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jake53

@VodafoneUK usual incompetence turns virus crisis into bigger personal crisis!!

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When my two-year Vodafone contract came to an end  

I decided to switch to a SIM-only contract that would have cut my former £25 a month bill in half.

This made sense to me as I never download any TV and mainly use it for WhatsApp, texts and emails.

 

£12 a month for one Gig seemed tolerable as I hardly ever reach my limit.

 (I only got 1 Gig for that original £25 a month contract anyway so there would be no change)

But I didn't bargain for the reaction of Vodafone.

 

Instead of putting me on £12 a month SIM only like they said they would

- my online account showed they put me on a whopping  £86 a month contract!

 

Exasperated and fed up at the endless runaround I then got trying to get a response from the Vodafone sales team

I then decided to cut my losses and dump Vodafone entirely.

 

I requested my PAC number which I need to keep my phone number to another provider  and which - I believe-  Vodafone is legally obliged to provide.  

All I got from talking to them was confirmation that I was now on a £86 a month contract!

 

Instead, after yet another lengthy run around with their sales agents my cell phone service has been mysteriously cut off.

Equally mysteriously I've been locked out of my online account therefore I cannot communicate with Vodafone in any way.  

 

I cannot call them, text them or communicate with them online so I cannot get them to remove that DD.

 I could cancel the DD unilaterally at my end but I've been told only to do that as a last resort or legal letters will be never ending.

I'm going to send a SAR but it seems a lenghty process and I can see £86 coming out of my bank account before I get a reply.

 

I wondered if you have got any other suggestions as to how I could resolve this?

How I could get my PAC number and more importantly get my DD cancelled?

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Vodafone up to their old tricks although we haven't had many complaints recently – but over a period of several years, this kind of performance is pretty well normal.

You should send them the SAR immediately anyway. It's no skin off your nose and it's free of charge.

Have you seen this? https://www.bbc.com/news/business-48816459

 

Let us know if this helps you get your PAC code. I'm going to say that I'm very surprised that you didn't go for somebody like GiffGaff which would give you a highly flexible monthly contract with the ability to go up and down according to your usage and to terminate any time.
Unfortunately, although Vodafone are very poor running customer accounts correctly, when they think that a customer has the money then they are excellent at launching into debt recovery mode, harassing you, smashing up your credit file, blighting your financial life and generally speaking making your life miserable so that is difficult to extricate yourself.

You can certainly cancel your direct debit – but I'm afraid they will then turn into monsters and it will be impossible to reason with them.

If you really can't for the money then certainly cancel the direct debit but put it in writing to them first that they have got it wrong, explain what has happened and tell them that you are cancelling the direct debit. If any payments actually go out then execute the direct debit and get the money back. However, you will have to be ready for a load of hassle – and of course we will help you all the way.

Before you do anything, I suggest that you get the PAC code if you can and move away from Vodafone because they are nothing but trouble.

 


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Many thanks for that reply and the useful info.  Not having the ability to even text Vodafone on my phone is a problem though.  One benefit of having lost my job due to the lockdown is that I' ve the time to put into this! Looks like a long haul one way or another.

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Cancel DD with the bank but it may be too late. You can request a DD Indemnity as technically the amount is incorrect. Alas you may end up with a late marker on your credit file. 

Bankfodder is right here but if you want to sort it now - Call recordings should be available in some circumstances . Maybe a CEO complaint + DSAR is sufficient to get this resolved?


 

We could do with some help from you.

 

Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

**Fko-Filee**

Receptaculum Ignis

 

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By the way, if they hurt your credit file at all then once you have established the information and that they have made errors, we will help you sue Vodafone for a data protection breach and that will get you some extra compensation for the distress and also some satisfaction. Vodafone need a slap and we are always happy to try and give it to them.


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Also start keeping detailed notes of everything that happens – including the inconvenience or loss that you have suffered. What are you using as a phone service at the moment?


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I'm relying on my partner's phone at the moment.  I've just spent the morning telling former employer and relatives they can no longer get me on my old number. Surprisingly stressful all this!  The team on this site are a godsend!  

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Well try the link which I have given you above within the BBC link and tell us what happens


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Also, how long have you had your old phone number? Is it simply a social number or do you need it for work as well?


