Vodafone - statements, contract changes and statistics

14 May 2010

We've already posted extensively on Vodafone today, but here's the official response to our earlier unanswered questions, and a couple of others we asked for clarification on. They have been answered by Jakub Hrabovsky, Head of Web Relations.

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

We'll have to wait until Vodafone issues official confirmation of this, but as we've pointed out on numerous occasions, any modification of the terms requires 30 days notice, not 14.

BW: When quoting the 97% figure, are you referring to data allowances of 500MB only, or all data allowances of all sizes that are available?

JH: I think I’m repeating myself here when I say that it’s for all our mobile internet bundle subscribers. So yes, all data allowances.

This is a bizarre admission. Throughout the week, Vodafone has told customers they are worrying unnecessarily about the new data charges, because 97% of customers with a 500MB monthly allowance never reach it, leaving just 3% that use more than their 500MB allowance:

Bitterwallet - 97% statistic

In our earlier dialogue with Jakub and elsewhere on their forums, this statistic has been repeated in the context of 500MB data allowances. But if it includes all data allowances, the statistic is both meaningless and misleading, because it includes customers with far higher data allowances who are far less likely to exceed their allowance.

It's impossible to determine how many customers with a 500MB monthly allowance are in danger of exceeding it. The point of asking the question was to allow Vodafone to help themselves and remove any ambiguity; they haven't done that at all.

BW: When describing mobile data allowances in the past, Vodafone has described them as "unlimited, subject to FUP". It's clear that Vodafone are imposing hard limits on data usage now (which will incur charges if breached more than twice) - what would you say to customers who feel they've been misled by claims of unlimited data?

JH: Vodafone’s always referred to unlimited as subject to FUP as you say and we’ve always said that customers will be charged for out of bundle usage. However, when we sell our handsets (like the HTC Desire) we’re not selling those on unlimited plans. The reason for this is that we believe that it’s only fair to our customers.

As far as we're aware, the term unlimited was only removed from the tariffs on the Vodafone website in the past week.

We'd love to know what you make of all of this. If you receive any formal notification from Vodafone concerning the changes, please send it to us at [email protected], and we'll come back to you after the weekend.

