Problems with Vodafone Spain

Version en Español (English version follows)

Problemas con Vodafone, España

Llevo siendo cliente de Vodafone, España desde hace siete años. Durante los ultimos cuatro años, he tenido contratadola tarifa plana de 39 Euro/mes data plan, que me daba conectividad al internet desde mi teléfono.

En Marzo del 2008, recibi un SMS de Vodafone donde comunicaban: “la modificación de su plan de datos ha sido realizada con éxito”, sin embargo, nunca habia pedido ningún cambio a mi contrato.

Llamé a Vodafone, y mirando mis facturas, confirmaron que habían cometido un error, e immediatamente cambiarían la configuración al plan original que ya tenía antes. (Hay que tener en cuenta también, que cuando se llama a Vodafone, España, hay una conexión, via a VoIP con la peor calidad que se pueda imaginar, a un centro de llamadas en Argentina. Es torturoso intentar explicar el problema cuando apenas se oye nada.)

Vodafone, intentando reestablecer el plan anterior, no lo encontraban y no sabían como se llamaba. Uno podría imaginar que tienen almacenado un historial de los servicios de cada cliente, pero no. No sabían el plan que yo tenía. El plan mas usado se llama Navega y Habla donde te dan un número y una tarjeta de datos para el ordenador. Insistían en que esa era el plan y no podían entender que yo quería datos en mi teléfono y no el ordenador.

Estuve llamando durante una semana, intentando activar mi plan de datos anterior y finalmente lo hicieron.

Cuando llego la factura cobrada en Mayo, me doy cuenta que Vodafone me ha cobrado 400 Euro (mi consumo medio por mes es 60 Euro.)

Immediatamente llamé a Vodafone para que corrigiesen el error. Entonces me dicen que no tienen acceso a mi factura y que tengo que esperar hasta que reciba la factura por correo antes de llamar y explicarles el problema. Me informan que solo tengo 30 dias para comunicar cualquier queja.

Esperé, y la facturas dejaron de llegar por correo. Llamé de Nuevo para comunicar que no recibia las facturas y me prometieron emitir copias y mandarlas de nuevo añadiendo una nota explicando que aunque los 30 dias habian pasado, tendría derecho a reclamar el cargo en el banco dadas las circunstancias.

Estamos en Septiembre, no he recibido ninguna factura desde entonces. Ahora tengo acceso a las facturas on-line pero solo las dos últimas, no tengo acceso a ninguna antes de Junio 2008.

Vodafone no me permite ninguna reclamación hasta que no tenga la factura. He intentado preguntar en una tienda de Vodafone de mi localidad pero lo único que hacen es hacer la llamada a atención al cliente desde la tienda.

Aquí esta el gráfico de mi consumo sacado de la página de Vodafone. Vodafone no quiere reconocer que hay algo anormal durante el mes de Marzo, aunque reconocieron su error, y no me resuelven mi problema. Siguen insistiendo que necesita la factura.

No se que hacer ahora para solucionar esto. No quiero seguir llamando (no anotan los problemas, asi que como cada vez que llamo hablo con alguien diferente, tengo que contra la historia completa una y otra vez.) Como nada está escrito no hay evidencia de ningún acuerdo, como por ejemplo la promesa de enviar las facturas o el ampliar el plazo de reclamación.

Esto es realmente lo que yo llamo mala atención al consumidor.


Update: September 4, 2008

I discovered that the Vodafone Customer Service website allows you to submit help requests online. I pointed them to this blog article, and today go the following reply:

SI QUIERE SER ATENDIDO EN INGLÉS, DEBE CONTACTAR CON EL CENTRO DE RELACION CON EL CLIENTE, LLAMANDO DE FORMA GRATUITA AL 123 Y SOLICITANDO HABLAR CON ELDEPARTAMENTO DE IDIOMAS. A TRAVÉS DE EMAIL SOLO ATENDEMOS CONSULTAS EN CASTELLANO.

