Dear Mr Shameel (Vodacom CEO)
I do not know if this will ever reach you, I do not know if you will read it, and I do not know if you will care, but at least I have done my part.
I am a very loyal customer of Vodacom, I have been a loyal customer for the last ten years, and have recommended Vodacom to various people. But I have realised that loyalty does not mean a thing now does it?
Currently I am extremely unhappy with Vodacom, and I would like to tell you why. Not that I have any illusions of anything coming from this, I am certainly not the first customer to complain, and certainly not the last, but I am hoping that my voice added to the voice of the masses might do something for our plight. I am emailing you as a last resort due to the fact that I am receiving no joy from the call centre or any of the other channels.
My problem is the following: On the 8 March 2017 Vodacom decided to change my current contract package with them after I explicitly told the very friendly call centre lady that I wanted to go over on prepaid after my contract period expires. Apparently he type of service I receive from Vodacom and pay for is no longer my own decision and Vodacom can do whatever they want after I told them not to.
To make matters worse, I was not made aware of this change, either by SMS or call or any type of communication. No, instead all my accumulated airtime and data still available on my old contract merely expires and I am provided with a new amount of airtime (which by the way is less than what I had). Once again I am not notified of this, and only realise that something is wrong two days later when I have no airtime left and cannot use my line.
On calling the call centre to figure out what is wrong, another friendly lady tells me that the system is taking some time loading, she will call me back, she never does. Agent number two tells me my airtime was used by data. This does not make sense to me as I receive 2GB per month and my current usage is 400MB (Of course at this stage I have no idea that they have stolen my data and replaced it with a worthless amount of airtime, which disappeared the same day due to out of bundle rates) she refuses to help me further, I ask for a manager and am placed on hold for over 20 minutes.
Finally agent number three realises that the contract changed on the 8 March, and finally things start to make sense.
Now that I understand the issue, I try and find out what I can do to reverse this, and get my airtime back. After all it was not my error and I should not be penalised.
Now I am told that I need to go to the police station and give an affidavit to declare that I did not ask for this change. My question is WHY? They have the recordings of the phone calls where I said no thank you, why not simply go and listen to them? I am not asking for much, I am merely asking Vodacom to correct their error. But no, I have to make extra trouble and incur extra costs to get my money back that you stole. I am treated like the criminal and have to state my case with the police!
I would like to pose to you the following question: Is this doing business in good faith? Is this ethical business practices? I understand that there are processes in place, but why can’t you just refer to the recorded conversation?
So while at the police station to do the affidavit, would you be happy if I also lay a charge against Vodacom for theft and fraud? I am sure you would not, a bit extreme no? after all it was only a mistake…
All in all if this cannot be resolved any other way, fine I will go to the police station, I will give my statement, and I will follow the process. I will wait for them to do the investigation and sort it out, I will fight to reverse all the admin charges that will surely be charged to my account, I will call the call centre as many times as is necessary, I will hassle them day and night, I will do all of this because if I don’t then companies like Vodacom will just assume it is ok to treat consumers the way they do.
After this I will cancel everything I have with Vodacom, even though you will be charging me 75% of the future contract expense to be able to do so (and this is seen as a reasonable cancellation amount? I am an accountant and I can't even make sense of this!) and then I will tell everyone I know that Vodacom deals in bad faith. Everywhere I go I will spread the word that Vodacom steals your money. I will complain to the Consumer onbudsman as well as to ICASA. I will complain on Hello peter, I will complain on every single platform I can find. I will make it my priority to spread the word that you should not deal with Vodacom.
I am well aware that this might not mean anything to you. I am well aware that you have 36 million subscribers and I am only a drop in the ocean, I am well aware of all the other complaints and how Vodacom has not followed up on it because they just do not care, but if I can convince even just one person to not use Vodacom, I would have achieved my mission.
My voice does count.
I look forward to not hearing from you, or anyone else from Vodacom for that matter, because you are very good at not following up with your clients
Thank you for your time (or lack thereof)
VODACOM RESPONDS: Dear Yvonne,
We would like to reassure you that we do care and that we are listening. We thank you for your loyal support over many years and hope that you will reconsider your opinion about Vodacom now that the matter has been speedily resolved. You are absolutely right - we dropped the ball here and we would like to reiterate what we said to you telephonically by apologising unreservedly for the inconvenience that this has caused you.
As a company that aims to deliver an unmatched customer experience, we are committed to resolving each and every customer query that comes our way as speedily as possible, including yours.