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Actually my original 2-year contract actually elapsed on the  6th February this year but I didn't get around to calling them to change my contract until the 15th April. This was due to my oversight in forgetting that I needed a new contract.  But I certainly got no reminder text or  email from Vodafone that my contract was due to expire.

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So have you tried the PAC code link? If it works then it should only take few minutes. Please let us know


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Em...the PAC code link.  I'm looking at that BBC page and can't find the one that says PAC Code.....  I can see the text numbers I can use to obtain PAC code but of course my text has been cut off......

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Ah yes. Silly me – that passed me by for some reason or other.

Okay well I think that you need to take some very assertive action. Presumably you have sent off the SAR now – yes?

Are you prepared to take a county court action? If so I suggest that you send them a letter of claim and give them 14 days or you will start a claim and without any further notice.

I am slightly troubled though that it may be some way you have done something which has caused some misunderstanding on their part and that they have a good defence. Are you absolutely sure of your ground?

Are you not able to get through to them on the telephone at all? It would be helpful to have a conversation with their customer services department and see what they say about it and get the evidence recorded. You would need to read our customer services guide first and implement the advice there.

However, on the basis that you are absolutely correct in your position, I would suggest that you sue them in 14 days and see what happens. I'm afraid I don't think this can be any quick fix on this. They are like dinosaurs – and frankly you are better off getting away from them.

In the meantime I suggest that you go on to the GiffGaff website and order a Sim card and at least you will have a telephone service although in a different number. Then when all of this stupid story is over, you can decide whether or not to stay with GiffGaff and whether or not to transfer your old number across.

 

You can either go directly to their website or use a link on this post here 

 which gives us a few quid and gives you a few quid as well if you buy one of their goody bags.


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Thanks again Bankfodder. 

My last telephone conversation with them - the fifth - got heated while trying to get an explanation for the £86 contract

they, out of the blue, suddenly told me I had to return the handset. T

 

his  had not been mentioned before and I felt it was a distraction tactic which underlined their bad faith. 

They had also previously assured me the handset was mine coming as it did at the end of a two year contract,

 

This 'handset' issue was aired by some kind of supervisor who I had not spoken to before and who cut me off while I was telling her what I thought of the service so far but there was no swearing or insulting language on my part and I'd be more than happy for our conversations to be aired. 

 

My line was suddenly terminated at the end of  that conversation. 

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Have you sent the SAR?


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Just ploughing through their extensive SAR notes now. And bought a GiffGaff Sim....

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Well get the SAR off as soon as possible – meaning straightaway. Don't hang around. The quicker you start dealing with this then the quicker it will be sorted out. Although they are meant to let you have the disclosure as soon as possible, you can be certain that they will take all of 30 days and maybe even delay using the virus crisis as an excuse. Lots of companies seem to be doing this.

Also, sort out a call recorder and have another phone call with them. Try to keep it cool and try to get them to dive out as much information as possible as to what has happened to your account. Then come back here.

Please deal with this quickly – and take it seriously. You should be able to implement all of this by the end of today.


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Will do.  Many thanks. Will keep you posted....

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Okay, have you had a further phone call with them – recorded this time? In order to find out exactly what the situation is.

What are you proposing to do? Very soon you will have a new telephone number – with GiffGaff – so you won't be like many other people who are in a bad position because they don't have any phone at all. I hope that your phone is not locked to Vodafone. Have you checked this?

It will help to know whether you have decided to keep on paying the £86 a month and sorted out – or whether you want to cancel the £86 and then sorted out.

If you keep on paying the £86 then at least they won't trouble you – but I would suggest that we will send a letter complaining and cancelling the contract and demanding that they release your number. I expect that they will ignore you and so after say, 16 days, you would send the letter of claim giving them 14 days before starting a court action. The idea is to begin the court action once you have the SAR – or they have breached the statutory period (which is more likely in my view)

Alternatively, you could terminate the direct debit and then send them a letter confirming that the account is closed because of their mishandling and that you have cancelled the direct debit. Also demand that they release your number to be ported elsewhere. Once again, you would give it enough time – about 16 days or so before issuing a letter of claim in respect of the mishandling of the account and demanding the release the number. Once again hopefully this would allow the SAR disclosure to be made – or the date to be breached.

In both cases if they breached the 30 day disclosure. Then you would add that as a head of claim to your county court claim.

