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Vodafone: Insider reveals the dubious mesh of salespeople

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After last week’s announcement: “Vodafone condemned: the company has tried several times to rip off customers”, we have received numerous letters from readers – including those from former employees.

An ex-employee in the field and an ex-employee in the call center reported on the methods used in their work at the time.

For example, employees would have pretended to be technicians in order to sneak into the home of potential customers.

The response to the message “Vodafone convicted: How the company tried several times to rip off customers” was overwhelming. Dozens of readers told NewsABC.net about their history with the mobile operator – including some former employees. They talk about their experiences at work, in the field and on the phone. The insiders also report dubious methods of some employees.

Vodafone works with several independent sales partners; be it shops, call centers or providers for the field service. At a partner for telephone customer service, for example, they receive a basic salary of around 1,600 euros gross per month and a “performance-related” commission. This is staggered depending on the type of product and is only paid out if the contract is not canceled or canceled.

Gift or voucher

A reader who worked in such a call center on behalf of Vodafone still remembers one case exactly. He once spoke on the phone to a lady who complained about a malfunction in her line. The problem was clearly with Vodafone, his boss confirmed that, and it could not be solved. But instead of compensating the customer with a credit note, he was asked to offer her an umbrella or a cup instead.

“We tested the ‘gift or voucher’ campaign at that time to check whether customers who were rightly angry were more likely to use a gift in kind or a credit to restore satisfaction. A gift in kind might have been remembered more sustainably than an invoice credit. However, we quickly discontinued the program because it did not bring the hoped-for success, ”a Vodafone spokesman told NewsABC.net.

Vodafone employees may not refer to certain rights

Only when she rejected the offer did he issue the customer with the credit. When he wanted to inform the woman about the special right of termination, his superior would have stopped him. After all, the internet still works.

“In the event of disruptions, we always do everything possible to ensure that the customers concerned can use our networks again as quickly as possible,” the spokesman continues. “Legal advice, for example on the subject of ‘special termination rights’ or ‘switching to another provider’ cannot and must not be provided by the agent.”

Last but not least, the ex-employee was encouraged to make conversations as complicated as possible so that customers can hang up faster and because it is particularly difficult for seniors to cope with. “This statement has no basis and logic,” replies the spokesman. “The aim is to solve the problem sustainably in the first contact. We always score good to very good in the regular endurance tests of specialist media such as Connect, Chip, Computerbild and Stiftung Warentest. ”

Trade magazine Connect and Vodafone once manipulated quality tests

However, this is not entirely true. It is true that Stiftung Warentest distinguished Vodafone’s mobile network. However, both “Chip” and “Computerbild” as well as Stiftung Warentest report moderate to poor results of their tests in customer service. Among other things, “Focus Online” also headlined in 2018: “Customer hotlines from telephone providers in check – Vodafone has the worst service.” Nor is there any to be found on the company’s list of awards received that confirms good customer service.

Only the magazine “Connect” gave the customer service good marks around 2017. Small smack: Vodafone and that trade magazine sometimes publish joint special issues. Above all, however, “Mobile Talk” reported another cooperation in 2013: At that time, Connect’s questions were leaked to Vodafone employees before a hotline test. Both companies regretted the incident.

The technician trick: how some sales representatives get their contracts

Another ex-employee of NewsABC.net says that there are considerable differences between experienced and beginners in the field – those who sell contracts at the front door. Because some experienced people already have lists of people who they know that the sale of a contract will not be successful here. Those who are not on the list will be targeted. This is reminiscent of the case brought by the Hamburg Consumer Center.

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According to the employee, those sales representatives focus on high-rise buildings or social housing, because the fluctuation among tenants is particularly high here. Particularly interesting are those who have only recently moved in but still use the TV connection from the previous tenant. If that “technician” gets on their way, he points out that this is illegal; but also explains that he can refrain from filing a criminal complaint if the tenant only signs a contract – which the “technician” naturally has with him. In particularly tough cases, such employees are said to have even cut off the main connection in the basement to wait for a tenant to come down and check by themselves. You only need to accompany him to the apartment.

Performance stealth is illegal – but it is also “curable”

Performance concealment is a criminal offense. “In the interests of millions of honest customers, Vodafone has of course also been looking after households for many years where there is reasonable suspicion that they are using the Vodafone cable network permanently without paying for it. They also specifically cut cable connections for which no one pays, even though they are clearly used, ”said the spokesman for Vodafone.

In principle, the fee can also be collected retrospectively. “However, our self-employed sales representatives also have the opportunity to ‘cure’ this situation by concluding a regular user contract for the future on site – mind you, with a user who has previously received these services without paying so far.” Connections Switching off paying customers is not allowed.

What have you experienced with Vodafone, O2 or Telekom? Write down your experiences [email protected]

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