Is Vodafone’s new Eurotariff just charging people more through the backdoor?

11 July 2012

vodafoneWe all love Vodafone. And they are saving so much money in not paying UK tax that they are bound to be “giving something back” and making life for their UK customers a little bit easier. We’re all in this together remember.

Anyway, last month, Vodafone announced a shiny new Eurotraveller tariff for UK users, which would allow customers to “enjoy more value for money when using their voice, text and mobile internet whilst travelling in Europe.” The basic premise is that for £3 a day you can use your UK calls, text and data allowances, rather than paying shockingly expensive roaming rates. Sounds like a bargain huh? Sounds too good to be true? Sounds like some people are going to get shafted.

Avid Bitterwallet reader Matt contacted us (via our facebook page if you are that way inclined) to explain that, far from saving him money, Vodafone was proposing to increase his monthly charges many times over.

You see, what Vodafone failed to mention is that this shiny new Eurotraveller replaces the Passport scheme for calls and the DataTraveller scheme for data in Europe. The passport scheme offered access to free calls within your UK limits for a one-off call connection fee of 75p and DataTraveller gave 25mb of data a day for just £10 a month. You can still get some of these services on pay as you go.

Admittedly, if Matt was a chatty sort, then he may be better off paying £3 a day instead of multiple 75p connection charges, but Matt is actually very grumpy and hates talking to people (when abroad) unless absolutely necessary. What he does like, however, is emailing his many friends, using data of less than 25mb a day.

So Vodafone’s shiny new scheme will now cost Matt £90 a month (£3 a day for 30 days) instead of £10. Which is quite a difference. If Matt was going to Majorca for a week, perhaps he would just shake his head at the barely concealed sneaky price increase. However, as Matt is about to spend a European year abroad, this is somewhat a more painful issue.

So Matt tried to cancel his contract. After all, mobile phone companies can’t just go changing prices on you without giving you the option to cancel can they? Um.

The relevant section of Vodafone’s terms are as follows:

11b    You may end this agreement by writing to us if:

•    we don’t do something fundamental that we should have done under this agreement (for example, if there is a complete failure of the network for seven days in a row due to something we have done), within seven days of you asking us in writing;
•    we tell you that there will be an increase in the line-rental charge (unless we increase line rental because of a rise in VAT) by more than the increase in the retail price index (worked out as a percentage) since the last line-rental increase and you write to us before the increase applies;
•    we increase your charges in the UK which has the effect of increasing your total charges (based on your usage in any of the previous three months) by more than 10% and you write to us before the increase applies; or
•    we change this agreement to your significant disadvantage including changing or withdrawing services (we will tell you if this is the case) and you write to us within one month of us telling you about the change. This does not apply if the change or withdrawal relates to services which you can cancel without us ending this agreement.

Vodafone have informed Matt that he cannot cancel under the 10% increase rule as that only applies to UK services. While Matt has a pretty hefty case that he has been put at a “significant disadvantage” by the changes, the clause specifically doesn't apply to cancellable services. Like Euro/DataTraveller.

So it looks like Vodafone have stitched him, and others like him, up like a kipper, but did we expect anything less? Vodafone have claimed that they were obliged to revisit their Euro offering following the EU ruling on price caps for roaming charges. This is a lie- the EU themselves say “These price caps are the maximum permissible prices. Operators are free to offer cheaper rates: be on the lookout for better deals!”

We contacted Vodafone to ask for their comment. They didn’t have one.