It's slightly complicated until we know what you want to do – and what their reaction will be.

Very important that you get the SAR off as quickly as possible. I understand that you may be sending it by post – I don't understand why you don't send it by email because they would then be served with it tomorrow.

Also it will be extremely helpful to have a recorded phone call with them to see what on earth has gone on


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Well that was a full, exciting day.  Here's my update on the Vodafone drama.  I took BankFodder's advice on the SAR and got it off by mail and online - belt and braces approach.  No point in getting it sent recorded delivery as no-one is signing for it at the other end because COVID19 etc.   I  then planned my strategy on contacting Vodafone customer services.  I'd decided to take BankFodder's advice again and record the call.

 

But how to do this in a hurry? After examining the Truecall and various other options I decided to go minimalist - I put a friend's phone on speaker and placed it near my laptop while I made the call.  I used the audio recorder software that comes with Windows 10 and it seems to have worked OK. I recorded a 26 minute call and both sides are very audible so that was a success. 

 

Getting through to Vodafone customer services was a minefield.  Main problem was, as I outlined previously, that they had helpfully cut me off so I have no service at all from my own Vodafone mobile.  So I then had to beg use of someone else's mobile to play an extended version of telephone tag with Vodafone customer services.  After many abortive attempts I eventually got through to a helpful sales rep by simple act of telling the robot service that  I wanted to set up a DD.  This did the trick and I instantly found myself talking to a human being.  

 

I explained that there had been a "mix up" and asked if he would help.  This guy was chatty and straightforward. (I think it must be the luck of a draw if you get someone helpful).  He pulled up my records and we went through it.   He made a number of crucial admissions that will help considerably. 1) That my mobile phone service had been terminated and account closed.  2) That an £86 direct debit was nevertheless attached to my account.   There was no mention on my notes of how I had initially attempted to go to a £12 a month SIM only and then, after much frustration, had tried to close my account and extract the PAC number.


Another piece of advice from  BankFodder  came in very useful.  I got the sales guy to read out my account notes.  He said he would write them up after the call.  I said I'd rather wait so he could  read them back to me which he did.  I then specifically asked him to add that I had attempted to close my Vodafone account and obtain the PAC number which they are legally obliged to give me.  I also asked him to specifically write that I had never requested the £86 unlimited broadband account.  He described other aspects of my previous notes which made no sense to me.  He specifically asked me if I wanted to remove the DD.  I said yes and he said he did that.

 

The only slight worry was that he did not give me the PAC number there and then.  He said wait until I had another provider lined up and then the two could be transferred.  No idea what he meant by that but I do not know what was involved.  Should have pressed it. It is sort of academic now as I've ordered a new SIM from GiffGaff. He gave me some numbers which he said would unblock my Vodafone but I haven't tried it yet.

 

I think that phone call and the  admissions therein put me on much firmer ground. I feel much more confident in dealing with this. Had to go for a two hour walk before I could face calling Vodafone again!  The advice I've got from BankFodder and CAG has been invaluable. CAG has been far and away the best resource I've come across. Everyone should support it. 

 

Meanwhile I'm holding my breath about that Vodafone DD....

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Yes. Probably prudent not to cancel the direct debit at the moment and see whether they call it on the next payment date. If they do then I think that they have played into your hands.

I think you should have got the PAC code – and it's a shame that you went back into "trusting mode" so quickly. It shows that we all need to be loved sometimes

 

I have a feeling that you may need a working Vodafone card in the phone in order to unlock it.


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I'm a bit more cynical about all this than I let on. Just didn't want to vent on a public forum.  I've no doubt their "customer services" are set up to drive people beyond the level of endurance so they loose the rag or give up.  Wouldn't trust any of them as far as I could sweat......  God knows how the elderly or anyone vulnerable or easily dissuaded could possibly cope with this...

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Just thought you would like an update on my Vodafone drama. There has been conclusion of sorts.  If you will recall I tried to cancel my Vodafone account and get a PAC to port my number to a new service.  Vodafone's reaction was to cancel my service, switch my DD from £25 to £86 and block me from my online account. Many calls and emails went unanswered and promises were broken in the days and weeks that followed.

 

It had all started in the beginning of April but by May 8 I felt  I was in a stronger position.  Although Vodafone never did re-connect my line - so I could get a PAC code - or cancel the DD  I had - on BankFodder's advice - recorded two calls and sent a subject access request letter. 

