How to cancel your Vodafone contract - details and templates
We're going to go on record and say that Vodafone's current treatment of customers is inconsistent, unfair, insulting and offensive. They've also breached Ofcom's General Conditions, which is about the worst thing it's possible for a mobile service provider to do -- just ask T-mobile. Vodafone staff keep contradicting one another and their own policies, they're breaking more rules than we can count and they've now taking to trying to confuse the facts concerning data usage.
If you're a Vodafone customer, then you need to read this; if you're not, forward it to everyone who is.
This post will:
- quickly recap the issues
- highlight the levels of douchebaggery going on
- tell you what you can do about it, including a template for cancelling your contract
A quick recap
In 2010, Vodafone let slip they were ending the 500MB soft cap on data usage for customers; in the past, customers have been free to occasionally stray over the limit without paying additional charges, a point that have been clarified in writing by Vodafone's own staff on several occasions.
From 1 June, 2010, however, Vodafone introduced "Out of Bundle" charges; customers will be charged for any and all data usage above 500MB - £5 for an additional 500MB or more, depending on the contract - thereby ending any notion of a Fair Use Policy.
This has significant consequences for all customers, especially over time as customers buy more apps and their average data usage rises.
Vodafone posted a press release concerning the changes; we don't think we've read a statement so full of horse-shit in quite some time:
Vodafone UK to give customers total control of their mobile data spend
In June we'll be introducing a free text service to tell our contract customers when they're approaching the upper limit of their data bundle. We'll send them a text before they reach the limit and tell them how much it will cost them to use more data. Customers can then make a decision on whether to continue, or limit their use, giving them total control of their spend.
500MB means you can read and reply to 10,000 emails, download 24 Google maps and read 8,000 BBC News stories. Today, a tiny fraction of our customers use their full allowance.
By removing a core benefit from you, Vodafone wants you to think they're doing you a favour. Spintastic. And insulting. As one person eloquently posted on Vodafone's eForums:
It's like evicting someone from their house and calling it 'putting you in control of where you sleep'.
Another key development is Vodafone's acknowledgment that they will have to allow some customers to cancel their contract without penalty (such as paying off the rest of their contract), but not all.
Can you cancel your Vodafone contract?
Short answer: YES. Vodafone offers a 30 day network guarantee, so if you're looking to cancel your contact within the first month, you shouldn't have to pay a termination fee.
If you cancel after the first 30 days, you will have to pay a termination fee. Bear in mind that your handset remains the property of Vodafone until you've paid the first six bills.
A note from us, then - we're not solicitors, in fact we can barely dress ourselves. We're not telling you to terminate your contract - we're happy to offer advice and tools to take your fight further, but ultimately you are responsible for your actions. Please don't take any of this as legal advice or a substitute for legal advice; we assume no duty or liability to you. Got it? Good.
- you don't need Vodafone's consent to terminate a contract. You can always terminate a contract and stop your direct debit by informing your bank. The issue is whether or not you'll be liable for damages for breach of contract or other charges.
- the law and not the contract governs, so consumer law beats a contract every time. The supplier's opinion is not determinative and nor is that of the regulators. Only the Courts can say whether a term is fair or not. What does 'Significant Disadvantage' mean? You may have to go to court to find out.
- ultimately, if you refuse to pay termination charges on the basis they're unfair, will Vodafone be prepared to sue you for a Court Order? If they do –you have a defence. No summary enforcement is allowed where there is a genuine dispute so they cannot collect disputed sums as debts.
What you absolutely need to know about cancelling your Vodafone Contract:
- If you do nothing you will be treated as accepting the changes and will not be able to change your mind later
- Once Vodafone get around to informing you of the changes, if you do want to terminate you must do so within 30 days of the notice given to you of the changes
- We've prepared a letter to cancel your contract with Vodafone (Word document) - just add your details, select from the options and post. Keep a copy and send it by registered post.
- You need to pay for any items/use for the last 30 days that isn't included in your advance monthly payment. If you've incurred such charges, call and find out what they are.
- You can cancel your direct debit and send any final payment for any extra charges for the last 30 days by a cheque marked “in full and final settlement of all obligations." They may try to charge you a Payment Handling Charge for this.
- If you are still within the minimum term, you might like to take individual legal advice and/or at least find out what Vodafone would claim from you in charges, so you know your potential exposure if the court found the term was fair in your case.