Translation (removing the ALL CAPS): If you want help in English, you’ll have to ring our call center and ask for assistance in English. We only provide email-based support in Spanish (Castellano). So it looks like I’m going to have to translate the story below.

Original Story

I’ve been a customer of Vodafone Spain for the past seven years. For the past four years, I’ve contracted their “flat rate” 39 Euro/month data plan, providing me with internet connectivity on my phone.

In March of this year, 2008, I received an SMS message from Vodafone, saying, “We have successfully made your requested modification to your data plan.”—a request, however, that I never made.

I called Vodafone, and after checking the records, they confirmed that they had made a mistake, and would immediately revert my configuration to my previous plan. (Note that when you call Vodaphone Spain, you are connected, via a VoIP connection of the worst quality imaginable to a call center in Argentina. Having a conversation with those people is excruciating.)

Turns out, Vodafone couldn’t figure out which plan I previously had. You’d think there’d be some kind of customer history they can access, but no. Today’s most popular plan is called “Navega y Habla” (Surf-n-Talk), where you get a phone number, and a data card for your computer. They kept trying to insist that was my plan, and amazingly, couldn’t seem to understand that I wanted data on my phone, not my computer.

After literally a week of calling them, and various attempts to activate my phone data plan, they finally claimed everything was back to normal.

Well, April arrives, and I find one morning that Vodafone has charged my bank account for 400 Euros for the March bill! (My average monthly costs historically are around 60 Euros.)

I immediately call them, to insist that something has gone terribly wrong and needs to be corrected. But get this—they tell me they don’t have access to my monthly bill, and that I have to wait until my paper invoice arrives before I can even call and talk to them about my problem! Furthermore, they tell me I only have 30 days from the time my bank account was charged to make a complaint.

So I wait…

Well, guess what? My paper invoices stop arriving precisely that month! Next month arrives, May, and I call back, explaining that my invoices are no longer arriving, and they promise to send another set of invoices, and make a note on my account to give me some additional time to issue my complaint.

We’re now in September, and I’ve still received no invoices. I now have access to Vodafone’s customer website, but only the two most recent invoices (June and July) are available; not the historical ones I need.

Vodafone refuse to speak with me until I have an invoice. I’ve tried walking into a local physical Vodafone store here, and they simply call the Argentina call center for me, from within the store.

Here’s the chart of my consumption, snapped from Vodafone’s own customer website. Vodafone won’t look at that anomalous month of March, in which they admit to having made a mistake, and resolve my problem. They stand firm on the statement that they won’t help me until I have a paper invoice available for that month.

I’m at a loss now how to resolve this issue now. I can’t bear to call them again. (They don’t note your problems when you call, meaning that you have to retell the entire story every time you call them, over that horribly bad VoIP connection. And you have nothing more than your own word as evidence of any past agreements made on the phone—such as a promise to resend your missing invoices, and give you more time. I would bet money that’s all by design.)

This is seriously, seriously bad customer treatment.

32 thoughts on “Problems with Vodafone Spain”

  1. As I understand, they’re charging your bank account automatically? Then start by calling your bank to revoke this authorisation, meaning that from now on, you pay manually. Then send a signature letter to Vodafone to explain that you have been charged € X in April and May without receiving invoices and that you are going to deduct that amount from future invoices until they send you invoices for these two months. But don’t start deducting right now, give them a little time to react or, more likely, to show that they’re not going to react.

  2. Ölbaum, that’s how I used to have it setup many years ago. But the problem then, and I presume now, is the reliability in the delivery of the invoices. Every now and then, they simply don’t arrive, and Vodafone then cuts your service completely the very day after the payment due date passes, and it’s a huge mess to get everything back in order.

    That’s why everyone around here does the automatic bank transfer for everything (phone, internet, electricity, etc.)

  3. Hi Matt, sorry to hear that. I am a Vodafone customer for more than 10 years now but if something remotely similar to this happens to me, it will be the day I will cut the service without hesitation. The problem is that the alternatives are nothing that moves my soul… Vomistar, go figure.