 

So I felt more confident when, on May 8th, I called again.  On this occasion I decided to tell them that I was recording. I don't know if it was this that made the difference but my experience was, for once, totally different.This time a friendy sales guy told me my case had been prioritised. He asked me if I still wanted my PAC code. Wanting to keep this process as short and uncomplicated I settled for having my handset unlocked instead so I could switch over to Giff Gaff and just start over again with a new number. 

 

The guy said the unlocking normally took five days but because I had been prioritised it would go much faster. Sure enough I had the email in my inbox before I put the call down.  The guy was profusely apologetic throughout and admitted my case had been the subject of some sort of management intervention.  Minutes after the call I was away from Vodafone and signed up to Giff Gaff. He had assured me the £86 DD was gone but on checking my bank account I saw the old £26 a month DD was still there so I cancelled that myself at the bank end. 

 

It had been a gruelling few weeks. What had been in theory a simple transaction that should have handled with a few keystrokes turned into an expensive and stressful ordeal.The amount of bad faith I've encountered from Vodafone in being kept hanging on the phone for up to 30 minutes, being passed from one to another, The promises on action and call-backs that were never  kept. The lies and delaying and distracting tactics.

 

It takes my breath away that this all happened at the hands of a public company. It was more like the experience you'd get from some foreign back-street boiler house operation.I'm convinced that Vodafone silently condone this slimy behaviour by turning a blind eye. That they deliberately do this to take advantage of vulnerable, less-assertive people. Effectively fraud is part of their business model, it seems to me. Im still awaiting the results of my subject access  request and will wait until this comes through before I decide what, if any, further action to take.

 

STOP PRESS Just received this email from Vodafone:

"Thanks for getting in touch with us about your recent experience. I'm really sorry this led to your letter to our Customer Relations Team on 10 May 2020. So that we can look into things for you, we just need a bit more information ' please reply to this email including either your Vodafone mobile or account number. A member of our Customer Relations Team will then be in touch to resolve this as 
quickly as they can.  Just to note, you'll need to let us know your unique reference number ##### before we'll be able to talk to you about your case.

Thanks again, and we look forward to speaking with you soon."


Don't know what this refers to as my last communication was that last phone call on May 8th.  I'm minded to not even acknowledge this email. This would allow them to pretend that they had handled it properly. Instead I'm minded to wait for my subject access request info and then make a decision then. I still believe I'm owed big time for the stress alone? What do you think?

 

Thanks again to the Consumer Action Group and BankFodder in particular for the guidance and encouragement.  Could not have gotten this far without you!

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I hope you won't be offended if I say that it takes my breath away that you repose so much confidence in this company. Vodafone are a byword for massive inefficiency within the industry and in customer service industries generally. Matched by Npower within the utilities industry.

I'm pleased that you have sorted it out. It sounds to me as if you haven't had any compensation. If you would like to chase them a bit more to the point of threatening court action then we would be happy to help you. I can imagine that there is an easy £100 or £150 in it – and now that you have your PAC code and you've moved away from them, you have nothing to lose – and maybe you fancy a bit of sport during the virus crisis.

And also, if you hunt around this forum, you will find "donate" button's littered all over the place – hint hint!


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No offence taken but I think you must have overlooked a couple of paragraphs at the end of my last entry where I say: "

 

"The amount of bad faith I've encountered from Vodafone in being kept hanging on the phone for up to 30 minutes, being passed from one to another, The promises on action and call-backs that were never  kept. The lies and delaying and distracting tactics.

 

It takes my breath away that this all happened at the hands of a public company. It was more like the experience you'd get from some foreign back-street boiler house operation.I'm convinced that Vodafone silently condone this slimy behaviour by turning a blind eye. That they deliberately do this to take advantage of vulnerable, less-assertive people. Effectively fraud is part of their business model, it seems to me. Im still awaiting the results of my subject access  request and will wait until this comes through before I decide what, if any, further action to take."

 

I do indeed plan to take further action against Vodafone for the loss of income and stress they have caused, all coming at a time of national crisis and job loss for me.  Presumably it would be prudent to wait for the results of my subject access request before making another move. Do you agree?

 

 

  • Thanks 1

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