Vodafone loses customer over roaming bill row

Charges were caused by an issue with one of Vodafone's overseas network partners, says the company

Vodafone has confirmed it has been over-charging some international roaming customers because of issues with one of its overseas network partners.

The issued surfaced last month when Wellington business woman Stephanie Guigou received a bill of more than $5,000 for two days’ occasional usage in Australia. She had been advised over the phone of the large amount and although she asked for a written breakdown, Vodafone terminated her ability to make out-

going calls, even before she had received a physical bill.

Guigou, principal of International Systems, bought a Vodem on October 17, then signed a roaming agreement for a late October trip to Brisbane. She says she was told the cost would be NZ$10 a megabyte for the Australian usage. However, she made the mistake of connecting to a Vodafone partner there, rather than Vodafone, and the rate jumped to NZ$30 a megabyte.

The first she knew of the near $5,000 bill was when a telesales person rang her to review her contract and mentioned the outstanding amount. She was then connected to Vodafone’s accounts department, which confirmed the size of the bill. She twice asked for a written breakdown without getting any response.

While in Australia she had monitored her Vodem usage, which showed she had used only 5MB.

In an email to Computerworld, Vodafone says it has discovered the charges were caused by an issue with one of its overseas network partners.

“The partner network incorrectly charged Vodafone for the data usage of our customers while they were roaming,” a spokesperson says. “We have identified the customers that were affected and all will be credited back with the overcharged amount.

“We are working with the partner network to work through this issue to ensure it does not happen again.”

Vodafone does not say how many customers were affected.

“That’s all very well,” says Guigou, “but no one from Vodafone has contacted me. I have since received the physical bill, which shows charges of more than $5,400 for roaming. I queried this again with the outlet where I bought the Vodem and they said they were shocked that no one had contacted me.”

Guigou, who had been a Vodafone customer for more than five years, has switched to Telecom. “They’ve even rung me to make sure my new service is working well.”

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