  4. Matt, really sorry to hear about your intractable troubles with Vodafone. One small bright spot (for me, at least, having just returned to the USA from Germany): this sort of thing is easier to resolve in the USA, which provides me with one mental “plus” for being here. Good luck. Sorry I don’t know any Vodafone executives.

  5. DEAR MATT I HAD A SIMMILAIR THING I LIVE IN SPAIN FOR MANNY YEARS, ORIGIN SOUTH AFRICAN DUTCH ITS BECAUSE OVERHERE THEY HAVE A LAIDBACK MENTALITY AND SPAIN AND ORGANISING ARE TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS . EVERY BODY WORKS HERE DIFFERENT AND NOBODY WORKS ,STILL WITH COMPUTERS .EVEN THE OPERATERS WHERE THEY GET THEM FROM DONT SPEAK ENGLISH AT ALL , IF U ASK FOR AN ENGLISH SPEAKING OPERATOR U HAVE TO BE LUCKY THEY FIND ONE IN THEIRE COLLECTION OF WORKING SOUTH AMERICAN STUDENTS …..RON

  6. How do you get in touch with vodafone in spain if you have no spanish and no vodafone mobile? I am totally frustrated and need to cancell my internet service

  7. Babara, you will have to call their mobile rate customer service no. 607123000, and ask to speak to someone in english (puedo hablar con servicios al cliente en ingles).

    I found this blog because I am having MAJOR problems with my landline/internet service with VF. 3 things: 1. I am supposed to receive a 50% discount till March, didn’t get it 2. Am supposed to get free national landline calls day and night. I did, till Jan 23rd, then started being charged. Go figure. 3. VF’s landline service is routed through a mobile sim, because of some technicality about not having to cancel the telefonica line. So, we have a landline no. which I have been giving to family in the UK (who have a free European landline call package), and have just found out they are being charged the mobile rate!! aarrgghh

    Am trying to get onto them about it now. If anyone has any of these problems, it would be good to share….although I realise responses may be limited given the english blog in Spain!

    Thanks

    Sal

    PS, Matt, did you get a resolution to your problem?

  8. Hi Sal,

    After about six months of our continual pestering of Vodafone, they finally agreed to resolve the problem. However, they wouldn’t return my money; rather, they would only give me a credit against future usage. I probably could legally dispute that, but I suppose they know doing that wouldn’t be worth the costs.

  9. Hi all,

    I moved to Spain a little over a year ago. Needed Internet so I started comparing prices. When I got to Vodafone’s Spanish website I was pretty excitet and was almost convinced that I’d go with them, since I was thinking that VF was an UK company. Now my Spanish is more than average since I’m a Spanish language teacher. In order to check the coverage in my area they needed all details. I got a funny feeling but gave my details including a bank account. I didn’t get any kind of message or call from VF for a week, so I called them and said I was no longer interested, precisely to ensure against misuse of my bank info.

    In 2 months I started receiving invoices and 20 euros were automatically charged to my account. Went to the bank right away, got the money back and canceled the auto-payments, went to the first VF store to fix the issue since it was impossible to do it over the phone They told me I needed to go to the regional office (100 km away). I told them to shove it

    Today, a year later I get an invoice for 200 euro :))))))))))) I’m tempted to send them an invoice from my company for 2000…. if there weren’t the legal fees involved. I’ll call them and see wtf do they want…

  10. OK, it’s impossible to get them on the phone unless you have a current line with them.

    However, I called the customer line at the ministry of tourism, and commerce: 901336699 (Spanish only I think) and they told me that the best way is to send a written complaint (I recommend registered mail) to their head office (VF’s) and they should reply within 30 days.

  11. I want to know the vodafo spain customer care number. I bought a phone while I was in spain and now Im back in Sa I cant use it.

