Staying a Vodafone customer can sometimes be difficult.

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 9-Apr-2007 20:01

I decided it was about time to go and change my mobile plan and sign up for You Choose, primarily because although I'll still be spending the same it will give me more for my money. I popped into my local Vodafone store at Westfield Queensgate today and asked the friendly staff member what deals were available.

"We have the Choose 60 with the free Motorola V360v on a 12 month contract and free TXT2000 for 12 months"

I said I was interested in a 3G device and that I didn't actually want a new phone because my existing V600i phone which I paid $749 for still worked perfectly well but I wanted the extra 25% airtime and would therefore buy a phone and sell it if there were any deals since they couldn't give me the extra 25% airtime without buying a new phone.

The staff member then pointed out a Motorola 3G device (can't recall exact model) that was normally $399 but was available for $99 which got me interested. He then asked me if I was an existing Vodafone customer to which I said yes. He then asked me if I was on prepay or on account to which I responsed that I was on an account.

"Oh I'm sorry these deals are only available to new customers not resigns"

The response dumbfounded me. Why bother with all the advertising if it's not available to resigns? All this says to me is that we don't value your business and would be happy to see you port your number to Telecom and take your business with you.

So I asked what deals were available to me as an existing customer and he wasn't quite sure if there were any but headed over to a PC to have a look.

First stop was the site. Every must remember right? Vodafone spend loads of money sending all their on account customers out a nice metal plate towards the end of last year with a unique login to thank them for being a Vodafone customer

To say ‘thanks’ for being with Vodafone we’ve given you a with some great offers just for you. Once you receive your combination via TXT, you’ll be able to log in to your and see what great offers we’ve put together for you.

I mentioned the website has had no deals, news or competitions or infact anything worthy of even reading for several months now.. after sending the new password to my phone and logging in it didn't take long before he realised the same thing. Looks like marketing wasted a fair few $$ there, it's no wonder airtime in NZ is so expensive.

He then asked me if I had checked out the site to which I responded that I had tried it several times recently and got a mesage saying they were working on the site and to come back soon. He then tried the site himself to be greeted with the same message. Reading the blurb instore this site will offer customers deals for new phones based upon the amount of time they have been a customer and the amount they spend. Sounds like a great idea.. Just a shame it doesn't work.

He seemed a bit embarrased himself by now that nothing seemed to work and asked me how long I'd been a Vodafone customer for to which I responded just over 11 years. His response was that he was sure there would be some deals available for me and said he would try looking up my account on their computer...

2 computers and a CRTL-ALT-DEL later he then came to the conclusion that their was a fault somewhere with the system and he was unable to look up my details at present. After a short discussion he told me to keep trying the website to see what deals where on offer first and to come back into the store at a later date if I couldn't access it and he would see what sort of deal he could do for me.

Now I know I love mocking Vodafone but the simple fact is that most of the time they deserve it. Despite this Vodafone is a brand that I truely admire and to be completely honest is a company I would love to work for because there are so many simple things that could be fixed to make the whole "Vodafone experience" a far more rewarding adventure. My experience today however almost left me lost for words. The guy at the store was great but I'm sure he wasn't happy with what happened.

All I want to do is feel like I'm getting myself a deal. I'm not expecting a free $1000 handset. I'm not even expecting a free handset at all. I honestly don't even want buy a new phone. I just want to sign up for You Choose and get the extra 25% airtime for signing up with a 3G device but somebody decided the phone had to be purchased at the same time as you sign up. Because I was stupid enough to pay $749 buying an unsubsidised V600i within days of the 3G network launch to have the latest and greatest toys I'm effectively being penalised. Vodafone will only give me the extra 25% airtime if I go and buy a new subsidised phone. Why not just give customers the 25% extra airtime if they are already using a Vodafone NZ new 3G device?

How can a company be so dysfunctional and still have customers?

How long will it take before actually works?

Do Vodafone actually care about their existing customers?

Will anybody at Vodafone respond to this?

Check in next week for the latest.

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Comment by juha, on 9-Apr-2007 22:49

I never got a ...

This is what happens when there's not enough competition. Sad really.

Oh, the URLs need http:// in front of them.

