Mobile invoice shock

Remember when Telkom Directory Services would call you up and ask you if your advert was in order? After saying yes, as you changed nothing, your monthly bill was increased by R500 for the next 24 months? Well, Telkom has made way for the new kid on the block…..

Vodacom is not the worst mobile provider, sometimes when your call drops for no reason, you may think so, but to be honest I think they have the best offering available and have had for a very long time. But don’t believe for second they are your buddy and have your best interests at heart!

My contract was up for renewal last year August. As there was a device financed on the contract, my thinking was that I would leave the contract as it was and I would save some money, as I did not have the device repayment… (now let’s bank this for a second, while a second part of the sorry tale is introduced.)

In August my electronic invoices and statements from Vodacom, mysteriously stopped being delivered (no change in email address and it is my main email address) – I only picked it up in October/November, contacted the call centre, who promised me it would be restored, and again I forgot about it.

Strangely enough in the same month my invoices stopped arriving, according to Vodacom, I subscribed to a mobile game for R7 per day.

Last week, I wondered into Vodacom Service Centre to upgrade my contract and get a new phone as my Huawei battery was about to burst through the protective cover. Before I started to discuss a new contract, I wanted to see my invoices for the company for the last 6 months. To my horror I discovered:

1.     At the end of my previous contract, there was a discount of R191 against the plan I chose – that stopped in September. So, my contract just increased for the same service I had received for the last two years.

2.     Games charges between R170 to R188 per month since August.

What shocked me was the reaction of the consultant who took my phone and entered a code which stopped all content services/games from 3rd parties and assumed the problem was solved. It seems to happen so often that it has become a non-issue for the company and staff. She then told me that if I wanted to have the fraud investigated, I had to email Vodacom Business Unit – which I now have done, but you would expect a Service Centre to offer a Service!

I then told the consultant about my invoices, and she logged another call, promising me it was now sorted.

My last issue was that with the Vodacom Online portal, I could not see any invoices or statements on the system as I needed permission from the account holder, which is me. Again, she told me to send them an email – which I have done.

Vodacom, here are a few suggestions:

1.     Get your Service Centres servicing your clients, that is what they expect when they come to you for help. Emailing you should be the last resort.

2.     At the end of a 2-year contract, call your clients (I am sure you can afford it and the calls cost even less for you) – tell them the contract is expiring and ask them to come into your service centre or help them over the phone.

3.     You have such fancy systems for squeezing out every last cent out of a call billing, design an alert to stop 3rd party billing after a month if the client has not played the GAME they mysteriously subscribed to.

Tips for Mobile Contract Clients:

1.     When your contract expires, get to your Service Centre and discuss the new contract, even if you don’t want a new device, packages continue to evolve and what worked 2 years ago might be rather costly now.

2.     Don’t be like me and make sure you get your bill and go through it every single month.

3.     Cancel any content services/games – Dial *155#, then choose option 1 (view and unsubscribe), then choose option 1 (Cancel all) or choose option 2 to view individual subscription services and thereafter cancel them.

Malcolm Pearson
Tech4Law

3 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Peter.

    It is so sad that many corporations seem to think the ticket to success is to remove yourself from the customer. It cuts costs, but loses the relationship, which is key to a long and successful business relationship.

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