Billed for non-existent service for 7 years & making it impossible to cancel it

Joined
May 23, 2013
Messages
15
#1
I’m curious to know if any other Vodacom customers have had similar horrendous experiences with Vodacom?

In 2010 my wife took out a small data contract with Vodacom which was to expire 2 years later. A few months ago she saw that they were still billing her for it. She should have picked it up years ago but she did not as she had other services from Vodacom which were deducted from her account – she thought the R99 on her bank statement was part of this. It was also difficult to notice if you do not study your bank statement closely as payment notifications for amounts under R100 aren’t sent. In any case, me not having noticed it earlier doesn’t make it okay for Vodacom to have continued billing for it.

Having realised they were still billing her for a non-existent service for 7 years, she cancelled the debit order. Two months later she found out that they blacklisted her which then negatively impacted her credit score which has always been impeccable. So not only have they kept on billing her for a period of 7 years (to a total amount of approximately R8000), they have the audacity to blacklist her when she stopped paying for it. It seems they had every intention of billing her in perpetuity.

She has for the last three weeks been attempting get the account closed but Vodacom is making it impossible to do so. When you phone the cancellations department (082 1958) their automated phone system gives two options; The first is to enter the number concerned. When she does so, their system says that the number does not exist – thereby confirming that they’ve taken money for a service that does not exist. The second option is to press hash if you are phoning from the number concerned. Firstly, the service doesn’t exist as per the previous sentence. Secondly, it’s a data contract so you she would not have been able to phone from it. They give no other options, making it impossible to get through to someone in the cancellations department.

During this time trying to cancel the account, she also spoke to other departments and they told her that the account was in arrears by around R300. Not considering (for the moment) the fact that they billed her for 7 years – for a service that does not exist, never mind not being used - she decided to just pay the outstanding amount so as the get her credit record clean. She paid the amount 2 weeks ago and was told that she could get a paid-up letter this week. Today she tried to contact them to get the paid-up letter and confirmation that the account was closed. It took me more than 30 phone calls today alone – not to mention the previous weeks’ calls - not getting through to the cancellations department, having been transferred from one person to the next and the line being cut off several times – only to be told that in addition to the amount they previously said she owed and which she settled, she owes them another approximately R100. She also went to the local Vodacom franchise and even they were couldn’t help her – also unable to speak to someone who could to sort it out. We refuse to pay them another cent and have every intention of claiming back all the money they took.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Vodacom deliberately frustrates customers where they eventually just give up, pay them and leave it there – not up for the time, cost, frustration and cost it’ll take to fight them.

I can now understand how the Standard Bank customer reached a point of frustration that she rammed her car through the bank’s window.
 

geezer

Expert Member
Joined
May 12, 2006
Messages
2,431
#3
I just may be completely wrong about this, but doesn't a contract automatically go to Month-to-Month, after the initial contact period? After the initial contract period has expired, you specifically need to cancel it if you do not want it to continue any longer.

Or am my take on this incorrect?
 

skimread

Executive Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2010
Messages
8,162
#4
I just may be completely wrong about this, but doesn't a contract automatically go to Month-to-Month, after the initial contact period? After the initial contract period has expired, you specifically need to cancel it if you do not want it to continue any longer.

Or am my take on this incorrect?
You are correct but it seems she didn't tell Vodacom to cancel before she cancelled the debit order so they blacklisted her for not paying her month to month bill

I assume the number was active and only once the debit order was stopped did Vodacom block/cancel the number.
However if the SIM was not used on the network, Vodacom could have cancelled it years ago but since if she didnt test it before stopping the debit order then who knows.
 

skimread

Executive Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2010
Messages
8,162
#6
The not getting notifications for amounts lower than R100 is really stupid though. Do all banks do that?
 

ISP cash cow

Executive Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2011
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5,058
#7
You are correct but it seems she didn't tell Vodacom to cancel before she cancelled the debit order so they blacklisted her for not paying her month to month bill

I assume the number was active and only once the debit order was stopped did Vodacom block/cancel the number.
However if the SIM was not used on the network, Vodacom could have cancelled it years ago but since if she didnt test it before stopping the debit order then who knows.
This was my take on it as well,

OP did your wife cancel the debit order before cancelling the actual contract with Vodacom?

generally when you have a two year contract it will automatically go month to month after the two years is up unless you actually cancel it.

