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

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,


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Very interesting, could be a land-mark battle you know…

Shame you weren’t staying and could have taken it to the papers say……….

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