Friday, March 05, 2010

In Praise of Vodafone

Remember about a month ago I wrote THIS post about my mobile phone bill? It was £2,500, and it turned out the next month's was even more. I twittered about it and was contacted by Vodafone's web relations team. To cut a long story short, they have spent the last month trying to get to the bottom of it. No one is totally sure, but it appears that UberTwitter caused it.

Last night I had a phone call from Vodafone to tell me that they have waived the £5,400 charges. You can imagine the sigh of relief!

I'm the first one to jump on big companies when I have a bad customer service experience, so let me congratulate Vodafone's web relations team for the way they have handled this. They have phoned me each week to let me know they hadn't forgotten, and that they were still investigating.

I draw two lessons from this. Honesty is always the best policy in these situations, and if you are polite and non aggressive, a positive outcome is more likely.

And while we were at it they reckoned I was on the wrong tariff and are changing me to a better one for the same cost.

Result! Thank you Vodafone.

26 comments:

Dave said...

What sterling work by noble Vodafone! If you were someone with a massively-read blog and a high public profile I'm sure they wouldn't have done anything differently. Oh, hang on....

dw22 said...

I suspect Vodafone's swift action and resolution has more to do with the fact that you are a public figure and have talked about this incident publicly.

I've no problem with that, I'd do the same.

But I suspect poor old Mrs Miggins wouldn't have a sniff at getting any money back!

Admin said...

I may be wrong, but I think you received special treatment because of who you are. My experiences with Vodafone customer support were entirely redemptionless.

Iain Dale said...

I certainly didn't use the "don't you know who I am" line. I'm not that crass!

Mark Pack said...

I think the commenters above are a little unfair, as in my experience Vodafone are pretty good at taking up complaints that have been posted online - even on sites with much, much smaller readerships than Iain's blog (see for example comment on http://www.markpack.org.uk/vodafone-sure-signal/).

kinglear said...

It compare very favourably with Orange where I have been in dispute since last October. You wouldn't like to mention it would you??

Norton Folgate said...

Could it be that particular customers who are rarely out of the media and who are a well known blogger will get treated much better than average Joe Bloggs because you have the platform to deal out a ton of bad publicity.

Joe Bloggs would be getting a knock from the baliffs for his £5400 about now.

Mick Turatian said...

I certainly didn't use the "don't you know who I am" line. I'm not that crass!

You see! You didn't have to: that's how famous you are.

James said...

Iain how did you run up such a data usage bill, I have an item on my bill, which is £5 unlimited data/txts?

After reading this story I rang them up to confirm this.

Cynic said...

I understand the cynicism but my experience with them was similar.

My Vodaphone bill had reached the dizzy heights of £300 a month. So I called them, they were incredibly helpful, went through it and proposed a new contract. I agreed. They forecast a new bill of £95.

Next month it was down but on;y to £200 so I called back. They had set it up wrongly so immediately fixed it. Next month a bill of £95 a month and a refund for the mistake!! Excellent service.

................................. said...

Whilst I'm sure we all accept that you 'didn't use the "don't you know who I am" line', it is as you say true that you, 'twittered about it and was contacted by Vodafone's web relations team'.

You didn't get in touch with them, they got in touch with you. This never happens for the rest of us; similarly large companies wouldn't waive an opportunity to screw the rest of us out of an obscene amount of money.

Be realistic, Iain - you got good treatment because it was in their interest that you didn't give them a multiple roasting on your widely-read blog. You can't possibly imagine that has nothing to do with it?

jailhouselawyer said...

I do not have a good word for Vodafone! Having bought a mobile phone from them, I was lucky to get a number I could memorise easily. They said I could register the number and it would be mine forever. Then I got cut off! Apparently, because they claimed I had neither topped it up not made an outside call in 6 months. My phone records did not support Vodafone's false allegations. They apologised, said I did not need to pay the £5 for a new sim card. However, I was given a new number which I am unable to memorise and have to keep checking what it is when I am asked for it.

Admin said...

