After a recent court decision, NewsABC.net asked: What is it about rip-off allegations against Vodafone?
Numerous readers have described their experiences as customers in the past few days.
NewsABC.net asked Vodafone to comment on the cases. The group admits fraud in one case. But make up your own mind. NewsABC.net documented everything.
After the announcement “Vodafone condemned: How the company tried several times to rip off customers”, numerous readers told NewsABC.nets about their experiences with Vodafone. NewsABC.net picked out the most striking stories and asked Vodafone to comment.
See what Vodafone answered – and how customers responded.
Beate N .: “I am speechless!”
“In May 2019, I found out in a Vodafone shop about the possibility of getting a new cell phone as a result of a contract extension. The employee advised me to keep my current contract and I agreed to pay 100 euros for a new smartphone.
A short time later, I received a text message saying that my data volume was changed and throttled from around 15 gigabytes to 200 megabytes. I went back to the shop and asked the employee about it – but she denied having done something like that. She assured me that I could pick up my cell phone within a few days.
Several weeks later it was still not there. I went back to the shop and insisted on choosing another cell phone that was in stock. The smartphone I chose should only cost ten euros more and should be priced in the next bill. A few days later, I received a reminder about this amount and I paid it promptly to avoid further inconvenience.
In mid-June 78.14 were debited from my account; a sum I didn’t know where it came from. I called customer service and the employee assured me that he would send me the contract documents on June 24th. These documents showed that in addition to my existing cell phone number, a connection fee of 40.67 euros was charged. I never commissioned this contract or even signed the necessary document. I requested the contract documents – but only received four out of five pages. My signature was missing. I did not receive the complete documents until the beginning of July. It was clearly recognizable that the signatures shown are not mine. There is a clear forgery of documents here. This is a crime and I have forwarded the matter to the responsible public prosecutor. “
“Ms. N. was one of the victims of multiple fraud by a former sales partner in spring 2019. All affected customer cases were, of course, resolved in the interests of the customers – including the present case. Vodafone also immediately canceled the unwanted contract at Beate N. in July 2019. Our company also apologized to Ms. N. for your inconvenience. Vodafone ended all cooperation with this sales partner immediately after the cases became known. “
Response from customer:
“I am speechless about this statement from Vodafone. Of course, I had some inconvenience, but there was also the cost of the lawyer. It is much worse for me that my signature was forged and that the lady from the Vodafone shop wanted to persuade me that I had signed! I asked her to show what I supposedly signed, and of course she couldn’t. The only thing I heard from Vodafone was an oral excuse: you want to pay 50 percent of my legal fees. These 70 euros were offset against my next cell phone bills three months later! Vodafone writes that all cooperation with the sales partner has ended. But I don’t quite understand that: A year later, the Vodafone shop still has exactly the same staff. ”
Leo B .: “I wanted a cost offer, that shouldn’t be a problem – I thought!”
“I am a Vodafone customer with an Internet DSL connection and seven phone numbers. In the course of the nationwide broadband internet expansion, I received the advertisement from Vodafone that fiber optic is also available on our connection. An offer about the costs shouldn’t be a problem for a telecommunications service provider – I thought. But Vodafone is pretty complicated with it. They even refused to give me written price information (is a business insider). After I had consulted the Federal Network Agency, they wrote to me: ‘If you are interested in extending your current Vodafone DSL contract, we kindly ask you to contact us in advance by phone.’ ”
“Mr. Bartevyan would like to terminate his existing DSL connection and instead connect to the Vodafone cable fiber network. It turned out that we could not offer Mr. Bartevyan the offer he wanted for a private connection in the fiber optic network. Because the customer uses seven numbers on his DSL connection – in the cable fiber network, however, a maximum of six numbers are possible for private customers. We communicated this to Mr. Bartevyan several times verbally and in writing. Please contact the contact person we named in our letter. Only then can possible solutions be clarified in a direct dialogue between customers and customer service. “
“It is becoming increasingly bizarre. I am shocked! I will translate how Vodafone’s previous communication has reached me:
‘We at Vodafone are a leading telecommunications company and only want to grow profitably. To do this, we artificially and intentionally reduce the number of VoIP telephone numbers to a maximum of six in the ultra-modern broadband Internet for private customers. In addition, we primarily want to win new customers with federal funding and not port existing Arcor customers to cables. Therefore, we do not offer you the porting of six numbers, although that would have been the obvious response to your request. You don’t even get reasonable price information from us, and certainly not in text form. Instead, we let go of our new customer defense AI and assume that you will give up annoyed. Perhaps you should call one of our hotlines and spend a nice day on the line and get to know our other AIs, or let our highly motivated subcontractors gossip you about other unwanted services and packages. Oh yes and please, dear customer, never inquire again in writing or contact official offices, otherwise we will terminate your connection! ‘”
Jana S .: “I haven’t got a cent back until today!”
