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Do Vodafone really care about their customers?

Our correspondent writes ...

On Wednesday, 28th January 2004, I cancelled my Vodafone contract by telephone and email. Why? Vodafone had just cut off the service to my wife's mobile phone without warning for the second time in two months. Reason? My account was unpaid.

When I forgot to pay the December invoice, we had three mobile phones on contract, and the payment oversight was my fault entirely. In the confusion leading up to the Christmas break, the pressures of shopping for presents, and my general dislike of Christmas, I just forgot.

When I realised the service had been cut, I paid the invoice immediately by BACS and contacted the Customer Care people to get the service restored. After all, you tend to have more use for mobiles during Christmas than any other time of the year.

Phoning the Customer Care helpline is a nightmare. Like many other big companies, they have replaced people with voicemail systems so you have to go through a whole raft of sales messages and menu choices before you actually get to speak to a real person. One of these messages asks you to key in your mobile number so that your query can be handled efficiently but the first question your human contact asks is: "What is your mobile number?" And that's before he asks for your name, your address, your postcode, your date of birth, your mother's maiden name and your underpants size. All necessary because of the Data Protection Act apparently.  (Incidentally, I made up the bit about the underpants but I did get asked for the others).

So, the young man I speak to is reasonably helpful, I explain the circumstances and the fact that I have now transferred the outstanding money; he promises to have the service restored within the hour. Fine. We're all happy again.

But it's not fine! Two days later we still have no service and I have to go through the same rigmarole of listening to menu choices and ghastly music. Same security checks for the Data Protection aspects and, this time, a guy who tells me service cannot be restored until they have received the money. Eventually, we get our service back after about ten days, and have been without mobile service right through Christmas. I am, by now, a little pissed off with Vodafone.

When the next invoice arrives, I note that, although they have stopped us using the service for ten days on three phones, they have still charged me the same amount as normal. I fire off an email asking for an amended bill and receive 14 auto responders telling me they have such a large backlog of emails to deal with they will try to reply within 10 working days*. Ten working days! That's two weeks. What kind of service is that?

By this time, by the way, I have decided we don't need three contract phones because we hardly use two of them. So we decide to convert two to Pay as You Talk and leave the other (my wife's) on contract because she needs to get hold of me several times of day. Switching to PAYT should have been relatively simple --- but it wasn't. The Vodafone website for setting up the payment details was totally illegible so it required multiple calls to multiple voicemail systems to get the service changed.

So here I am, one outstanding invoice, a pending email requesting an amended invoice, and a delay of ten working days waiting for a reply. Then - wham - my wife's service is disconnected again. Worse, it's disconnected while she is away from home running a conference. She cannot ring me and no-one can ring her.

I'm feeling a quite brittle by now. I am forced to ring Vodafone's voicemail system because it is evening and I need to contact my wife. The following day, she will need to ring me from the train to let me know what time it will arrive. I will then know what time to meet her at the station. You cannot rely on timetables because South-Eastern trains have taken over from Connex (who were kicked out for unreliability) and are proving daily that they are even more unreliable than Connex were.

I have now listened to umpteen menu choices and information about hands-free kits, etc., and I have finally reached the human voice of Vodafone. I explain my problem and am told that I will have to be put through to the service provider. As the service provider is Vodafone, it is now clear that the Customer Care department is not Vodafone. It is some call centre company where everyone speaks with a Geordie accent.

I am transferred to a young man called Daniel and I am getting angrier by the second. I ask if it would be better to speak directly with a supervisor as I don't want to have to state the same facts twice. But Daniel insists that I give him the facts first, after I have supplied all the necessary code words to comply with the Data Protection Act. Having done this, Daniel says, "I will have to transfer you to my supervisor."

Another voice comes on the line. "I am Daniel's supervisor. How can I help?"

I ask if Daniel has passed on all, or any, of the detail I supplied. He hasn't!

I am normally reasonably placid but now I am livid. So I repeat all the detail, tell him I want service restored within the hour, and threaten that if it is not restored, I will cancel the contract without giving 30 days written notice, and will put a scathing report on my website.

Daniel's supervisor tells me service will not be restored, I tell him there is obviously no point in wasting more time on telephone calls and I put the phone down.

In the past, if I have been late paying a Vodafone bill, I have always received a text reminder. It has usually arrived during the bank clearing period between payment and receipt. According to the Customer Care department, a letter is always sent out (I never had one) and this is followed up by a telephone call (I never had one of those either). But, I am assured, these are laid down Vodafone procedures.

Obviously these procedures are not followed but I am not surprised because I had already discovered that talking to two different Vodafone employees about the same topic often resulted in two entirely conflicting answers. They do not sing out of the same hymn book.

I am now waiting for a response. I have informed Vodafone that I will not pay the invoice until it is amended and that I will not give them 30 days written notice (as required, apparently, by the Data Protection Act). I want them to take me to court so that I can find out how they can cut my service without warning for not paying an invoice when that invoice does not state when the bill should be paid. I think they will be left with much egg on their faces.

* ADDENDUM: 24 days after receiving an acknowledgement that Vodafone would respond to my emailed support request within 10 working days, I have not heard a word from them. I am impressed. NOT!

** Vodafone continued billing me with monthly charges even after I had received written notification that the contract was cancelled.

*** The matter was finally sorted out in November 2004 when Vodafone accepted there had been many unnecessary problems. They apologised and cancelled the whole debt. There are people in the organisation who can sort problems out but they are high up the command chain and are difficult to contact.

We get quite a lot of correspondence from disgruntled Vodafone customers who seem to think we work for the company. They sometimes ask us to sort out their problems and sometimes they ask technical questions about the equipment they have bought. We cannot help with such questions. We are merely critics of Vodafone and their operating principles.

However, we know that many Vodafone customers are irritated by the help lines that operate on expensive 0870 numbers. If you don't want to be caught by this con, contact Vodafone on their geographical number which is: 01925 862000.

Another lady tells this story...

I'm a Vodafone Pay As You Go customer. I accidentally subscribed to a service on my mobile called 'Dumb Questions' apparently offered by a company called MBLOX. I phoned Vodafone to unsubscribe because I had already done it via my phone but was still receiving the questions and being charged for them. I'm furious.

I phoned Vodafone "customer care" , a call which I paid for I might add, only to be left on hold for several minutes and then given a number to phone MBLOX. It seems that although I pay Vodafone, (I mean they do take the charges from my phone), they cannot undo this stupid subscription nor refund my money.

I phoned MBLOX but the number is not accessible externally.....great customer care!!!! It's a big rip off and I will change company as soon as possible. I spend a lot of money on Pay As You Go and I am very disappointed in Vodafone.

To top it all, when I found MBLOX on the Internet, again I had to pay for my call. Furthermore, I was left on hold for ages and finally instructed that I could contact customer care via email...

I used to tell everyone to use Vodafone as I always got a signal no matter where I was. Now I realise I'm really paying for this and won't be doing it any more. As for MBLOX, I'll tell everyone I can that the customer is being used and deceived by VODAFONE AND MBLOX.....and I'll say it as often as I can.

Editorial Comment:

I had some doubts about the title for this page because the words "Customer Care" do not sit comfortably in any sentence containing "Vodafone". But they are the words that Vodafone use, however meaningless, and this page is an attempt to show that their sincerity is pretty shallow. And this is my scathing attack on Vodafone. Vodafone service has gone rapidly downhill as the company has expanded.

It is now costly to log a complaint because the voicemail system takes so long to navigate. You have no idea if the information you are eventually given is accurate or reliable and you are never quite sure if information they request under the Data Protection Act has anything to do with data protection at all. They are probably just using it as an excuse for their own inefficiency, I suspect.

My recommendation is that if you are looking for a mobile telephone service provider who really understands the meaning of service, I can't advise you ... except to say that you should avoid Vodafone like the plague. Although the word "service" is rapidly becoming an expression from the past, it would be hard to imagine other providers could supply worse customer care than Vodafone.

If you are struggling to get any sense from the people on the Vodafone help desk, insist on speaking to the Elevated Complaints Department. They work directly for the company's directors and will do more than the help desk to protect the company's image.

I hereby nominate them for the Avoidafone award.

Gillian Evans, Llandudno writes:

I am just about to take Vodafone to the trading standards as I took advantage of their 15-day free trial or return offer on Broadband. Within the week I knew it was not for me and I returned it to the shop. But I then kept getting bills from Vodafone! I emailed them & wrote to them 3 times enclosing copies of the cancellation documents but all to no avail. Finally today after receiving a letter threatening debt collection & being put on a debtors' register I had reached my limit. I phoned them & was shunted from pillar to post, (I felt as if I had fallen down the Rabbit Hole as the staff in general were like a scene from "Alice in Wonderland") After 29 minutes they put phone the put down on me so I have Emailed them with my intention of going to Trading Standards. That I will follow up with a copy Sent Recorded delivery & Monday afternoon I am going to the trading standards to try & get them charged with misrepresentation under the Trade Description act. Wish me luck!

DS, Middlesbrough writes:

The correspondence we get about Vodafone indicates they have many unhappy customers. Here is a sample:

I've been a customer of Vodafone for 15 years and I have been receiving premium rate text messages for the last 8 weeks. Every time I put credit on my phone it takes my money off my phone instantly. How do i stop this from happening?

It's happened to me before and I ended up changing my number but I would like this to stop because I need credit on my phone for family and business purposes. Can you help me plz?

Thank you.

Editorial Comment:

Regrettably, we can't help you DS because we are not associated with Vodafone - we just expose their bad treatment of customers. You need to speak to their helpline but insist on being put through to their elevated complaints section if you can't get satisfaction, or don't understand, the helpline staff.

LS, Leicester writes:

I have been with Vodafone for years however they moved me to a new contract when my mum stopped paying for my phone and I started. I have juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis which means I have problems walking and can be paralyzed at times. I manage my pain well but it makes me very tired.

On moving house to improve accessibility I could not get a signal. My mum has Vodafone pay as you go and hers would not work either. I talked to Vodafone staff they agreed there was no signal so when I asked them to close the account they said it would cost over £200.

I have panic attacks and when I stop breathing my phone is my only link to my mum who talks me down. I needed a phone that worked so how is it that Vodafone charge me when they are not providing a service?

I told them I could provide letters from my doctors I could show them my disability benefit books. But what I find disgraceful is the fact that five members of staff were prepared to let me pass out when not breathing rather than end the contract they said was within a year when I had been with them for years. I needed to end the contract so I could afford to move to a phone company who could provide a service in my flats. They did not have a member of staff on duty that could get me out of this so I could get a new phone.

In the end, after quoting DDA law, they said they would end the contract but I still had to pay for another three months .

Shame on Vodafone! Five members of their support team ignored a legal requirement to make reasonable adjustment under disability law and I will be consulting disability organisations to look at this issue. I was left with no phone and could easily suffer from panic attacks due to my disability. At no point did anyone say, "Yes we can do that ... just provide evidence of your disability." I fully understand that people try to get out of contracts every day so this would not have been unreasonable.

Editorial Comment:

Another good example of Vodafone Customer Care. The truth is they don't care about customers, even when the circumstances demand some sympathy. They're just interested in their profits and profits don't come any bigger than those they make from charges for which they provide no service in return.

Gill, Newcastle writes:

For the past eight weeks I have been trying to obtain an unlock code for a mobile phone from Vodafone so I can switch. Vodafone (a) after six weeks claimed I already had it, and (b) after eight weeks gave me a code which was invalid. Now they are saying they will start the whole process again of contacting the manufacturer (Sagem) for the code but I may have to post the phone to them.
Can't help feeling rather cynical about the money I have spent (and they have earned) from me calling their 0870 customer care number too!

JB writes:

Like yourself, I have had many problems with Vodafone. My first call (of many) was about the wrong phone that I had been given. I spoke to a manager who said he could not deal with the problem and would leave notes on the system so someone could call me back the next day. No one did!
I called again and asked to speak to a manager, but was left on hold for half an hour.
The next day I rang them up and asked to change my tariff and sort the problem with my phone. They said they could deal with my tariff and get someone to call me back with regards to phone. I asked to be put on a plan where I had a thousand minutes on evening and weekend but still wanted to call other networks. I thought the person had done this for me but it turned he did not.
I then got a massive bill and when I rang up they said it was because I rang mobiles on weekends. I was puzzled. I told the bloke there had been a mistake and he compensated me for this and told me I could get a new phone which I was very happy with...
... until the next day when I rang Vodafone to ask what deals they were doing on this new phone. i.e. what would be the best tariff to go on as it had video calling? She said, "I am sorry but you can't have a new phone." I was getting rather annoyed and asked to speak to a manager. When I did he said he would talk to the person who told me I could have the phone then get back to me in two days.
Three days passed and at this point I was very mad and asked to speak to the manger I spoke to before. I couldn't as he was not in so I spoke to another manager. He told me to write in so I did. Three weeks passed and I heard nothing so I rang again.
As usual, I got the same old same old "Oh I will get some to call you back."

