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BDFL - Memuneh
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# 249222 1-May-2019 14:56
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Just received:

 

 

Retail telecommunications provider Vodafone New Zealand Limited has been fined $350,000 for making false representations in invoices it sent to customers. 

Vodafone pleaded guilty and was convicted in relation to 14 charges under the Fair Trading Act for conduct that occurred between January 2012 and December 2018.

Despite Vodafone’s contractual terms and conditions stating it would stop charging customers either 30 days after they gave notice to terminate their contracts or on an agreed date, Vodafone sent invoices to more than 29,000 customers that included charges beyond the agreed date of termination. As a result, customers across three of Vodafone’s billing systems overpaid around $285,000. 

“Customers have the right to expect businesses to invoice them accurately and it is vital businesses take care to ensure their billing systems and processes are doing that,” said Competition and Consumer General Manager Antonia Horrocks.

“For a large proportion of the affected invoices in this case, Vodafone relied on staff to manually adjust them but did not take adequate steps to ensure that process was being consistently followed. As a result, tens of thousands of customers were left out of pocket.” 

“All businesses need to ensure that their billing systems are robust, and that they are making accurate representations when they invoice their customers,” said Ms Horrocks.

In sentencing in the Auckland District Court Judge Thomas described Vodafone’s representations as highly careless, saying a deterrent penalty was justified as the market needs to have faith in the conduct of its major players.

“Vodafone breached the trust that all consumers should be entitled to place in suppliers’ representations,” said Judge Thomas. 

Background

 

Last month retail telecommunications provider Spark was fined $675,000 after pleading guilty to charges relating to misrepresentations in its customer invoicing and a $100 welcome credit offer to new customers. 

In 2016 Vodafone was fined $165,000 in the Auckland District Court after pleading guilty to making false price representations in breach of the Fair Trading Act. The charges related to invoices sent to customers who signed on to the ‘Red Essentials’ mobile phone plan in 2014. 

 





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  # 2228796 1-May-2019 15:27
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How many times has Vodafone been pinged now under the Fair Trading Act? They seem to get fined a few times every year!!




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  # 2228810 1-May-2019 15:29
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From Vodafone:


Vodafone was fined $350,000 in Auckland District Court today following our guilty plea in February 2019 for breaches of the Fair Trading Act. The breaches related to billing errors which occurred between 2012 and 2018, made when customers gave advance notice about terminating their services.

Vodafone CEO, Jason Paris, says, “Every customer deserves an accurate bill every month. We clearly fell well short of that in this instance, and for that I apologise. If you get it wrong, you should put your hand up, acknowledge it, and make it right.”

The billing error arose for a proportion of customers who had a new billing cycle start within their notice period of termination. In these cases, an invoice was generated for another full month, rather than pro-rated for the number of days remaining in the notice period. As a result, some customers overpaid us. On average, affected customers were over-charged by $9.70 each.

Vodafone has applied credits to the accounts of all current and former customers affected by the error and we have undertaken an extensive programme to contact and reimburse them. In cases where we’ve been unable to locate customers, we have donated the equivalent of their unclaimed credit balances to charity via the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation. Notwithstanding this donation, any customer who we have been unable to contact who has an outstanding credit will be refunded if they get in touch with us.

In making its ruling, the Court took into account the fact that Vodafone had co-operated with the Commerce Commission throughout their investigation, as well as Vodafone’s guilty plea and remediation efforts.

“I want to reassure customers Vodafone has not profited in any way from these historical billing errors, and we have subsequently invested significant time and money into improving our systems and processes to prevent a recurrence,” says Paris.

This issue resulted in 29,425 customers being overcharged a total of $285,359.37 between January 2012 and December 2018 and occurred due to a combination of unintentional system and human errors which Vodafone has resolved.





 
 
 
 


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  # 2228820 1-May-2019 15:41
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Guess that's the first years worth of profit from dumping call staff up in smoke.





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  # 2228958 1-May-2019 20:36
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JaseNZ:

Guess that's the first years worth of profit from dumping call staff up in smoke.

 

 

Barely a scratch.




