Here’s how to get your complaint sorted as Martin Lewis warns users to check their bills
If you’ve got a problem with Vodafone then you have the right to get it fixed – we explain
BY TARA EVANS
MILLIONS of Vodafone customers are being urged to check their bills and bank statements for errors, after the company was fined millions of pounds for making mistakes.
The telecoms firm has been fined £4.6million Ofcom because of the way it dealt with customer complaints.
The regulator also said that it misled pay-as-you-go customers, charging them for top-up credit that never materialised on their accounts.
The fine has raised concerned from experts that a large number of customers may still be experiencing problems.
Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert, said that he had already received “thousands of complaints from Vodafone customers” and these were likely to be a “drop in the ocean compared with the amount of people likely affected, as most people don’t rigorously check their bills or tariffs.”
In June, the website issued a Vodafone customers after it uncovered a huge number of problems with billing, incorrect tariffs, customer service and other issues.
It also found that some customers has had their credit score negatively affected.
He added: “It’s pleasing to see that the regulator has caught up, however, that doesn’t change the fact that Vodafone has been mischarging substantial numbers of customers.
“This fine isn’t enough. Actually, the real cost to Vodafone will be fixing the tens of thousands more bills that are wrong and potential ensuing credit score problems. This is a crucial reminder if you’re a Vodafone customer that your bills might be wrong.”
Vodafone is blaming the problems on errors that were made during a complex IT change to its systems – this affected 28.5million customers.
Martin Lewis says the complaints could be just the “tip of the iceberg”
Today it said that it “deeply regretted” the mistakes and apologised to customers.
A Vodafone spokesman told The Sun Online: “Millions of customers went through migration process and were unaffected by problems.
“We’ve seen a drop in complaints of about 50 per cent since last November.”
How did Vodafone break the rules?
The regulator found that it had charged more than 10,000 pay-as-you-go customers for credit but not topped them up. This dates back to a period between December 2013 and April last year.
It paid back the £150,000 collectively lost over a 17 month period to the vast majority of customers.
Ofcom also found that its staff were not prepared to deal with complaints and it did not follow rules on how they should be handled. This relates to the period between January 2014 and November last year.
The £4.6million fine is the biggest ever issued to a telecoms firm. However, the whole sum goes to the Treasury.
The company also made a £100,000 donation to a number of UK charities.
How to complain and get your problem solved
If you’ve got an unresolved dispute with Vodafone – or any mobile provider – then you have a right to get it fixed.
Firstly, complain to the company. Vodafone says that the quickest way to get a complaint sorted is by calling them on 08080 044 900. The number is free from UK landlines and mobiles. You can see more about how to complain to Vodafone on its website.
If you’ve tried this – and you’ve been waiting more than eight weeks – or you’re unhappy with their response then you can take your complaint to the Ombudsman.
You will need to include information about your problem, what you’ve lost in terms of financial loss or distress and what you want them to do to put it right.
Vodafone uses Ombudsman Services: Communications. Its free service will independently review your complaint and make Vodafone sort it out, if they rule in your favour. You can find more information on www.os-communications.org.
TalkTalk’s DSL-3780 router is affected
Thousands of TalkTalk and Post Office customers have had their internet access cut by an attack targeting certain types of internet routers.
A spokeswoman for the Post Office told the BBC that the problem began on Sunday and had affected about 100,000 of its customers.
Talk Talk also confirmed that some of its customers had been affected, and it was working on a fix.
It is not yet known who is responsible for the attack.
Earlier in the week, Germany’s Deutsche Telekom revealed that up to 900,000 of its customers had lost their internet connection as a result of the attack.
The Post Office provides a broadband service that runs off the back of TalkTalk’s service
It involves the use of a modified form of the Mirai worm – a type of malware that is spread via hijacked computers, which causes damage to equipment powered by Linux-based operating systems.
Mirai was also involved in an earlier attack that caused several of the world’s leading websites to become inaccessible, including Spotify, Twitter and Reddit.
Several models of router are vulnerable to the latest cyber-assault, including the Zyxel AMG1302, which is used by the Post Office.
“We would like to reassure customers that no personal data or devices have been compromised,” said the Post Office’s spokeswoman.
“We have identified the source of the problem and implemented a resolution which is currently being rolled out to all customers.
“For those customers who are still having problems, we are advising them to reboot their router.”
Doing so causes the machine to make use of updated software.
Zyxel’s AMG1302 router fell victim to the Mirai worm
The same router is also used by Kcom, an internet service provider (ISP) based in Hull, whose customers have also been affected.
“The vast majority of our customers are now able to connect to and use their broadband service as usual,” the firm said in a statement.
“Our core network was not affected at any time and we have put in place measures to block future attacks from impacting our customers’ routers and their ability to access the internet.”
TalkTalk also confirmed that its D-Link DSL-3780 routers were affected but said only a small percentage of its customers used them.
“Along with other ISPs in the UK and abroad, we are taking steps to review the potential impacts of the Mirai worm,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.
“We have deployed additional network-level controls to further protect our customers.”
Security researchers had previously suggested that the routers were vulnerable to the Mirai malware.
One expert warned there could be worse to come.