CA, Crawley writes:

For the past 2 months, my phone bills have soared - they have doubled from the previous phone bills that I had. There are no itemized bills of statement. Vodafone are so unscrupulously charging very high phone bills.

VB, Larkhall writes:

I think Vodafone has totally lost the plot.

Robert, Melbourne, Australia writes:

I'm in Melbourne but I cannot get my sms to my phone. Why? There is a back log in Melbourne because they need more towers here. I would like Vodafone to get real. OK, I'm upset as I cannot text here except when I can text someone where it is not too busy.

DC, Tullamore writes:

I just got my phone today. At 2 o'clock I'm supposed to switch over from O2 to Vodafone but I still don't have any service.

JP, Bury St Edmunds writes:

I'm cancelling my contract with Vodafone. I have had the phone for 18months as the contract stated and I thought it was normal practice to be offered an upgrade on my present phone at the end of my contact. But I never received any correspondence from Vodafone offering this.

IF, Huddersfield writes:

I have been a loyal pay-as-you-talk customer with Vodafone for about 8 years. I chose the service because of its reputation of excellent coverage. Up until the past year and a half I would have happily rated Vodafone 9 out of 10 for customer service, connection reliability and costs but during the past year and a half the service has become terrible.
The introduction of stop the clock and free weekends was the only thing that stopped me walking to another network. The promotion I considered to be very generous as I only had to spend £5 a week to get unlimited calls and texts to landline and mobile numbers ( cross-networking also).
A few months into the promotion there were problems of connecting calls and dropped calls. Sometimes I could call a friend's mobile fine, but later I was met with a "3 short beep" tone before the call being terminated as if the number didn't exist. This still happens to this day. it happens randomly with random numbers.
They also changed the promotion to free calls and texts starting at midnight Friday. (Funnily enough, the Daily Mirror calls this the great Vodafone free call swindle!) When I complain to Vodafone they apologise about the problem and promise to investigate. They promise a response from an engineer which, by the way, never happens.
I have had a year and a half of this and it's becoming boring and predictable that Vodafone apologise but offer no long term solution. Vodafone is full of false apologies and no results.
I have a long history of complaints of this nature to Vodafone and on a few occasions I have been accused by a customer service helpline operator of lying about previous complaints. When I became irate about this, suddenly my complaint call log was found but I got no apology.
When I have visited the Vodafone shop I have been given many excuses and told many lies regarding connection problems. I have been told that my phone is old and that this was the problem. Yet I have replaced my phone twice with a new one and still the problem persists. Then they told me that proves the phone was not faulty - thanks Vodafone! - it must be a sim problem.
By this point I was really pissed off so I went over the road to buy a Vodafone sim pack (much cheaper than buying it from Vodafone). They connected the new sim and the problem was still there. It was only because they had no excuses to fall back on that they finally admitted the network was at fault.
Vodafone's reliability is becoming worse each day. Often I can't top my phone up as the network fails. Often I cant even check my balance. When this happens, and if I try to complain, its a 50/50 chance that my call to the helpline will connect as I am usually met with a automated response - "Thank you for calling Vodafone, please disconnect. That's when I get kicked off. When I try to visit the Vodafone Live website I am told there is a network problem. I am advised to call the helpline but I can't get through! On a few occasions I have had to stroll down to the nearest callbox, and dial the 08700 Vodafone number just to top my phone up. How prehistoric! It costs a couple of pounds just to connect to Vodafone so a £5 top up costs £7. True they refunded the cost of the paybox phone call but this is beside the point.
It's pointless complaining to Vodafone. If you're lucky enough to connect to them you get an apology along with a false promise that they are working to rectify the problem asap. The service may resume for a day or two before the problem happens again.
On one occasion the service was down for over 24 hrs. No one could call me, I couldn't call or txt anybody else and I received texts 3 days late. Now Vodafone's latest trick is to pass the customer back and forth like a ping pong ball. Call the helpline with a problem and they tell you they are unable to help as it's a specific problem and not a general enquiry - fantastic "help" line!
I'm told I need to call back the next day. When I tried that they said the same old thing but I need to visit the Vodafone store. I did and they said all they could do to help was to call the same "helpline" I had called.
Vodafone treats its customers like sh*t and I have had enough. The next problem that arises I am going to attempt to speak to an advisor and if the problem isn't rectified I am walking to another network. Vodafone used to be the best but now they are the worst. They know this but they can't be arsed to rectify the situation or their attitude.

HD, London writes:

I am a pay as you go customer and I was supposed to have free weekends today... however I get the message saying "sorry you have USED all your calling credit" and the phone shuts down. I have been using Vodafone for 7 years nut I think it's time I transferred to O2.

Editorial Comment:

Not sure O2 are much better.

ES, Penzance writes:

On 12th March 2007 I sent Vodafone an Email giving one month's notice to cancel my contract, The March and April payments were paid, then I cancelled my direct debit. I subsequently received a letter stating that I was in arrears.
I added a note to that letter explaining the above circumstances and sent it back. Then I received a letter threatening disconnection and termination charges. If Vodafone checked their accounts over the past 4 years they would find that I had rarely used their service so I had been virtually paying for nothing.
I was contemplating using the 'pay as you go' service but the fact that Vodafone seem unable to understand their own procedures for cancelling a contract made me feel they were not a company to deal with. As for threatening me disconnection, I had not used it since the cancellation date and had no intention of using it. It would have been good if Vodafone had checked their records and used their 'customer care' to confirm the cancellation of my contract.

SN, Dukinfield writes:

I've paid for a full music video. Vodafone sent me a file that had no format so I could not even access it. I was ripped off and I can't get a refund.

BO, Portslade writes:

Abysmal service from Vodafone. Some other organisation has obtained my private cellphone number yet I have never given it out. Vodafone say I sent/replied to a text message and sent sex images sent to children and other users who never requested same. But it certainly wasn't me.
I managed to get through to the Directors' Office but they ignore you even more than the help desk. You just get shouted down - bullying I believe they call it. I am so incensed that I will have to take them to court and ask a judge to review the case in order to get any form of satisfaction.
Vodafone just do not care and try to fob you off but you have to keep on trying. They should have a slogan on their packaging - 'Vodafone will damage your health'.

J, Belfast writes:

I have had similar trouble with Vodafone. When taking out my contract, I asked for the 'stop the clock' feature to be added as this would have saved me a lot of money. The clerk in the store never bothered to tell me that I couldn't have 'stop the clock' as well as my other features, so I used my phone assuming that the facility would prevent me running up large bills. It didn't!
When I couldn't pay, Vodafone cut off my service. I was able to get it reconnected by paying off some of the bill, but each month if I don't pay up, I get cut off again without so much as a warning as to when I need to pay by.
I spoke to a clerk in the store about this, who told me that unless the 'stop the clock' feature was mentioned on my contract there was nothing I could do about it. I feel very put out by this, and am a very dissatisfied customer. I have been a loyal Vodafone customer for almost a decade now, but will more than likely switch provider when my contract runs out.

Editorial Comment:

And here's a strange response ...

It was sent in by someone called Secret who may possibly be a Vodafone employee as the sender actually defends the company. It is reproduced exactly as it was sent - spelling and grammatical mistakes included:

Secret of N/A (someone off the help desk, perhaps?) writes:

Do vodafone care? the answer is yes vodafone do care about there customers they provide a service to you every day. In regards to your line being suspended due to non payment that is your responability to keep track of your payments if the payment where made on time you would not have this problem there are many ways of finding out your bill..... 44555, online, calling vodafone and is also sent to your home address so vodafone have many ways of telling there customers what they owe and again i ahve to repeat myself and is your responsability to find this out. From previous experience vodafone send out a letter to there customers when bill is overdue 1st step of collection process and is sent out automatically. Vodafone is one of the best mobile networks in the world and have high call volumes from customers that require help as you do, so you have to understand that lines can be quite busy from time to time also taking time of day into consideration. You mentioned music being a problem when on hold now if vodafone left the line quite would that not make customers think that vodafone has hung up on you? Now you mentioned about vodafone selling you things through the automated service. Now i cant understand the problem with this you see it is not sales it is vodafone offering there products an services to there customers to give them a better knowlege of what YOU!!!! or other customers may benefit from. i think that you may just be a little impatiant and expect to much from your service provider and i think it would be a wise idea in the future with vodaofne with o2 whoever you choose just make sure you keep track of your bill because i can assure you all mobile companies work the exact same way.

Ruth, Tollesbury writes:

When I purchased my Vodafone contract phone in a store I was told by the computer system in my shop that Vodafone had good signal where I lived. Got home and what do I find? There is NONE whatsoever. it takes about 10 attempts to send a text and half the time I just end up giving up. I am paying £50 a month for 20 hours call time and unlimited texts which I am not using at all.
I phone Vodafone and they say, 'well you've had the contract for 4 months, why has it taken so long for you to ring up and complain about it?' At this point I got very angry and stated that I had been 'trying' to put up with it but simply couldn't anymore because it was becoming ridiculous, especially as I had recently become unemployed and I was practically wasting £50 since the minutes and texts I was using wouldn't even be the limit for a £20 a month contract.
All they have done is put me on hold for ages - one time I was on hold for 20minutes! - telling me to go back to the store and take it up with them and that its nothing to do with them really as they aren't the ones who misguided me. Well yes they are! After an hour on the phone they offered to lower my contract to £40! How generous ... or not. They wouldn't refer me to the elevated complaints department and just told me there is a new signal tower going up near me 'soon' but they couldn't tell me when. I am going to ring them up every day if I have to and bug them till the morons that are Vodafone cancel my contract or take it down to a low, low amount so I can go back to the godsends that are O2. Sorry for ever leaving you, O2.

Vignesh, Wellore, India writes:

I'm also having many problems with Vodafone ....... I call many times to customer care but they don't attend the call ..... they take money from my account without reasons ......... I reapply for booster pack for reduced call costs but I still pay regular costs for every call. THEY THINK THAT WE ARE FOOLS .... WE NEED TO SHOW THEM WHO WE ARE!

Nadeem, London writes:

I am a pay as you go customer and I was supposed to have free weekends. Today, however, I get the message saying "sorry you have USED all your calling credit" and the phone shuts down. I wasted my money getting qualified for it.

Chris, Manchester writes:

Was basically lied to when I renewed my contract with Vodafone. Complaint letter and calls went unanswered. They just didn't care. Finally got a response after months of complaining which basically said go away were not going to help you we don't believe you. Refused to try to find the recording of the initial call. I would never ever go with Vodafone again!

CD, Portishead writes:

I recently purchased a Samsung g600 from my local Vodafone store on a 18-month contract, I had thoroughly researched the phone and the reason for purchasing it was for the camera. Also the reason for getting it through the shop and not the internet was I would have somewhere to go if anything went wrong. How wrong was I? I came home and started to get around the phone but I soon discovered that I could not transfer my photos to the computer through the data cable, the only way was to email them to my email account.
I contacted Vodafone and they sent me a new cable. After a few days a new cable came but not the one that fitted my phone. I went back to the shop and told them the problem I was having with my phone, they said to try another cable and duly took one out of the box. I came back and guess what? That did not work so the following day I went back to Vodafone and they took my phone for repair and gave me a courtesy Sharp phone, very basic and no facilities for transferring photos.
A week later I get my phone back but it isn't my phone - it is a phone that has been serviced!! I take it home and yes I can transfer to the computer but now I have no email or internet. After many phone calls and a visit to the shop I find out the reason - it isn't a phone with configurations!!
No-one at Vodafone is interested in me or my problem. I am being passed from pillar to post. The only option I feel I have it to stop the direct debit being set up. Help please!

AW, Manchester writes:

Every week I put a fiver in my phone with the promise of free calls and texts from Vodafone. They say I have no calling credit, only texts. Cant see why as I was calling before. It just switched off.