Comment by freitasm, on 9-Apr-2007 23:12

Sad state of affairs, And people don't believe when we criticise companies for being so disconnected with customers...


Comment by lugh, on 10-Apr-2007 07:50

No here either.  When they finally finish the change to the upgrade site, hopefully they show which models are offered under limited stock - my wife missed out there.

Perhaps, it'd be simpler to cancel your existing account then sign up as a new customer.  That'll get around their customer-friendly policies.

Author's note by sbiddle, on 10-Apr-2007 08:24

At least you can cancel your account now and keep your number.. just port it to Telecom first.

Comment by poker zone., on 10-Apr-2007 11:03

hey is an idea maybe? If your contract is out of term. Why not switch to pre-pay and then resign the next day to the new contract and get the deal. I got a Question: Why don't vodafone bill per second, for all there vodafone to vodafone call as they are within the network, and don't inccur a connection fee... or are we all getting ripped off as usual.

Author's note by sbiddle, on 10-Apr-2007 11:34

"Why not switch to pre-pay and then resign the next day to the new contract and get the deal"

Because you can't switch to Prepay and keep your number.

Comment by lugh, on 10-Apr-2007 13:02

Interesting what you said about the store guy being unhappy with what he could do for you (definitely not like the Jville store then).  I've been into several stores and asked about upcoming phone models where the answer is always "Sorry, we don't usually know until just before the phones arrive in the store".  Obviously not much communication between the corporate offices and the the front-end stores.

Comment by lokinz, on 11-Apr-2007 06:40

"Obviously not much communication between the corporate offices and the the front-end stores."
Obviously that sales rep wasn't doing their homework, you are given a regular list of comming models, it's not hard to do a google search or check out gsmarena.
"Will anybody at Vodafone respond to this?"
Good luck.

Comment by wickedcoffee, on 11-Apr-2007 09:59

Vodafone said that they would bring in portability to prepay in about 6 months time. I mean whats the point. With all this hoo Haa about number portability if the Telco's can't get it right from the start. The Govt need to pull finger and get ti sorted.

NZ is a sad place to own a mobile. You pay through the nose for minutes you don't use, I say bring in per second least then I won't feel ripped off....every time I make a 30 second call.

I mean just imagin how far 200 minutes would go if you only got charged per second instead of paying for the whole minute even though you only talk for half a minute.

Thought - What about going to telecom for a no term deal then port the number back.

Thoughts on this people!!!

Comment by Hayden1245, on 18-Apr-2007 18:09

HI there i totally agree with you, i finally gave up on Vodafone about a month ago after they ripped me off over one of there promotions where you top up $30 on your pre pay account and you recieve 100 V to V airtime, i topped up two lots of $20 equaling $40 but didnt get it as you had to do one lot of top over $30, then the v box saga, log onto it with the text saying we would love to thank you for being a Vfone customer, and you get a direct marketing ad saying if u by a 3G phone you get $150 off, whoop pee wait two month they come down anyway. Also i have had continual troubel in Dunedin with my 3G handset droping off all networks, getting text messages 2 days after they were sent and not getting calls either, and Vfone comments we will send your ph away for 4 weeks to get new software on it, the last time i pay $650 for a mobile ph, now purchased a $150 tcom one and it works better and i get better calling rates.  hehehe i sent them this email just to rub it all in and yet recieved no response. Sorry just venting lol hope you dont mind?