“I was a customer at Vodafone for years. But when I moved and applied for a change in my WiFi, everything changed. I was offered a free contract for Giga TV on the phone. I met certain requirements that should make this possible. I accepted it, after all it was free. Then a technician came unannounced who had to change my router – allegedly because mine was not compatible with Giga TV. This service is also free, it said. He connected the new router to me and asked me to send the old one to a specific address. Less than four weeks later, Vodafone tried to debit my technician, the first payment for the Giga-TV and an increased amount from my old DSL contract. Since then I have had to pay € 24.99 for Giga TV, my new DSL line for € 39.99 instead of € 19.99 and a one-off € 49.99 for installing the Giga TV and € 79.99 for the technician. Of course, I canceled all of my contracts and returned the hardware. To date, I have not got a cent back. In addition, Vodafone claimed that the router had not arrived. It’s just stupid that I received a delivery confirmation from DHL. ”
“The customer agreed to the product change from her previous” Kabel Komfort HD “package to our new and much more powerful product Vodafone Giga TV. By sending the new UIHD device, we informed our customer about the product change and the new contract details. We also asked for the return of the previously used end devices, which arrived in our house on time.
The increase in Internet and phone fees as well as that of the Giga-TV package specified by our customer is precisely the scaled prices that we had sent to the customer with the order confirmation. The customer received very favorable new customer conditions for Internet & Phone as well as a reduced and very attractive graduated price of the Giga-TV contract.
Although we had granted the customer very favorable conditions for the entire package consisting of the most modern cable TV and broadband internet, the customer terminated all contracts. We confirmed the termination of the contracts to her at the end of the agreed contract term. After the contract expired, the customer returned the UHD device – but only after the deadline set. The corresponding correction of the device calculation has already been initiated. The customer receives a final invoice. We regret to have lost Ms. S. as a customer, even though we had given her very favorable conditions. “
Response from customer:
“It is not true what Vodafone says. I have received the emails saying that the box did not arrive. The arrival was only confirmed after I submitted a tracking. Before that I tried to charge me the 100 euros for the rented device. I have already received my final bill and my confirmation of termination from Vodafone. But why would Vodafone want to continue debiting my account if I have been out of the contract for more than half a year, my devices have been returned and the line for the Internet is not used by Vodafone? ”
Harald B .: “Exciting: Vodafone contradicts itself now!”
“After two phone calls within one day due to a technical cellular disruption, I suddenly got an entertainment contract. Exceptional: In the contract my name was spelled slightly differently and there was a new customer number. I quit. Vodafone claims there is almost no information available on the process. Vodafone is also very silent when I raise the subject. In the end, reference is always made to complaint management, which then also writes accordingly that there is no information available. The data protection officer does not answer at all. “
“The order for the Vodafone Giga-TV-App product was submitted to Vodafone by a sales partner and was canceled shortly afterwards (on February 13, 2020). The cancellation has been confirmed to the customer in writing. On March 4th, 2020 we apologized to the customer for the misunderstanding when entering the contract by email and confirmed the cancellation again. Our customer turned to our company and asked for the information to be sent in accordance with Art. 15 GDPR. We responded to this request: On March 18, the customer received the answer to his request for information by post. ”
“Exciting: Vodafone now contradicts itself. Vodafone writes that the contract was signed on February 13. withdraw. That is wrong. The contract came on February 13th. was created by me on February 25th. revoked, i.e. just within the 14-day period.
I can still remember February 13 very well: I was in a full block for a good five hours early in the morning, had Vodafone network problems and also a pretty busy day. I can definitely rule out that there was a sales talk about an entertainment package that day, be it by phone or in person. And the calls with Vodafone were of a purely technical nature, and no attempt was made to offer me an additional product.
Conclusion: My personal data (including the completely new account number at that time) are used for a contract that I have never agreed to. Coincidentally on the day I call Vodafone. Vodafone only pretends that there is no specific information, and when you asked, it was suddenly a sales partner. Only a Vodafone employee can have used or forwarded my data for this, where else should the sales partner have them? It’s a very, very bad feeling. “
Beatrice R: “Why did I get a reminder? Because I should pay for a contract that I had never agreed to. “
“It all started at the end of 2018 when I wanted to optimize my contract with Vodafone. I called there and, as a customer for many years, I was offered contract optimization with money savings. In the end I did not pay 17 euros for Kabel Deutschland TV, but 24.99 euros because my tariff could not be found. After repeated calls, I received a correct optimization with the offer in writing: TV, Internet and customer bonus for special loyalty.