Daniel, South Yorkshire writes:

Hi, I agree with most of the comment. Poor customer service, slow and expensive 0870 customer care and disconnecting the line without proper notification and most importantly the paper bill arrives late so you don't get your cash back.
I am not happy with the the customer service. The case begins from changing my postal address in July 2007 and I am worried that they will be confused and send me a late paper bill in August. So I have rung more than 7 times since 14 August 2007 to chase my paper bill to the new address for my cash back which is due on 13th Sept 2007 - which is 30 days before my cash back period expires.
I think I have to agree with the Murphy's law concept with Vodafone - if you think Vodafone with fail you, they will, even if you ring them 7 times to chase a paper bill. Well, I only received my August bill on 19th Sept, which is 35 days after my 1st call to them and is too late for my 1st cash back. This means I lost £420 in total because of their slow response in sending me a paper bill.
On the 3rd time I called the 191 service, one of the staff even asked me to get a print out from the local store in Sheffield. I was rejected and told to go back because they couldn't print me a paper bill. Obviously, Vodafone staff have given me a wrong instruction and are playing me like a fool running around to the local store for a paper bill.
At the end of the day, they didn't print out my bill. I even asked them to send it by registered post and offered to pay the postage cost but they said it would surely arrive before the 13th Sept 2007. But in fact, it arrived on 19th Sept 2007.
I am very frustrated about Vodafone customer service. After so many requests for my bill they still failed to send it on time. They asked me to call Royal mail for compensation. Well, the fact is Royal mail don't do compensation as the bills are not registered so don't carry insurance!
I have had enough and I will change to any other network ... except Vodafone!

LH, Southend writes:

I have been with Vodafone for 18 months now, and I have had nothing but trouble with them. Their customer service is disgusting and they make promises for a callback from a manager but they don't call you. I am in the middle of transferring a friend over to Vodafone from T-mobile (as she has got an excellent deal) - well I should say she will have if Vodafone pull their finger out and fix yet another problem - the lack of communication by the call centres and their staff. Just the thought of having to ring the help line makes me angry.

CM, Manchester writes:

I am extremely disappointed with Vodafone because the connection on my phone has been absolutely terrible. I lost the connection twice in two days. I tried sending messages which I got charged for and each message wasn't received by the recipient.
If this happens again I will leave Vodafone and go to another service - one that provides a better signal and is quicker at solving problems. I have lost money because of this and I am not happy about this. I expect some form of compensation because, as a paying customer, I expect to get what I pay for.

Rachel, Newmarket writes:

I got my contract with Vodafone back in may! last month I rang Vodafone to change details for my direct debit as well as changing it online as, after my telephone conversation, I noticed it hadn't been updated.
On Wednesday last week my phone got cut off so I rang Vodafone on another phone to be told they had no record of me changing my bank details and would not reconnect until I had paid the amount owing (£39). I gave the woman on the phone my credit card details to take the money as she wouldn't take a direct debit out of my bank any more. She couldn't even do this as she failed over 6 times to take my card details down!
I had no warning of being cut off, no email, nothing to say they hadn't had the money. Two weeks it was overdue and never before had I missed a payment. Unlike my partner whose phone bill hasn't been paid for 3 months and is still connected. Please someone  ... explain this!!

AN, Belfast writes:

Can't get a signal in Romania even though I'm on roaming.

Alex, London writes:

I advise everyone to avoid Vodafone, I have never had so many problems with any other company. Vodafone rang me and told me that they were removing stop-the-clock from my tariff as I was using it too much. I was a student without a landline so took on a contract which offered me 500 minutes and stop-the-clock, I was in lectures most of the day and rarely used my phone before 7 so this was ideal for me as it gave me the potential to 10,000 minutes (500/3*60).
I allowed all my flatmates to use my phone after 7 rather than waste their minutes. after 9 months I received a call explaining that I was over-using the service and taking advantage of their offer (which by rights I was paying for). They then removed the feature from my phone giving me 500 minutes only, I kicked up about this and explained that they should not write contracts that they can't keep to... in small print on the contract it did say that they could change the tariff to a similar one of the same value, so as a 'gesture of good will' a term they enjoy throwing around! they gave me an extra 250 texts despite the fact that the most texts I had sent according to my bills was 14 during December (wishing people a merry Christmas).
I refused to pay them any more and they passed my details onto a debt collecting agency. I am still in dispute.

Simon Collin, Norwich writes:

I have been a customer of Vodafone for 15 years. I have had so many issues with the customer care team it is untrue. My biggest frustration now is that I moved to a 30 pounds a month tariff, with unlimited texts, 600 minutes anytime and friends and family. But my bills now are bigger than they ever were than when I was on a lesser package and paying for texts. Any ideas why? Or has anyone experienced the same issues? The only way round this as I can see is to personally keep a note of every call and text and internet browsing I do and try to match up with the bill. This I fear would be impossible. Help!

Gary A, West Midlands writes:

Vodafone currently raided my Bank account for more than 4 times the value of the invoice and when I enquired (like you, ploughing through the raft of options) I was put on hold - first time for 25 minutes, second time for 48 minutes and then there was no one available to help me.

Re-imbursement has taken more than 2 months. Vodafone have a declared policy of not giving out staff surnames (so they can remain unaccountable) and clearly there is a policy of deterrence by struggle.

My solution: cancelled the direct debit and when they eventually get round to calling me - put them on hold.

John Landsborough, Birkenhead writes:

Oh dear, where do I start with this? I've been with Vodafone for years now but after this week experiencing their so called customer services I can't wait to escape.

To cut a long story short, I am/was due an upgrade so arranged for a c905 until I realised there was a lot of reports about problems with it. So about 2 hours later I rang back to say cancel the phone and send me the lesser specd' Samsung Soul. I was told the order had already gone to the warehouse so they'd send the 2 phones and to simply swap the wrong one with the courier.

After many very frustrating phone calls, I was told it had been left with a neighbour although the courier firm must credit me with mind-reading abilities as no note was put through my door. It turned out my order for the Samsung Soul had been cancelled and when I got through to Vodafone Customer Services again the woman was initially friendly but turned very snotty and defensive when I pointed out my experience with their company.

I will say that if you enjoy being put on hold for over an hour, passed from one advisor to another having to repeat the same points endlessly, getting stuck in their automated call system, and generally being treated shabbily, then Vodafone is the network for you......

Iylina, Sydney, Australia writes:

I am also very disappointed about the product and service of Vodafone. Here is my story:

I bought a $39 per month mobile broadband plan last year, it offers 5 GB every month, and my Windows computer could show the usage per month, so I follow it to ensure I do not overload, otherwise I would pay extra. I am very sure I never used over 5GB every month from last year until now. However, it charged me $165 for November, 2008 and even $335 on February 2009. I was really shocked because it showed I just used 2.56 GB for February.

I took all the evidence to the shop, they told me the window showed on computer is not accurate. If it is not accurate, why it shows on my computer!!! It is really ridiculous!! What makes me angry is the shop I signed for this service, the manager told me they could not do anything for me. I told them why for the previous months, there was nothing wrong, they said ' maybe you were lucky for those months'!!! Such product and service,

How can a consumer trust Vodafone any more!!!

S Brooks, Wakefield writes:

Vodafone don't care at all. If someone in the office could tell me what they could do rather than what they couldn't do it would be a miracle. I put a £5 top-up on giving me £4.86 credit and then received a text telling me I was into my IOU credit and only had 36p left. The phone had not been used and all they could say was we have no record of it - call us back later. At a flat rate call of 25p I didn't have enough credit to call them back. What a load of con artists.

Helein Treuhaft, London writes:

On March 31st I decided that I was going to leave Vodafone after 15 years as in my opinion Vodafone have not treated me as a loyal customer. I was persuaded by one of their Customer Service Agents to take the Blackberry Storm for £29.65 monthly line rental with 600 minutes plus mobile internet and unlimited Texts with Vodafone Passport. I asked for the phone to be delivered on 3rd April between 8am and 12pm. I then received two text messages on my home number informing me that my phone would be delivered on 1st April, one of these text calls came through at 11pm at night which in my opinion is very late.

I rang Vodafone the next day and after hanging on for 17 minutes and 35 seconds a Customer Service Agent spoke to dispatch for me to get my phone delivered on the day I had requested (at an extra cost to me). The total length of this call was 24 minutes.

On 3rd April my phone did indeed arrive between the hours I had asked. On 6th April I receive a letter from Vodafone saying my monthly line rental will be £34.25. I rang Vodafone on 7th April and after waiting 19 minutes and 11 seconds I am informed by Adrian, the Customer Service Agent that Vodafone cannot pick up discounts in its letters! I find this hard to comprehend. Adrian said he would send me an email straight away confirming my correct tariff, half an hour later I am still waiting.

I think I may well be cancelling my contract and going to O2 which is where I wanted to go originally. However, I suspect I am going to have a lot of fun trying to cancel this contract I have sent Vodafone an email which, according to their website, will be replied to within 5 days, which would mean 12th, lets allow for Easter so I am hoping for a reply by Friday 17th .. watch this space.

I am so glad I am not the only one being driven mad by Vodafone.

Joy Denny, London writes:

Have been trying to contact Vodafone to ask a simple question, but can neither get anyone on the phone or anyone by email. Can you help, PLEASE?

Editorial Comment:

There's nothing we can do except to advise you to ring Vodafone and ask to speak to their Elevated Complaints Department.

Ciara, Co. Armagh writes:

Vodafone is costing me far too much money. I'm putting £20+ in my fone a week and it's a disgrace. I'm changing to O2 - far better deals and half the price for a month. They would need to lower the prices or do something like O2 unlimited or they're going to lose their customers.

Michaela, Liverpool writes:

Oh God, where do I start??? I have written to Vodafone to make a formal complaint regarding my "service" from their Customer Care (ha!) I have advised them that I expect a reply within 10 working days of receipt as per Consumer Credit Act terms and conditions.

My complaint is regarding a Sony Ericsson W715 handset obtained through Vodafone Customer Services on 17th March 2009.

I encountered a problem with this handset within 2 weeks of delivery but it took a further 2 weeks for Vodafone to advise me of their procedure. I tried for a number of days to contact the customer services centre but can only describe a woeful level of phone support. After numerous calls where, after going through various options, I am advised that the call cannot be taken and to try again later, this is repeated time after time. Either they do not employ sufficient staff to handle call workloads or there are a vast number of unhappy customers.

I took the phone into a Vodafone store, on 2nd April. The salesman refused to handle the phone saying it was nothing to do with them as it was not purchased in store. I stated I did not find this acceptable as whether purchased in-store, over the phone or online, it is the same company. The salesman eventually gave me another battery to try to eliminate this as the reason for failure. After approximately 1 hour on charge there was a message on the front of the handset stating "SERIOUS ERROR, STOP CHARGING IMMEDIATELY. CONTACT SONY ERICSSON ENGINEER AS SOON AS POSSIBLE".

It then took me until 9th April to get through to the call centre again where I was advised that the phone would be repaired but I had to send it to Vodafone. I asked why this couldn't be handled in store to cut down on postal delays (and me not having an available handset), the staff member asked if I could go into another store in Liverpool as she was going to send them a detailed note of the error on the phone and instruct them to handle the query. But she was also going to send an envelope to me to return the phone in case they didn't accept the query. (Why wouldn't they, so why should this be necessary?) As yet, no envelope has been received.

When going into the Liverpool store on 11th April, I find that there is no notification on file of the failure of the handset but the 2 salesmen and the manager who dealt with me were as efficient as I could ask for. In the 2 HOURS I was in store, the majority of this time was spent whilst these guys were on hold to customer services! They advised me that as the phone was less than 28 days old then it should be replaced, they tried to set up a replacement courier for me but said I had to call customer services back after the Easter bank holiday as the system had closed down for the weekend.

Upon calling back and eventually connecting to the call centre, I spoke to somebody called Chris who refused to give me a surname and also refused to put me through to a manager or give me a manager's name after repeated requests. He advised me that as I was outside of a 14 day window (I am advised this is 28 days by other staff) then there is no return of the handset. I responded that the initial fault was within this period and if had not been so difficult to contact customer services then it would have been reported then.