“The next step for attackers could be to hack into other home devices once they gain access to the router, like web cams, smart TVs, or thermostats,” said Pavel Sramek from the cybersecurity firm Avast.
The AirSelfie is controlled by a virtual joystick through an app. It has a 5MP camera which can also record HD videos. The mini-drone has already reached its crowdfunding goal and will be available to buy for around £150 from March 2017. Produced by Leon Siciliano
A UK start-up has created a pocket-sized drone that fits in a case along with your smartphone.
The AirSelfie is controlled by a virtual joystick through an app. It has a 5MP camera which can also record HD videos.
The mini-drone has already reached its crowdfunding goal and will be available to buy for around £150 from March 2017.
Produced by Leon Siciliano
Zach Wasser contributed to an earlier version of this story.
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How does the system work?
The customer is greeted with a series of automated questions and responds by pressing the appropriate numbers on their telephone keypad.
The system looks up the account details of the customer to find out their outstanding payments.
To make a payment, the customer enters their credit/debit card details and the transaction amount they wish to pay.
At the end of the transaction, the customer can request confirmation via SMS, post or email, subject to data availability.
Benefits at a glance…
Reduces costs; Increases cash flow; Expands opening hours through 24/7 access; Increases security; Reduces call queues; Real-time transactions; SMS text messaging for balance updates, transaction confirmation or receipts.
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Benefits in more detail…
Each time you make a phone call or send a letter to a customer to remind them or inform them of a payment due, this has a cost to you, in both time and money. By offering an automated telephone payments service, you save time and money! The two most common offered ways to make a payment are via the Internet or over the counter at the housing office.
Using their telephone keypad, the caller enters their card details to make the payment. Payment is confirmed and processed. The caller can now request a confirmation to be sent via SMS, post or email.
Everyone has access to the Internet and not everyone can get to the payments office within normal working hours. However, with this solution all that is required from a customer is that they have access to a telephone.
Offering this method of payment means that customers are more likely to make their payments regularly and on time.
Customers wishing to make a payment will no longer be put in a queue to speak to a person, which cuts down their call time and frees up your telephone lines.
This solution does not require you to employ more staff or extend staff working hours, and yet it does extend your opening hours to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Please contact us to discuss your requirements in more detail
24/7 Automated Credit Card Payments
Our Telepay Payment Portal enables customers to make payments anytime, anywhere via a fully automated payment system using their credit card.
Take payments over the phone 24/7, 365 days a year.
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Take fast and secure online payments via a link to your own website or via our secure virtual terminal.
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Benefits at a glance
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Telepay Payment Portal is used by councils, housing associations, GP surgeries, bailiffs, parking enforcement companies and schools as a proven way of reducing costs and improving cash flow.
Call David Williams on 0870 124 0870 or Email : email@example.com to find out more
Keyline provides Virtual Freephone 0800 Business Telephone Numbers free of all service charges during year one, you only pay for your calls.
In year two we will request a monthly service charge of £5 in addition to your call costs.
Call Keyline UK Customer Services today on Freephone 0800 077 6311 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org for your Freephone 0800 Number (s)
When you’ve worked hard to get your business started up, the last thing you need is for your company to start losing money because your customers are put off by an expensive telephone number, or through missed telephone calls.
A virtual business telephone system is the ideal way to solve these issues as it will provide a cheap, reliable and professional way for your customers to contact you. Introducing a Freephone 0800 number will enable your customers to call your company as many times as they wish, without the worry of how much the calls are costing.
All 0800 numbers can be re-directed to a either a landline or a mobile or as a ” Hunt Group ”
How do free 0800 numbers work?
An 0800 number allows customers to contact a company directly without any cost to them. The costs for the calls can be bundled into a monthly package, much like a mobile phone contract, except you are paying for incoming minutes. The number can be re-directed to either a landline or mobile of your choice, with the peace of mind that the number can be changed easily by you via your own secure online web portal so new phones or office moves will no longer have an impact on your contact information.
Research suggests that providing an 0800 number to your customers can increase enquiries by as much as 175%, so it can be well worth the small investment.
How does your business benefit?
A professional business phone number will give your customers confidence, as this implies that your company is a large, renowned and well-established organisation.
Along with the number, your new non-geographic phone number will feature a complete call management package. This will include:
Introducing a professional voicemail system will mean that even if you are not available to answer any calls, the caller will be greeted by a voicemail message that is unique to your company. Any voicemails can be listened to remotely, or delivered to your email inbox as an audio file in real time.
… Welcome message
When someone calls your business number they will be greeted by a welcome message, which can be personalised to your company.
An auto-attendant will allow your customers to be forwarded to the correct person or department, this will bring an end to time spent answering calls that were meant for a different person or office.
A fax-to-email service will mean any communications via fax are delivered straight to an email address of your choice as a file attachment. This can then be stored electronically, without the need to waste paper and time scanning documents to your computer.
In addition to all of the above, you can gain access to call statistics and call recording. You can listen back to any calls made on your system, and view call logs which contain information such as how long calls are lasting. All of which will significantly increase your company’s level of customer service.
Keyline is a leading specialist in call management services and non-geographic virtual business telephone numbers operating from three UK sites and one in Dublin.