your comments onto the relevant department to help improve our training scheme.

Having looked into your account I can see the following details:

* There is a discount applied on your account which will apply until the contract end, for free text messages.

* I can see no current request on your account to transfer to Pay As You Talk, if you wish to transfer to Pay As You Talk please confirm this.

* I apologise that it was not made clear to you at the time of upgrade that you where entering into a 18 month commitment period.

* As a gesture of goodwill I have changed your commitment period to 12 months, your current shortfall fee now stands at £61.21

* We are able to transfer you to Pay As You Talk with immediate effect if you require this.

* If you choose to switch to Pay As You Talk a chargeable call will need to be made every 60 days to keep the number active, the SIM will also need to be made active whilst you are still in the UK.

If you would like to talk further about this issue my office number is 08000 680126.

Hope This Helps,

Steph Houghton

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Dear Vodafone…

Hi again,

Just so you have this in writing after my discussion on the phone with
someone yesterday:

I am *incredibly* displeased, upset, annoyed, angry and verging on
furious with your company right now. Let me step you through some
things:

1) I re-negotiated my contract around March/April last year. I went
from a 12-month contract to a 12-month contract as agreed on the phone
with the salesperson. This contract was to include a set amount of
free talk time, text messages and weekend calls.

2) My new phone arrived shortly thereafter. All seemed fine.

3) I requested a paper copy of the terms and agreements of my
contract. These have never been sent to me. As such I’ve never signed
anything agreeing to any contract simply as I’ve never *seen* anything
to agree to. In good faith, however, I’ve used the service and paid
for it without hitch.

4) On my first online statement I was thrown a little by the “deal”
that was listed, the wording seeming to infer that it (and therefore
my free call time, texts etc) would expire after 6 months. I called
and was assured this was not an issue and this was “just the way it
was worded”. I asked for a letter confirming that this was the case.
This never arrived, much like the contract I asked for.

5) Lo and behold, 6 months later I get a bill around £30 higher than I
should have as my “deal” had expired. After much to-in and fro-ing
(during which time it turns out it was impossible to send me a
corrected bill with the relevant amounts removed), the matter was
resolved, and I was informed that the “deal” would run till the end of
my contract. I confirmed that this meant it would run for the full 12
months and I was assured it would. I asked for a letter to confirm
this. I never received one.

6) Earlier this year I made the decision to go abroad for an extended
holiday with a view to emigrating. As such, I didn’t want to pay a
monthly fee for a telephone that would be switched off. After an
initial enquiry, I was informed that this was no problem and that I
could simply switch to PAYG for the duration of my absence and restart
on my contract when I returned. I have the email replies telling me
that this would be fine. I simply had to let you know in writing 4
weeks before the date I wished to drop to PAYG.

7) I duly wrote a letter slightly more than 5 weeks in advance
requesting that as of March 16th 2006, my contract be “downgraded” to
PAYG and a letter be sent back to me to confirm that this was being
actioned. Guess what? I never received confirmation. For a company
that deals in communications you seem to have a woeful idea of what
the word actually means.

8) I chased the matter up via email and received the above reply.
Shortfall payments? Call us now? It’s urgent? Quite right it’s urgent
as I now leave the country in 14 days. I duly called.

9) As a reasonable person, I agree that I have a contract with you and
I understand that if I finish that early I should pay the remaining
months’ fees up front (It seems my contract will not go on “hold” so
much as it gets cancelled – which wasn’t made apparent from initial
discussions). However, the fee quoted – in excess of £171 – seemed a
bit high as I only have a month or two left as I started my contract
in March/April last year. Oh, no. I apparently signed up for an *18
month* contract. News to me as I would not have *agreed* to sign up
for an 18 month contract. 12 I discussed, 12 I agreed, 12 I expect.
That’s hardly unreasonable.

10) Apparently I agreed to the 18 month contract on receipt of my
telephone. Some clever spark in the sales department seems to have
decided to put contractual agreement clauses on delivery notes which
directly contradict discussions made with other people in the sales
department. The individual I spoke to yesterday tells me that my
delivery note states that by receiving the phone I agreed to an 18
month contract, and that if I didn’t like it I could have returned the
phone. Now this is all fine and well apart from 2 things:

a) I certainly don’t recall seeing anything whatsoever on any delivery
note. Your staff member yesterday could not tell me *where* on the
note this change to my agreed contract was noted. I suspect in tiny
letters in invisible ink under a label in Urdu.

b) I’m not even sure I saw a delivery note. Would this have been in
the box, wrapped round it, given to me separately by someone pointing
out “by the way, they’ve decided to change the contract you agreed to
and by signing this piece of paper you’re agreeing to their changes”,
stuck folded up in a little envelope or what?

Regardless, I discussed and agreed to a 12-month contract. I am to
expect a phone call from the original salesman, apparently, but I’ve
been waiting almost a full day with no response. Of course, given your
history on getting back to me with required information this comes as
absolutely no surprise whatsoever.

On the face of it, someone’s made a mistake and entered “18” instead
of “12” somewhere. Worst case, someone’s thought they can earn a bit
more commission by subtly “upping” my contract from 12 to 18 months,
not thinking I’d notice (I didn’t – as I wasn’t told). Or even *worse*
case, this is standard practice and your company deliberately sets out
to ensnare people in contracts they didn’t agree to and defraud them
of additional monies.

Now, as I said, I’m going abroad for quite some time. I expect to
return, but there’s no guarantee. If I do, I’d like to have the same
mobile number and to just restart my account and go on as if nothing’s
happened. While I’m away, my bank account will be closed, direct
debits cancelled and so forth. There will be nothing going *in*, so I
can’t have anything going *out*.

