Vodafone has come up with a line to explain away the “record number of complaints” it has recently received:
Vodafone Hutchison – the nation’s third-biggest phone company with seven million customers – says it received a record number of complaints coinciding with the launch of the Apple iPhone 4 this year, The Australian reports.
“Our view was that some customers were using the complaints process as a means of seeking to upgrade their mobile handset for free to the iPhone 4,” the company says in its submission to the Australian Communications and Media Authority inquiry into telcos’ customer service.
As a Vodafone customer who loses several important telephone calls daily to dropouts, as the sad owner for almost two years of a piece-of-rubbish Blackberry 9000 handset that regularly crashes and requires rebooting (which process takes a good 15 minutes), and as someone who has had to deal with their ridiculously unresponsive customer care line (40 minutes on hold last time, after the voice robot and I determined that understanding plain English was beyond it), I have an alternative theory to explain these complaints:
VODAFONE IS A TERRIBLE TELEPHONE COMPANY.
They’ve spent the last two or more years shoving people onto the network without adequately expanding it to meet the demand. They’ve been pocketing the extra money and not putting it towards running something that could reasonably referred to in the 21st century as a “mobile service”. They certainly haven’t put it towards employing customer care staff who can actually talk to Vodafone customers in anything approaching a reasonable time, or a call answering system that isn’t faulty and murderously frustrating.
I’m two months out from the end of my contract. I could upgrade to a new handset, like an iPhone 4, for free, right now – but only by signing on for another two years with Vodafone. No thanks. I’ve had enough. I’ve talked with the TIO, and I’m getting the hell out of there.
But I feel sorry for the Vodafone customers left behind – those who let themselves be bought off with a handset upgrade. I’m hoping ACMA and the TIO can see through the company’s rather unconvincing defence, and that something can be done to help those poor people.
PS Vodafone’s the third biggest network with 7 million customers? So Optus and Telstra each have at least 7 million, meaning the total mobile phone using population of the country is over 21 million? In a country of 22 million! Just how young are children getting mobile phones these days?