Vodafail submits damning Vodafone report

Last updated 09:20 21/01/2011

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Vodafone have come under fire with 12,000 complaints being put into a damning report.

The creator of Vodafail.com is submitting a damning 30-page document to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Friday summarising accounts by 12,000 Vodafone customers of poor network coverage, customer service and complaint handling by the telco giant.

Adam Brimo, a 23-year old recent software engineering graduate from the University of New South Wales, created Vodafail.com while on hold to Vodafone when he began experiencing network problems shortly after signing up to a two-year contract with the company.

Vodafail.com was launched on December 12, 2010 and the website has had 150,000 visitors.

Vodafail's report - Vodafone situation: yesterday, today and tomorrow - analyses thousands of similar stories from customers about hours spent on hold to Vodafone's call centre trying to make a complaint about its 3G network issues, including frequent call dropouts and delayed receipt of voicemail and text messages.

Customers said they were fobbed off by Vodafone customer service representatives, who said there weren't any known network issues and the problems they were experiencing were related to their handset or SIM card.

In most cases suggestions to reboot the phone or get a new SIM card didn't solve the problem.

The report claims Vodafone seemed indifferent and failed to properly handle complaints.

Vodafone chief executive Nigel Dews apologised via the Vodafone website in late December.

However, new consumer organisation Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) says overall there has been an information vacuum surrounding the issues.

"Adam deserves all of our thanks for his effort in setting up the Vodafail.com website and taking a month out of his life to run it; moderating tens of thousands of comments and enabling features like crowdsourcing coverage maps and live data for on-hold wait times," said ACCAN Director of Policy & Campaigns, Elissa Freeman.

ACCAN made six recommendations in its submission to the ACMAs Reconnecting the Customer inquiry regarding minimum customer service and complaint handling standards, which was supported by 15 members of the peak body, including Choice, the Country Women's Association (CWA) and the Consumer Credit Legal Centre.

However, ACCAN says the holes in the existing code are such that even with the Vodafone situation, it is difficult for regulator ACMA to find a clear breach.

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Legal firm Piper Alderman is preparing a class action against Vodafone that some 19,000 individuals and small businesses have signed up to.

- AAP

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