A Vodacom contract customer recently contacted MyBroadband about an issue she experienced while purchasing data bundles via USSD.
The customer claimed that Vodacom deducted extra airtime on every bundle she had purchased, with the extra amount being used to add WhatsApp-only data to her purchase.
She said she did not consent to this additional data bundle purchase.
The customer did not attempt to contact the Vodacom Call Centre about the issue and reached out to MyBroadband.
Vodacom told MyBroadbrand that the customer was asked to confirm the purchase, but did not realise that she had consented at the time.
Vodacom WhatsApp add-on bundle
The complaint concerned a Vodacom “booster” service, which offers customers a discounted WhatsApp bundle when they purchase a standard data bundle.
This service offers subscribers the option to buy the additional bundle or to decline the offer upon completion of their standard data bundle purchase through USSD.
Once the customer selects a normal data bundle, the option of a one-time bolt-on purchase is given, requiring a “yes” or “no” reply to accept or decline.
According to the affected customer, this did not happen in her case.
The customer said that after she had bought a 100MB data bundle for R29, an additional R1 was automatically deducted from her airtime balance for an extra 10MB WhatsApp bundle.
She insisted that she was never offered the choice to accept or decline the WhatsApp bundle purchase.
She told MyBroadband that this issue had occurred on more than one occasion.
After MyBroadband contacted Vodacom for comment on the matter, the operator investigated the issue.
Vodacom said the customer’s claims were inaccurate and explained the typical process involved in purchasing the add-on bundle.
“The offer is presented to the customer at a discounted rate during the purchase journey within the USSD,” Vodacom said.
“It is also important to note that as part of the purchase journey within the USSD, customers are presented with a message that informs them that they are about the make a purchase of an additional bundle.”
“At this point, they are presented with two options – 1 is accept/confirm and 2 is decline/reject,” the company added.
If a customer chooses neither option, no additional bundle will be added to the purchase.
“In this customer’s case, a WhatsApp bundle of 10MB was presented at R1, and the customer confirmed the purchase, hence the R1 was deducted from their airtime. We can confirm that there is an option to confirm or cancel the purchase.”
The network also indicated that a follow-up SMS confirming the purchase would be sent should the customer accept the offer.
Vodacom told the customer that they found that the USSD selection was working as it should.