Vodafone data charges - we ask your questions, since you can't

19 May 2010

In their most recent post on Vodafone's eForums, staff have told customers they have nothing more to say on the matter of their new data charges. Reading between the lines of their current statement, it seems they now intend to introduce the charges without informing customers, on the basis they are somehow pre-existing charges and therefore nothing is changing.

Not only would such action contradict everything else Vodafone has said (Vodafone has repeatedly stated these are new charges), but the vast majority of customers don't read the forums and so will be unaware of them.

This afternoon, we've sent a list of questions on behalf of customers to Vodafone’s Head of Web Relations, Jakub Hrabovsky. Here's the email:

Hello Jakub,

The topic of Vodafone's data charges continues with precious few straight answers coming from Vodafone, and now staff in the Vodafone eForums are refusing to comment on the matter. Can I therefore ask the following questions on behalf of your customers?

- Why do your staff keep linking the 97% claim concerning data bundle usage to the 500MB FUP allowance, when you told us yourself that figure is for data bundles of all sizes, including 1GB and larger? It's obvious that customers with a 1GB bundle will exceed their bundle far less than those with a 500MB allowance, so to use the statistic and refer to 500MB allowances is meaningless and misleading. In fact it's completely irrelevant and impossible to make such a statement, yet your staff are using it to justify the new charges.

Bitterwallet - Vodafone claim over 500MB allowance

- Are you still introducing new charges on 1 June? Are you still modifying the contracts of existing customers, as you confirmed to us that you were?

- If the answer to either of these questions is yes, when will customers be informed of the changes?

- Your official (and constantly edited) statement on the matter states there will be no changes to charges (Question 17), yet the same statement states there is no previously published rate for these charges (Question 15). Are these charges new, as you first announced on 6 May, or not? If not, why have they not been published before?

- Would you accept that in the past, Vodafone staff have misled consumers over the point of the Fair Use Policy, since staff have repeatedly defined excessive or heavy use as peer-2-peer filesharing and use of the handset as a modem, not as all usage over 500MB?

- Would you agree that having only enough data to watch two 3 minute YouTube videos a day ( the figure given in Vodafone's recent press ad) is a significant disadvantage to customers with a smartphone?

I think you'll agree these are very straight forward questions and your customers will be keen to hear your response.


Paul Smith
Editor | Bitterwallet

We've asked for a reply by tomorrow afternoon; we'll let you know the outcome, one way or another.

TOPICS:   Mobile


  • Daniel Z.
    Nice work again Paul! Maybe you should have sent a copy to Ofcom and Otelo too... I wonder if they're doing anything about all of this...
  • The B.
    Daniel, you live in a world of pure fantasy if you think that Ofcom will do anything about this, Ofcom is simply an old boys network of ex Telco staff, utterly inefficient and well and truly in the Telco's pockets. Actually that pretty much applies to all of the regulatory bodies in the UK.
  • Daniel Z.
    Hi Real Bob, that's a good point, I should know better, I've been complaining about Ofcom since the whole world was using ADSL and BT were still insisting on Dial Up...
  • Vodafone s.
    I'm not a Vodafone customer, but I do hate them and am interested in how this pans out.
  • N20Y1D
    Did you ever get an answer to this : BW: The question was about the standard terms, not pricing; will there be a change to standard terms from 1 June? We posed that final question at 5 o’clock yesterday and are still waiting to hear from Jakob. Next:
  • Matt
    This whole cloak and dagger rubbish is getting tedious, regardless of whether they actually manage to wriggle out of the vast swathe of contract termination requests they are going to be swamped with, they have lost a huge amount of respect and trust from Smart Phone users. (Of which you would imagine reside most of their highest spending customers) I've stuck with VF for over a decade, but in that time I've witnessed a steady decline in the way they treat their customers and it seems to have culminated in this outright exploitation of their shoddy T&Cs.
  • W R.
    Good to see you are still on the case. I wished I stayed with O2 who offer such a superior customer service that you don't actually appreciate it until you move! Vodafone's service is appalling. I fail to actually see how they can make a profit given their appalling track record. These sneaky changes are just the start at trying to make even more profit.
  • Laurz
    Is 500mb really "enough to read and reply to 10,000 emails, download 25 Google maps AND read 8,300 BBC News stories" with 500mb? How big is the average google map because it seems very hard to believe that I can read 10,000 emails, reply to 10,000 emails, read 8,300 bbc news stories (so at least 28,300 web pages then and thats without taking into account that I will need to navigate to these pages) and still have enough mb's left to download another 25 google maps.
  • Dank
    Vodafone clearly are the mobile network equivalent of scurvy, and are about as much fun to deal with as a case of haemorrhoids. Bet this Jakub fella doesn't bother responding, just a hint...
  • Paul S.
    @N20Y1D - yep, the answer was here: http://www.bitterwallet.com/vodafone-statements-contract-changes-and-statistics/29526 BW: Will there be a change to standard terms from 1 June? JH: Yes, there will be minor changes; in particular in the price plan documentation outlining the process of notifying customers before they incur out of bundle charges It's another point that contradicts the current statement that states there are no changes being made. A phrase about arses and elbows springs to mind.
  • Ben
    You'll all be pleased to know Vodafone profits have "doubled to £8.7bn" http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/epic/vod/7738075/Vodafone-profits-double-to-8.7bn.html And that's without the increased data charges!Hmm still they do need the cash.
  • Rory G.
    Nice work Bitterwallet!
  • That t.
    Who do you go to, to complain about Ofcom? And if they're shit, who do you go to to complain about them? I'm going to complain to your mum.
  • Ron
    I downloaded a few app updates, browsed about 15 web pages. Looked at google maps twice. I am on 200 mb. Sort it out Vodafone
  • Brian's U.
    Apps for the jesus phone can be 200MB (streetfighter for example) and sandstorm (182MB) so if you buy these from the app store you have used up 382MB of your monthly allowance in 5 minutes! I'm not sure 500MB is reasonable tbh.
  • Daniel Z.
    "I’m going to complain to your mum." - lol
  • Dank
    Well I be damned. No response from Jakub? Tsk!
  • Tim
    And still no response!
  • dunfyboy
    Is this still going on? Isn't it time people just realised they're going to get shat on if they have a contract with Vodafone. Or T Mobile. Or Orange. Or O2. Or 3. OFTEL are fucking useless.
  • thehill
    is this all realted to mobile phone contracts or does it apply to datacards as well - not sure if they make any distinction. i have got a 3G usb dongle on a 3GB 'mobile broadband' plan - trying to do a bit of reserach to find my t's and c's from when i connected
  • Tristan K.
    Should I hang-fire with my Voda cancellation letter? Does that letter actually work for getting out of the contract? cheers

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