TOPICS:   World News   Mobile

25 comments

  • Raggedy
    Easy. Get a 3 sim or some other provider that does a better deal while you're abroad and don't use your vodaphone sim. They can't charge you for something you don't use. And ditch your contract asap and slag them off on every conceivable online forum as is humanly possible.
  • ShakesHeadSadly
    Crud. I was just thinking of signing up to a 24 month contract with these clowns. Then YOU have to go and remind me what a bunch of tax dodging scum they are. Don't care about the euro rates going up. Would never use them anyway. But I do care about them not paying taxes....
  • Anne I.
    *Chortle* You said back door and that's a rude expression *Chortle*.
  • Matt
    You can see the discontent among customers here: http://forum.vodafone.co.uk/t5/Pay-Monthly-Services/Eurotraveller-questions/m-p/1194843 (yes, now 14 pages long!) @ Raggedy I would cancel if Vodafone would cancel it free of charge. I have posted a comment on every advert I have been able to find for Euro Traveller and both written and spoken to Vodafone who refuse to let me cancel... I will be leaving at the first chance I get. How is 3's coverage these days? @ShakesHeadSadly I am glad you did not end up taking out the contract!
  • Rolo
    T-Mobile have a bolt on with £10 giving 50Mb of data which can be used in anything up to a month. If this is used up too soon you can buy another. At least this will give a basic email service in Europe, which is probably what many people will want.
  • Jason
    BULLSHIT!! This is a lot of bullshit to mislead your readers! Eurotraveller is optional and it only applies if you Opt in via the automatic phone line!! So if you don't ask for it you won't be charged £3 and you will only pay normal roaming costs!!! (you love it huh? £200 bill?)
  • Matt
    The fact is I had Passport and Data Data Traveller which Vodafone have just removed and I upgraded again with Vodafone because of these services which I had been regularly using. So why should I let Vodafone just replace them with a more expensive service without warning and be given no alternative but the standard roaming rates and not be allowed to cancel?
  • Richard K.
    I love to charge people through their back doors, although I would rather just smash them in.
  • PaulS
    If you know you are going to spend a year abroad why on earth did you renew? As nice as it may be keeping your UK number getting a cheap pay as you go deal in each country you go into would probably work out cheaper. These services have nothing to do with the contract you renewed, they are extras which can change at the drop of a hat. If you do not want to pay the charge then leave your phone at home.
  • Chewbacca
    I used this for a few days when I was away. TBH, £9 for basically unlimited texts/calls/data (which is what I get on my contract) isn't all that bad. Certainly, if I was going away for longer then I'd just buy a sim for that country, but this "deal" suited me down to the ground.
  • Graeme M.
    I'm in the same boat as Matt. Although clause 11b stitches us up, I'm hoping that clause 7b might be used to terminate the contract: - "We may change or withdraw services at any time and we may change or introduce new terms to this agreement at any time. If we do, we’ll give you at least 30 days’ notice of these changes. If these changes are to your significant disadvantage, you may have a right to end this agreement under clause 11b and we’ll tell you if you do." This clause doesn't have the stipulation at the end that services that can be cancelled without terminating the contract aren't included, and I think it could easily be argued that these changes are to our 'significant disadvantage' albeit a financial one.
  • Matt
    @ Graeme It's awful isn't it? Yes, clause 11b sure does. I'm with you all the way in trying to end my agreement due to the changes being a "significant disadvantage". However, 7b does refer to 11b.
  • Matt
    @ PaulS I renewed because it works out cheaper to use my UK SIM for long calls and even within the same country than it does with a local SIM. It also works out great when I have no coverage on my local SIM because I can use any network.
  • Chewbacca
    Yep, it may be fashionable for the stupid and meek to slate (sic) "Vodaphone" (christ, how hard is it to spell Vodafone properly you fucking cretinous cunts?), but the fact remains that Eurotraveller can actually be useful. What a shitty blog this is.
  • Matt
    @ Chewbacca I know that Euro Traveller is useful for many customers but for others it isn't. I don't understand why Vodafone could not still offer Passport and Data Traveller and have Euro Traveller alongside it. Then they would have all bases covered and everyone happy. One last thing. I don't see the need to swear so much when there's no need for it.
