UPDATE September 2011:
Read my new post 20k Australians want in on class action against Vodafone
Original post follows:
- Jump up and down and make a lot of noise in Vodafone’s direction (contact their support line (1300 650 410), their Twitter account (@VodafoneAU_help) and fax their complaints line (03 6210 3362)
- When you manage to connect with a human, try to act at least a bit nice and understand that ruining their day by acting like an asshat isn’t going to make them want to help you
- Tell them what your complaint is and what workarounds you’ve undertaken to attempt to solve the issue yourself (also proving that you’re not a muppet when it comes to tech). If you think it breaches terms of the contract, explain it. Mention that you know that you have the right to contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) if the issue isn’t resolved satisfactorily
- Use the word “unacceptable”. It’s always worked well for me
- Tell them what you want to happen to resolve the issue, and give justification for it
- At least try to be fair in the negotiation if they want to, say, make you give back your iPhone in return for cancelling the contract
- Regardless of the outcome, be appreciative to your support person (a.k.a. don’t shoot the messenger) and thank them for their efforts
For most of the last 10-15 years, I was a happy Vodafone customer. Until I got an iPhone 3GS in January this year on a 2-year contract.
iPhone + Vodafone = optional coverage, phone call connectivity and voicemail delivery.
In June, my car battery died, at home, causing the alarm to SCREAM INCESSANTLY AT ME THAT THE BATTERY HAD DIED. For 10 minutes, while sat in an area claiming to have full phone reception, I was unable to make a single call. It would either refuse to make the call, or would dropout.
Then, in July, while mum was still in hospital, I had a voicemail message that wasn’t delivered for three days. Turned out that it was a known issue and Vodafone had sent a notification text to every customer except me to tell me about the problem.
For a few months now I have been very open about my dream to ditch Vodafone and get an HTC Desire from Telstra. I’d had enough of being Apple’s lapdog, too, because I knew my phone issues were just as much Apple’s fault as Vodafone’s. But to break my contract 16 months early was going to cost me over $1,000 under their Early Exit Fee clause, and I’d resigned myself to the fact that I was stuck.
But Thursday morning was the last straw when 3G coverage was non-existent for several hours. I didn’t even get a text message that had been sent to me the night before. Fired up, I sat on hold to Vodafone support for EIGHTY MINUTES and gave up in frustration. I sent DMs to their Twitter support account and sent a dirty fax to their complaints department:
I heard back from Kirsty from Vodafone’s support Twitter account and I have to tell you, this woman is a superstar. I emailed her all the workarounds that failed me (I hate being told by support staff to turn off 3G on my iPhone like I have NO IDEA how to do these things). I told her what my beef was and I told her what outcome I wanted:
Here’s where Kirsty earns her superstar rating: within 2 hours, Kirsty had agreed and processed the cancellation of my contract – 16 months early – without charing me the Early Exit Fee. All I have to do is return my iPhone next week.
Amazing. That should have cost me almost $1,100.
If the rest of Vodafone worked as well as Kirsty, then I’d still be with them.
But I’m with Telstra now, with my HTC Desire. I have no idea how to use the Desire yet, but I’m working on it.
I still can’t quite believe that I actually got to break my contract for free!
Have you had success with breaking a contract with a mobile phone provider? How did you manage it?