If you’re a Vodafone customer, it’s worth checking your bills. This is because Ofcom found that Vodafone charged some pay-as-you-go customers but didn’t put credit on their phones and failed to follow the rules on handling customer complaints.
The mobile provider is facing a two-part fine – the first totalling £3.7m for the money lost by pay-as-you-go customers, and the second fine of £925,000 for failing to comply with complaints handling rules. That adds up to total fines of more than £4.6 million.
To give you an idea of how this will affect you as a Vodafone customer and why you should check your bills, we're taking you through the details.
What went wrong?
Ofcom’s investigation into Vodafone found that around 10,450 pay-as-you-go customers lost £150,000 in total between December 2013 and April 2015. This is because Vodafone didn’t credit their accounts after they topped up their mobile.
The regulator claims that Vodafone didn't act quick enough to identify or correct this problem. Vodafone says this happened when it moved to a new billing system.
The second part of the investigation identified a failure in the company's customer service procedures. Staff members weren’t properly told what to class as a complaint and unclear processes meant that not all complaints were appropriately dealt with. Customers were not always told in writing that they could take an unresolved complaint to a third-party resolution scheme after eight weeks either.
What does this mean for me?
Vodafone has apologised for the breaches and provided a refund to most of its affected customers –the average refund per customer was £14.35.
With that said, if you’re a Vodafone customer, you should still check the following.
Vodafone bills – dig out your Vodafone bills and review the details. Check that you're on the right tariff, paying what you expect to and haven't paid more than this in the past.
Bank statements – even if your bills look correct, you should check your bank statements just in case. See that payments are taken through Direct Debit, and that you're not paying more than you should be. If you've cancelled your mobile phone contract, make sure you're not still paying for it.
Your credit score – if you do find any mistakes, check to see whether it's affected your credit history. You can get your credit report for free through services like Noddle, ClearScore and Experian's CreditMatcher. You should get in touch with Vodafone to rectify the mistake if anything has gone wrong.
Had a complaint with Vodafone in the past? It might be worth revisiting the outcome of it and take your complaint to a third-party resolution scheme like Cisas and Ombudsman Services: Communications if you didn't do so at the time.
If this is not the first time you've had an issue with the mobile provider, it might be worth considering what other deals are out there – you can get tips on how to switch your mobile phone network in our blog.