ID wrote:
> I certainly didn't use the "don't you
> know who I am" line. I'm not that crass!

I will take the liberty of speaking for others; it has not crossed our minds that you did. Our thought is that it is likely Vodafone support knew who you were.

Richard Thomson said...

Well done, Iain. Vodafone have always been great with me when it comes to sorting mistakes, but then mine have always been in the hundreds, rather than the thousands of pounds!

"Don't you know who I am?" is surely the daftest question anyone could ever possibly ask, though. Either the answer comes back 'No', and you're left looking like a twit, or the answer is 'Yes, and I don't care', which leaves you looking even more foolish....

Martin said...

How on earth can you run up those sort of charges with a Twitter application? It only ever transfers a small amount of data.

albertmbankment said...

Vodafone are truly excellent. I was involved in their IPO all those years ago.

I was a customer for years, and they assured me that mobile service 'at home' was imminent. This didn't matter when I was working in London, but became an intractable problem when I started working from home and needed reliable phone and ChuckBerry service.

I told them that I would have to move, although I really didn't want to. They tried throwing ever-larger offers at me to stay with them, but I simply had to move to another network. They then tried to sting me for a couple of months' outstanding on my son's sub-account, despite having agreed that it was keyed to mine. Wearily, I sent a small cheque and a letter of mild outrage to the CEO at Intergalactic HQ. It was marked 'P&C', of course, to bugger-up their systems. I really wasn't expecting *this*, however:

A couple of days later, I had a phone call. "This is Vittorio Colao's office. Is that Mr. Bankment? Putting you through now." And thus I found myself having a delightful conversation with the CEO of a multi-grillion pound company, who had taken that much care about one slightly disappointed customer who was leaving. He was charming, gracious, funny and magnificent.

When they do finally manage to provide coverage, I will return to Vodafone without a second's hesitation.

The Purpleline said...

Would be great if Gordon Brown had a complaints / helpline installed in number ten could be sponsored by Nokia.

Mike Rouse said...

I had a similar experience with Severn Trent Water. I did a blog post about the problem and was contacted the next day to resolve it.

My blog is on WordPress and I have some SEO plugins running. Tagging it all up with "Severn Trent Water" pushed it out there on Google and probably got it noticed even though I don't have traffic as high as Iain Dale's (almost, but not quite ;-))

If anyone is having big consumer problems I would encourage them to use their blog(s) in the same way if they can - it can't hurt...

Oscar India said...

Yeah, if you are in a position of reputational influence. the rest of us....

ahs benton said...

In my opinion Vodafone are dishonest. They owe me money for a pay-as-you-go account they cancelled without warning and could not even be bothered to reply to the letter I sent them.

Anna said...

I'm glad you got it sorted out in your favour, Iain, but don't imagine for one moment that such a favourable outcome would have been the lot of one of the 'little people'.

DespairingLiberal said...

I seriously doubt they would have waived this if you weren't a media figure. Normally they are utterly ruthless in their approach to overcharging complaints. I now recommend anyone I talk to not to touch them with a barge pole - a total ripoff company at every level - and their network is bad as well compared to many newer firms.

TinPot said...

I draw one conclusion from this. If it were the average man on the street, rather than a high profile political blogger, they would have been forced to pay up.

TinPot said...

I draw one conclusion from this. If it were the average man on the street, rather than a high profile political blogger, they would have been forced to pay up.

headless said...

Iain - not entirely sure at first if your post was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but appears to be entirely sincere.

Vodafone are customer-shafters of magnificent proportions and your suggestion otherwise is sadly naive.

Sorry - normally love your work but this post raises a massive credibility question mark for me...

L. Imony-Snikett said...

Hi all,

If anyone has got a problem at the moment that they would like us to look into, please feel free to email us via -

http://bit.ly/JhPl0

(When contacting, please quote the code WRT135 in the subject line. To ensure that the message gets directly through to our team.)

We will be more than happy to help.

Thanks,

Espi
Web Relations Team
Vodafone UK