Vodafone UK suffered yet another billing-related PR disaster as some of its customers piled up huge charges while roaming and were consequently disconnected.
The incidents took place over the weekend, just in time to make it onto mainstream media grateful for something to report on a Monday morning. One of the first Vodafone customers to flag the matter up on Twitter was David Maddison, whose trip to Malta was compromised by him suddenly being hit with five grand in charges that he wasn’t expecting.
@VodafoneUK Been charged £5k for c200mb data in Malta last night. I’ve been here a week and used probably 10gig without a problem. Tried calling Vodafone this afternoon and after an hour my network has been cut off! So can’t even contact you. HELP pic.twitter.com/eYserfYxmb
— David Maddison (@dmaddison3) October 13, 2019
After a few hours Vodafone tweeted that it was aware of the problem and promised customers would not be incorrectly billed. This was apparently insufficient for Andy Pearch, also travelling in Malta, who was seriously stressing out about being incorrectly billed. He was eventually placated by Vodafone, but remained unimpressed by the speed with which the problem was addressed.
This is a JOKE! £4903 on my bill and now I get a text informing me I’m cut off till I pay some of my bill. Stress of this is ruining my holiday but Vodafone don’t care
— Andy Pearch (@pearchandy1) October 14, 2019
“We are very sorry that yesterday, some customers could not use data or calling services when roaming abroad,” said Vodafone’s emailed statement. “This was due to a technical error, which we have now fixed. Any affected customer should restart their phone to ensure that services are resumed.
“As a result of the issue, some customers are receiving billing messages in error; we are working through these as an urgent priority and removing any errors from customer accounts. Customers will not be charged and do not need to worry about contacting us as we are proactively checking accounts and fixing any issues.”
Vodafone also explained that The spending limit cap was inadvertently triggered by a software change, which must have brought back bad memories of is major BSS fail three years ago. It added that it affected around 40,000 customers, but it’s now fixed. Hopefully for Vodafone this was an isolated glitch, and it’s bad luck that it happened on a Friday, but it still represents another setback for a company that has historically been criticised for its customer service.