A Vodacom customer received a R20,000 data bill after her son watched “Minecraft tutorial videos on YouTube” using her tablet.
This is despite the customer setting a R50 overdata limit on her MYGIG2 open contract.
According to The Power Report in the Sunday Times, Susan Tarr “went to war” with Vodacom after she was told her contract was experiencing high data usage.
Her son had already racked up R17,000 in usage at that stage, after the pair had moved to a new home without a Wi-Fi-linked broadband connection.
Tarr’s matter was handed over to debt collectors by Vodacom, but the operator wrote off the bill after being contacted by The Power Report.
“Vodacom has taken the decision, in good faith, to credit Ms Tarr for data charges billed,” said Vodacom.
The fine print
According to the report, Vodacom has disclaimers in its terms and conditions that “gives it an out” should a limit requested by a customer not kick in.
Call and data limit requests are not guaranteed by Vodacom, said the report, which is due to “time delays with call data, as well as variable upload and download speeds”.
“If for any reason whatsoever your limit is not enforced you will remain liable for all amounts due in excess of the limit set,” states Vodacom’s contract terms.
Tarr was also told that the data limit she’d set had never been loaded. This was because the R50 cut-off was written down in the contract activation authorisation form, and the not the voluntary call limit request.
“The contract call limit would have been the appropriate document to complete for Vodacom to temporarily lock the line when the usage reaches a pre-determined rand value,” said Vodacom.
“The customer was given the incorrect form to complete and as a result the voluntary call limit was not processed.”
Tarr’s contract also had a R3,000 call limit, and an R8,500 account limit – both of which did not kick in.
“Those set limits should have kicked in. Regrettably this did not happen,” said Vodacom.
The full report is available in the Sunday Times of 8 May 2016.