When advised that I wished to make a formal complaint, I was told my ONLY option was to go onto the Vodafone website and email through there. I advised that under Consumer Credit Act regulations, there MUST be a complaints procedure as I have a credit agreement with them and to not provide this is a breach of CCA. I am then advised of a postal address. He advised me that this handset is not supported by Vodafone despite them selling it to me less than 1 month previously, so they will not accept it for repair or return and it was my responsibility to send the unit to Sony Ericsson. This worries me on 2 counts;

1. This was not my handset of choice but I was convinced by the original salesman that it was superior to the Nokia N96. Why is it now not supported? Was there more commission to sell Sony Ericsson during the period of my call?
2. As far as I am aware under Trading Standards, my contract of sale is with Vodafone, not Sony Ericsson, therefore they should be responsible for this failure of a unit they have provided. It is then their responsibility to liaise with the manufacturer, not mine. The response to this was that their responsibility to me is for the SIM card only, despite providing the handset that it sits in!!!!

I have spent the last 2 weeks back and forth to Vodafone customer services and into stores who will not accept responsibility for a defective handset and effectively forced me to contact a manufacturer if I wish to put this matter to an end.

I have been a Vodafone customer for 11 years and have never been so dissatisfied with any company, let alone one who I have kept loyalty to. I can state that only for taking on a new 18 month contract I would be terminating my connection to Vodafone, and see that this will be my course of action further down the line of this current contract.

Danielle, Liverpool writes:

Vodafone are absolute rubbish. I have been put on hold by an advisor, it's currently at 26.01 minutes... I tried to upgrade to the current deal on Vodafone's website (having been a customer for 2.5 years I thought this would be easy). They said no, and offered me appalling deals. I contacted them via email twice to say how disgusted I was that I couldn't get the deal but new customers could. I got useless emails back. I then rang them to cancel my contract and they suddenly managed to give me the deal. Great! or so I thought.

I received my new phone 4 days later. It broke 5 days after that. I rang for a new one and they told me to have it repaired. Told them where to go on that one and they sent out a new one to arrive yesterday. Didn't arrive, and thus we arrive at my now 28.20 minute phone call today. Customer service doesn't exist!!

Martin Hogan, UK writes:

I have been receiving daily nuisance calls from the Vodafone marketing department for the past three weeks.

They send out the standard apology and offer me £15 but the calls go on. I will move my account on principle; I have used all the companies at some point and all have their drawbacks.

On the three occasions that I have contacted the company over the past two years, I have always had to explain to them how to solve the problem.

Katy, Derby writes:

I have just received an email from Vodafone after the most dreadful customer service ever! I have gone from being lied to, to being shouted at, patronised, and laughed at. But the final straw came when Sharon from Banbury transferred me to an adult line. Now, Vodafone have said that there is no way this could happen.

Editorial Comment:

Click here to read Katy's letter of complaint to Vodafone. Ed.

Mark Bielecki, Morden writes:

Vodafone Customer Service may as well be run by baboons. I have had nothing but trouble with this lot. As soon as I can, I will be glad to see the back of them. A pile of ?????.

Malcolm Main, Wigton writes:

I have had many problems with Vodafone from mis-selling to breaking the data protection act. You get nowhere at all with customer service - left hanging on the phone for long periods and being passed from one person to another. Also holding £100 of my money.

From now I intend going down the road of letters to customer complaints, Trading standards & OFCOM.

S Branagan, Newbridge, Co Kildare writes:

I have not been able to make or receive calls to my phone today - this includes the top up service. I am staying in the uk for a month and I need my phone to call family in Ireland. Please can you help?

Editorial Comment:

Regrettably, nothing we can do about service issues - that can only be handled by Vodafone themselves (if you can find an employee willing to help).

J Clarkson, Camborne writes:

I just wanted to cancel. They don't answer on their 08700 phone number for 20 minutes - I put it down and try again another day. The same problem - No-one answers. They are useless. I am glad to go to Orange where I had no similar problems before.

Paul, West Wickham writes:

I tried to cancel my account with Vodafone 6 months ago, they said I had to write in giving 30 days notice, which I did but still got billed. I phoned them to complain and they said they weren't surprised the letter was ignored, and to write in again, which I did. I still got billed by DD the following month. I then got fed up and cancelled the DD. They subsequently put me 2 months in arrears and reported it as a bad debt to the credit reference agencies.

I did pay the totally false amount they claimed I owed them just to get them off my back, they then agreed I had overpaid and they owed me money, which I still haven't got. That is the last I've heard from them and they don't reply to e-mails.

Though my account is now cancelled it is still recorded as a bad debt, and I've been turned down for a mortgage by 5 main banks and building societies.
asically I now hope that Vodafone rot in hell and go bust. They are without a doubt the most incompetently run company with the most ignorant and poorly-trained staff I have ever had anything to do with in 40 years in the telecommunications industry.

John Andrea, Aberdeenshire writes:

Vodafone are rubbish! My elderly mother (70) had a pay-as-you-go phone for emergencies. When she tried to use it, it didn't work. Vodafone has disconnected her number because she had not used it for 180 days, and taken her credit too. How mean is that? Shame on Vodafone!

Kirsty, Staffordshire writes:

Vodafone customer services are going downhill BUT only recently, queue times are down to new phones, new systems and redundancies within Stoke and Warrington (for those in UK).

From all of the above comments it's not like this type of thing only ever happens with Vodafone, and I'm certain if you had a look around the internet you'd find LOADS of complaints about other networks. Plus, you'd hardly find a Vodafone customer taking their time from screaming at Vodafone employees to actually praise someone for making the effort and resolving an issue without being put on hold, doing what they say they're going to do and really making every effort possible. The only reviews or comments regarding Vodafone that I've been able to see is all complaints .. which is not true. Not every million customer is unhappy!!!

What people who don't work in a call centre never know is that your sitting in a busy room, with managers breathing down your neck and an ungrateful customer screaming at you for something that can be resolved in seconds. Be friendly, get everything; be nasty and the advisor is less likely to want to do anything for you !!!

Sarah Reeves, Wales writes:

My phone too was disconnected as I had moved abroad for a year. There was no warning of this so I wanted to ring up and reconnect my SIM as I had the number and phone for 10 years and wanted to keep it. I spent an hour on Google trying to find numbers to ring. I rung my local Vodafone shop for numbers and none of them worked. I was in tears that I had paid this company my money for ten years and couldn't ring them to reconnect a number.

I then emailed them on their website to complain (keep in mind it was a survey I was doing not just randomly complaining) to find that that too was welcomed by an error message so could not be processed. In the end I gave up and walked into an 3g shop. I was with them abroad and never had a spot of trouble and can ring them whenever I need to. I'm so angry with Vodafone, all I wanted to do was to remain a customer but I guess it was too much to ask.

Karl Wells, Ruislip writes:

I had a Motorola K1 and upgraded it to a Sony Ericsson which kept on crashing. After many different upsets with Vodafone CS I got hold of Matt and he stated what he could do to cheer me up. I told him to give me a decent phone that actually works. Finally, without any extra payments spoken about, Matt Steel agreed to give me the N97 to make me happy.

Well that lasted a week when I got a £500 bill in the post for the N97. I've now been told to either pay the bill or return the phone. Well I'm waiting for a phone call from Matt's manager ... which probably won't happen.

Simon Tinkler, Doncaster writes:

Regardless of how long you have been a Vodafone customer, their customer service remains the same: it is non-existent. They want your money and once they have got it then you are forgotten.

I bought a brand new LG Viewty from the Vodafone Doncaster store. The phone developed a display fault after only 4 days. I took it back to the store expecting a replacement. Not a chance. They said that they would send it to their repair centre. One week later they contacted me to say that the phone was not covered by the warranty as it was classed as customer damage. The phone was in as new perfect unmarked condition yet they would not budge. They want £40 to fix it.

I'm extremely tempted to go to the small claims court to get this resolved. Or stand outside the store dishing appropriate leaflets out. Lessons learned. Phone repaired, unlocked, me and Vodafone finished...

Susie, Merseyside writes:

Totally agree with all of the comments about Vodafone's lack of customer service. We have also been the victim of their bullying tactics. We bought a Sony Ericcson phone from one of their stores which developed a display fault within a few days. It was returned to the store within 14 days but were told it was not covered by warranty as it was customer damage and would have to pay £40 for a repair. They seem to be of the opinion they are exempt from the Sale of Goods Act.

Having written two letters of complaint and not yet had any reply, I am currently going to refer the matter to Trading Standards and any consumer organisation that will listen as this company really needs to be brought to task.

Helen McMahon, London writes:

I upgraded my contract with Vodafone after at least 7 years with them. Then it all went wrong. They began to charge me for texts, having not processed the package properly. Then they cut me off. NO connection. Nothing. Called on a Sunday, to be told by a surprised rep that my account did not exist. Told to call back on a Monday in office hours. Apologies followed, I was reconnected and told that they didn't know why this had happened and they would credit me a month as a goodwill gesture. Ok for a few days, then I went on holiday only to find that roaming was deactivated. Eventually this was reconnected. I was starting to think thet at least they could sort out their mistakes, but then I checked my online bill to fing a charge of £535.11 for a cancellation prior to contract date. 34 minutes of phone calls later, over 2 days, no promised call backs from managers who "don't work at weekends" and a lie that I had written to cancel the contract, I cancelled my direct debit. This was the only way, according to one rep, that I could stop the payment leaving my bank account as they couldn't do anything about it. I'm still waiting for the callback nearly 2 weeks later. I tried to call them back, but my call could not be answered. I presume they don't want to talk. I've written to them and am planning the next stage of the complaint as I have no faith that they will respond. I'm about the write down all my phone numbers ready for when they disconnect me. I'll have a few weeks to fit new locks to keep the baliffs out, BUT they are not getting another penny, certainly not for their mistakes.

Marc Dean, St Helens writes:

I was a Vodafone customer for 6 years. Last year in November I was abroad, I added up my usage going of the roaming text I had received which was 39p a minute and had got my bill to £550. Vodafone took £850 from my account and failed to provide my itemised bill for me to check. I asked for a copy and was assured it would be with me within the week. It wasn't ... I phoned back and found they had no log of my complaint so I made an indemnity claim against them and said they could have the money when I had the bill.

They bombarded me with letters threatening legal action yet every time I phoned to ask about my bill I got, "Sorry, sir, maybe we have the wrong address." I told them they seemed to have no problems getting the correct address for a threatening letter.

5th Jan this year they handed it over debt collectors. I paid the bill in full on the 7th of Jan and received the bill shortly afterwards. 8 months down the line I try to buy a house to find that, on the day my credit check is due, Vodafone send me a bill for the account I paid in January. I have been defaulted and it has cost me dearly.

How do I go about fixing this? They are the most incompetent people I have ever had the misfortune of knowing in my entire life. I have since had it rectified but it still shows as a bad debt  - a debt that really wasn't my fault in the first place ... any advice?

Editorial Comment:

If this was Vodafone's fault, insist that they have your name removed from the credit reference registers, i.e. Equifax.

Maggie Allen, Northampton writes:

I have just had my Vodafone service suspended AGAIN due to an account query and am livid at this repeated off-hand treatment of a very long-standing customer.

I have a business account which is not cheap, and a couple of months ago my mobile phone was stolen. Vodafone were unable to replace the exact model, so they told me to buy one and they would refund the cost. I sent them the invoice and they credited my account - I did note that the credit was made in 2 parts, not as one whole amount, which caused me to wonder if this would lead to a query later. How right I was! Since the credit, I have kept deducting my monthly bills and keeping a track of the outstanding balance. According to my records, I am due to pay £8.61 on 23 September. On 28th august they sent me a demand for £33.45 so I replied, detailing the account since the credit and thereby proving my figures are correct. I switched my mobile on yesterday to discover I cannot make outgoing calls, nor send any text messages. I have remained loyal to Vodafone for many years, and they do not seem to think customer loyalty is worth anything. I'm looking for an alternative service

AM, Croydon writes:

Vodafone's so called customer service is non-existent. I was beginning to think it was me feeling patronised having waited an hour to get through to speak to someone, to be told that I had had two handsets when I have had three, no proper notes on their system, non-existent managers, never getting the same person or branch twice and no answer to emails.

I got fed up with Alex of Banbury telling me that he understood my frustration at having to wait an hour to get through - not in a million years, mate. Ask for the manager, not available but when you make a point forcibly and politely, you can hear "the manager" speaking in the background.

I read part of the response from Secret (I couldn't read any more of 'there' instead of 'their') and if this is the level of their spoken and written English, I can only conclude that this is why they are deep in the mire.

