Product Type: Vodafone in Telecommunications Services
Newest Review: ... tend to last from anything to 12 to 24 months. I don't have any experience with Vodafone contracts, but I get the feeling it works... more
A word Vodafone don't appreciate: LOYALTY
Member Name: AULUS
Date: 24/01/02, updated on 24/01/02 (1125 review reads)
Advantages: Great coverage, Good customer service - with exceptions
Disadvantages: Expensive, Poor loyalty, Very poor loyalty!
I've been a mobile phone owner since I was 17, over 10 years now, and from day one I was a Vodafone customer dealing direct with Vodafone Connect... from a rather a large and heavy phone in the early days.
During those 11 years I made full use of Vodafone's discounting on new phones, allowing me to try a new one every 12 months for a fee of around £50. I couldn't have been happier with their service... but that changed dramatically over the last 2 years.
I'm no expert on tariffs and having always dealt with Vodafone directly I have never needed to enter a Carphone Warehouse or Phones4U store. I always felt that by dealing direct I was getting the best service at the best price.
Now I consider 11 years of custom to be worthy of something, with that being some loyalty back in return. During a two year period with Vodafone my bills were at least £250 every month, my biggest bill a whopping £400. But this was business use and I spent a good percentage of every day using my phone.
Examining my bill has never been high on my priorities, when a mobile phone bill becomes something you put on your business expenses you tend not to look at it too hard.
It was only upon changing jobs and losing both the necessity to use the phone all day, plus the ability to have my bill paid through expenses, that made be start looking closely at the bills I received.
The first thing I noticed was the charge of ten pence for every time my voice mail called me back with a message. As my 'letter to vodafone' below explains, it could become quite an expensive service to have the benefit of, especially if like me having the phone right beside you is not possible when you are stuck in a busy office... in this scenario a phone is a personal object for personal communication, and my phone spent a lot of time either left in my car, or stuck at the bottom of a bag.
I can remember in particular a long morning me
eting that I attended about 18 months ago, when I left the meeting and checked the phone Vodafone Voicemail had called me up 27 times with three voice messages. I have also, on more than one occasion, been woken at 3am by voicemail.
So that upset me, handing out cash for a service that I could not stop from calling me*, all I could do was switch the service off.
* Vodafone Voicemail does not allow you to access your voicemail as and when you see fit, it either calls you over and over until you answer, or you disable the service completely.
My second gripe with Vodafone was my tariff. With line rental charged first, and the tariff second, I was paying roughly £35 a month to own the phone... let alone use it.
And the benefits of that tariff were lost on me as the sight of free calls on my itemised bill, an extra £2.50 per month by the way, was very rare indeed.
So early in 2001 I decided to write to Vodafone questioning my tariff choice, 'Am I on the most suitabel tariff?' was the simple question, and I never got a reply.
So later in the year I called them up and spoke to a rather pleasant customer service representative. Was I on the best tariff? No. Was it Vodafone's duty to inform me about my poor, and highly expensive, choice of tariff, one which was first recommended to me by Vodafone anyhow? No. It was up to me and me only.
So I instructed the service representative to put me on the cheapest tariff as I believed I was being ripped off in the name of profits. I was told that I was making an unwise choice and that my bills would be greater than of previous. I stuck to my guns, made my demands and would you know it? My bills went down dramatically. By this time though I had already decided to end my time with Vodafone, and just two weeks ago my 11 expensive years with them was over; this is how I told them:
I would like to give
you notice that I wish my contract with you to be terminated as of the January 2002.
I have been with Vodafone for over ten years now, on two separate numbers. I feel that I can no longer support your market domination with my custom for the following reasons:
1) The lack of loyalty you have shown me in return for my custom, namely that I have been for quite some time using an unsuitable tariff. I have as a result been paying over the odds for my phone usage, and I find it of some dismay that it is I, the customer that has to investigate my tariff options rather than have you, the service provider, inform me of them.
2) The way in which I could have a message left on my Voice Messaging System at the moment that, for example, I jump in the shower. Only to find that when I leave the shower ten minutes later I have racked up 40 pence in charges from four missed messaging service calls. This I believe makes your service more expensive, per minute, than the aforementioned hot shower.
3) Your expensive 'missed messaging calls-financed' sponsorship of Manchester United FC, though I won't accuse you of jumping on the media bandwagon that is this football club. I, as a loyal supporter of Liverpool FC in almost the same manner as I have been loyal to you, find this unacceptable and now wish your company the same impending long period of hard times as are now being witnessed at Old Trafford.
The future is now for me, bright and Orange. The future of English football is Liverpool FC, so please don't ever try and sponsor them as well. I do have a theory that your name, logo and sponsorship are a bad luck charm - let's hope so!
Yours Sincerely, Me!
Yes, I did go over the top a little with the Man Utd sponsorship and I was a little cheeky but in my eyes they deserved all they got from a customer who spent so much money with them and got so little back.
As the lett
er states, I am now moving to Orange, a network I have heard some mixed reviews on but a network that does not charge for missed messaging calls, and a network that calls you to tell you that your tariff choice is unsuitable for your usage.
Oh, and itemised bills are free.
Will I be happy? Let's hope so, I was happy with Vodafone but in hindsight I could be one, maybe two thousand pounds richer today had I been more scrupulous some years ago.
So in summary, although I am moving networks now, I am doing so at a time when the mobile phone market has reached it's peak, there are no more new subscribers and as a result some great deals out there to be had for those seeking their first phone, or those like me who are questioning their tariff and bills.
My Orange deal will see me get a spanky new Nokia for nothing, with a monthly line-rental-inclusive tariff of £17.50. I'll be paying half what I used to just to own the phone.
If you are looking to get a mobile phone currently then make sure you check out all the main network operators, all their tariff options and ask all the right questions. If you don't then you, like me over a long period of years, could be out of pocket to the tune af a fine little sum, enough in my case to take me away from the damp and chilly UK on a nice holiday somewhere hot.
One final note: I am currently spending about one month without a mobile phone as a result of switching networks. Living without a phone for a while is one thing I recommend everyone do once in a while. The peace, the quiet, the bliss... ahhhh!
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