But wrong amounts were still debited, and after a few complaints on the phone it said: Unfortunately, the offer does not apply to you, everything remains the same. So I canceled my WiFi contract on time, but continued to pay € 24.99 until June 2019, plus reminder costs and fees. For half a year I tried to communicate with Vodafone; wrote letters and called. All customer service representatives and service employees promised to help and wanted to take care of me – or blamed me. I canceled the collection of the additional costs. Today I have to deal with a debt collection company. “
“From February 2019, the long-time customer asked in writing and in several calls for the optimization of her contract for cable TV and cable internet. Unfortunately, she received different statements about this, which is why she stopped paying all monthly fees and returned the devices for cable TV to us. Since a clarification could not be brought about and the customer did not respond to our reminders, we terminated the contractual relationship due to non-payment and assigned the outstanding claims to a collection agency. “
Response from customer:
“I have no time for statements such as ‘we’ll get in touch with you’, ‘technical support can help you’ or ‘I can totally understand your anger’. In addition, there are countless expulsions from the line. That’s absurd.
My hope lasted for months, then I paid the difference. Yes, I received reminders but tried to communicate and solve the problem. Why did I get the warning? Because I was supposed to pay a contract that I had never agreed to. The TV contract should cost 24.99 euros instead of 17 euros. Why should I want that?
And: Of course Vodafone didn’t contact me. I was put off for another six months, after several letters and calls. I transferred the difference. I cannot explain why a debt collection company can now take over this case. ”
Smartphone, electricity, pay TV: With these tips you will never pay too much for your contracts slides
Smartphone, electricity, pay TV: With these tips you will never pay too much for your contracts slides
1. Cancel on time
Termination is the most important point, because many contracts become significantly more expensive after the minimum term and automatically renew at a higher price. “There is nothing to be said against terminating contracts shortly after conclusion. This way you don’t miss the notice period, ”says Benjamin Weiland.
It does not matter whether it is a smartphone tariff, the DSL or the Pay TV provider. “Termination pays off with every permanent obligation,” Weiland continues.
However, he restricts: “For contracts that have been concluded on the Internet or on the phone, consumers have a 14-day right of withdrawal. So that no misunderstandings arise, it is advisable to cancel only after this period. ”In individual cases, it could otherwise be that the offer is canceled and consumers no longer have a contract.
Sean Gallup, Getty Images
2. Offers for new customers are often better than for existing customers
The fact that a cancellation is always worthwhile is because the offers for new customers are better than the offers to existing customers. “Companies are looking for growth that can be measured primarily by the number of customers,” says Weiland. That is why companies want to win as many new customers as possible and invest in them in the form of cheap offers.
“These effects will increasingly occur at the end of a quarter or a year,” the bargain expert continued. It is then that the companies want to raise their numbers and lure with the cheapest offers. “So if you have the opportunity, you should conclude your contract at the end of a quarter or a year.”
Only when the contract is automatically renewed at the higher conditions is it worthwhile for the companies – only then is a customer really profitable, reports Weiland.
Spencer Platt / Getty Images
3. Keep calm
Once the termination has been confirmed and the end of the contract is approaching, keep calm. Do not rush to contact the provider and find out about the terms of a contract extension, but let the telephone company or the pay TV operator take the first step.
Termination often provokes a return offer
“Depending on the area, the companies make so-called return offers to their customers at the end of the contract,” explains Weiland. The aim is to convince consumers to withdraw their notice of termination and stay on board.
“In most cases, switching providers can save a lot more money,” says Weiland. But here you have to differentiate depending on the contractual partner.
While it is almost always worthwhile with the smartphone tariff to change providers after two years, in practice this is not so good with pay TV – Sky customers who want to continue to see the offer must finally extend their contract with the company. “Sky in particular is known for offering its customers low-priced offers once they have terminated the contract,” says Benjamin Weiland.
“The closer the contract comes to an end, the better the offers become”
However, if you miss the cancellation, the price can rise very sharply. Even if you want to remain a Sky subscriber for longer than the minimum contract term, the termination is worthwhile because Sky lures you with more favorable conditions. “The closer the contract comes to an end, the better the offers,” says Weiland. “Even on the last day, the best offer can be made.”
Ophòlie Fas / Getty
4. Handle return offers correctly
The first return offer usually takes place a few weeks before the end of the contract – either by post, but mostly by phone. “If you speak to the provider, you should make a note of the conditions presented and never accept the first offer,” advises Benjamin Weiland.
Instead, it is advisable to compare the notes with the current new customer offers and – when it comes to a smartphone tariff – to look for competing products. “If you negotiate with Sky, you should wait for a better offer that is very likely to come,” says the expert.
