By Pia Akerman
Vodafone customers are rallying to a proposed class action related to unreliable reception, despite the company issuing public apologies.
Law firm Piper Alderman is registering potential clients for the lawsuit amid a torrent of online outrage at Vodafone’s coverage and customer support.
“Calls dropping out, reception issues, poor data performance — this is not what Vodafone customers signed up for,” the firm said in its call for clients.
“Vodafone, however, has continued to charge customers on its mobile plans, without providing the service it promised.”
Over 1200 poor reception areas have been logged along the country’s east coast on the Vodafail website, set up by Sydney software engineer Adam Brimo two weeks ago while he was waiting on hold for Vodafone customer support.
“I was spending so much time on hold I figured I might as well do something with my time,” said Mr Brimo, who has now been released from his contract after experiencing dropped phone calls, delayed voicemail and text messages, and poor reception in the Sydney CBD.
He subsequently complained to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.
Vodafone has issued two public apologies in a week and chief executive Nigel Dews said yesterday the company would offer compensation to some customers if their problems could not be resolved.”If we can’t fix their experience, of course they are able to leave,” he said.
Mr Dews blamed two software upgrades before Christmas as the “catalyst” for customer complaints from central Melbourne and Sydney, but said there had been other teething problems with the network throughout the year.
St Kilda architect Chiang Ning has registered his interest in a class action, saying he and his wife had experienced frequent call drop-outs since signing up for a two-year contract two months ago. “You can’t have a conversation properly if the call drops out,” Mr Chiang said. Mr Dews said he was “very sorry” some customers were unhappy with Vodafone service, echoing an apology for “recent intermittent network issues”.
“We are in contact with the ACCC and other consumer groups to advise them of what we are doing to improve network performance and service to our customers, and are keeping our customers across changes through our website,” he said. “We are confident things will get better as we roll out extra capacity across our network.”