Cold Called By Vodafone? Hang the Hell Up!

Its nice to get a little thank you from time to time from a company that you’ve been a customer of for a while. A little incentive to let you know they are happy that you’re happy.

Unless, of course, this incentive is from Vodafone, in which case you should, as my title suggests, hang the hell up, step away from the phone and not utter one word.

Elder, that most un-tech loving of modern males, has been so not interested by smartphones, contracts and anything other than chatting the arse end off a donkey with his mates for so long now that he has had the same number for 12 years at least. Possibly more, in fact, it’s been that long I don’t recall how long and don’t remember a time when he had another number. I’ve changed mine lots, all different networks, all sorts of phones, but to Elder, a phone is good so long as you can hear the person on the other end and they can hear you.

He does not text. He barely even goes online on the phone bar Instagram, and that’s only to brag about his records so he uses wifi indoors. He does not do hashtags of food he is eating, or his outfit of the day. If he could go without the need for me to phone him to ask what he wants for tea or for Mini to phone him outside Tiger to cuss him for saying it’s a bit girlie and shit, he wouldn’t bother with a phone at all.

He has, with that in mind, always been happy with Pay and Go. He knew where he was with it, he wouldn’t be on the phone to his old mate Ted for 4 hours and get hit with a stonking great bill, it would just cut off when his top up went.

However, with our Sky phone bill hitting £80 just for his calls, and my having a contract too, when he got cold called by Vodafone, who he has had the aforementioned same number with for all those years and offered a deal, he said yes.

Not without them having to twist his arm though.

First he was offered a text, calls and data bundle. He said no.

Then he was offered a text and call bundle. He said no.

He was asked why he wasn’t interested, and said, quite honestly, that to him, a phone was a phone, nothing more, he was only interested in calling, he cannot text (his eyesight is shite) and the data thing didn’t interest him.

The salesman said, as he had been with Vodafone practically since they were still Mercury, he could offer 600 minutes for £9.50 per month.

That sounded good to Elder, so he said yep, as long as he could keep his number, which they said he could.

He was sent the new improved chip and I was looking forward to not looking with horror at my Sky phone bill. Which I didn’t for the last three months as the phone line was left alone.

The bill was coming from Elder’s personal bank though, like mine does, and the first month he checked it was the quoted £9.50.

He didn’t check last months.

He did, however, check this months. And found it at a staggering £94.50.

£94.50!!!!!!!

Fecking hell!

All together, after looking at last months amount, the bill that was meant to be £19, was suddenly £120.05 over what it should have been.

I repeat, fecking hell!

Scratching his head, we went on live chat, thinking it must be a massive, huge mistake. One thing Elder had been promised was that, should the call time reach his 600 minutes, he would be cut off, just like his pay and go.

This, of course had not happened.

The chat person, Mahesh, was useless. He specified that we needed to look at PDFs for the bill which we were given access to when he signed up. But Elder had not been sent these log in details. He could not refer to a bill he had never seen.

We told Mahesh this but he said that as Elder had exceeded his minutes the bills stood.

He also said Elder had received texts from a phishing company whereby he was charged £9.50 last month. But I check Elder’s phone for texts as he finds the display too small and he had not received any dodgy texts from Oxygen8.

Oxygen8 are a well known scam, its all over the net from other phone companies, you don’t even necessarily receive a text, said Mahesh, they just randomly generate. However, that wasn’t their fault said Mahesh, you have to go to them for refunds.

This may be true for Vodafone customers, but EE and O2 don’t make their customers get their refund from a scam company. They just refund it. They have blocked this company from handsets. Vodafone only do so when you become aware of the scam.

He then quoted Elder had exceeded his 300 minutes allowance, and quoted that Elder received 300 minutes, 100 texts and 250mb of data.

Not so. We referred back to our original call which whilst it did at first get offered Elder said no and it was changed to 600 minutes only.

Knowing that Elder had arranged this over the phone from one of their cold callers, Mahesh quite slyly said that we should take written proof to our local store. We didn’t have this as a contract never arrived, we had no idea we needed one as it was a rolling contract.

