back to article Voda customers given green light by Ofcom to ditch contracts

Thousands of Vodafone customers have been given the green light by UK comms watchdog Ofcom to ditch their contracts, after the mobile phone provider hiked international roaming fees to £5 per day. Earlier this year, Vodafone introduced a roaming charge for customers travelling in 60 countries outside of the EU. This means that …

  1. Julian Bradfield

    It's £6 a day now, since gov.uk has decided the charge is VATtable.

    1. Ben1892

      Interesting, seeing as you're outside the EU when you "buy" the charge for roaming.

      tbh it's a good excuse to turn off your phone when you're in the Caribbean and enjoy some rum;

      N.B. Drinking rum before 10am makes you a pirate, not an alchoholic

      1. handleoclast Silver badge

        Rum pirates

        @Ben1892

        N.B. Drinking rum before 10am makes you a pirate, not an alchoholic

        At first I didn't believe you, but this video (as far as I can make any sense of it) seems to confirm your claim.

    2. JimboSmith Silver badge

      "We were the first to abolish EU roaming with Roam Free which covers more destinations than anyone else. We offer 4G roaming in 125 destinations, including all Roam Further countries, and unlike others we do not throttle customers’ data or charge them more to make in-country calls.

      They may well have been first to abolish roaming charges within the EU. However they only did that because the EU said they had to. Three with their feel at home were offering a service to more diverse places that allowed you to use your minutes text and data abroad for no extra cost. I looked into the Vodafone offering earlier in the year when I was reviewing which network was best for me. Chap in the Vodafone shop asked me a few questions and I asked a few back. One of mine (the last in fact) was about roaming and he produced a list of countries that you could roam free. I said those are mostly the ones covered by the EU directive aren't they?

      "Oh well yes they are but then for a small fixed daily fee you can 'roam further' and use your minutes/texts etc. in more countries."

      "So how much would say a 14 day excursion to the USA cost me above and beyond my allowance?"

      <bit of maths later>

      "£70 sir"

      "How much!" which I said so loudly people had turned to look at me.

      "It works out at only £5 a day sir"

      "Oh wait are you PAYG or Pay Monthly?

      "PAYG"

      "Oh then it's <checks computer> 60p to make and 36p per minute to receive calls."

      "That's just as bad."

      "I think we're quite competetive sir"

      "Well on Three it wouldn't cost me anything more."

      "I'm not sure about other what firms charge sir"

      "Then how can you say you're competitive?"

      I then left the showroom totally bemused. Needless to say I didn't switch to Vodafone (or anyone else). Three aren't perfect by any means and if you're not in a feel at home destination it's wickedly expensive.

      1. Arion

        The only problem with three though is that their Network is complete absolute Shite.

        I've tried Three in both Ireland and the UK, in both cases urban areas, and in both cases, it was really really bad.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          threes network isnt shite at all. I am sitting in rural cumbria right now on 4g. the signal starts to go patchy when i move coastwards but that is a coverage issue. when im in coverage i have no problems.

          i moved from vodaphone who had plenty of coverage but actually using the phone for anything over than phone was bad in lots of places. vodaphone seem to have either over saturated masts or poor back haul.

        2. Dave 137

          Three seem to have a bad rep based on the startup years imo, I've never had any real problems with them barring one time I was in the big smoke where the service was useless. Not really a problem for me though as I'm a proud dirty northerner who avoids the south east as much as possible.

      2. JimmyPage Silver badge
        Pint

        "I'm not sure about other what firms charge sir"

        "Then how can you say you're competitive?"

        Bam ! Back of the net sir. Have a --->

  2. Greg 24

    Penalty?

    Looking at the VF website exit fee is typically your monthly cost x number of months left to run. Most people have the cost of their handset included in the monthly cost so how does the walking away "free" bit work in that instance - surely this would incur a big loss for the company?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Penalty?

      I'd be tempted to read the source material for the answer - but the Reg is really poor at providing links within its articles.

      This is an issue because occasionally a Reg article author can get the wrong end of the stick (only occasionally - we're all human).

