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Katy's Complaint to Vodafone


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Katy's complaint correspondence

Dear Vodafone,

I am writing to you to express my concern regarding the customer service that I have received from Vodafone over the last two weeks.

My story began on the 18th April when I was shopping and saw the new iPhone. I called Vodafone to check my account details. I have listed my progress underneath.

  1. 18th April: Called Vodafone and asked what date contract terminated. Was told end date 24th April, first date I could upgrade 1st May.
  2. 18th April: Called Vodafone to confirm I would not like to renew my account and was told to email.
  3. 19th/20th April: Emailed Vodafone twice via the online form to request PAC code. I have had two confirmation emails informing me that someone would contact ME within 5 days. I have never heard from anyone regarding my emails.
  4. 21st April: Called to request a PAC code and was informed that my contract would not be due for renewal until 1st July. I was told a manager would call me within 48 hours. I have never heard from any managers regarding this phone call.
  5. 22nd April: My partner called Vodafone and had conversation with Mike Hughes. This was not a successful conversation. Mike Hughes refused to accept that there has been some error made on Vodafone's side (i.e. The initial conversation on 18th April). Call over 40 minutes.
  6. 22nd April: I called Vodafone and discussed the situation. After 2/3 calls my call was dropped, which happens on a regular basis with Vodafone Customer Services. Spent over 1 hour on the telephone.
  7. 25th April: Called and put on hold repeatedly. Initially spoke to a man who was very understanding and apologetic. I was then transferred to a lady called Sharon. For at least the fourth time I had to explain my whole situation again. I endured a dreadful telephone conversation with Sharon. She would not begin to understand the situation I was in and then laughed and insulted me verbally. I retaliated and the conversation was tense. I found Sharon's attitude utterly disgusting. Eventually, she said that she would transfer me, which was strange because I was initially transferred to Sharon as a last resort. At this point I was transferred - NOT to another agent but to an ADULT SEX LINE.
  8. 25th April: Called back and spoke to a young lady who was incredibly understanding. She informed me that Sharon from the Banbury office would be dealt with. She said that a senior manager would call me back within 24 hours.
  9. 27th April, Monday morning: I still had not heard from a manager so I spoke to Ryan. This was another long drawn out telephone conversation. I had to explain the whole situation again including the fact that I had been transferred to an adult sex line. I was told by Ryan that there was no way that this could have happened as there is no way that premium rate numbers can be called from the switchboard. Effectively, Ryan was calling me a liar, which distressed me even further. Eventually, Ryan told me to pay 50% of my termination fee and then I could have my PAC code. I was transferred to another lady who I had to explain everything to over again. Eventually, I paid the money but then was told that I couldn't have my PAC code for 72 hours. Was transferred again and told that I would be called within 72 hours of this particular call and would be told my PAC code over the phone.
  10. 28th April: Missed call from Vodafone @ 13.05 - I was at work and unable to answer call.
  11. 28th April: Missed call from 01782 609100. A man called Mark left a message telling me someone would be calling from Vodafone.
  12. 28th April: Missed call from Vodafone @ 18.14 - I was at work and unable to answer call.
  13. 30th April: Called to request PAC code and was given a code.
  14. 1st May: Called O2 to give them my PAC code and was told that the code I had was incorrect and that it should include letters. They suggested that I was told my PUC/PUK code and not the PAC code.
  15. 2nd May: Received a call from Vodafone when a lady called me to tell me that she had my PAC code. I confirmed my name and address then the representative from Vodafone put me on hold for 5 minutes. At 5 minutes 51 seconds I was cut off.
  16. 4th May: Telephoned Vodafone at 20.10 and had the most patronising communication with a lady who informed me that I could not have my PAC code because (a) it was a bank holiday and (b) it was ten past 8 at night. I am not sure why a communications company should not be able to provide me with information simply because the banks are closed.
  17. 5th May: Telephoned Vodafone to request PAC code and was provided with PAC code, finally! Was informed that a senior member of staff was still looking into my account and that I would receive communication shortly.
  18. 8th May: The following email was sent accusing me of dialling a number from my phone.