My wife is going on her >10th year for her phone contract which was a 48 month contract.
 

Chuckmyster

Executive Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2016
Messages
9,467
#9
my 1 contract also expired about 3 years ago, maybe more.
Vodacom automatically put me on a month to month now with Free Upgrade looming in the air every month.
But I am not interested in upgrading as I use my work phone.

So if I were to cancel this debit order the correct thing to do is change my month to month to pay as you go.
Once that has been done I will no longer be on a 'contract'.
Will do it eventually, at the moment I enjoy the R120 airtime that i use to buy data bundles for when i am camping.

Everywhere where we go nowadays there is free wifi. Love it
 

ambroseg1

Executive Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2008
Messages
9,272
#10
The not getting notifications for amounts lower than R100 is really stupid though. Do all banks do that?
Standard Bank follows this asnine rule. They also do not notify you when they take money from your account for "service" fees even if those fees are over R100.
 

Dan C

Honorary Master
Joined
Nov 21, 2005
Messages
20,394
#11
I just may be completely wrong about this, but doesn't a contract automatically go to Month-to-Month, after the initial contact period? After the initial contract period has expired, you specifically need to cancel it if you do not want it to continue any longer.

Or am my take on this incorrect?
Correct.
 

ambroseg1

Executive Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2008
Messages
9,272
#12
As much as I despise Vodacom and believe they are greedy scum, I do not see how all the blame here is with them.

7 years and you dont know what debit orders are coming from your bank account?
Contract ends and you think it will magically get cancelled when I think it is common sense/knowledge that they switch to month-to-month.
 

skimread

Executive Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2010
Messages
8,162
#14
Standard Bank follows this asnine rule. They also do not notify you when they take money from your account for "service" fees even if those fees are over R100.
I am with Standard Bank and I only use SMSs to know what goes off or on so any random amount less than that I can easily not notice. Going on for a year I would notice though.
 

Venomous

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 6, 2010
Messages
52,274
#15
You are correct but it seems she didn't tell Vodacom to cancel before she cancelled the debit order so they blacklisted her for not paying her month to month bill

I assume the number was active and only once the debit order was stopped did Vodacom block/cancel the number.
However if the SIM was not used on the network, Vodacom could have cancelled it years ago but since if she didnt test it before stopping the debit order then who knows.
The problem is that its a contract VC and MTN are the same on data contracts. If you pay the bill it stays active, not like prepaid that recycles unused numbers after a few months.

And while it sucks, she did go about things in the wrong direction.

They are probably asking for a month where debit order was cancelled, the current month, and the notice month, with a few cents interest in there somewhere.

So VC was right, unfortunately.
You can try speak to them and see if they will waive any of it, then make sure its zero and then get VC to remove their negative listing.
 

Cius

Executive Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
5,051
#17
The law does not protect him who sleeps. All cell contracts auto renew as far as I am aware. If you never bothered to cancel it, your fault. If you cancelled a debit order via the bank rather than following the formal process to exit the contract you signed, your fault. Apologies if this sounds harsh but it is the truth. The two biggest mistakes where on your wife's part.

That being said being billed for a number that is cancelled is poor form by Vodacom. If they see that they should be a little more pro-active at contacting you.
 

Venomous

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 6, 2010
Messages
52,274
#18
That being said being billed for a number that is cancelled is poor form by Vodacom. If they see that they should be a little more pro-active at contacting you.
The way I read the OP...
Cancelled debit order,
Call and cancels contract mid month. So needs a (fair) notice period


It's not VC/MTN/CC/TM/RAIN/etc's fault if a person did not use the contractual services and simply tossed the sim aside.
People who want that should rather stick with prepaid.
 

AstroTurf

Lucky Shot
Joined
May 13, 2010
Messages
27,079
#19
Only saw this now, will check with OP if I can assist in any way.

Suspect most of the posts above are correct, the contract would've gone month-to-month at the end of the period.

The quick blacklisting for a small amount sounds rough though. Will get the details.
Thank you

@JonJavelin still around?
 

Marcell1992

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2018
Messages
212
#20
I am with Standard Bank and I only use SMSs to know what goes off or on so any random amount less than that I can easily not notice. Going on for a year I would notice though.
Yea, STB is quite pathetic in notifications, I often don't get notifications for amounts being deducted.
 
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