Mahesh did not take kindly to my taking over the chat and I quoted distance selling laws and the Ombudsman. He passed me over to cancellations.

So, Vodafone will cold call, get you to agree terms with them, tie you in, lie and then when things go wrong, they don’t want you any more if you know your rights.

I was put on with someone else- Candace, who read back what I had written and what Elder had written. And promptly passed me back to Mahesh.

He then passed me to “Luke”. Who never even responded, just dropped the chat.

Elder then phoned 191 on his mobile, and was told all sorts of rot, he was then put on to someone called Joyce, who understood why he was so cross, and after Elder repeated what their phone line said- that all calls are recorded- told her to go listen to his original call.

He also spotted that no calls had been stopped as promised. He had never gone over 600 minutes. And if the data was included all of a sudden, why had I seen texts sent to him saying it was only a trial?

With all that info, she immediately offered a full refund of the £120.05 and admitted liability. She promised to get it sorted out that day and phone him back. She also promised they’d honor the 600 minutes as he had been treated so badly.

Mis-selling is no joke, it is frowned on by the Ombudsman and there are laws to protect the consumer. So, we felt that Joyce would get it sorted and the cash would return shortly.

Except she dropped called after one ring and then we never heard back again. No surprise, no cash was in his bank either.

He rang again today and spoke to the first person politely, as he always does. They put him on hold twice. After the second time, an hour had passed and he spoke to someone in their Resolutions department. She denied anyone called Joyce worked in her department.

She was incredibly robotic and said there was a record of his call from yesterday but not that he was due a refund. She was adamant that Elder was at fault and no money would be returned.

Again, he was placed on hold. She came back and offered half and again said Elder was at fault and denied the 600 minutes offer.

He really told her what for, that he knew his rights in the UK with consumer law, he was owed a refund due to mis-selling.

He asked to speak to Joyce or for the new person to go find the call. She first said, repeatedly, she could not do that, that it would take 4 working days to go and listen to the call and then they’d get back to him. Rightly, Elder called bullshit on this.

Eventually, after over two hours, they agreed to pay it back but even that will take several days.

I’m not even confident that he will receive the money after this call. And you can’t blame me.

Vodafone clearly do not care about their customers, long term or otherwise.

In a time when people shop around more and more to get the best deal, long term customers’ like Elder should be due some respect, but it seems not with this company.

Not only are they aware that their cold callers- who specifically target long term users- are happy to lie to gain a commission- they also know that customers are being ripped off by a text message scam and are doing nothing to stop it like their competitors unless you ask them to. But the only way you know you’ve been scammed is when you query your bill.

Their staff are rude, they do not care if you are ripped off, they will not honor what you are tied to, and, unless you stop paying them, at which point they expect immediate payment, they wont pay you back when they’ve taken far too much.

Two hours, most of this on hold, is disgraceful. They knew they were in the wrong, they knew that the call had been recorded, but they tried every trick to fob Elder off and give him a cursory amount back.

I shall be offering Vodafone the opportunity to reply to this post, and I hope they do.

I have also alerted the Ombudsman of their shoddy and dishonest practices, and I would hope that other’s do too.

Have you been scammed by Vodafone? Maybe Oxygen8 took money from you that Vodafone wont pay back? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

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Is It Just Me: Agreeing With Sharon Osbourne on the McCanns?

I start this by saying that I am not, and never have been, a fan of Mrs O. In fact, quite the contrary, I found her irritating as hell on The X Factor.

However, Sharon has made the papers for all the right reasons in my view with her comments on The Talk, a US based show similar to our Loose Women, regards the McCanns and the events surrounding the disappearance of their daughter, Maddie.

Sharon was part of a discussion stemming from a thread on Mumsnet asking whether it is ever acceptable to leave a child on their own at home. According to this thread, a Mum had admitted to leaving her ten month old alone asleep whilst she popped to the shop nearby, and wanted to ask whether anyone else had  ever done the same.

