Vodafone Misleads Consumers

02/12/2011 14:46

All Vodafone network consumers are strongly advised to be cautious of the company’s hyped and publicised promotions which ends quietly not known to many.

The Council is extremely disappointed with Vodafone’s unfriendly customer service approach used whilst ending a promotion on overseas calls.

An unhappy and frustrated consumer brought his concern to the Council’s attention because he felt cheated and robbed. The complainant via a text message from Vodafone was informed that a 30 minute call to overseas would cost 75cents and this was ‘available until further notice’.

The complainant on 30th November 2011 made a call to USA and spoke for 22minutes. Upon enquiry with Vodafone’s Live Chat Service, the customer was shocked to discover that he was charged $15.40 for that 22minute call because he expected the call to cost him 75cents only. The complainant was unaware that the promotion had ended as he did not receive any update via text message on his phone.

The Council questions Vodafone’s ethics when doing such promotions where consumers are informed of a promotion using one medium and notified of the end of the promotion using another. Why is the difference in notifying public when promoting a product and when ending a promotion?

Vodafone has admitted that the particular promotion end date was advertised in the daily newspapers   on the same day with the promotion ending at midnight. The Council would like to know why Vodafone could not advice consumers of the promotion end date using the same text blast medium it used to publicise and attract consumers to buy their product.

Vodafone had also miserably failed to advise consumers in advance rather than on the same day which is too short notice for many and it would require one to read newspapers. The text message said “available until further notice” when on the same day Vodafone advertised that the promotion ends at midnight. This message could have been included in the same text message as the end of promotion was known.

Upon enquiry, Vodafone in their response said it was not always easy for them to advice customers the end date of a promotion in advance as there were many factors that determined these in a competitive market. They have not been able to explain what these “many factors” are. This is certainly not the customer friendly approach which Vodafone boasts about every now and then.

Vodafone also clarified that consumers were not informed of the end of this promotion via text blast message as some consumers either did not fully read the text or deleted without reading. Hence the company felt it was convenient to advertise in newspapers for their own record as evidence. This is a strange explanation by Vodafone as it believes that text message worked to attract customers will work but a text message to inform consumers on the end of promotion will not work. It would have been worthy for Vodafone to advertise the end date of the promotion via text as well as in the newspapers. Through this consumers will be fully informed about the start and end date of the promotion.  Amazingly this approach was not adopted by Vodafone. One should not forget that there are consumers who rely heavily on text messages for such promotions by Vodafone which is more convenient and accessible.

This excuse given by Vodafone is simply lame and the deceptive manner in which Vodafone tried to make money is shameful. There are many others who were affected and not just this one case alone. Deluding and misleading the consumers is just not acceptable.

It is outrageous to note that Vodafone publicises a promotion to its peak with all flashy words to lure consumers and ends it on a quiet note

The Council calls on Vodafone to advertise the start and end of promotions in the same manner using the same medium. The company also has a responsibility to inform the consumers in advance of the promotion end date and this should be consistent for all promotions.

Vodafone should do the right thing and refund all misled consumers under this particular promotion as they did for the highlighted case upon Council’s intervention.

Consumers are advised to seek refunds from Vodafone if they have been affected.