Vodacom / unethical behaviour

Cape Town, ZA
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I have been a contracted client of Vodacom for 18 years.
In July 2016, I changed my bank and therefore had to redirect my debit orders to my new bank account.
I went to the Vodacom Service outlet in Hout Bay, Cape Town, to inform them of the new bank account from which the Vodacom monthly contract fee should be deducted.
They informed me that as it was too close to the due date, the change would not be made in time for the upcoming debit.
I therefore paid directly for the August payment and fortunately asked for a printout of the transactions (payment and change of bank)
After about a week, I started receiving sms messages demanding payment of my contract and a R100 fine for a returned debit order.
I ignored this message, presuming that Vodacom would check their systems and discover that everything was in order.
However, Vodacom then proceeded to bombard me with payment demand sms messages at the rate of one every hour, eight hour a day.
Calls to their call centre were met with demands to pay. I informed them that I had made my payment and I would not be accepting any fines from Vodacom - ever!
However, the sms messages persisted for 3 weeks forcing me to turn of the sound of incoming messages on my phone.
I was eventually coerced by these messages into making another trip to the Vodacom Service store in Hout Bay, where I insisted that they inform Vodacom that I would not be paying their arbirtarily imposed fine and confirming that my debit order details were up to date.
Eventually the Vodacom messages ceased although by this stage I had become used to simply ignoring any message from Vodacom.
At the beginning of November, I received an sms message from Vodacom informing me that my service would be suspended for non-payment.
This was obviously incorrect so I attempted to correct the matter through the Vodacom call centre. This proved to be an absolute nightmare. Apart from the convoluted process required to reach an agent, the agents were abrupt and demanded that I pay the arrears and fine, or else they couldn't help me.
When I demanded to speak to somebody more senior, I was either cut off or diverted to the login process once again.
After wasting frustrating hours over the telephone I then made another trip to the Vodacom Service shop in Hout Bay (10km round trip each time).
The agent there contacted the Vodacom call centre as well and was subjected to the same shockingly poor service of dropped calls, incessantly loud background noise and unsuccessful transfers.
Eventually, through phoning other departments at Vodacom, the agaent was able to establish that although Vodacom captured my new banking details, they did not update their systems and therefore failed to deduct the contract amount over the past few months.
They demanded that in spite of it being a Vodacom error, I must immediately pay the contract arrears before they would reconnect my service.
I countered by asking who would recompense me for the time, costs and frustration caused by Vodacom's admitted maladministration.
I received Vodacom's response the next day in the form of a confirmation of the disconnection of my service via sms.
Upon inquiring further, I was warned that Vodacom would take legal action against me as I would be in breach of contract.
This is shocking treatment of a customer of 18 years standing.
If I do not receive a satisfactory response from Vodacom within 24 hours, I will have my number ported to a different service provider and I will await Vodacom's legal actions.

Nov 09, 2016

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