Sunday 16 December 2007

What Do You Think Of Your Mobile Phone Company?

I ask because mine thinks I'm a complete moron and I think they are scumbags.

I recently privatised my mobile phone - by this I mean I took over ownership of it rather than losing it as Intel would no longer be paying the bill. To be fair to the Vodafone they have provided me with a decent enough service for years and they were happy to transfer ownership of the account and number to me fairly painlessly. I was given a (paper!) application form that I had to fill in and fax (! again) to one of their account people. As it happens I was allowed to scan it in and email the image instead but the whole idea is so anachronistic that I don't know whether to laugh or cry about it. After all I'm now paying them to keep someone employed who's job is basically to transcribe forms that customers have filled in into a system that frankly would be far more efficient if they just let us do that ourselves. Anyway I asked to be signed up to their cheapest "Bundle" deal that also allowed me to continue to make use of GPRS data since on reading their web site it appeared that their rates for data under this bundle were something like:

  • €2.00 for the first 50Mb of data per day
  • Excess charged at €5 per Mb

The first part of that is a lot more than I'd like to pay but it's better than the "standard" €5 per Meg that otherwise would apply. Since I had access to 3 years of billing detail and I knew that I never use more than 50Mb on any day so this at least would cap things at a sort of affordable level. (Sort of ) Happy days.

My bill arrived earlier this week and lo and behold:

  • Call charges €0.00
  • Roaming Call Charges: €1.22
  • Messages: €0.36 (for a couple of messages while in the UK)
  • Data: €48.41 ( 11.5Meg across various sessions on 19 days)

Like WTF? It appears that I'm being charged the full €5 per meg after VAT for all data. They apparently didn't register my selection for signing up for Mobile Data when I signed up. So I should have checked that, right? Only problem with that is that the way to check that is to sign into their web site and log in using some details from your bill. So you can't check if your initial billing is set up correctly until you get your first bill.

So there is a mistake and surprise, surprise I'm the one who pays the price for it. I'm very sorry folks but when things like this happen they are not mistakes. The system is designed so that if any errors are made they will always benefit the company and not the customer. I am certain that if I check on the couple of dozen other people who transferred their phones at the same time as me we will find >90% of them in error and the beneficiary in each case wont be the customer.

I will be giving them a piece of my mind on that problem in due course but now that I see that I have a problem I go to fix it. The details on the data packages have changed and It appears (but it isn't totally clear) that what I need to do is sign up for their Mobile Internet package:

Vodafone Bundle

Does this make sense to anyone?? Like how much does a browsing session that pulls down 75K of data cost? 0K ? 10Mb? What about 5Mb every day for 10 days? 20 days?

The only other data rate information that I can find at the moment are these alternatives:

Vodafone Stadard Data 

Again I ask with tears in my eyes - does this make any sense?

So anyway for the moment I'm going to hope that the €9.99 per month package will effectively cost me less than €5 per Meg so I've signed up. At this point I notice that I'm being told that my selection of this "Add On" is "Pending" and will only take effect after my next bill.

Clearly they think I'm both stupid and a sucker. They are right on the second part of that but only because their competitors appear to be even worse than them but at this rate of going I am sorely tempted to tell them to take their service and stick it where the sun doesn't shine.

Some day I hope I will be able to find a Cellular Provider who can deliver a reasonable service at a reasonable price but at the moment I am forced to continue to remain convinced that they are scumbags. 

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