Vodafone’s False Promises
When I moved to Mumbai 2 years back, I opted for Vodafone because of two major reasons -
- My girlfriend (now wife) and my father were on Vodafone.
- A lot of my friends convinced me that Vodafone had the best coverage in Mumbai.
Now, I am the kind of guy who is online every waking hour, and some more. I need connectivity on my Mac, my iPhone, iPad, TV, and if possible, even my ass. Needless to say, my Internet usage is much higher than any regular Joe.
Anyway, May 2012, Aircel had come up with some very interesting 3G plans, and I decided to port out, since both Vodafone and Airtel, two of India’s leading mobile service providers, had crazy expensive plans. And so, one fine day, I sent out a sms so that I could shift to Aircel without losing my phone number.
Then started the incessant calls from Vodafone asking me not to port out, and if they could do anything for me. So, I told them what my concern was, and why I wanted to port out of Vodafone. It was simple.
I wanted a better 3G plan. Their official 3G plan would max out at a cap of 8GB, and I needed a minimum of 10GB. Additionally, I felt Rs 1,250 was a little too much for 8GB.
A few days later, one of the Vodafone representatives called me and offered a plan of 12GB at the price of Rs 1,250. I finally agreed with it, especially since I was not too keen to go through the hassles of porting out.
So, on May 2012, my 3G was officially shifted to the plan named Rental_MI_VOL_2500_30d_3G at the cost of Rs 1,250 per month.
During the months between June and December 2012, I was consistently charged Rs 1,250 for the above mentioned 3G plans.
I am a lazy person, and I do not scrutinise my phone bills too hard, usually. I just pay them off dutifully as and when I get the notification. I kept paying my bills that way, until the month of May. On 4th of May, 2013, I discovered that Vodafone had been charging me Rs 2,500 every month for the 3G plan Rental_MI_VOL_2500_30d_3G since January 2013. Now, I can very well understand that Vodafone decided to roll revert to its original plan cost. But what puzzled me was the fact that Vodafone never informed me about the change - be it via SMS, phone call, or even an email.
Complaints and Corrective Measures
On 6th May, 2013, I visited the Vodafone Store in Irla, Vile Parle (W), and complained about the anomaly. The Store representative provided me with a reference number of 610819619 and assured me that someone from Vodafone will call me back with a solution in 72 hours.
5 days passed by, but I got no call back from Vodafone. Then I contacted their Billing section on their complaint number 198 and told them about it. They again assured me a call back within 48 hours, but that never happened. This cat and mouse game continued for 2 more weeks.
On 21st May, 2013, I decided to write an email to email@example.com informing them about the problem. Within an hour, I got an automated reply from them informing that they received my email. That’s all. No more communication from Vodafone on this regard.
Since 21st of May till today, I kept calling them up almost every alternate day, trying to sort out the problem. Every time I got the promise of a call back within 48 hours, but that never happened.
In the interim, Vodafone representatives kept calling me to pay the bills of May and June, and I kept telling them that I wouldn’t pay them a single penny until they sorted out my issue. Again, they promised me a call back within 48 hours, but nobody followed through with it.
On the 16th of June, 2013, when one more Vodafone representative assured me of a call back, I insisted for a reference number of the request, hoping this might force them to follow through. The reference number was 13544334410, and yes, you guessed it right. Nobody called back from Vodafone.
For the last 1 week, my outgoing has been barred, I have no 3G connection on my phone, and I am even wary of asking Vodafone to fuck off and move to a different carrier because I do not wish to lose my number. I do not wish to go through the ordeal of sending out a new phone number to all my friends, family, and colleagues yet again.
This blog post could be my way of venting out my frustration. It could also be a hope that someone from Vodafone might read it some day and help me with a general solution. One thing is for sure, I am badly stuck right now.
Nevertheless, I am glad that my wife is a lawyer. And I am just learning my ropes before I decide to send out a legal notice to them. I have had enough. It’s time to fight back for my rights, rather than running away from the mess.