One should behave differently with a smartphone tariff, after all – according to Weiland’s experience – an extension with the current provider is rarely worthwhile. “Here you should dare to make a brazen counter offer – only then may it be worth staying. More than a ‘no’ from the provider cannot happen anyway, ”Weiland continues.
mixetto / Getty Images
5. Third-party offers are worthwhile with the smartphone contract
If the contract is actually terminated, a new provider must be found. Anyone who does a little research on the Internet will quickly find out that there are providers who offer cheaper prices than those shown on the websites of Telekom or Vodafone.
“Telekom sees itself as a premium provider because it has the best mobile network in terms of space,” explains Weiland. That is why she demands high prices for a contract through her homepage. Vodafone is following a similar path, the expert continues.
However, there are providers such as Mobilcom-Debitel, Klarmobil, Otelo or Freenet Mobile, who also offer or broker contracts in the D network and at the same time charge lower prices.
Either because they are third-party providers who rent the providers’ networks and then charge cheaper prices. Or because they act as intermediaries and offer the original contracts of the large companies in this way, but sometimes require significantly less additional payment for smartphones. In this case, the cell phone comes from the agent, the contract partner is nevertheless Telekom, Vodafone or O2.
“There is often an inhibition threshold for consumers to conclude a contract with third-party providers, but many of the companies have been on the market for a long time and work seriously,” says Benjamin Weiland.
Contrary to Telekom and Vodafone, O2 also frequently offers its tariffs at special prices on its own website, says Weiland.
Morris MacMatzen / Getty Images
6. Use campaign days like Black Friday
Singles Day, Black Friday or Cyber Monday are not just popular days for online shoppers in China or the USA. In this country too, companies are luring with campaigns around these campaign days. “This also applies to smartphone tariffs,” says bargain expert Weiland. If the time is right, it is worth looking for a new tariff on such days.
Freer / Shutterstock.com
7. Sim-only contracts offer great savings potential
Customers who do not choose a new smartphone with a new contract after two years have great savings potential. “There are many so-called sim-only offers where customers can get allnet flat rates and large data volumes for less than ten euros a month,” says Benjamin Weiland.
Often it can also be worthwhile to take out a cheap sim-only tariff and to buy a used or refurbished smartphone. Anyone doing some research here will find the best offer depending on their own needs.
8. The termination is also worthwhile for the DSL contract
Even if there are significantly fewer providers with DSL than with smartphone tariffs, it is worth canceling the current contract – even if you do not want to switch. “In this way, you can renegotiate the conditions after the end of the term,” says Weiland. If you do not cancel, the price increases significantly in most cases.
The savings potential is lower than with smartphone tariffs – but money can also be saved here over a period of two years. While some consumers already terminate the contract in good time and also change providers, the procedure with the DSL provider is less common, says Weiland.
The procedure is identical to the smartphone tariff: cancel and wait for the first return offer – and then negotiate about the conditions offered and the service.
9. When it comes to electricity, it is always worth changing every year
Consumers should do something differently with the electricity provider, as Benjamin Weiland reports. “It is worth changing the provider consistently every year,” he says. The reason for this: The companies offer high discounts in the first year. After this period, however, it becomes expensive.
“A lot of consumers are worried that changing electricity providers is complex or that they will have to do without electricity for a few days – but that’s a mistake,” says Weiland. According to the expert, the new provider takes over the entire processing of the change and even terminates the existing contract.
There are also no days when you are without a power supply. If a provider does not deliver electricity for whatever reason, you can obtain it from the standard operator of the region. This also applies if the selected provider would have to stop operating.
Another advantage of the electricity contract: “I can already conclude a contract here that should only start in a few months,” says Weiland. So if you find an offer today that you definitely want to take advantage of, but still have an existing contract for a few months, you can vary the start date of the new contract.
Nevertheless, there is something to consider when choosing a provider. “You shouldn’t choose a contract partner who demands a high advance payment. If this company gets into trouble, the consumers’ money will be gone, ”warns Weiland.
Julian Stratenschulte / picture alliance via Getty Images
10. An annual change is also worthwhile with car insurance
Even with car insurance, haggling with the current provider is not recommended. “But whoever changes here every year can also save a lot,” recommends Weiland. However, especially with insurance companies, it is not only important to pay attention to the price. After all, in the event of damage, it is about getting the right services.
11. “Overcome the inner bastard”
Contracts can be canceled or changed quickly and easily online today. The “paperwork” suspected by many consumers usually does not materialize. “You have to overcome the inner bastard once and make a change. Then you know how easy it is, ”advises Weiland. And how much money can be saved.
Nonwarit / Shutterstock