Date: Fri, 8 May 2009 12:48:44 +0000
From: ccare.webmails@help.vodafone.co.uk
Subject: Re: SubmitContactUsQuery [#246885]

Good afternoon Katherine. Thanks for your email about the problems that you have had lately with obtaining your PAC and also being transferred. I have had a good look at your account and I can see that you contacted Charlotte on the 5th May and we explained that we were still investigating the problem with you being transferred to an adult line. I have since spoken to the manager and we have done a full test on the phones. This clearly shows that it's not possible for us to dial any premium numbers from the phones within the business. I can see by looking at the account that when you spoke to Sharon she was then going to pass you through to Holly in sales who was waiting to take the call from her. Both notes on the account state that the customer hung up before the transfer could go through.

Looking at your billed calls for the date you called 191 it shows that you started the call to 191 at 10.51:27seconds AM and the duration was for 1.13:09seconds. The number for the adult line was then called from your SIM at 12.04:12 seconds and lasted for 24 seconds. If we had transferred you to this number the adult number would not show on your bill. This was a new call and the number was dialled from your SIM. I understand that this was distressing for you, however Vodafone is not responsible for you connecting to this number.

In regards to your PAC I can see that you did contact on the 18th April, however request for a PAC was noted. There would be no reason for us not to request this for you because as you rightly said in your email, we do have to provide this to the customer within 3 to 5 working days. I'm truly sorry that you're not happy with the customer service you have received and I hope this investigation has helped you in believing that Vodafone would not be a part of such an act.

Warm regards, Karen Johnson Vodafone Customer Relations Specialist

Footnote: Need a quick answer to your technical query? Next time, why don t you visit the Vodafone eForum found here. This forum lets you discuss the technical aspects of our products, services and the mobile world at large. You can ask questions, find answers and get tips and advice. Have a look now.

  1. 9th May: Sent the following email back to Vodafone F.A.O. Karen Johnson

Dear Karen,

Thank-you for your email. I was expecting a telephone call from Vodafone so that I could speak to someone and discuss the problem as I feel that through email it is not a two-way conversation. However, there are a number of points that I would like to raise with you in regards to the email that you have sent me.

  1. I WAS transferred to an adult sex line by Vodafone. There is absolutely no way I dialled a number, I do not know any numbers. What is more, I was transferred IMMEDIATELY after speaking to Sharon. Directly following this transfer I telephoned Vodafone Customer Services again and spoke to another representative who attempted to deal with the issue. This should show on the account and should acknowledge that I was more than likely on the phone to Vodafone Customer Services when this 'adult sex line' has been DIALLED from my account. I take absolute offence and disgust that it should be suggested that I would call such a line and I honestly believe that following my rather dreadful conversation with Sharon that she transferred me to this line.
    Now, I am not a telephone communications expert and I do not profess to understand everything that goes on within the communications industry but I am positive that I was transferred to a sex line. If Sharon knew that she would be caught doing such a thing, would she have done it? I suggest that she wouldn't and that is exactly the reason why she did do what she did. I am sure that should she be proficient enough in the communications industry there would be some way that she was able to transfer me and NOT get detected. As I have said, I am most offended that I should be accused of telephoning such a line and should there not be any further investigation which I am privy to then I shall be taking this matter further and contacting my legal team.
     
  2. If I had dialled a sex line, the number would appear on my handset. If Vodafone had taken this seriously and dealt with it properly at the time of the incident, I could have proved that no such number was EVER telephoned from my handset. I am prepared to have this personally investigated and will have it proved that no number of this type was ever called from my handset. It may be that it was called from my SIM but I am absolutely positive that this has been a conspiracy against myself and that this information was put onto my account.
     
  3. I telephoned Vodafone customer services IMMEDIATELY after I was transferred. There MUST be a note, recording of the call, that proves that I told Customer Services that I had been transferred. I am almost CONVINCED that this will also prove that I was complaining about the sex line even before you are suggesting that it was called.
     
  4. <Quote> In regards to your PAC I can see that you did contact on the 18th April, however request for a PAC was noted. There would be no reason for us not to request this for you because as you rightly said in your email, we do have to provide this to the customer within 3 to 5 working days. <End quote>

    I'm not sure that you understand the initial problem that I had with Customer Services and that I was told the wrong information. This is why I was trying to contact Vodafone and this matter should not be ignored. I was told incorrect information and then expected to pay a termination fee. "contact on the 18th April, however request for a PAC was noted" - what does this mean?
     