Sharon was very much in the no camp with regards ever leaving a child alone, and I have to say I agree with her 100% on this- there is never an excuse to do this.

She didn’t name the McCanns but one of her reasons for not agreeing with this practise was to mention a UK couple who had left a child alone in Portugal whilst they went off for drinks some distance away, which led to their daughter being snatched.

She is, quite frankly, spot on, and it’s about time we all stopped pussy footing around what we really think and privately admit- that the only people responsible for Maddie ever being taken (if, in fact, this is even what happened as the Portugese police very much doubted this claim) is her parents.

The media have said that Sharon has faced a backlash- from who?

All I’ve seen online and in comments sections is that, whilst Sharon possibly isn’t a candidate for Mum of the Year herself, she’s hit the nail on the head with her views on the disappearance.

The only people with an opposing view to Sharon is, surprise, surprise, spokespeople for the McCanns themselves, who have branded her ignorant.

To brand someone who quite rightly has denounced you for being ignorant in your duties as a parent as ignorant for speaking out, is not an irony lost on many.

The fact is, all us parent’s would love a night off. Parenting is hard work. I’ve personally not had a night off with Elder for a year as my sisters in law have been ridiculously busy with work and their own lives, so whilst I have been out with my fellow school mums and Elder has been to concerts with his mates, we have been dying for a night out together.

We have a pub the same distance away from our house as the McCanns and their fellow shameful parent friends were that night (and others) from their villas. The very idea I would say “here, Elder, Brats are asleep, lets bugger off round the pub and we’ll pop back every thirty minutes to check on them” is a notion that I find laughable. It just wouldn’t happen.

My two are 9 and nearly 8, but even when all their mates were running round in a big group last Saturday, in broad daylight, with lots of other parent’s watching, and with sealed exits, I still, still didn’t want them to leave my sight, and ended up doing the DJ tent on my own so Elder could keep a discreet, two steps behind, distance from them both at all times.

The very fact that they still maintain that, although they feel guilt at what happened, it was not their fault at all, is disgraceful. Talk about lacking in self awareness! The holiday resort they were on had Baby Listening services. It had in room babysitters available with qualifications up to their eyeballs. They used them during the day, so why not at night? Why, in fact, take the kids with them at all as it seems they barely spent two minutes with them.

I say, well done Sharon for finally and publicly denouncing these people who should, quite frankly, have faced an inquiry into their parenting skills the minute they schlepped back to UK soil. The only fact they didn’t was more down to their social status than their parenting ability.

Apparently, Sharon will upset the twins who were not taken- I think the realisation that their parent’s put their own selfish needs first and left them open to whatever fate befell their older sister will upset them a whole lot more.

Its about time we all pointed the true finger of blame at the McCanns and stopped sympathising with the very people who left her open to abduction for a cheap meal and a bit of peace.

 

Is It Just Me: That Actually Kind Of, Sort Of, Agrees with JosiDenise?

I could’ve actually put this post under the #BlogSchool tag as it’s a bit of both that and Is It Just Me to be fair.

Its (another) howling at the moon, bloggers up in arms moment in the old homestead of Blogland, this time an American blogger has managed to rattle the collective chains of many thousands of bloggers across the UK and US.

Her post “Dear Mommy Blogger” has certainly divided opinion, but for the most part the post has gone down like the lack of wine at a blogger event- not well indeed.

She’s not a blogger I was aware of, I don’t think many people were over here, but her click bait and rant fueled letter of anger towards all thing Mum Blog has certainly brought her front and center now.

I first heard about it on facebook but the site had been suspended, probably because it had been shared around 16.1K times and had countless and relentless traffic. I was given the abridged notes that basically it was rather derogatory to parent bloggers, especially those who review, so I waited to see if it came back online and prepared myself to be as cross as a lot of my peers.

I read it twice, at about 6.30am.

At first, I read it and read the angry bits, and the swearing, and the waffle bits and thought, well, this is a bit off isn’t it?