Other than cancelling your contract, mine has only just started ugh!!, you could try buying 1 share in the Company as this will give you the right to turn up to the Annual General Meeting and ask difficult questions of the Board. Who knows, they might do something about the poor service. On the other hand, just like insurance companies, I suspect that they have cut their personnel to save money so we're all in the ....

Leanne, Rotherham writes:

Below is a summary of the letter I have just sent to Vodafone. I am giving up the will to live after dealing with these morons who have left me with no money and high bank charges!

Well, where to start with the debacle that has been my dealings with Vodafone! In July I made the fatal error of deciding to take a phone contract out and have regretted it every day since. I signed up online and the phone was delivered two days later. The phone was fine but the SIM card had just been thrown into the delivery bag with no paperwork from yourselves or any indication about who to phone to activate it. Slightly concerned by this, I decided to go down to my local Vodafone store and ask for advice. They gave me the customer service department number. By this point I had also noticed that the back of the phone wasn't closing correctly. The store managed to resolve this for me but at the same time gave me a returns envelope in case I had any more problems.

That afternoon I called the call centre and was advised that there were two accounts open for me. I asked that they cancel one as it shouldn't be there and activate the SIM card for me. The lady advised that it would take up to 24 hours to activate. 28 hours later the SIM card still wasn't active. I called again, to be advised once more that I had two accounts! Again I asked they cancel one and asked why the SIM card was not yet activated. I was advised that they had been unable to activate the SIM for some reason.

At this point I decided that I didn't want the phone any more. The service from Vodafone's staff hadn't been great and it seemed like too much hassle. I was transferred to someone in cancellations who couldn't find my account and after 20 minutes of looking gave up and transferred me to someone else. Why the cancellations department couldn't find an account I do not know as I had two open?

Anyway, upon been transferred to someone else I got through to the rudest person I have ever had the misfortune of speaking to. He again couldn't find the account so all I asked for was to be transferred through to someone who could help me. At which point I was told that I was being very rude by implying he couldn't do his job. He then blind transferred me to someone else.

At this point I had given the phone to my partner due to the sheer frustration of trying to get sense out of Vodafone's staff. They conducted no DPA checks at all but other than that were very helpful and told us to put everything we had received into the bag and send it back. Once it had been received, the account would be cancelled.

One week after this conversation, I got a call from someone advising that my credit check had been successful and I would be receiving my phone shortly?!? I advised the person that I had already received the phone and sent it back so this was irrelevant. I decided to call Vodafone's  call centre to check that the phone had gone back and everything had been cancelled. The answer was no it hadn't been cancelled. I asked if they could find out if the phone had been received. After 20 minutes on hold I was told that yes the phone had been received in the warehouse and the account would now be cancelled.

The following week I received another SIM card. With no idea why, I decided to send that back also ... just in case. By this time it was towards the end of July and, after having no further contact from Vodafone, I assumed everything was resolved. WRONG! Mid-August I got a bill for £53 ... an interesting amount considering the contract was for £35. The SIM had never been activated and the phone had only ever been turned on once!

So I called the billing department and advised them of the mistake. I stipulated that the money was not to be taken from my account and repeatedly asked that the account be cancelled. Again I was assured that it would be cancelled and the money would not be taken from my account. I requested a confirmation letter to advise that the account was closed and was told not to worry - it was cancelled and she would send me a letter.

I never received a letter but also I never received another bill. Call me stupid if you wish but I had faith that the account had been cancelled. Silly me!!!

On Friday 9th October I decided to go to my bank to check that all my rent was in my account in preparation for my rent coming on Monday 19th. While looking at it, the mini statement showed a direct debit payment for £36. Unsure what this was for, I went into the bank and was told Vodafone had taken it.

£36 may not sound like a lot to you but as a student living by herself and working on a part-time minimum-wage job it had left me with insufficient money to pay my rent - the rent that was due out on Monday. This also incurred bank charges for me due to Vodafone's inability to manage the accounts.

I went into Vodafone's store and luckily was speaking to a really nice member of staff who spoke to the customer service department. He was told they had added a charge of £750 for non-return of equipment!

Are they for real?!? The phone was returned months ago and a receipt had been confirmed by their STAFF! This charge was cancelled after a lot of debate but did not solve the issue of the £36 Vodafone  effectively stole from my bank account.

In the middle of the  shop, on the phone to customer service department, I was reduced to tears by the prospect of being unable to pay my rent. It was 5pm on a Friday and my bank was closed all weekend so what was I supposed to do??? I was told 5 to 10 working days was the quickest it could be returned.

Vodafone never even sent me a bill to tell me they were going to take the money. How is this even legal, never mind fair! I am disgusted to say the least at the way I have been treated by Vodafone and, worse, to reduce someone to tears in the middle of a shop is inexcusable.

I am beyond being frustrated/annoyed/upset by Vodafone and would really like a response, either in writing or by phone.

I apologised to Vodafone for the lack of dates/names included in my letter but I never really expected it to get to the point where I had to make a complaint. For information,  I also forwarded a copy of my letter to OFCOM and the ombudsman as I felt I was getting nowhere with Vodafone

Editorial Comment:

This is absolutely disgraceful. Nobody should be treated like this, least of all a student trying to make a start in life. The problem these days is that customers are considered to be nothing more than a hindrance to profit objectives and Vodafone are one of many culprits. If they were genuinely interested in offering customer service, rather than pretending to do so, they would go through their customer service departments like a dose of salts and ensured many heads rolled. But the truth is they don't give a sh*t - they too busy reaping dividends from customers, including many who are very dissatisfied.

Kate of Oregon writes:

Vodafone sucks! Their total "customer care" enrages me. Not once have i heard the word sorry, not once have i heard the word compensation, not once have i heard anything decent from them, they are utter conmen who would do anything to sell you anything. Once they've got your money they don't care about you at all. I bought a phone BRAND NEW. I asked to see it and they pulled a box out of the cupboard and opened it. I had a look at the phone to see what it was like then decided it was ok and purchased it along with credit which the so called sales assistant put onto the sim for me. I am very happy with my brand new phone :-) I take it home and get it out and then discover that my brand new phone isn't brand new at all!!!!!!! It's used with dirty pictures and contacts on it. To say i was livid was an understatement. I was enraged to have been sold a used phone as brand new. Who knows who's filthy sweaty fingers had been on it!!!! A woman in her bra and some pervy man by the looks of it. I scrambled around looking for contact details but there wasn't a shop number on the receipt, a customer care number. I called up and it asked for a mobile number but i couldn't find it. I didn't find half the things that should be included with a new phone. I drove frantically to the shop to see if they would get me another phone but they could not. They said come back tomorrow and we can transfer the money from the used sim to a new sim and phone. I was disappointed and a bit peeved but thought ok i can get it sorted even if it does mean making a trip out in the snow with the very limited time that i had. So off i go again, people in their cars beeping and rushing around. I get there to receive the response, "what was the problem again?" and oh yes we can sort it for you. When they looked in their cupboard of crap i discovered they hadn't a phone for me and i was told i could not have a refund. No refund for a faulty product. I believe it was faulty and you know why? Because it was not brand new and used!!!! I was told they could send another phone from a branch about 20 minutes away and it would be there on Wednesday. I was told i couldn't have a different phone. That was it. I hadn't a choice. I left even more pissed off than before and when i went back on that day to pick it up it still wasn't there. I lost it. They said oh we don't seem to have it but we may have one in the cupboard. You'd better i said cause I'm getting pissed off with all this running around and i need a phone!!!!!!!! He said oh yes we've got one and pulled a box out to reveal the wrong model. In the end i had to pay more money for another phone after a word with the manager. They had previously told me they would transfer the money but they did not after i explained that i needed to. Nothing. Shocking "CUSTOMER SERVICE". If we all acted like that we'd all become self obsessed pigs with nothing but socks to call our significant others. Tbh, i never thought customer service could ever get so bad, but this is not the end of the story, oh no. I get home and everything is in full working order, except i ended up putting the extra credit they gave me onto the wrong sim card that i was led to believe was new. I now have 2 sim cards, a new one which i was told was in my phone yet wasn't (maybe they guy serving me got peeved cause i got angry or cause he's as incompetent and uncaring as the rest of the staff lol that's a joke) and the old one which unfortunately i topped up onto. I did check the phone to see if there was anything from the sim card present but found nothing so i felt assured it was the new one. they can't even get a simple thing like that right! It took me ages to find their customer care number and had to look online to find it as it wasn't clear in the book and im not sure it was actually in there. I did get through but was told they don't transfer money but when i explained the problem they took pity on me perhaps and spoke to a supervisor and then she said no we cant do it because the numbers haven't been registered in your name. i was so mad. I registered and called them up again and they told me they could do it. Thank god its all over. Never ever will i use this pathetic excuse for a mobile company again. It sounds like they don't have a lot of money and may as well have chimps running the place. Never EVER get a contract with them. Orange all the way! What would have taken me perhaps half hr if the lines were busy on orange, took me an hour and a half swapping money and registering and many trips to the shop. I hope one day it all collapses on them

T. Caro of Stockport writes:

I have been with VF since 2007 but was with Orange before that, the reason I changed to VF cos my new office can't get any signal apart from VF. Contract started on 6th Apr and have been on 12 months contract since. First problem with VF starting when trying to upgrade BB storm2, they sent me the BB storm1 and not even wrong phone but also it's NEARLY NEW not brand new. I sent it back and got the right one but problem didn't end there. The phone had false so asked VF to send replacement but they still sent me the wrong phone and again NEARLY NEW. Called them back and they said the one I asked is out of stock and why on earth they didn't even bother to let me know, instead sending the wrong phone. Been on call with them several time but never got chance to speak to the same staff. So I decided I have enough with VF and want to end the contract but been told I can't do and I understand that we have to wait till the end otherwise we will get charge. So I have waited till 30 days notice to let them know according to my letter received from VF when I last upgraded in 2009 and on the letter it said my contract term end date is 5th Apr 2010, but VF system said their record shows 20th April. My contract since started never been changed, been using the price plan 12 months, so each year contract should end 5th April if the 1st started at 6th April, isn't that correct??? Try to explain to them that we have the evidence to proof but no one seems to listen or responsible for this case, no one seems to give you the senior persons name to contact and deal with my case. Even a supervisor that spoke to us tonight is so rude and seemed desperate to cut me off the line. To summarise, this is the worst customer service that I have ever come across in my life. I admit that VF coverage is better that Orange from my experience but to go for VF and have to face with all stresses - NO NO NO.

Ananya Sanyal of Suva, Fiji Islands writes:

I am visiting Sydney for three weeks and as soon as I landed in the Sydney airport,(on Monday the 29th) seeing the huge ads of Vodafone all around, I was tempted to go to the nearest Vodafone outlet in the airport, intending to buy a sim card wit prepaid charges, to stay connected! As expected, there was one fairly big stall, as soon as I cleared my immigration and got out in the waiting area. I greeted the person behind the counter with a big smile and asked him for the needful. The young man, of course did not like my face and served with with utter reluctance and a big big attitude... he gave me a quick instruction after putting the simcard in my handset. I did not follow his instruction of "turn it on after 20 minutes" and mistakenly tried to turn on and oh boy! I HAD MADE SUCH A MISTAKE! One should have seen his look and expression! I was almost from another planet! just to let you know, I am a teacher who has been teaching in international schools and has been all around the world. So not understanding his "accent" was perhaps because i did not pay attention or perhaps because his speech lacked clarity! Anyway, I did not say much but very politely conveyed that all he had to do was explain to me just one more time that I was to wait for 20 minutes.... NAY... THATS NOT TO BE... ATTITUDE YOU KNOW! Just after finishing with this arrogant young man, I crossed over to the money exchange opposite the VODAFONE stall and the two ladies were just the opposite! So eager to help, so polite and I could not help but share my agony with them. Just to ad to this, when I spoke to my husband about this, he reminded me that this is not the first time that we have met this particular young man, but even earlier, which he remembered, we have met him and had faced the same attitude... God bless him. We would not go again to him for sure and we being frequent travellers to Sydney as our son studies here, we would have to look for other vendors. Is this why Australia is often called racist???? well i have been in and out of this place for almost 4 years now and have stayed here for long stretches but never met one! but ironically, this young man was not an Aussie... was surely an immigrant! I will be happy to hear a response from VODAFONE, and would request you to send a copy to my email address as well since I may not have the time to see this post of yours again. Just to let this young man know, that a smile doesn't cost much but benefits a person in more ways than one and arrogance does not take one anywhere... especially when you are in the service industry!