  12. Hi, I have lived in Spain over 5 years but had only a radiophone from telefonica for 4 years with 2kb connection and no 3g coverage. A few years ago I found I could get 3g on my mobile outside the house but intermittent inside the house, that test cost me 3€ connection and 3€/min! 1 year ago they advertised the wifi remote dongle, we are on the border between red and blue? on the coverage map. I got the dongle with an 18 month contract, hung it by an upstairs window and I get wifi all around the house, perfect, until it blows up! I take it back to the shop, they change the sim card but no go. I go back again (its not close) they will send it for repair and lend me a usb dongle, but it only works on a laptop by the window if I hold it high enough! Eventually the wifi dongle comes back, it works until I plug in the charger, then goes bang! So I take it back and tell them its a charger problem (I am an eletronics engineer) but they say no its not. After ages I convince them to send both for repair so they do. A few weeks later they say the dongle is burnt out, I will need a new one, but they cannot repair the charger, its not theirs! The people in the shop know it came in the box but they cannot find where to get another so I leave it with them. I can charge it by plugging into any USB port. Next time I am in Valencia I look for, and find, a suitable charger and some USB extension cables, so I’m back in business at my own expense. Now everything is fine until I exceed my monthly allowance, then nothing works. I phone them, “you have not paid your bill”. I’m on a monthly deduction from my bank I say and the contract states “reduced speed”, not a cut after exceeding the allowance. After several days they reconnect me at reduced speed, so slow that many things don’t work at all. Since then every month this happens, my reduced speed should be 128Kbps according to the contract, but it is actually nearer to 5kbps so many things just fail. Telephoning them is a waste of time, they just say “you’ll get it back next month”. Can I vary the contract – no! Can I have another, Yes but you still have to pay for this one also! You can cancel the contract for a huge sum (= to the amount left to pay!). When it expires, can I go with someone else – no, I’m outside the coverage of all the others. Luckily there are few other downsides to living in Spain.

  13. llevo con vodafone ocho años y vivo en holanda, el tres de febrero fue la ultima vez que llame a Madrid lo confirme y me restaban trece euros al dia siguiente quise llamar otra vez a Madrid y ya me le habiais bloqueado, por favor ser un poco formarles y arreglarlo

  14. If anyone is having problems getting a response from Customer Services you may want to try this. I was on a pay monthly contract at around 45 euros per month and wanted to cancel after a year in favour of Pay as You Go. I went to a Vodafone shop in Spain where the lady copied my passport and faxed the cancellation to customer services. The cancellation was completely ignored. Unfortunately I cannot speak Spanish well enough to master the telephone system to navigate to customer services to speak to someone in English. I contacted a solicitor which I felt was going to be cheaper than an on-going 45 euros per month but Vodafone would not speak to him as it was not his account. I tried a translator in the UK to navigate the telephone system for me but with no success. In the end the only way I got them to activate my cancellation was to photocopy the cancellation 20 times, then fax the whole lot at one go, at night, to 607132423. You will have to repeat this again and again and again as most fax machines will only send 20 documents at one go. When they come in in the morning, believe me, the copies will be all over the floor and they will have got your message. The average fax machine will only hold 250 sheets of paper so it will also be empty. Do this every night if you have to. It worked for me, they never billed me again.

  15. Don’t waste any more time trying to get them at Vodafone to listen let alone help, insist on filling in the official cpmplaint book. Every organiasation has to have one one by law & all complaints will be vetted by the government. Good luck.

  16. tengo un problema se me bloqueo la targeta necesitaba el numero puk mi numero es el 661945176 la sena es 2310 por fabor embienmelo por correo pues no estoi en espana

  17. Hi Matt,

    Sorry to learn about your troubles with vodafone but if it is any consolation we still have not received any replies to letters and complaints going back to 2009 and keep getting demands for increasing amounts of money which have nothing to do with us. Wehavecompalinnedto the Commissioner in Brussels and the Minitry for Telecoms in Madird but got nowhere. Did you manage to get details of an Ombudsman in spain or succeed in getting a reply from Vodafone in the end??