    2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: Penalty?

      RTFA

      Providers have to give customers 30 days to exit their contract if they make "material changes" to the T&Cs.

    3. Solviva

      Re: Penalty?

      You walk away without any penalty due to change in terms of your contract, keeping the phone, paid off or not :)

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Penalty?

        You walk away without any penalty due to change in terms of your contract, keeping the phone, paid off or not

        Er, not quite. The phone subsidy will have to be repaid in any case and most contracts cover this.

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Penalty?

        I don't know about Vodafone, but some providers have separate contracts for the phone and for the service. You could cancel the service contract, keep the phone contract and get a sim-only contract elsewhere.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: Penalty?

          you walk away from the contract. the contract is in two parts, phone part and provider part.

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Re: Penalty?

            too late to edit. of course this is only of you buy direct. if you go through a broker such as buymobiles then they are quite clear there are two contracts. one with them and one with provider. in thise cases then YES you will need to pay for the phone. sometimes MORE since the phone is often funded via kickback.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vodafone playing with Ethics again?

    Vodafone hit me up with the robbery below... They'd routinely take money out of a prepaid balance at random times, just not enough to get noticed:

    https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2017/1003/909486-vodafone-has-to-pay-2-5m-to-customers-over-breach/

    Vodafone killed off direct email support, so you've to use outsourced Chat to get compensation. They in-turn claim they can't help, sending you back to the website to log a formal complaint for a call back, (unhelpful if you're away on business a lot or traveling etc). Regulator was indifferent also!

    End result? Went back to the outsourced Chat service where after logging a formal complaint and bluffing at a Regulator case number, the Chat service magically managed to produce a refund. So it was possible after all. How long did that all take? Ages! To sum it all up in one word: M'fuckers!

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Vodafone playing with Ethics again?

      State things in writing, give em a chance to sort it - but don't stress yourself out jumping through their hoops. Then, after the mandated period of time after your first written communication refer it to their regulator.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Re: Vodafone playing with Ethics again?

        You don't have to deal direct. I use Fivebars to manage my O2 contract. So much easier than having the hassle of O2's call centre. They also do some clever stuff with tariff arrangements.

  4. Dave K Silver badge

    Glad to see people can get out of this. O2 introduced a similar change last year (back when roaming applied to Europe). Used to be that you could send texts and make calls for a certain fee per text/call, and activate data for £2 a day if you had O2 travel. Then they sneakily changed it so that everything was included. Result? Going away on holiday for a fortnight and sending the odd text suddenly meant I racked up an additional bill of £26.

    At least with O2 I could turn off the "O2 travel" option and go back to 4p texts again, and after querying my bill, they refunded the £26 without too much argument as a "goodwill gesture". Guess I wasn't the first person to complain!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's an out, Take it ffs!

    1. IsJustabloke Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      It's an out, Take it ffs!

      In a new York minute!!

  6. IsJustabloke Silver badge
    WTF?

    First?

    "We were the first to abolish EU roaming with Roam Free"

    Apart from Three of course, who abolished *all* roaming charges *all* over the world a number of years ago.

    Vodashite are as vodashite do

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge
      1. IsJustabloke Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: First?

        I am rolling my eyes at you....

        Anyway you want to cut it Three were not charging people for roaming in Europe and large parts of the rest of the world long before vodashite

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: First?

          Roll whatever the fuck you want at me, you can't choose to be both emphatic and definitive about all charges and all over the world and then get pissy when it is pointed out that it is not all countries and all charges.

        2. koswix

          Re: First?

          Greece is in Europe, but wasn't part of feel at home until the EU ruling came into force.

          I'll say one thing though, I always had the cheapest bills with Three. Mainly on account of how I could never get a signal to use the damn thing.

      2. Tigra 07 Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Tom

        When did China join the EU?

        I must have missed that...

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: Tom

          When did China stop being on this world then?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Three of course, who abolished *all* roaming charges ...