Steve McCulloch of Redhill writes:

I lost my HTC magic the other night, I had vodafone insurance to cover the phone it was expensive at £9.99 a month but the salesman in the shop said it was because it was a £500 phone and if i lost it it i would get a new one or an equal value phone. When i lost it they offered me a choice of 3 phones each of which i could buy over the counter at carphone warehouse for under £165. I complained to Vodafone they said it was not down to them it was down to the underwriters ( i dont pay the underwriters vodafone do ). after long and painful time talking to halfwits in customer services i went on to the vodafone website to find the head office number the number listed for the head office put me through to Mohamed in Egypt who was very good at saying sorry ! I had enough and found a really good website It lists all the CEO's or many large UK companies i mailed the CEO and also with my complaint every and every 5 mins i was on hold ( nearly an hour ) i sent him an email saying "update still on hold " I had a call from his office and they sent out a top of the range phone by taxi to me the same day !

Karina Golovlova of London writes:

My messages were stole from Vodafone database, at least for time period January-February 2010!!!!!! Can anyone explain me how its possible?????!!!!! Someone from the within the company sold it to the third party who is using my messages. Unbelievable!!!!! is there no data protection at all in Vodafone?????!!!!! I am absolutely shocked!!!!! Some employee X just invaded my personal account and sold it the third party!!!!!!! Corruption un Vodafone and no data protection!!!! Shame on Vodafone!!!!!

Vivien Towers of Sandbach writes:

having qualified for free weekend text messages i have found that i cannot make any even though the signal in my area is strong

Mike of Corralejo, Fuerteventura, Spain writes:

They are the same the world over, they cancelled my sim card, I was expected to top up my account by the 22/05/10, I topped up at 13.00 on the 22nd and two days latter my sim was cancelled. I had 21.34 on the phone and they basically said tough you have lost it. I do not like anyone taking my money but this is stealing and I do not understand how they get away with it. Needless to say I am in the process of changing to another provider.

Mike Vinten of Blakesley writes:

I have a mountain of phone calls after going through the upgrade web site last year and getting an upgrade mobile delivered. It came with a sim that I thought was an upgrade of the no (my daughter at uni). I eventually realised that it was another number and rang and said I did not need the sim. They argued at first that I had filled in the web site wrongly (I have been in computers for 25 years) eventually after several calls etc. they agreed I had gone through the proper web page, process and put the right information in and could not have asked for a new number, then they were going to fix the problem. Nothing happened. I spoke to two further people and sent in two letters. Finally after much frustration and patience a month or so back I sent in a recorded letter because the change had not happened, complaint was not answered, and you were still charging me (not refunded yet) for two numbers although you knew it was a problem. Finally after long wait, I now am in the possession of a letter from Namrata Schrivastav in customer services that ignore everything in my letter and just said I did not responded in the 7 day cooling period (which I had) and there was nothing she could do. She did not address any point. I cannot believe Vodafone have got so cavalier with its customers as to cause a problem, ignore every point raised, not even bother speaking after all the time and trouble I have taken and to send such a rude letter. This is tantamount to robbery by stealth or ignoring the facts. I am a reasonable person, good payer and have been very patient as you can see form the above. Unless I hear back within 7 days I will be contacting the ombudsman, the trading office and the small claims court.

Danny O'Brien of Clacton-On-Sea writes:

the worst thing Vodafone can do is to lie to a new customer, I phoned a Vodafone operator to get the block removed, gave my name, address, date of birth and a password and was told that it would be removed within 24-hours, (Great), later on in the day i phoned the Vodafone operator on the off chance just to see if it had been removed and was told that it hadn't and no notes was made about my call and i should go to a Vodafone store to have the block removed as i don't use credit cards, this is hard to do when your in a wheelchair. I should have stayed with T-Mobile despite the problems they was a lot more helpful. As a new costumer i am not impressed with the service.

Polly Stewart of Neath writes:

I've been a Vodafone customer for about seven years and am leaving them after a series of recent appalling incidents. The first was in May, when my telephone was disconnected. Why? Because I had been stuck in the USA during the volcanic eruptions and my mobile bill was around £450 for April. Vodfone disconnected me BEFORE sending me the bill for April, without warning and despite the fact I have had much larger bills in the past, which I had paid. I gave them 30 days' notice and got my PAC code which I forgot to use because I was so busy at work. However, teh latest incident is the fact for the past nine days, I have had no mobile coverage at home - and I work from home. Vodafone don't know how long it will take their engineers to fix the problem - but NINE DAYS??? So, I have requested a new PAC code and although I will only receive it while at least five miles away from my house, I will be immediately changing provider. VODAFONE IS CRAP!

Ricky Frost of Sittingbourne writes:

Agree with the above comments. I had a 12 month contract with Vodafone. Once the 12 months were up spoke to a customer service advisor to cancel my contract, which was dealt with on the telephone. I was told to break the sim card and this would cancel the contract. I thought there was nothing else for me to do and I cancelled the direct debit with my bank. Shortly after I started to receive letters from Vodafone saying I owed them money which I obviously disputed! As I was getting nowhere I eventually paid the outstanding amount as was explained I should have also confirmed the cancellation by letter, which I had not been told. I have now applied for a mortgage to be told there is a default showing from Vodafone! I have now been ringing for the past 2 days trying to sort this out. I have been cut off on numerous occasions after holding on for at least 15 mins I have been given different information each time. The customer service is absolutely appalling and I am still no nearer to getting this default taken off and at the moment could lose the property I want to buy

Patricia Hearn of Kinmelbay Rhyl writes:

I have called at shop i have phoned customer services , Now i have been to bank canceled the direct debit due to the charges to my phone not used constantly check my usage .Vodafone tells me i am using browse internet , I phoned customer services had this bared of my phone which it still is to date ,yet still internet has been used on my mobile phone at extremely high cist bank charges that are impossible to pay i am on esa benefit not in the position to have charges and cost like these £300 bank charge . Please instate pay as you go were i am in control not Vodafone thank you .I have tried emailing phoning customer services , Total impossibility to gain ANY access what so ever ,DIRECT DEBIT NOW CANCELED £300 BANK CHARGES, SORRY NEVER EVER AGAIN CONTRACT , PAY AS YOU GO ASAP

Gavin Wyatt of Leicester writes:

Vodafone just get worse! They 100% are not dealing with the issues and fine you to cancel contract, if you can show clear concise prove, they are not looking after you, then by law you should be able to end contract with no charge

Madbusybee of Fakenham writes:

Signal went down in my work area on 4 August. It is now 25 August and still not working. First of all they blamed our phones. Then said it was fixed (it worked for just over an hour). Then they said they couldn't get access to the mast. I told them how and someone contacted the land owner. The land owner said Vodafone DID have access to the mast but that they were told a local mast had problems. Still being told it was an old sim card problem, phone problem, need to do a hard reset etc by "Customer services". No foreseeable date for it being fixed. One person tells you one lie and another tells another ... they can't even co-ordinate to tell the same lie. I just don't think they know what is wrong and they don't seem to bother that although a small village over 3,000 people have been affected due a conference at the beginning of August - and there is another one this weekend that totally relies on mobiles as it has no landline facility. Should be interesting when an ambulance is required. "ANYONE GOT AN ORANGE PHONE???"

Stacey of Devizes writes:

have been cut off how am i meant to ring to pay it off??

Derek Brown of Edinburgh writes:

Vodafone are a nightmare. I was with them for seven years and the service went down the pan. Eventually I called and asked how to terminate the contract and was advised to give a month's notice in writing. They never received this so I had to do it by registered post. A month after the contract ended they tried to bill me for £300.00 for the remainder of the contract(even though it was verbal). I disputed this as I would not have terminated if I knew that I would have to pay £300 also. I am still fighting them after 5 years as they sold the alleged debt to another company even though they have no signed contract and no recording of the verbal agreement. I have tried to complain via the office of Guy Laurence (MD) but they are so arrogant they only answer the elements they feel like answering. I would now rather put up with a pants reception from T-mobile than give Vodafone my money. They should rename customer care to Customer- who cares!

Ashley Cope of Peterborough writes:

So here goes I held a Vodafone account back in 2008, I paid one month late of £96 so I pay and all settled no problems. So July 2010, I apply for a mortgage with my girlfriend and we get declined. We both have good credit no issues etc so we are both really shocked. I was advised to have a look at our credit files which we both do, girlfriends is all fine etc etc. I then go on mine and see a DEFAULT from Vodafone for the £96. It states settled but that means nothing when your applying they just see default. As advised I was told to speak to Vodafone and asked them to get this kindly removed from my credit file, as it's for such a small amount we didn't even imagine what it would turn out to be like............I have phoned and phoned and phoned and phoned and phoned but have had no joy, i have spoken to that many people it's actually becoming impossible and i'm giving up hope. I have wrote letter after letter and have also had no joy, not even a letter back kiss your arse and say hi! We have done emails after email and still nothing!! PLEASE PLEASE if anybody has any advise anybody they know who to talk to, what departments help out the most!! Any website who can help us. This has been going on since July am im coming very restless. I will NEVER EVER buy something from Vodafone ever again.

Kim of London writes:

I have a lot of problems with 'Vodafone' marketing ringing me . I am supposedly marked for no marketing calls . The latest is that I have been told by Vodafone that they have not been ringing me ( Ha ! Ha ! ) - so the best thing to is - if Vodafone ring - assume it's not Vodafone but a scammer - and hang up straight away !

Mike Monk of Exeter writes:

I am on a long-term overseas assignment in South East Asia. On 30th October I notified Vodafone that I had lost my telephone and would like a replacement. In that first communication I told them that my Vodafone SIM was safe (I had my Thai SIM card in it at the time) that did not stop them however immobilising the SIM card. I knew nothing of this until the following day when I wanted to check my UK messages. I immediately sent a letter of complaint top which I did receive a very quick reply with an apology and a resumption of service. However, in the reply it was also acknowledged that I would need a replacement as soon as possible. As I was also entitled to an upgrade I was directed to Vodafone Upgrade who would take my order and deliver it to Thailand. I made the order on Friday 5th November and after sending an email for details was finally told on the Monday to expect delivery within 2 days. I called customer services four days later to learn that the requested model was superseded and no longer in stock-but it was supposed to be on its way to me! ( I have wondered just how long they would have waited before advising me of such)!!! Vodafone offered me the new model, which I accepted and was told that I should expect it within a week. A few days later I was told that none were in stock! My investigations however revealed that there were units in stock and the following days Business Customer Services confirmed this by informing me that a 1000 units were patiently sitting in the warehouse waiting to be sent to caring homes. Since then I have been told that the phone sits in the warehouse waiting while a Pro-forma invoice is filled out and sent to the warehouse. This Pro-forma has taken three days to prepare and I have still jot received any news to sat that my phone will be on its way to me. Throughout this ordeal, like so many others in your forum, I have been treated abysmally; I have been lied to, I have been treated with utter disdain and contempt. I too have spent hours in calls from Thailand each of which I have had to repeatedly supply my telephone number and at times answer all questions (falling short, however, of asking my underwear size). Even though I politely inform the agent that I am calling from Thailand I still get put on hold for as long as 10 to 15 minutes or more 'so that I can read up on the notes'; rarely has one of my calls been for less than 40 minutes! I have been told that Vodafone do not make calls to customers but one of Vodafone s managers did in fact call me on my Thai number, unfortunately he did not come good on a promise to follow up on the call with another and I suspect that when I later complained he may have been chastised. I have received promise after promise from Vodafone Customer 'Services' but not one of them has ever been honoured! I have just written to the company's CEO in the anticipation that something hard will fall from a great height onto the heads people in Customer Services who have given me, and it would seem a lot of other customers, an awful, expensive and extremely frustrating experience! Vodafone are indeed a company to be avoided!!!! Due to the excessive call cost please do not call me on my Vodafone telephone number; they do deserve the profits! If you want to speak to me please send an email and I will respond with my Thai number. Thank you very much.