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  # 2228965 1-May-2019 20:54
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howdystranger:

 

How many times has Vodafone been pinged now under the Fair Trading Act? They seem to get fined a few times every year!!

 

 

The NBR reported that Vodafone is the entity with the highest Fair Trading Act-related fines in New Zealand @JasonParis - are you doing anything about your company's disgraceful history of legal non-compliance and holding the staff involved to account?


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  # 2228986 1-May-2019 21:08
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dejadeadnz:

howdystranger:


How many times has Vodafone been pinged now under the Fair Trading Act? They seem to get fined a few times every year!!



The NBR reported that Vodafone is the entity with the highest Fair Trading Act-related fines in New Zealand @JasonParis - are you doing anything about your company's disgraceful history of legal non-compliance and holding the staff involved to account?



Hi there. I wasn’t with the company when these offences occurred and I’m not aware of any since I’ve started. What I am doing though is taking responsibility, apologising for them and doing everything that I can to ensure that these and any other offences don’t happen again in the future. As you say - it’s not good enough.

Jason




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  # 2228991 1-May-2019 21:17
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With the complexity in vodafones many acquired systems, i would not expect it to be a quick turn around. Even with JP going at it.

 

 

 

It would not surprise me if that dreaded re-eng word has been uttered to clean it all up.

 

All that considered, that fact that your still here standing up and putting a face to it speaks volumes JP.

 

 





#include <std_disclaimer>

 

Any comments made are personal opinion and do not reflect directly on the position my current or past employers may have.


 
 
 
 




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  # 2229010 1-May-2019 21:21
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dejadeadnz:

 

howdystranger:

 

How many times has Vodafone been pinged now under the Fair Trading Act? They seem to get fined a few times every year!!

 

 

The NBR reported that Vodafone is the entity with the highest Fair Trading Act-related fines in New Zealand @JasonParis - are you doing anything about your company's disgraceful history of legal non-compliance and holding the staff involved to account?

 

 

I think you can see the direction Jason is taking the company by reading Vodafone's reply that I posted earlier in this thread.





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  # 2229011 1-May-2019 21:25
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hio77:

With the complexity in vodafones many acquired systems, i would not expect it to be a quick turn around. Even with JP going at it.


 


It would not surprise me if that dreaded re-eng word has been uttered to clean it all up.


All that considered, that fact that your still here standing up and putting a face to it speaks volumes JP.


 



We were two years into a version of re-eng when I started. Trying to move customers from five different IT stacks to one is no small task.




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  # 2229023 1-May-2019 21:38
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freitasm:

 

I think you can see the direction Jason is taking the company by reading Vodafone's reply that I posted earlier in this thread.

 

 

I have to disagree. People apologise via press release after being pinged -- that of itself isn't that special. The donation to its own charitable foundation thing is largely just to curry favour in sentencing. The foundation still exists for VF's own PR and kudos. I'll be impressed when VF establishes at least a 5 year period without being prosecuted or warned by the ComCom.

 

 

 

 


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  # 2229050 1-May-2019 21:52
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dejadeadnz:

freitasm:


I think you can see the direction Jason is taking the company by reading Vodafone's reply that I posted earlier in this thread.



I have to disagree. People apologise via press release after being pinged -- that of itself isn't that special. The donation to its own charitable foundation thing is largely just to curry favour in sentencing. The foundation still exists for VF's own PR and kudos. I'll be impressed when VF establishes at least a 5 year period without being prosecuted or warned by the ComCom.


 


 



Completely agree that actions speak the loudest. I also share your ambition and we will absolutely have this intent. Unfortunately I’m sure that there will be other issues from the past that I’ll be putting my hand up and apologising for in the future. Just know that we are working hard to get things back on track.




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  # 2229061 1-May-2019 22:10
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I know I rarely come across as a VF fan (I'm actually a VF user and would be the first to say that when things work -- which they largely do as with most telcos -- it is great; when VF fails, it tends to utterly disgrace itself) but I do wish you every bit of success. The fact that VF appears to have dropped the usual arrogance in the sentencing submissions is a good sign by not getting into attack mode despite a guilty plea. Let's hope things really do change for the better attitude and legal compliance-wise.

 

 

 

 


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