A while ago, if you recall, I swapped from using T-Mobile to Vodafone, for my primary mobile telecommunications needs. It was a big deal for me because I’ve massively disagreed with the operator’s pricing strategy for years. 35 pence per minute to call a friend on another network (out of bundle) is frankly, in this day and age, nothing short of a joke.
12.5 pence per text message, too, (again, out of bundle) is just ridiculous.
But I took the plunge. I needed the confidence of being able to speak to people on my handset reliably. T-Mobile just kept on cutting out.
I got an 18 month contract and a Nokia E90 from Vodafone. What’s more, I loaded up, *big time*, with allowances. I didn’t want massive bill shock. I still remember getting my invoices from years ago when I was originally with Vodafone and trying to figure out how I was using up so much money (hundreds of pounds per month) on something that, really, shouldn’t be that expensive.
My first month’s invoice came and, well, it was pushing 400 pounds. No bother, I thought. Why? Well I was the idiot who ran up a stupid bill calling the UK from America. I mistakenly thought that Vodafone Passport, their much advertised international roaming service, applied to America. America’s a first-world country, right? Surely it’s the same as France. No. 125p or 135p a minute. I can’t quite recall but I blew a good few hundred with that mistake. Fair enough. I should have checked.
My second month’s bill has just arrived electronically. It’s well over 300 quid. Again.
I’ve got three lines on my Vodafone account. The first two — a Blackberry and a USB modem are fine. 25 quid’s worth between them.
It’s my main account number – the Nokia E90 – that’s ridiculous.
Read this breakdown for that number and weep:
So what are you seeing? First, you’re seeing Â£68 quid spent on 3,000 minutes to any mobile handset, 500 inclusive texts and unlimited landline calls. I’d need to be a total communications freak to go over this, right?
Then you see the 7.50 mobile data bundle with 500mb inclusive. Then insurance. Then 8 quid’s worth of fooking annoying ‘calls’. Fair enough.
Well, actually, NOT fair enough. That 8 quid is how Vodafone rakes in more cash from you when you call 0800 numbers, 0870 numbers and what not. 8 quid is manageable.
Move your eyes to the final row: Messaging, Mobile Browsing & Data.
One hundred and eighty seven quid? Or 220 quid including VAT.
I haven’t been using my handset stupidly. I haven’t been sending every single photo I’ve taken to Flickr via ShoZu. I’ve only sent the *relevant* ones. You have to piss about being selective when you’re being restricted to 120mb or 500mb per month inclusive.
James Whatley, regular SMS Text News contributor, assures me that, despite his copious data usage on his Vodafone account, he’s never once been billed more than 7.50/month.
I’ve done some QIK videos. But few and far between. I’ve been incredibly careful (which has really annoyed me. I didn’t bother when I used T-Mobile or Three).
I’m going to call Vodafone’s Customer Services tomorrow and establish exactly what this 220 quid accounts for. I’m pretty sure it’s not text messaging. It’s gotta be sodding data, hasn’t it?
If it’s data and if I’m being charged ridiculous per megabyte fees, I’ll demand a refund. Now I know that I signed the contract etc., etc., but we’re in the year 2008. Half way through it. This kind of billing is entirely unacceptable. I haven’t used the service copiously. And if it’s going to cost me 220 quid in extra charges per month to hardly use the service then, bollocks to that.
I will demand a refund on this 220 quid. Absolutely RIDICULOUS.
Further, I’ll demand 10gb of data per month at a rate of 20 pounds per month. That works for me.
It is, I’m sure you will agree, highly unlikely that customer services will react favourably to this. No bother. I understand their position. But I need to get this out of my system and I want to give them a chance to retain my custom.
I could have bought an N95 8GB on 3UK at 30 odd quid a month and used it for 6 months for the cost of these additional data charges — for one month!
So if I can’t get this resolved tomorrow, then I will swap at 5pm today to another provider.
What’s your perspective?