      They might have abolished quite a few, but not in/for e.g. South Korea they didn't, as I found out when using my backup phone there in July.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: South Korea roaming

        and you didn't take the trouble to

        1) read the texts that '3' send out to your phone telling you how much your calls etc will cost

        2) Go to their website and see if SK is covered by their Feel At Home feature.

        I regularly travel to India and Jordan on Business. I have a local SIM for each country. Jordan was easy but India needed a local to sign away their first born to get another SIM.

        My dual SIM Samsung is great (bought it in Amman as that model was not sold in the UK).

        If you prepare for your trip then you won't incur these charges.

        As for Vodashite, the deserve everything they get.

        I tried to be smart by overpaying my last bill by £0.01p. They still took a totally fraudient payment from my now dormant account. I got it back by threatening to take them to court.

        Barstewards the lot of them.

        1. bengoey49

          Re: South Korea roaming

          Recently I also bought a Samsung phone ( in Indonesia) , an A5 2017. Dual Sim plus micro sd slot . I wonder why most if not all Samsung phones sold in Europe / UK are single sim phones. With the A5 the first sim up to 4G, the second Sim 3G only but that is ok for my purpose when travelling in countries outside UK.

          I have been with Three for years because of the ' Feel at Home ' . have used it in Europe ( before the EU Directive June this year ), US, Indonesia, Hong Kong and at present using it in New Zealand .

          If i want to call local number I can use my data and WhatsApp or data and Skype . I have less than £10 in my Skype account to call landline and local number that is not on my contact list for WhatsApp or Skype.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: South Korea roaming

            " I wonder why most if not all Samsung phones sold in Europe / UK are single sim phones."

            Because almost all the phones sold here are provider subsidised and they DO NOT want people using dual sim phones.

      2. Fihart

        Re: Three of course, who abolished *all* roaming charges ...

        Friend took up the Three offer for a trip to the USA. Discovered that it only applied to calls home. Perhaps understandably, did not cover calls to numbers within USA. Three offered refund of sorts. Generally, Three seem less user-hostile than EE and (apparently) Voda.

        1. bengoey49

          Re: Three of course, who abolished *all* roaming charges ...

          Your friend could use his/her data to use WhatsApp etc to call the local number if in the contact list or just deposit £10 with Skype to call mobile or landline ( relatively cheap ).

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Three of course, who abolished *all* roaming charges ...

          "Generally, Three seem less user-hostile than EE and (apparently) Voda."

          I signed up with Three back in the very early days of the Walled Garden around 2003-4

          Their twisting to try and claim that what they were providing ("not an internet service, only web access") was not what their sale droids were saying it was ("Internet access") was rather telling - and that web access was limited to only a few sites in any case.

          I see they learned from that fiasco (they had a very high customer churn), but 13 years later they still don't have any signal where I work (and nor do Vodafone, despite $orkplace having signed a large contract with VF) - so for the last phone upgrade I went with EE, who do. 8 months later EE were bought out by BT. I'm out of contract now but conflicted about who to go with.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah, Vodafone. The people who recently charged me a late payment fee on my cancelled and paid off contract.

    When I requested and received the bill (cause they didn't bother to post it or email it, and their website doesn't work properly if you've cancelled your account), I found that I'd been charged this fee because I was late paying £0.00.

    Needless to say I made sure they swiftly returned the funds (and amazingly they did with very little fuss!)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tip with dealing with Voda. Once you do get out of the contract, make absolutely sure once when you pay that last bill (the one you weren't expecting)! that they send you a confirmation letter stating that they will take no more money.

    Otherwise the thieves will.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      And make sure you get them to unlock your phone (Assuming you bought the phone under the contract)

  9. scowley

    £5 charge

    Vodafone charge $5 dollars for roaming here in New Zealand which covers a good bit of Europe.

    Thats about £2.50 peeps.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't understand why vodafone has a single customer. They've not been competitive or any good since what, 1996?

  11. Old69

    "[...] whilst continuing to offer market leading products."

    When Vodafone took over Demon they could have reinstated features like free web space, "push" email, and usenet. IIRC all they did was transfer the "free" email service to another supplier who charges for an inferior offering.

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