TOPICS:   Privacy


  • Tony
    I, as have many others, bought my Desire contract from Vodafone, and can state quite categorically that it was not sold with a 500mb hard cap. It was sold as unlimited, with a soft FUP - verified by numerous members of VF staff. And subsequently verified that I would NOT be charged for exceeding their FUP. The goalposts have most certainly changed - and yes - you are quite correct, the 500mb replaced the previous 'unlimited' (in their adverts etc) just over the last week. It is quite amusing though that their site is still littered with reference to 'unlimited' internet - something that they'll find incredibly difficult to get rid of quickly, as it's contained within so many of their documents.
  • N20Y1D
    If you go to the HTC Desire on the vodafone site and select any of the tarrifs with 500mb and click "Full details" it states quote: Want cracking value? Thats exactly what you get with our 24 month price plans. For just £25 you get a whopping 100 minutes, 500 texts and unlimited Mobile Internet and webmail. You also get to pick from our great range of phones. unquote.
  • Daniel Z.
    Another great article Paul! If we ignore the first two months... It's clear that Vodafone are removing the FUP and Unlimited use. They're also introducing a new fee of £5 per 500mb of data. Both of these actions are completely unfair. The other thing to note is how their 'claim' of unlimited data now matches exactly with their new fee of £5 per 500mb... Which means one of two things have certainly happened... They have either removed the unlimited use, or their new charges of £5 per 500mb of data use also have to be classified as unlimited, in which case they can only charge their new and existing users once each time they purchase 500mb of data... It's a bit of a catch 22 for them...
  • Daniel Z.
    It was a bit of a catch 22 sentence to write too :/
  • Mark
    I actually think you are being far too harsh on vodafone. BTW, Their own website hasn't mentioned unlimited data for quite some time - like months. At least on the main "special offer: 500meg data included" comments under each tariff? To compare them to o2 is a little unfair too - their network still works.
  • Spark
    Well fortunately my contract is up at the end of June anyway so Vodafone can fuck off.
  • Steven B.
    @Mark People signed contracts before their website changed. This is what is being disputed, the proposed changes means a breach of contract
  • Paul N.
    It still promotes unlimited data Mark.
  • Brad
    Sorry to gang up on you Mark, but within 5 clicks I was able to find a mention of 'unlimited access to mobile internet and email" on their contract pages. But fair play to Vodafone for keeping up the charade, most other company's by now would have buckled and put their hands up and said fair cop, gotta admire the stamina, they might need it when the huge amount of cancelled contracts start to pile up.
  • Smithdogg
    This is all fucking balls. I'm on contract with them until January 2012 - with a Nokia N900, which is officially promoted as an "Internet Tablet", not as a phone. I use it to make Skype calls, push email, weather, use multiple instant messaging calls, etc. A 500mb limit would simply cripple it, make it utterly useless. There was no mention of a FUP when I bought it, and even so, for an "Internet Tablet" it should be far closer to the 3GB or so that's allowed for laptop dongles. I've sent my version of the template letter you provided to them, awaiting a reply...
  • Smithdogg
    Another thing I forgot to add to my previous comment - Every now and then, Vodafone push a update to my N900's OS, Maemo, over the air. It usually weighs in at around 150mb, and deletes all the apps I currently have installed, which then require downloading again (50-100mb, usually). So every time they decide to update, that's at worst half of my monthly allowance, GONE. Is that "Fair Use"?
  • N20Y1D
    Mark: http://i41.tinypic.com/14o8tmt.jpg
  • Ben
    @N20Y1D that image is quite interesting, the red "sim card" style image says "75 minutes, 250 text" then the blurb under it says 100 minutes, 500 text! I wonder which it is?!
  • dunfyboy
    I fell out with VF last year because of their crappy firmware. Looks like I got out just in time. Except I went to shiT-Mobile who have already changed their T&Cs just so they can crap on their customers from a slightly greater height.
    Hi, I just bought a vodafone 24m contract yesterday with a ‘unlimted’ data access as per Vodafone customer representative. I made the purchase in store. Can I cancel the contract witout incurring cancellation fees. Thx
  • AlexWilla
    After keeping a close eye on this ive been doing some tracking on my usage and in the last 5 days its over 200mb using things like LastFM, Email, YouTube, Google Maps Nav and other apps. I suppose my main question is can i actually cancel my contract with no charges if either i dont get enough notice on a change of T&C's or if the change causes my bill to increase by 10% or more? Also in this case do i have to send the phone back or would I just part ways with VF ?
  • frankwii
    its bad enough changing terms of contract after having for less than a month , they are now charging 400% for roaming data abroad . any more changes without consulting their customers?
  • Mark
    Meh - gang up all you want if I'm wrong! I was going off the new contracts bit. I struggle to hate on vodafone too much because 1) I have a (good) sim only contract that I don't want to get out of. 2) They've upped me to 1gb data because I complained about this issue 3) I hate o2 far more! I do see why people are annoyed, but its not as big a change as Orange and T-Mob tried. Vodafone will eventually give up though - the CS I spoke to already sounded tired of it all on Thursday!
  • Chris
    That's good to read that they have upped your data, but presumably you are using either an iPhone or Nexus One? I've failed to get a decent response to being missold my contract (in regards to the data allowance and limit/fup) and so far have tried 191 and then been contacted by representatives of the Vodafone Directors Office. No luck so far, i am hoping a new enquiry to a Consumer Action Forum where Vodafone post and have a good track record of dealing with 'issues' will bear more fruit.
  • Matt
    I spoke to Vodafone last week regarding the 500MB hard cap on my HTC Desire and after listening to my complaint, they upped my allowance to 1GB with free Wi-Fi (as per the iPhone contract). I'm perfectly happy with this as it gives me about 30MB per day - no need to cancel my contract.
  • Vodafone’s B.
    [...] 14 May, Vodafone finally responded to our questions, admitting; the 97% claim concerned all data allowances, not just 500MB but far higher allowances, too (meaning it was a misleading statistic used out of [...]
  • brian r.
    The way Vodafone has dealt with this is terrible, For the post few days the vodafone staff are deleting and ignoring our posts. There has been many questions asked but nobody will answer.
  • Vodafone B.
    [...] 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 [...]
  • A B.
    [...] first, Vodafone stated they would change the contracts of their customers, but refused to inform customers of these changes. So far, this hasn’t happened. While the [...]
  • A B.
    [...] first, Vodafone stated they would change the contracts of their customers, but refused to inform customers of these changes. So far, this hasn’t happened. While the [...]

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