Disgruntled London customer writes:

On Friday 23rd April 2010, I used to purchase a mobile phone contract. After some initial hick-ups eventually I was provided with an Apple IPhone 3Gs. I am writing today because I am extremely disappointed with the service Vodafone has provided to me. My 1st ever bill came in at £61.95 although I was expecting a bill of £45.00 as that was what my price plan was advertised as, I put it down to perhaps needing to pay a months line in advance due to being a new customer. My 2nd bill came in at £73.35 and this time I put it down to making calls outside of my inclusive 1200 minutes which I felt a little odd considering I have another line with another provider and alternate between the two phones. I contacted a member Vodafone's customer service team on 5th July 2010 after logging onto my online account to check my fourth coming bill, to my dismay the bill was expected to come in at £100+. This time however alarm bells started ringing and after some investigation it appeared that I had approx £40 worth of messaging charges which I was unable to account for, especially since my price plan was suppose to include unlimited text. The customer services representative I was spoke with, explained that he could indeed see the error and that the matter would be looked into and someone would call me back, I was not contacted. About a week later I contacted Vodafone's customer services team again, this time I was told by a different representative, that It looked as though the charges were due to someone using my phone to access Skype or such like, I explained that I was the only person who used my phone and I was most certain that I had not used my phone to do anything other than make calls or send text and there was no way that anybody else had used my phone, I explained that I was not willing to make a payment onto my account until the matter was looked into and my bill recalculated, again I was told that the matter would be looked into and I was assured somebody would ring me back with a solution. Still I heard nothing! The next thing I knew was that my phone had been disconnected even though I had, had no contact from anybody regarding the matter. To add insult to Injury I was contacted last week by FPC collections agency, demanding that I pay a cancellation of my service to the sum of £700, which I am most unhappy about given the facts. I have been 3 months without a service due to no fault of my own. It seems clear to me that there has been some sort of error on Vodafone s end. and Vodafone make money off of people by overcharging them for services and then sending collection agencies in to throw around there weight and bully people into paying ridiculous amounts of money. I have been a customer with my other provider for 10+ years now and never have I had any problems concerning my bills. I only took out a contract with Vodafone because at the time my other provider did not have the IPhone on offer, and I felt that Vodafone was a comparable service provider. I am sticking to my word when I say I will not pay Vodafone another red cent until they rectify this issue reaccrediting my account with the questionable balance. I am not prepared to pay a £700 cancellation charge especially when I made every effort to address the matter.

Gabor of London writes:

My story begun when I have signed up for a new 24m contract with Vodafone. I took about 6 days to receive the handset. I requested to be delivered to the local shop which was quiet handy. When I got home and opened the box I noticed the headset is reconditioned and it isn't new. I immediately gave them a call it took me about 30 minutes to get through to the right department after 3 redirection etc... (horrible customer service BTW.). They promised me I'll have my new phone next day. Course it hasn't turned up. I gave them a call again I been told for some reason the headset wasn't sent out. After 10 days waiting and several hours on a phone with their customer service guess what I got a reconditioned phone again, it looked really awful even worst then the one before. So I just gave them a call again and canceled the contract. FYI... if you cancel your contract because you can do it, luckily they offer a 7 day cooling of period you need to pay for a postage. ridiculous!!! Bottom line. I was very disappointed they wasted my 2 weeks time. I really can not understand why they did this, and I am quiet sure I am not the only one who had similar experience.

Petra Hornyak of London writes:

my story began in July when I cancelled my month by month contract after 2 years. After working 3 years in England I decided to go back to Hungary for a few months to stay with my family. I intended to go back (as my boyfriend is English) so I didn`t cancelled my bank account. I was already strange that they cancelled my contract straight away without any warning although I should have given one month notice. (straight away means I was unable to use my sim card in the next minute) I left the country in August and came back to visit my boyfriend in September. My first thing to do was to check my bank statements when I realized that they were still charging me. They deducted 300 pounds in august and 178 pounds in September. Then I went to the nearest shop where I was told that they are unable to help me and I need to call the costumer help line. After spending hours on the phone they found out that my Vodafone account was renewed by someone using my name and bank details (with a new phone number). So I had to go to the nearest shop again with my ID to confirm my identification and then call them again from the shop. they said they needed one week to investigate what happened and if they see that there was a fraud they will refund the 500 pounds. So I called them a week later and they said I was right and they will refund the full amount in two weeks (that was in September). Well, after 2 weeks my money was not on my account so called them again and they said that they sent the money to my Vodafone account and I`m free to use it. I was absolutely shocked. Who do they think want a Vodafone account after all this happened. So I said I need the money back to my bank account. Well, 3 months passed, hours spent on the phone with people unable to do anything, many promises and accuses and I`m still 500 pounds short. I also reported the fraud at the police.

Gary of Peterlee writes:

Well all i can say is that i to am in the situation but instead of MBLOX it is "Myquiz2win" I had phoned Vodafone asking why i was billed so much just to find that apparently i subscribed to something or my mother did yeah i have 2 phones on my account and the other is not even for my mother so where they got that from is beyond me. Anyways after i asked them who was billing me they told me no information about them or anything just saying that the only information they have is it is a subscription service. So a little annoyed at that i put the phone down and began a hunt on the internet as to who it could be and low and behold i get a text from myquiz2win saying the same old stuff that other subscription services say so i like most people text back the word STOP hoping that would be the end of it but it carried on. So i phoned them and then asked why i was still in the subscription after i text the word stop god knows how many times to have no cancelation anyways there reply was you have not sent no text saying this i replied i think you find that i have but they kept insisting that i made a mistake so as most people would i got really annoyed at the fact that i had someone on the other end of the phone calling me incompetent or along the lines of that and i said that if they don't cancel my subscription i would take the matter to a solicitor. Anyways they said they cancelled it so i thought well that's all good then and i asked for them to refund the money which there response as you can imagine was a massive NO! So i got there email address of the customer service department just to find automated replies from them in the end everything seemed to stop no more texts no more charges (so i thought) Just went on to check my bill today and low and behold there they still are still charging me £8 a week for nothing. As you can imagine i was furious so i phoned Vodafone and sent them an email stating that i was not going to pay the bill as i was taking it to a solicitor no thanks to there co-operation yeah right if that is what you can call it and then email the "Myquiz2win" people saying that as well so lets see what happens as i have proof there still charging me and that Vodafone are incompetent to stop such things and they are completely in the wrong they should be able to filter things like this out. So lets see what will happen with the solicitor shall we.

Wish me luck!

Julie Gardner of Watford writes:

Vodafone are worst company i have ever dealt with, 2nd time taking my case to the OMBUDSMAN during my contract i think Vodafone should be shut down and gone there terrible useless and do not care

Dave Faragher of Warrington writes:

Vodafone is a money racket as they recently trying to bill my girlfriend for a £599 phone bill that she never ran up we looked at the bill and calls for 1 second was made according to the bill which is incorrect and also calls to me at 1 25 am when i was asleep and so was she. They have threatened her with debt collectors i dunno what to do to fight them because they have messed her about and canceled her contract without her consent and without notifying her until she phoned and asked them about it. she asked for a £40 cap to be put on in front of citizens advice they agreed and then never put it on but put another bar on the phone then she canceled the direct debit to stop the money going out of her account which was when it went up to £599. Does anyone know what i should do as she doesn't have the money for this incorrect bill ???? plus doesn't need debt collectors after her when this wasn't her fault. Vodafone just do not care how they treat customers nor how they make them ill with stress please help anyone ????

Srikanth Jayaraman of Glasgow writes:

I totally agree. Vodafone has the worst customer service department that I have ever experienced. I will not rant and rave about them here since all of you seem to have done a pretty good job of that but yes, they are officially, my #1 on the "never ever again" list.

Julie Gardner of Hertfordshire writes:

I AM READING THE ABOVE STORIES AND I MUST add to them Vodafone are simply a disgrace i am 18 months into my contract and already once have taken my complaint to the ombudsman and was paid 50.00 compensation of which i did decline , but then had no choice to accept as Vodafone appears desperate for customers, 16 years with the wonderful orange i sadly left to join Vodafone to be in a joint contact with my sister for 2 awful years roll on may 2011 I'm out, i am now submitting another complaint to the ombudsman as its so so so pointless even calling Vodafone, the first hour i opened my new phone on the 7th day of the contract with Vodafone i was not happy , only to get the worst customer service on the phone from Vodafone My very first call !!!! i wanted to cancel the contract there and then as Vodafone was awful rude and un helpful, it was my 7th day it took 16 months of misery endless phone calls emails and letters to Vodafone and the ombudsman what a nightmare !! and here i am again , i want to pay up the contract and get out , but why should i pay them all that money for nothing , I am now calling the ombudsman to repeat my complaint on going for the whole of the contract, i can only say to the rest of you keep away from Vodafone and tell all your friends and family

Charles Barrie of Corby writes:


Editorial Comment:

You really need to ring Vodafone.

Belinda Njumo of Newcastle upon Tyne writes:

I am so happy that I have finally found a forum where I can speak up about what a rubbish network Vodafone is. When I just came to the country, I chose Vodafone pay as you go, simply because it was one of the most popular networks abroad. As I student, I made sure that I never paid £10 per month. Unfortunately, my phone got missing and I was told at the shop that I cud rent a good phone and pay just £20 per month. I asked the customer advisor several times if that's all what my bill would be and he said yes. Then my first bill came and it was £42. You could imagine my surprise. When i went to the shop, I was told that my bill was £25 per month and i had gone over my limits which was just 300 min. I quarreled with them about the £25 coz I was told initially it was just £20. The following month, I still had a whopping £38 bill. I was flabbergasted. Going into the shop, I asked them what now? I check my balance nearly every time to make sure I don't go over the limit. This time I was told that, the true balance can only be shown after 3 days, so you may not know this and you could go over your minutes. In summary, I spent almost 5 months, before getting the full details on what my bill really entailed. That aside, my phone was always suddenly cut off when I forgot to pay my bill, with no warning. What's really funny about that is, I have since tested them and come to notice that, when they realise you have gone over and still going over your limits, they do not cut off your network for a period of time, when you forget to pay the previous bill. I guess you don\'t need a genius to tell you why. Whereas, if you haven\'t gone over your present minutes n u forgot to pay ur previous, u will be axed. This is the stingiest and most selfish vulture-like network that would ever exist. I hear colleagues and friends talking about various exciting promotions with their networks. Some have free internet, free weekend calls to landline, etc etc. Take orange for example. Orange Tuesday at the movies with many more promotions. What do we have at Vodafone that is so exciting. In fact, if you are a monthly customer like I am, then my friend, we are DOOMED! I have not paid anything less than £27-£47, for a contract that offers me only 300 mins and unlimited text. No free internet whatsoever. What's worst is that I am in a 24 months contract. I have served 11 months already, and I CANT WAIT for the contract to finish. That is something I am looking forward to like a dog salivating for his next meal. Many of my friends have come to the UK and even before they ask me anything, the first words that come out from my mouth are \"You can do anything, but make sure you have no business with Vodafone whatsoever. Even if you are offered anything for free, run as if you were running for your dear life, for there is always a catch for it\".