  • Graeme M.
    @Chewbacca Not doubting that Eurotraveller can be useful, the point is there are some of us who had Datatraveller bundled in have now had it removed with no say in the matter. If I went abroad for the month of May and used 25MB of data every day I'd have come back to no extra charges on my bill. If I go abroad for the whole of August and used 25MB of data every day I'd have charges of over £90 added to my bill.
  • Chewbacca
    @Matt "One last thing. I don’t see the need to swear so much when there’s no need for it." You're new here, aren't you? Anyway, all I said was that Eurotraveller can be useful, I'm not denying some other people may well have been shafted at the same time. And you can't deny that people spelling Vodafone, "Vodaphone" (EVEN WHEN IT'S SPELT CORRECTLY AT THE TOP OF THIS PAGE) is infuriating. Doesn't it make you want to chop off their head and shit down their stupid throats?! Exactly.
  • Matt
    No, I am not new. This is just the first time I have commented on an article. There is no need to be patronising. I have been shafted and I am not just having a go at Vodafone just because you may think it is "fashionable" to do so at the moment. I am annoyed at them and want to leave because the old services were ideal for me, removed without any notice, the new one just isn't and Vodafone customers get no say in the matter. I am not denying people are spelling Vodafone incorrectly and don't quite understand why they are when it Vodafone appears throughout the article! Nevertheless, no matter how people write the company name, it does not change what Vodafone have done.
  • Chewbacca
    Matt, Matt, Matt... I know you're trying and all, and I actually agree with you. Vodafone have treated you very shoddily. But. This isn't the place I'm afraid. You see, BitterWallet's "owners" have abandoned the comments pages to trolls with learning difficulties and broderline sociopathic tendencies. They simply don't want to promote this site as place for useful debate or consumer advice, instead sucking up any human detritus that passes this way. Sorry Matt, but you'd be better off on HUKD. Or even MSE, god forbid. Bitterwallet is for trolls, and that's the way they want it. Sorry man.
  • Trollateriat
    I like Vodafone - they taste like yum. Much better than those cunts at O2.
  • PaulS
    To be honest this whole thing just sounds like buyers remorse - trying to wrangle their way out of a lengthy legally binding contract for free. I am sure every Vodafone customer would say they are going abroad for a year if it meant ending their contracts early for nothing. You will not be able to use clause 7b as that refers to services provided and the EuroTraveller stuff is an extra - which will be defined seperately in the terms of the contract.
  • Matt
    @ PaulS No, it isn't. I can prove I am going away and they know I have been using Passport and Data Traveller.
  • Matthew H.
    Whoever wrote the comment pretending to Vodafone... Do you really think I would believe it was really Vodafone?
  • @Mark
    Its amazing how little knowledge can make a credible story sound compelling but in the end be just rubbish. If you dont use your phone euro regs mean you have the right to pay just regulated rates , which are 70p a mb, 9p a text and 8p a min call. So opt out of passport and dont opt into eurotraveller. However, if you do use more than £3 of any of these combinations then eurotraveller will be worth having. And if you want to opt in one day and opt out the next so you can have quieter days then you can do this really easily! If you had Passport and Data traveller - made a couple of calls at 75p connection charge, a couple of texts at 11p and data at £2 a day for upto 25mb then you would have spent £3.72. I personally think eurotraveller is really good value and now means worry free usage when I am away for the price of a beer!
  • tony
    I had this precise problem After consulting a lawyer friend, I wrote to vodafone's leagl department informing them that since I was told passport was available when discussing the contract at point of sale, it became a verbal component of my contract with them and verbal contract clauses are enforceable under English law. I told then that I therefore considered them in breach of contract. Since they were refusing to issue a PAC I would wait until they issued one (at the end of my contract in about 5 months) and then claim the value of the contract from the date of my letter to the date of issue of the PAC, through the County Court. Result: Call from vodafone 2 days later informing me they were sending me a PAC today without applying any penalty. Chalk one up for the consumer!!!

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