Right now, I’m more in the frame of mind that my mobile number simply
isn’t worth this mess. I’ll have forgotten the number when I get home
anyway and I doubt there’ll be any 18-24 month old voicemails worth
listening to. 02, Orange, Tesco… there are *many* other providers I
could just wander off to and not give you so much as a single thought.

The ball’s in your court. Prove to me you’re not a bunch of lying,
cheating, defrauding, slippery conmen and put me on the 12-month
contract I verbally agreed to. As stated, I will pay the “shortfall”
based on those terms and those terms only. As stated, as of March 14th
I will be out of the UK and not contactable, so you better get your
skates on. My house has been sold, my bank account’s in the process of
being shifted abroad and my credit cards cancelled in lieu of
foreign-based ones.

I did give you the required 4 weeks’ notice so as far as I’m concerned
I’ve done all that’s required of me – you are the ones holding
everything up with your ludicrous attempts to rip me off.

Yours not-very-faithfully-at-all,

Mosh

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Vodafone up to "dirty tricks" again

A few months ago, I had an issue when Vodafone decided my free calls and texts were no longer part of my contract after 6 months. Which was funny as I had thought the phrasing looked a bit weird on my first bill, queried it and was told there wasn’t an issue and they’d run till the end of my contract.

I got that sorted, after coming very close to them taking the money off me regardless and pushing me overdrawn.

Now I need to put my contract on “hold” while I’m abroad. No point in paying £25-ish a month for a phone that’s going to be sat, switched off, in my luggage.

I sent an email and was told, no problem. I’d have to “downgrade” to Pay As You Go and restart my contract when I returned. Just drop them a letter with the details and they’d sort it. This I duly did, asking for them to confirm receipt and the date they’d do it for me.

Lo and behold – no reply. So I chased them by email today just to set my mind at rest. I get a reply back saying that as Im not at the end of my contract, I’d have to pay a “shortfall fee” up to the end date and to ring up to discuss this.

Given that I had to give them 4 weeks’ notice of my “cancel” date and I now leave in slightly over 2 weeks, I’m a little annoyed by this to say the least. I am even more annoyed now that I’ve called them and been told that I owe in excess of £171 to do this as my 12-month contract is apparently actually an 18-month one. They just didn’t actually bother to mention that to me.

OK, apparently they did. Not during my initial contract renewal (where I ensured it was a 12-month contract), not on the contract I signed (because I never signed a contract), but on the despatch note I received with the phone. Apparently.

Well, I can’t remember seeing a despatch note though I’ll assume there was one. I definitely don’t remember signing anything, but I do remember agreeing on a 12-month contract.

The words “sneeky”, “underhanded” and “cunts” spring to mind. I’m prepared to accept 2-3 months’ shortfall payment as that seems fair. Although nobody bothered to mention it when I first enquired about “pausing” my account, it’s something I’d expect if I’d agreed to a 12-month contract. However, paying up to December for a phone that will be switched off just ain’t happening.

Out of curiosity, if I tell them to shove it and find myself abroad in a country with no extradition treaty and no UK address or bank account… what the fuck can they do about it?

Royal Mail. Ticketmaster. Fucktards.

Several months ago I ordered a few tickets to go and see Fear Factory in January. The dates were shifted to April, so I couldn’t go due to disappearing off round the world. The friends I was going with said they could get someone else to use my ticket, so I tried to get in touch with Ticketmaster to have my tickets sent to them instead, what with me not actually having a house and all.

The only way they’d do it was to be sent a fax including a copy of a credit card statement for the card used to buy the tickets with the new address on. For fuck’s sake. Let’s give a not completely unrealistic hypothesis: you buy tickets 4 months in advance for a gig, the tickets won’t be shipped till 2 weeks beforehand, you move house and you cancel the card you bought the tickets on. You’re fucked.

Anyway, I rang my credit card company and changed my address to my mates’. This makes no odds to me as I pay off the full balance by direct debit anyway. After a week or two, a statement comes through. I pick it up and do the paperwork. Sorted.

Or so you think.

I just got an email from Mel. She missed the postie by 5 mins and now has one of those nice “we waited till we saw you leave the house then shoved this card through your door in lieu of the stuff you actually wanted” cards. On ringing the number on the back, they’ve refused to rearrange a redelivery unless I call them.

Now, hang on. She’s asking for a redelivery to the same house they’re addressed to. Now, if her husband rings them up and asks them to do it, they likely will. Because, having a slightly deeper voice, he can just say he’s me. Likewise, if Mel wants to go and pick them up then “I” have to sign the card to say I’m sending someone else to collect them. Of course, the Mail don’t have a copy of my signature to compare to, so again she can just forge it and go and get the bloody things.

Once again, I am aghast at how utterly stupid and petty the Royal Mail are. Dumbstruck. They really take the phrase “we are utter and complete fucking shite and will do our best to only get worse” to heart. I think I may suggest it to them as their new company mission statement. At least they’ll be onto a winner with that one.

Bank robbers really are unimaginative

Quite an impressive haul – up to £50million. Almost enough to buy 4 Premiership footballers. Or 1 Premiership footballer if you’re Chelsea and their agent sees you coming.

However, am I the only one who’s noticed a surprising similarity between this one and the one allegedly performed by the IRA last year? Kidnap the guy who runs the operation and hold a gun to his and his family’s collective heads?

I may have my details wrong, in fairness – I’ve not had a net connection to be able to check the history – but in essence it seems like a very similar tactic.

As I drove up to Glasgow, I heard they’d arrested two people already. I guess all you’ve got to do is wait for someone on income support to walk into a shop and try to buy a Maseratti with a huge case full of used fivers.