Vodafone screw the screwed, just because they can

20 December 2010

Bitterwallet - Vodafone logo

If you own a Vodafone mobile, you'd be advised to guard it like the breath in your lungs depends on it. Why? Well, the latest shitty trick they're pulling is to blame their own customers for having their phones stolen.

The Guardian has a report about a man with a stupid face called Stephen Jensen. His bill is usually around £35 a month. However, when Vodafone debited £644 from his account in September, he became suspicious. Fact is, while he was out of the country, his phone got nicked and the thief was making loads of pricey calls to Pakistan.

When the phone was finally reported as missing, they informed him that he was liable for all calls and could they please have more than £7,000, thanks. He could well have replied with: "Only if you pay your taxes you dicks." He didn't.

Of course, Vodafone sent the bailiffs out and the whole tale became increasingly more sorry with each turn. It seems that, should your phone be stolen, Vodafone are quite willing to not give a shit. More peculiar is the way they go about checking if your phone is pinched.

Instead of sending you an email (the one they send your statements to, or indeed, sending you a letter or getting in touch with an alternate number), Vodafone have had the bright idea to send texts to the stolen phone, asking whether you're making the calls abroad. It seems Vodafone have great faith in burglars confessing all to them in such an event.

So basically, Vodafone will notice that your pattern of calls has become irregular, but they're not willing to help out if the phone has indeed been stolen without you knowing.

A spokeswoman says: "At Vodafone we have 18.9 million customers, many of whom make international calls. We do alert customers when we become aware of an unusually high spending pattern but there is no automatic barring of calls. Our customers tell us that they do not want us to do this as it can cause great inconvenience. It is the customer's responsibility to tell us when their phone has been lost or stolen. Until we are informed, the customer is responsible for any charges.

"After looking at this case again from top to bottom we have decided to remove all charges incurred by the loss or theft of Mr Jenson's phone as a gesture of goodwill."

They fail to mention that this 'gesture of goodwill' only came about after 2 weeks of being chased by The Guardian.  So remember kids, if your phone is stolen and you're on Vodafone, send a national newspaper after them or they'll never believe a word you say.

TOPICS:   Technology   Mobile   Consumer Advice   Scams


  • jones
    This is all clearly the fault of Mr. Jensen for taking out a Vodafone contract in the first place. The whole company is run by a bunch of hairy nobsacks.
  • Harry N.
    @ jones You are wrong, I work for Dixons.
  • Will
    Ok so a guy has his contract phone stolen.....doesn't inform Vodafone and expects Vodafone to wave the bill because of his stupidity....err why ? If he had done what he should have in the first place it wouldn't be an issue.
  • Robstar
    Why didnt he have a pin lock on his phone? I read the T&C's on my Voda contract and it said that I would not be liable for any calls after the phone has been reported as stolen and not before. Makes me carful about where I leave it and what security it has. Although Iphone pins are not particularly secure
  • Bloke
    Seems to me that there's a huge contributory negligence factor at play here. If Vodafone are stupid enough to have a security procedure that requires a thief to admit to his theft, they should be to blame for every cost incurred after that text was sent out. Vodafone recognised an unusual usage pattern and their reaction to it was insufficient. Seems like a breach of duty of care to me.
  • Alexis
    "Of course, Vodafone sent the bailiffs" You mean debt collectors a.k.a. powerless letter writers Bailiffs become involved after losing in county court and then not paying within 28 days. Schoolboy error BW!
  • bob
    Oh, I see Bitterwallet, newspapers are useful again are they? Make your minds up eh?
  • Daniel
    I'd go with that Bloke. Also, it's not as if any of their customers really do want to make £7000 worth of mobile calls either. Just the ones who have their phone stolen. Also everyone.... 3 mobile managed to block my GF's phone after making just £150 worth of calls. Good on them I say...
  • BBking
    It would take a lot to get a mobile phone company into a country court. They'll just whack a huge default notice on your credit file, which will effect your ability to get credit for 6 years. Unlike banks and credit card companies, who are regulated by the consumer credit act, phone companies can give you a default without trying to resolve a dispute. It's a bit of a scandal really.

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