  5. With regards to the PAC, I am aware that I have a right to my PAC code within 3 days. Can you explain to me why I was not able to obtain it at 20.10 on Bank Holiday Monday? It was available for me and had been available since the previous Thursday, as I had received a call telling me it was available. I telephoned Customer Services and they gave me a PUK/PUK code instead of a PAC code, which was most unhelpful. I then telephoned again on Monday evening and was rather 'helpfully' informed that it was bank holiday so I was not allowed my PAC code...why?
     
  6. Customer services - the way that I have been dealt with by customer services since the 18th April has been absolutely appalling. Ranging from being patronised, laughed at, informed of incorrect information, blatant lies, to being transferred to a sex line.

I have documented the majority of this information and would ask that this time you read it thoroughly as I'm not sure that you understand the two problems that I have with Vodafone. I have sent copies of this letter to both Ofcom and Which magazine and will be contacting the Citizens Advice Bureau with regards to legal advice.

It is without a doubt that this matter requires further attention. I will do my best to prove that what you are suggesting happened is an absolute lie and I will go as far as I can with this investigation. However, it would be convenient to have a direct contact at Vodafone including a name and direct telephone line. I am treating this matter seriously and would suggest that you do the same.

Yours sincerely, Katy


As you can see, it has been a rather difficult situation and one that I feel has not been managed in the correct way. Initially, there was one complaint but now, there is the far more serious complaint relating to the adult sex line that I was transferred to.

As some of the customer service representatives at Vodafone have found it difficult to understand my point of view I will make my thoughts entirely clear:

  1. I was provided with incorrect information on Saturday 18th April. I would expect that a representative with my account information would tell me the correct information. I would expect to trust what I am told over the telephone.
  2. The service that I have received from Vodafone has been completely unacceptable. The telephone calls/emails I have been promised haven't arrived on more than one occasion.

I understand all the information that (a) A PAC code should be provided within 3 days, by law and (b) you have no entitlement to a PAC code if you still owe money on your account. However, I feel that, as I was informed of incorrect information, then I don't see why I should have to pay anything for someone else's mistake. It has been most unfortunate that no-one at Vodafone has been able to acknowledge that an error was made by one of the Vodafone team. They told me the wrong information and it was because of this information that I took out another contract with an alternative service provider. There would be no reason for me take out two contracts at the same time, it would be ridiculous and would cost me over seventy-pounds a month.

With all of this in mind, I m hopeful that someone can see my point of view. However, now the matter is an entirely different one. If all of the issues above were completely out of the equation, there would still be the huge matter of the call that I had with Sharon. The fact that I was transferred to a sex line is completely unacceptable.

I will be sending a copy of this letter to both Ofcom (who have already advised me to request a conversation with your ADR team) and Which? magazine.

I would like some clarification of the issues I have raised and some resolution to the whole situation as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely, Katy

Editorial Comment:

We felt it was worth printing this correspondence to demonstrate that any boast about efficient customer service by Vodafone is to be taken very lightly indeed.

Vodafone's employees, as shown on many occasions, clearly do not sing out of the same hymnbook and now appear to go to great lengths to cause even more aggravation. Or is this just the way they punish a customer who is about to leave them? If so, it could be said that if they got their act together they might retain more customers. After all, it's not as if the other service providers have a stain-free reputation!

The real problem is that the word 'service' is no longer applied meaningfully by those who supposedly supply services and most seem to forget that without customers they would not have a business. Unfortunately, in this day and age profits are the sole motivator and true leadership is non-existent, as we know to our cost when we examine the practices of parliament and others of the same ilk.

Postscript: After I mentioned Katy's case to my wife, she told me she had heard of other cases where Vodafone customers were suddenly diverted to sex lines when they were trying to sort out problems with customer service staff. So, not only does it appear that it's 'impossible to dial any premium numbers from the phones within the business' (as Vodafone's Customer Relations Specialist, Karen Johnson, claimed) it's actually common practice. As such, it is a deplorable way for a major service provider to treat its customers and Vodafone's directors should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for allowing their staff to act in such a disgraceful manner.



"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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