Please forward To Russell Stanners CEO of Vodafone
As a Vodafone customer for well over 8 years now and have spent untold $1000s on my mobiles and on top ups, I have finally become really disgruntalled and extremely dissappointed and will stop using this mobile in two weeks.
For the past 3 years i have had endless troubles with my phones and your poor promotions. Firstly the faulty Motorola phone which continaully would not charge or would turn itself off in a middle of texting or using Vlive I paid $650 fr this phone and it was rubbish, then to the Samsung ZV10 which didnt work in 3G and i wouldnt get calls or text messages 3-4 days after they were sent, then then was it the text mesage that told me to send it in for a free software upgrade as this phone reboots ifself in Vlive also, then your local vodafone store wouldnt loan me a phone, so i didnt send away. These two issues i have been really patient with, but what has really annoyed me and tipped me over the edge to finally purchase a Tcom mobile was the dreadful calling rates on superprepay 89c a minute to a landline off peak rip off, then the dreadful promotions starting last year when you treated everyone differently eg you top up 20 well will give you another ten or you get a double top up, i felt like i was really let down by this as why give people different amounts treeat everyone equally, but what really sent me over the edge was the recent promotion of top up your mobile with $30 and get 100 Vfone to Vfone mintues I topped up with two lots of $20 one after the other to find out that was not the way you could get it, and to add my friend did the same only to get a text message two days later saying you have to change to super prepay to recieve this, i can supply his email to your customer support verifying this.I have also taken the step to report this promotion to the Commerce Commission as false advertsing as your text messages did not state anything about being on super prepay. I also feel totally ripped off and dissappointed with the service and explainations here as I did spent $40. I have also over the past two years asked for all promotional texts to be stopped to my mobile from Vodafone but still i get them, telling me to spend more do this do. The ting that annoyed me the most was your Vbox promotion it is a joke, not only did i fall for a direct marketing ploy, being tricked into it saying i was a valued customer and we would like to reward you, only to log on to say you get $150 off a new mobile if u buy one, what a joke why would i want to when i already have a 3g phone that doesnt work properly, and some lame tickets to events for a fashion show in Dunedin, crap xair tickets or a lame night in a corporate box, none of which people want, we want good airtime rates, or double top up, not free best mate for a month or the joke of win $50 airtime wow whoop pee.
I am sorry to send this but i feel it is time to make my opinions know as a previously loyal customer. I would dearly love a reply or a phone call to my vodafone mobile to explain your side, as my tcom mobile doesnt arrive for two weeks.

Comment by Grace, on 3-Sep-2008 07:32

After being a Vodafone customer for many years, I had such awful customer service last weekend that I seriously considered closing my account and going to telecom. The issues I discovered: - the vodafone contact centre staff haven't got a clue. They have no idea of the products sold on the vodafone website or of the difference between vodafone and non-vodafone stores. - not all vodafone stores are vodafone stores, even tho the branding is similar (ie the big red circle). LOOK OUT! Do not sign up at a non-vodafone store - their system does not talk to the vodafone system and there will be delays (or even no action) if you wish to cancel your plan or change. There seems to be some commission set up with the stores that encourages dishonest behaviour -the best place to buy a vodafone plan is via their website - do not fall for the 'free phone' or cheap phone deal in the shop - it will be a crap phone and you'll pay somewhere - the vodafone contact centre tells you things that are blatantly untrue - for eg there is a 14 day period after you sign up when you can cancel or make changes. They don't record their phone calls, so if you have a complaint the customer is wrong and the vodafone contact centre person is right. - you cannot get hold of native speakers of english at the vodafone contact centre - some people have v. strong accents or even trouble comprehending what you are saying, indicating a lack of depth of english skills - vodafone does not respond to complaints - even tho you put yes - I want a response on the complaint. The contact centre said I would get a response within two days - but you don't. Some of these issues need to be made public. Who wants to group together to go to fair go.

sbiddle's profile

Steve Biddle
New Zealand

I'm an engineer who loves building solutions to solve problems.

I also love sharing my views and analysis of the tech world on this blog, along with the odd story about aviation and the travel industry.

My interests and skillset include:

*VoIP (Voice over IP). I work with various brands of hardware and PBX's on a daily basis
  -Asterisk (incl PiaF, FreePBX, Elastix)

  -xDSL deployments

*Structured cabling
  -Home/office cabling
  -Phone & Data

*Computer networking
  -Mikrotik hardware
  -WAN/LAN solutions

*Wireless solutions
  -Motel/Hotel hotspot deployments
  -Outdoor wireless deployments, both small and large scale
  -Temporary wireless deployments
*CCTV solutions
  -Analogue and IP

I'm an #avgeek who loves to travel the world (preferably in seat 1A) and stay in nice hotels.

+My views do no represent my employer. I'm sure they'll be happy to give their own if you ask them.

You can contact me here or by email at