    Best wishes,

    Alaric

  18. I was going to write out my story, but I am sure its little differant to what I have read already, but basicly, we are trying to pay vodafone, so far we have set up 3 Direct debits, written to the Bank, written to Vodafone, visited the shop in Granada and visited the bank manager who personaly rang vodafone and set up another DD, yet every month we are besieged with text messages to pay then cut off. Vodafone say bank wont pay them, bank say Vodafone dont request payment, I have no phone, no internet and pay penalty fines every month to get reinstated. My wife refuses to speak to them any more, I cant navigate the phone system and our son who speaks fluent spanish? is it unfair to ask a child to fix our problems? 6 months in and 12 more to go on this contract, think I will go for pay-as-you-go mobile. sod them.

  19. I am having problems trying to cancel a Vodafone 3g Internet line. I just signed up with Twoway Satellite Internet in UK. It’s better, cheaper, faster and reliable. There is a process for cancellation of a Vodafone line which involves sending a BuroFax from a Spanish Post Office. This records your transmission with a receipt a few days later. I have a sample cancellation fax and procedure which I would love to share with anyone. I won’t publish my email address here but if you want this info please contact Matt Henderson so he can forward your contact detail. (thanks in advance to Matt)

  20. Sorry to hear of your problems.

    Under the Direct Debit RULES you can revoke ANY earlier payment. I had something similar happen with my provider and simply claimed ALL the money back for a few months, BLOCKING the particular invoice for future presentation. Eventually, that caused someone to sort it out. Best of luck sorting your problem!

  21. Just a comment on Chris’s opinion about Direct Debit. The frightening thing is that the Vodafone contract is not by Direct Debit. It is by CPA – Continuous Payment Authority. That means they can take as much money from your account, when they want and for as long as they want – AND you can do nothing about it!!! You cannot stop it – only they can – and if they choose to ignore your request to cancel they just carry on taking money from your account. They conned me out of just under 1000€ and when I put a stop at the bank they tried to take me to court. I lost and wrote off the money. TAKE CARE MY FRIENDS.

  22. Maybe someone can help me with this one. Vodafone charged me hundreds of euros for this premium service messages from numbers 795599 and 795018 and more. I spoke to Santiago on 10 Jan at 19.00 and I was told that this will be stopped and for 6 months I will get 50% discount on all my accounts. It did not stop. I phone again and Angie on 16 Jan at 22.20 hung up on me while I try to explain her the issue. I also spoke to Nasser the same night and I was told that a supervisor will call me the next day. This is two days later and still no call. I do not want to hear that I agreed to these premium messages as it is a Vodafone scam. I want a full refund and not a reduction over 6 months. I asked all the customer service operators for reference numbers of my complaints and none was prepared to give me any. I am a client of Vodafone for more than 10 years and I have more than 5 lines. I have paid to Vodafone almost 50 000 euro and now they still try to suck me dry with fraud and scams. I do not believe that Vodafone has any interest in solving my issue and I will take it to the Spanish consumer counsel and European court.

    1. We had similar problems and found the EU to be useless and Vodfone in Madrid just do not reply even to registered letters. It is now illegal in Spain, as I undertsand it to run these premium lines without invitation but you will get no where with Spain courts.

      The only way I was able to have theproblems addressed was to write to the CEO of Vodafone in the UK and his office were good enough to sort it out but obviously they have done nothing to control Vodafone Spain.

      Good luck

  23. It’s a major cooperate scam. Because you signed a contract and gave your bank details they have the right to extract whatever money they want from your account in perpituity and they ignore all your calls for help. They messed me about for over 12 months and ignored registered letters to their lawyer, CEO and financial director. It cost a little under 1000€ for nothing. Solution: never enter into an agreement where the supplier can extract money – you cannot cancel it – only the supplier can cancel and if they ignore you, you keep paying – it’s a scam. try to convert you account to pay as you go, then let it run out. Change supplier. Never use Vodofone again – they’re a bunch of greedy criminals.

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