But, as I was only on my first coffee, I made another and read it again.

The point is, and I think the point that is lost due to the righteous indignation of people who don’t like being called out by anyone, much less a fellow blogger and the fact it is so in your face and directly put, there are several issues brought up that are spot on if you remove the swearing.

If you take out the fist shaking, in need of Valium and a nice sit down of it, I found myself nodding along and recognising some of the things she said that I had said myself many times in the last 5 years. All be it in a less shouting Harridan way.

I have often lamented the old days when we would comment because we actually liked a post or had an opposing viewpoint to express politely to that in the post. I have noticed that, since DA reared its ugly, manipulative head and ruined blogging forever, as my blogs are either on WordPress or a vanity url which has shit DA, I barely get a sniff of a comment, even from people who regularly commented on every post I ever posted before. Despite the fact that my writing style and my debate and opinion fueling posts are still here, it seems that the DA rule has meant my blog is not worth bothering to comment on as it wont allow someone to get a hit off my virtual stats.

I agreed 100% that the idea that anyone actually reads every single post we post is a daft notion- even Elder doesn’t read my blog, his sisters probably don’t get the blogging thing so don’t, in fact, I bet the fact my DA here is WordPress and not therefore good enough to bother with means I barely get a sniff of the action anymore, unless I write something which could be a bit controversial (to Mumsnet) and then I get thrown a bone. I don’t check my stats, so I don’t care, or bother to care, as my blog is my space to unleash the stuff in my head so I would write it anyway.

I agreed too that, actually, sometimes going to upteen conferences, and following advice from “experts” (most of whom are self appointed) can be very tiring, very expensive and get you precisely nowhere fast. I have long since gone to conferences to see people I haven’t see since the year before, drink gin with adults away from the kids, get a goodie bag and then I might, might, just take home some knowledge in the form of notes which I will be unable to decipher or cant be arsed to implicate once I get home hungover. BlogOn was the only conference I’ve been to recently where I actually learned anything, and that was down to the fact it was done in a fun, non preaching way. However, a lot of bloggers are still caught up by these (again, self appointed) better blogging Gurus and their lists, awards and seminars that are better than another, similar seminar run by another, similar outfit.

The best person to know how to do stuff on your blog that works for you and is your style and niche? Is it these outfits cashing in on blogger outreach, working as middle men? Is it old skool bloggers who have had varying degrees of success? Is it online marketers who will make your blog work and get you meaningless numbers of fake followers?

No.

Its you.

You write it, you put your personality into it. No one can know how you want to portray yourself online better than you.

I cannot even begin to imagine how needy someone would be to buy fake followers and comments. Seriously. I guess this is more of an American Mom Blog thing, as the stakes seem to be infinitely higher over there. But no doubt, give it a while and it will happen here too.

Once something becomes more drama, more cost, and more aggro than fun, that’s when we need to reevaluate if we don’t need to find a better hobby.

You only have to look at “issue threads” and comment rings where people are really pissed off with one of the chain for not commenting back. Why would you care? Because it hits your DA, that’s why you care, if you’re the type of blogger who possibly didn’t set up with the ideal of telling the web about your day or getting stuff off your chest. If I comment on someone’s blog, I don’t chase them over social media to bitch them for not commenting back. I just think perhaps they didn’t catch my post, or they didn’t have anything to add. And that’s fine by me.

Blogging should not cost more than a domain, should you wish to monetise your blog. It should not cost x amount of pounds for layouts, or y amount of pounds for fake followers and hits.

Yes, its frustrating when you read a blog where the effort has gone more into the layout than the content, and these blogs are the one’s I tend to avoid going back to.But never would I ever buy my way up the ladder.

When all this batshit crazy stuff in blogging has gone, I’ll still be here, tapping away at my blog, with it’s wonky layouts and its shit DA score.

So, whilst it’s hard to read what Josidenise says in her OTT, smack you in the face way, some of what she says is bang on the mark.

Perhaps its time for the Blogland massive to reflect on why it pissed them off so much?