Nov 19, 2018

Dancers are the athletes of God - Albert Einstein

Vodafone Mobile Broadband – Cost Problems Using Abroad – Be Very Careful. Also Poor Customer Care.

I’ve just been over to Turkey for 4 days and it was also the first time to try out my Vodafone Mobile Broadband modem abroad. The reason I went to Vodafone (who don’t supply my mobile phone – that’s T-Mobile) was because they do reasonably cheap use abroad – £9.99/day for up to 50Mb. That’s not all countries – the list is here: http://www.abroad.vodafone.co.uk/index.cfm?do=abroad.blackberry&me=a3&nu=1&le=3&business=true&sn=s7&wtcgn=(business)Using%20your%20data%20abroad&wtcgs=Costs

Before going I checked that Turkey was in the £10/day footprint and I also downloaded the latest version of Vodafone Mobile Connect which in the release notes mentioned having a Turkey specific update, though I can’t recall what now. Although I download the full version of connect sometimes the system just seems to use the Light version on the USB Modem – an E172. Before going I also did all the Windows updating – although I never have it setup to auto update, just warn me if there are updates, I don’t want to run any risk of Windows forgetting and downloading huge updates.

In Turkey the link seem to work intermittently – picking up different providers I think, but I didn’t take a note. I did though see if the software could bring up a list of providers that I might select from, but could find no option like that. But I don’t think I should need to do any of this – it really ought to just sort itself out and that’s what it did. I was able though look at the graph of Use on the Connect software and it was showing 25Mb for the month, which was after 2 days use – so nowhere near the 50 MB per day. And that’s intuitively correct – I just want to check emails and do some light surfing while away enjoying myself. Then the modem just stopped working. I had no idea why.

I got back to the UK yesterday and tried and use the modem today and still it was not working. So I try to login to my account on the Vodafone website using normal broadband – and the account seems to deactivated.

So I ring up and get put on hold while investigations are made. The lady comes back saying the bill was very high because I had been using the phone (its not a phone!) abroad and its £10/Mbyte. So I explain its not a phone and it only cost £10/day. And she says that Turkey isn’t in Europe and it doesn’t count. And i say I checked the website and it is in the plan. More consulting while I am on hold. And then she says I must have used more then 50 Mbytes and then it £5/Mybte. And i don’t believe this.

So I ask how much do I owe and she says she doesn’t know. Credit Control apparently  disabled the account and there is talk about £120, but no detail and the detail will not be known until the next bill. So Vodafone might be claiming I used more even

I’m now very nervous:

1) I’ve used the system as advertised and not excessively and yet I am being told I owe a lot of money.
2) Vodfone send no email or call or anything to warn me that the account was suspended – appalling.
2) Vodafone customer service don’t really seem to be at all familiar with price plans – I find myself talking to somebody who was clutching at straws to justify what had happened rather then realising the price plan I was on and really understanding what may have happened. Even with the detail numbers  known I worry about having a conversation with the ordinary customer care people who seem to front things.

I am now very, very nervous about using abroad – the only reason I’m with Vodafone. Luckily I am not going abroad for a while now. But this is not good.

I’d welcome other views and experiences and war stories about who one should ask to talk to if one finds oneself in this position. Also when will costs be known? What might have happened etc.

But for the moment I remain very apprehensive of Vodafone’s ability to deliver a solution (PC hardware/software and billing/roaming) that properly honours the sales proposition and just seamlessly works at the cost stated.

comments

2 Responses to “Vodafone Mobile Broadband – Cost Problems Using Abroad – Be Very Careful. Also Poor Customer Care.”

  1. admin on December 17th, 2008

    Just to add that the above was posted on the Vodafone eForum and Vodafone have responded a number of times. As I write, 9 days on from raising this, the position on costs etc is still not known – anyway worth a gander:
    http://forum.vodafone.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=13422

  2. admin on July 22nd, 2009

    I thought I had updated this some long time ago – back in January 2009 – and it seems I did not.

    I’m pleased to say it all got resolved. If you look at the Vodafone eForum thread I opened you will see it took a lot of effort but eventually somebody properly investigated. Here is my final post on the eForum:


    James (Vodafone eForum Team) actually sorted it out – to whom very great thanks. Here is what he said:

    “From what I can see the account was suspended due to the system not taking your Price Plan into consideration.

    In your Price plan you are charged at £10 per 24 hour period with a 50 MB fair usage cap however, the system did not pick this up and calculated your usage as if you were paying £4.11 per MB (this is what was charged on the older Price Plans) due to this your account was suspended for 2 days whilst this was sorted out…”

    So that explains what happened and puts my mind at rest re other charges – I’m just being charged £10/day for each of the 2 days I used the USB modem and there will be no other charges.

    What conclusions do I draw from all this…

    1) Vodafone, via this forum are very keen to respond quickly and positively to support issues and that is appreciated. However many interactions can have a bit of a superficial, rapid response regardless, feel (sorry), rather then really reading what may have been said and actively burrowing back into other parts of Vodafone to check things out. I’m grateful to James – very – for finally getting to the bottom of it, but in an ideal world it would not take over 3 weeks of persistence to achieve this. So to the eForum I say well done Vodafone for having it and staffing it well, though I think the ways of working are perhaps not always optimal for a problem like mine.

    2) If you have a problem overseas don’t do as I did and assume its probably the hardware gone faulty. Contact Vodafone to see if you have been excommunicated and if so what might have happened and might be done.

    3) You need to do some work before going abroad to check things re the £10 deal (or any other one) – some of this is identified above.

    4) Use VMC Lite if you can – it seems far better supported. The latest Full Version of VMC (9.3.3) seems to have a functionality gap and the advice is to use an earlier version. (However there is a post in this thread that disputes this).

    5) Vodafone do have some links that offer some help when going abroad, however I think a really comprehensive page should be composed giving clear step by step guidance on preparing, software to be used etc.

    All up I got the USB Modem because I wanted to use abroad at £10/day when needed and, after a lot of hassle, this actually proved to be the case. Hopefully the price-plan error was a one off and all should be smoother another time.


    The complete discussion is here:
    http://forum.vodafone.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=13422&st=0

    and my final post is umber 26 – comment here if you like but do read the full context on the Voda eForum.

    Finally I should say that I have been abroad a couple of times since and each time the Vodafone account has done what it should and just charged my £10 a day. Happiness!

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