How heartless Vodafone have cost young woman her job over £39 debt dispute
What’s the most a company’s poor service has cost you?
Maybe you’ve wasted an afternoon on hold? Or have been left out of pocket by a delayed refund?
But the chances are you have never lost a job, which is exactly what has happened to Ashleigh Rothery.
And her story should serve as a warning to us all.
Having paid £39 a month for an iPhone with Vodafone since April 2013, Ashleigh decided in October last year it was time for a change.
Especially considering partner Murray, who plays as a defender for Huddersfield Town, broke the phone leaving it unusable.
Leaving contracts early is expensive but Ashleigh was prepared to pay. When she called Vodafone they told her if she coughed up £198 she could leave. No ifs, no buts.
So Ashleigh promptly paid and settled in to a new contract with O2.
But on the 12th November she received an email from Vodafone saying she was £100 in credit.
Ashleigh told us: “I was confused; after I paid £198 to cancel they assured me that would be the end of our relationship. I didn’t expect to hear from them again”.
And things got stranger still in December. Vodafone rang Ashleigh’s new O2 number to tell her SHE owed THEM £39.
When Ashleigh explained that she had cancelled her contract in October last year, Vodafone said that the staff member she’d spoken to had been sacked.
The company were all over the shop.
They had told Ashleigh she had left them for good – she hadn’t.
They said they owed her money – they didn’t.
Then they told her to pay them £39 – she wouldn’t.
Ashleigh wanted an explanation as to what was going at Vodafone’s end. But this proved easier said than done.
“Twice I have spoken to two managers who have put the phone down on me”, Ashleigh told us.
“They just kept dodging all my questions”.
Then on July 29th, having been passed from pillar to post for months by Vodafone, Ashleigh got a nasty surprise.
The agency who had secured her the job at Lloyds informed her she wouldn’t be able to start work on Monday.
Her credit rating had been negatively affected because she had failed to pay - you guessed it - a bill of £39 to Vodafone.
And Lloyds won’t hire anyone with a negative credit score.
But Ashleigh had been none the wiser because, every month since February, Vodafone had been sending reminders and warnings to a house she didn't live in, and to an email address she no longer used.
Ashleigh had moved from her house in Huddersfield to Bradford in October last year.
Having believed her contract cancelled, she naturally had not informed Vodafone of the move. Why would she?
Eventually, in May, having not received any of the messages, Ashleigh defaulted on the debt, and received a CCJ notice from Huddersfield county.
Despite having her new number, at no point did Vodafone attempt to call her.
Ashleigh told us: “I’ve lost a job over £39 that I didn’t even know I owed. Everything on my credit file has been perfect up until this Vodafone bill”.
So why can’t Ashleigh just pay the bill?
Well she can but it won’t do any good for her credit rating.
Despite Ashleigh offering to pay back the money, Vodafone have refused to remove the black mark against her name.
Even though they messed her around from the word go, the company won't accept responsibility, meaning Ashleigh can’t start her new job and faces six years unable to get a mortgage.
“I will pay whatever it takes to make them take it off, but they've refused”, said Ashleigh.
“The way they have handled my case is disgusting”.
We call on Vodafone to do the right thing, and restore Ashleigh’s credit rating so she can get on with her life.
You can help by sharing her story on Facebook and Twitter.
What do you think of Vodafone's behaviour? Let us know in a comment below.
We’ll keep you posted how the company responds.
LOYALTY DOESN'T PAY
A Spokesman Said offers price comparison in energy, insurance and broadband that could save you hundreds.