Dave of Newbury writes:

I'm currently in a situation where Vodafone are billing me for mobile broadband for my laptop but as the dongle they supplied is useless and they won't replace it or even attempt to fix it i am told i cant cancel the contract without incurring charges I'm screwed so i can look forward to not being able to access the broadband I'm paying for for another 6 months good marketing ploy - NOT! I'll keep you posted - it's been three months now and counting

Sarah of Glasgow writes:

I am currently experiencing the exact problems with Vodafone as stated within this website. Increasingly high bills and when I asked Vodafone to send me an itemised bill, they sent me a copy of the bill i had received a week earlier in the post. I personally printed a copy of an intemised bill to find numbers i didn't recognise and calls lasting for 1 second and 2 seconds, additionally calls being made when i am asleep, as the sole user of the phone i wonder how this could happen. I called customer service, if you can call it that, to resolve the matter and was put on hold for 20 minutes onwards to be passed to the debt department and then passed back to customer service department and so on. After getting no where myself i contacted Vodafone via citizens Advice Bureau and the response we got was....a disconnected line, upon calling back no apology was made and we had to go through every single detail yet again. A £40 cap was supposed to be placed on my phone and additionally minutes added to ensure i stayed within my allotted minutes. I was not reassured by this in the slightest. Vodafone cancelled my service twice and upon having it restored the second time i was warned if it happened a third time then i would not be allowed the privilege of being a Vodafone customer and would have debt collectors at my door. At the Beginning of December 2010 i received a letter from Vodafone saying that as the bill hadn't been settled my phone would be disconnected once again and if i would like to resume normal service to call customer service to make payments or to arrange a payment plan. My phone has not been disconnected since and on the 9th December i sent Vodafone an e-mail via their website complaining about the issue and wanting to get the matter sorted. Not long after i received another bill through the post which is the last thing you want to see. As to this date i have no received any reply. I have also sent them a formal complaint letter to which i am also awaiting a reply. Within the Letter i stated if i didn't receive an acknowledgement of the letter and a response i would take matters to Oftel and Ofcomm, which are companies whom inspect Vodafone

Sarb Mandeir of Birmingham writes:

Have just been reading the letters from other disgruntled Vodafone customers and feel that I have to add my experiences to the list. i bought an iphone for my son, over the internet, on contract. great- the first order wasn't processed- 2 weeks later phoned up and re-ordered. the phone arrived and one happy son. In October 2010 he went for 3 weeks hols abroad and came back. problem with my phone he told me- i can't make any calls out. so I rang up customer services who kidly informed me that although my contract was for £45 per week the current bill was for £643.28 because of the data usage abroad. what data usage? the constant upgrades when your phone is on I was informed. Ok asked for a breakdown cover of the data usage to see how many times my so had texted/ been on facebook etc_ only 2 messages were sent on the phone. The terms and conditions of Vodafone, on the website state that when abroad, the customer "will be notified when you haven’t opted in to Vodafone Data Traveller – or you reach the end of your allowance – these are the standard data costs you can expect to pay:
•Europe - £1 a MB up to 5MB, then £5 for every MB after that
•Rest of the world - £3 a MB up to 5MB, then £15 for every MB after that we’ll send you free texts to let you know when you’re nearing the end of your data allowance. Once you’ve used your allowance you’ll pay the standard data rates." Vodafone website. So then I phoned back and asked why no messages had been received . No answer to that one although the guy I spoke offered a £75 reduction in the bill. I said I would write to customer services- i emailed them, and they contacted my son. I phoned in the evening after work explaining that i couldn't speak to them during 8-until 5 as I not at a desk and am working. "can you put me through to someone?" I asked and was told someone would contact me. No Chance. so I emailed all my complaints to Quality assurance. Any luck. NO! again I had to contact Vodafone who informed me that there was a note on my account to say that I was entitled to 30% discount on my bill of over £600 - but answers to my questions- none again. So now I've sent another letter to Vodafone - hopefully someone with the incentive to do something about it will contact me. But no- Today I receive a demand for the original £637.19 plus another £763.45 which they want paying straight away. great one Vodafone!!! you are the ones to be with because you really care about our customers!!! Oh!! by the way there's no way to receive or make calls on the phone any more, and all the calls to Vodafone have been on my landline which I've also had to pay for.

Ido Durra of London writes:

Terrible service from Vodafone insurance. They will find any reason to reject claims: i.e. if you have took the sim card out of the handset that cause the policy to be invalid!!!

Very disappointed client and will leave them ASAP.

Subha of Cambridge writes:

Exactly the same experience. I closed my account and paid off my bill in Nov 2010. I have been receiving bills every month since then, but can't access my itemised bill on line as the system won't recognise my account - quite rightly, as it does not exist. And now I am being chased by a Debt Collection Agency set on by Vodafone, for a debt I do not have.

When I ring Vodafone to clear this up, they keep saying that their system is down so they can't help. I switched providers because their Customer Service is ghastly, and now it seems I cannot set myself free from them. They have erroneously charged me more than £700 twice for early termination, and each time I have had to waste much precious time explaining that I am YEARS over my initial contract period and should not be charged for early termination. I have never encountered such a strategic combination of unscrupulousness and inefficiency.

Stuart Hine of Hull writes:

I had a dispute with Vodafone involving mobile broadband.

I used the service for a year then wished to cancel when my contract finished. Needless to say they made this as difficult as possible for me and pretty much made me as angry as I have ever been when dealing with any customer service representative. Eventually, after about 18 months of this rubbish, I decided to cancel my direct debit, and wait for the debt collectors to come and get me. This only took them 3 months and my ass no longer belongs to Vodafone. :)

Peter of Sittingbourne writes:

Have had problems paying my phone bill. This is entirely my own fault.

First time I was cut off for non payment, fair enough, so I managed to pay them and within the next day they had restored my service. That is not the problem, the problem came with the second time. I received enough warning I was to be cut off for non-payment, so I sorted a payment out, and lo and behold, I still got cut off the next day.

Is there some reason for this? Or do they do it for their own pleasure. I pay them for a service and when I attempt to call them to find out what the issue is (Sunday evening, I grant you, but in this day and age customer service should be 24/7) they are unavailable.

I find it extremely irritating when I have to trawl through countless automated answerphones before I can speak to an actual person. At least they are based in this country, I suppose that's one thing!!

Gareth Edwards of Maidstone writes:

i have two Vodafone contracts at present and informed them that i would be travelling overseas for work and that i would be taking one of my phones with me i did this both by phone and instore. Now the first month i was away 4 days before the bill was due to be paid Vodafone cut off service to both phone numbers apparently due to high usage but without warning not even a text message or phone call to either of my numbers. Now my bill was paid as normal 3 days early like it is every month. Unfortunately i am working in a very remote area and my mobile was the only phone i had access to so for safety reasons and work reasons i needed that phone to work. unfortunately for me this meant my only way of contacting them was by email and oh my god is this pointless standard automated replies started not even answering any of the points i was making or making any notes towards the position i was in. all of the first 40 emails were stating that i had to phone Vodafone and none of them answering the fact that how could i phone them without a working phone. No one could also tell me why without notice they had cut me off.

In the end after 90 emails back and fourth none of them actually getting my phones reconnected i asked a friend of mine to try and go into the store and see if he could pretend to be me and get the phones reconnected. So he did and well he wasn't even asked a single security question he just walked in asked to get the phones unlocked and they did it. but alas they had not unblocked international roaming so back he went again not asked a single security question and bam international roaming unlocked. Now my phones were blocked for a period of three weeks and unfortunately this has meant that whilst i have also had my earnings cut for the period i was without a phone due to my boss not being able to get in contact with me i have also had the bonus on my contract for supplying my own phone taken away so in total for the duration of my stay this will end up costing me 7000 pounds. Now i know i can not claim all of this money as I'm not a business customer but i do expect an offer of higher than a 100 pounds for the loss of service and compensation for Vodafone's treatment of my problem.

Well i got my offer a hundred pounds and to be honest i find it insulting and have not accepted it. Know my question to anyone out there is is there any loophole in the law or anything like that that will enable me to cancel my contracts early and break association with Vodafone as i have had enough and don't want to pay another single bill.

Any help anyone can give would be great.

Miss Shilvock of West Midlands writes (on 21 March 2012):

i am very disgusted about the company, 2 and a half years ago we took out an agreement for a mobile internet, with the agreement that at the end of the two years the contract it would be cancelled automatically, it even stated this in the SIGNED terms and conditions package that we recieved, that it would automatically be cancelled without us needed to phone them or in any other kind of way to inform them we would like to stop the contract.

This contract should of ended in September 2011 ! but no they carried it on to now 2012 charging us without even thinking of informing us that apparently the policy has changed, so we have been paying for this without being able to use it ! as we didn't know the new changes and was not getting payments from Vodafone thereself.

We had thought that they had stopped charging us, plus not being able to use the internet stick. 6 MONTHS later we were still being charged for this an phoned up to ask them why we were still being charged, we received rude service from the customer service department being passed from one to another to another on many occasions, it was like they did not know what to do, asking the same questions an numerous occasions by the SAME PERSON!

When asking for the refund that we should be entitled to they answered that we were not as it were our fault for not informing then for the cancellation on this product, when it was theirs for not informing us that policies had changed. later talking to yet again a different person we asked if it now been cancelled they answered no! and if we received a payment for the next month then are we able to have a refund they again answered no !!! this was not on !

Cheryl of Craigavon writes (on 5 June 2012):

I have been on vodafone for 9 months now..i already have a contract with o2 where (due to a friend purposely moving my tariff up so he could upgrade it for his own purpose n get a free iphone sent out - i knew about the latter but i did not know i would be payin 41 a month) So as ya can imagine I have enough on my plate paying this amount every month..jobless too. ANYWAY the deal was with vodafone i would be paying 36 a month...don't think there's been one month where i've paid that's always 15 extra at MINIMUM... I think it's just RIDICULOUS they don't agree to put a cap on the usage to ensure we don't go overboard...they say 'text or go online to find out'....txting to check our balance isn't always accurate as internet usage takes a few days to be acknowledged...and when you're lost in a different much your bill's gonna be is the last thing on your mind... I went to Boston,USA for work experience March to May..Came back with 2 MASSIVE bills.... one at 152 and the other at 286!!! Apparently all down to me goin on the internet a few times... i never knew internet costed this much!!! I recieved the same txt almost everyday in Boston saying that I could get charged a little extra as i went over the mb...lookin bk the txt was alot more complicated and seemed to try to hide the fact i'd be paying an absolute bomb!! Vodafone need to get caps on to ensure people don't go overboard..they also need to warn people how much it is for internet usage overseas....Who in their right mind wants to be paying that much for internet usage?? does that not cross their thick little skulls?? if i knew i'd be paying more than 20 extra for internet usage i wouldn't have went on google maps ONCE to find my way around Boston, MA.. I would rather walk around teary eyed asking drunks..(which I did the first few nights) WORST PHONE COMPANY EVER. COMPLETELY RUINED MY FIRST EXPERIENCE IN AMERICA BEING PHONED UP ABOUT A NEAR 300 POUND BILL JUST FOR GOING ON THE INTERNET. RIDICULOUS.

Matthew Higgins of Manchester writes (on 8 July 2012):

Vodafone do not care about their customers. After completely changing their roaming offers which I need and why I am still with them, they still refuse to let me leave. I am now going to be significantly financially disadvantaged and stuck with a pretty much useless contract when abroad. Vodafone Euro Traveller, the new option, works out incredibly expensive, despite allowing you to use your UK allowances, if you are mainly a data user with varied roamed call use as it costs 3 pounds A DAY (around 90 pounds a month!). Data Traveller, one of the old options, cost only 10 pounds a month for 25mb a day. In my case calls varied but in total monthly bill if I was roaming for a month was never as high as what it would cost with Euro Traveller - around 90 pounds! Passport cost 75p per call and then you could use your inclusive minutes. As Vodafone removed the old services without giving the option to keep them, many customers and I are fighting to be released from our contracts as they are now pretty much useless when abroad and we chose Vodafone due to these services being available. Vodafone, however, are not allowing this and so complaints have been lodged with Ofcom, the Ombudsman, BBC Watchdog and with the Money Saving Expert team. You can see the discontent here: I urge all customers.who are unhappy not to just sit back and take this kind of treatment. The more Vodafone see that people are upset and their reputation going down the drain, the more they are likely to worry and listen! VODAFONE: YOU HAVE BEEN NAMED AND SHAMED!

Lindsay Mckinnon writes:

I too have had problems with them that have gone on for over a year. I had to close my contract as I was using it for a business phone and went for days without signal. The usual lousy Vodafone customer service meant that the dozens of calls I made to them were never registered.
Anyway, to cut a long story short they have now ruined my credit rating. As a self-employed person (whose record was previously A1) I am now struggling against an unfair credit rating, all over a dispute of less than £200 for closing my contract early and waiting for them to get back to me, which they never did.
Despite the fact that I sent them two change of address letters, they were still sending the bad credit letters to an address I haven't lived in for two years and never contacted me by phone (they certainly couldn't claim not to have me number as that didn't change) Anyway, after going through a futile exercise with the ombudsman who has chosen to take their word over mine (that despite having no signal for days at a time over a period of several months, that I never once contacted them over this issue)
I am now left in the position of what to do next. I have said I am willing to pay the amount owing, minus the amount added by the debt company and only when my credit rating is restored. The ombudsman made no response to this and only sent a standard 'are you accepting our decision letter' back to me. What can I do now?
Would those other people who have been affected by Vodafone be interested in joining together to make a class action law suit against Vodafone? Why is it legal for a mobile phone company to continue to charge for a service they are not providing and then adding insult to injury by charging a fee for leaving the contract? (which I only had a few months left on)

Editorial Comment:

We have now closed this page for further comments as we think the point has been made on many occasions.

Vodafone - you need to clean up your act!!

"Many men stumble across the truth ... but most manage to pick themselves up and continue as if nothing had happened."

Winston S Churchill

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