Remember that company that I blogged about a few days ago? The one that the first part of the word rhymes with ‘yoda’, and the second part is a misspelling of ‘phone’? With me? Good. Well, I’ve just heard something interesting on the anonymous tips grapevine. And sod it, in the interest of free speech I’m going to name them.
A while back, in November 2006 to be precise, Vodafone had a little problem with overcharging their customers for premium SMS. It wasn’t a huge amount of overcharging – an additional 12p per premium SMS to be precise – but all those 12p’s added up. Quite a bit of press coverage later, and a rather embarrasing Vodafone press office initially denying all reports, and they admitted their was a problem. A few weeks later of refunding and wiping egg off their face, it all went quiet.
Roll forward to April 2007. My source indicates that Vodafone have been at it again for at least two weeks, but this time we’re talking a huge amount of overcharging. Apparently, due to a ‘malfunction’ in one of their billing engines, thousands of Vodafone customers were being charged £5 for *every* premium SMS they received – whatever the tariff. So 25p plus normal network charges would end up costing you over a fiver. Text your favourite radio station a handful of times in one day and you could easily be £20-£30 out of pocket.
Of course everythings fine and dandy in the land of Vodafone as they claim to have fixed the problem and refunded everybody at the end of April. With interest, compensation for inconvenience, and a nice goodwill gesture for being so utterly crap? I doubt it somehow.
It’s yet another nail in coffin for the world of premium SMS – and what with consumer awareness of premium sms and voice ‘rip-offs’ at an all time high of late, no wonder they want to keep it quiet.