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Mike's complaint against Vodafone

Mike Bennett


[LAPSED] Vodafone accepts my under age son's OK to charge my bill with his over contracted usage

Complaint against Vodafone

We are in dispute with Vodafone. Two years ago my wife took out phone contracts for herself and my three sons, I had a work phone. She was delighted because she was assure that having all the phones on one account would save money and help keep costs down by only having one bill to manage. I worked away from home during the week up until May this year. My wife was busy with three boys and the house and so it was only when I had time in June that I realised that we were being charged way over our contracted monthly amount (sometimes two or even three time the amount). I asked to see the bills but my wife had forgotten her online details. I tried to get them from Vodafone but was told I was not the named contract holder and so they would only speak to my wife. To cut a long story short and after many hours on the phone and two visits to our local store I finally had access to the online bills. (I asked for paper bills which they initially said they would send for a small charge but then after two months of not arriving I was told by another advisor that they no longer did paper bills!!). Inspecting the bills it was clear that two of my sons phones were regularly going over their data limit and on one, additional data bundles were being purchased. This additional charging was being "approved" by a single push of a button from my son in response to texts Vodafone sent him. Over a period between March 2016 and June 2017 I have been charged £2,836.76p versus a contracted £1,307.52p. When I complained to Vodafone and said that neither the bill payer (me) nor my wife as the contract holder had been informed nor approved these additional charges they just said it was self managed and as such we were liable for all usage no matter what. As one of my sons was 12 and the other 15 when we took out the contracts they are not of an age to contract for goods and services and so a text from them agreeing to additional charges is not legally enforceable. Self management is a cop out - as you demonstrated with Mr Birch. It is a way Vodafone can charge for services without the bill payer knowing unless we all spend our time checking every bill we pay all the time. It should be the responsibility of the service provider to ensure the customer knows what they are getting and what they will be charged not just keep providing and charging as long as you can so long as it goes unnoticed. It is not rocket science for Vodafone to email the contractee for approval (they have my wife's email address) - other mobile phone companies cut off (after two warnings) the provision of services unless they get the bill payer's consent via email. I have been through the complaints process, been cut off, gone to gridlock, complained to the Ombusman, been reconnected, by their order, while the case is heard and now their judgement is that the T&Cs say it is self managed so just pay up! Apparently they have no jurisdiction to tell Vodafone to change what I consider to be sharp practice only to adjudicate on the facts. For "self management" replace with "blank cheque". It shouldn't be allowed. If my company did it with our customers we would be out of business in no time. Just so you know I did write to Neil Blagden (Customer Service Director) and Nick Jeffery (CEO) but with absolutely no joy. I hope you can help. Mike Bennett

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Lapsed. Mike has not responded in 90 days

  • Comments (1)

Lee Saunders | | VERIFIED

Hi Mike, I'm sorry to hear that you remain unhappy. As your complaint has already been investigated by the Ombudsman, I'm unable to intervene directly. However, I'd recommend getting back in touch with them to discuss what steps you can take to escalate things further. Kind regards, Lee Vodafone Social Media
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