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Vodafone Backs Down In Row With Android Users 106

Posted by timothy
from the matchmaker-matchmaker-shut-up-shut-up dept.
jhernik writes with this excerpt from eWEEK Europe: "Vodafone has backed down in the face of angry opposition from Google Android customers, who last week received a software update thinking it contained Android 2.2, but instead found it contained Vodafone's branded 360 service. The Vodafone 360 service was launched in October last year. Essentially, Vodafone 360 is a user interface that puts social networking on the front screen of the phone, and arranges the users' contacts so you can reach any person with a phone call, IM, text or other call — or send a location message to meet up. However it also installs irremovable Vodafone-branded apps and bookmarks, including links to dating sites."
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Vodafone Backs Down In Row With Android Users

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 14, 2010 @06:43AM (#33249846)

    ...lead to more usage of data sites with the SO picks it up and goes "Honey, why is Match.com on your phone?"

    Whoever thought of this was a total idiot.

    • by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @07:31AM (#33249950)

      2 marketing executives are sitting in an office :

      ME1: So I guess this Android thing is getting popular with the geek demographic.
      ME2: Can can make some money off of that ? We need an angle.
      ME1: Dude, these guys look like couldn't get laid in a monkey whorehouse carrying a bag of bananas.
      ME2: Get me match.com

    • Actually it's a pretty good excuse:

      "What's this on you phone?"

      "Oh yeah, that. Some stupid Vodafone app that you can't remove. Don't worry, I'll never use it"

  • Hmmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 14, 2010 @06:43AM (#33249850)

    Yet another company that should pay me to be their CEO of common sense.

    Most companys need someone like that to help them NOT do things that piss off all their customers. Yet no company has one it seems.

    • Re:Hmmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hedwards (940851) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @07:55AM (#33250012)
      Indeed, for a short while I had a Motorola backflip. I liked the hardware in general, although the battery was a bit on the weak side, but the deal breaker was all those damned AT&T apps that came installed. Not only were they installed, but you couldn't remove them without doing some serious hackery to the phone. They wasted space and resources on the device and seemed to suck up RAM permanently. I had similar issues with my Sony vaio. That was one of the worst QA fails I can remember in quite a while, as soon as that laptop booted up for the first time it was immediately running extremely slowly because PC-cillin was taking up 99% of the processing time and it was installed by default with no way to avoid doing so until after you managed to bring up the task manager.

      It should be common sense, really, that not loading your device up with crap would be the way to keep customers, but businesses don't care enough and in the US the government doesn't force them to care either. Sure you'd spend more money and devices tend to in areas with more active regulators, but it's ultimately cheaper than having to replace a device that doesn't work because of crapware.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by dangitman (862676)

        It should be common sense, really, that not loading your device up with crap would be the way to keep customers, but businesses don't care enough and in the US the government doesn't force them to care either.

        Well, for a lot of users, the crap is actually considered vital software.

        "What, you don't have Norton McAfee VirusBuster 2000? Don't you know that makes you vulnerable to random monkey attacks? Look, it says so right here in this email that somebody forwarded to me. Sending you a copy right now. Make sure you run the .EXE file for a full explanation."

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mark72005 (1233572)
        I made the same mistake. My contract was up at a time when AT&T had just gotten their first Android phone - sign me up.

        It had the same thing as this Vodaphone garbage, "Motoblur", a bloatware suite that is essentially just a package of widgets and apps that you can't uninstall and which deliver social networking content straight to the handset without having to use those well-designed specialty apps.

        Eventually I got sick of that phone's random reboots, slowness, and other software issues. I've never hat
      • As a "CLIQ with MOTOBLUR" victim, I also have a bunch of non-removable shovelware on this thing - plus Motorola appears to have removed certain basic functionality from the stock Android.

        And don't get me started on their indefinitely delaying the long-promised update out of the Android 1.5 pit in order to "optimize the user experience in some key areas".

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You seem to be under the misperception that companies want you to like them.
      While this may be true in a competitive free market, where a customer can easily switch to a competitor with a better deal, it is not always the case.

      In a market with little competition, or with significant barriers to switching to competitors (contracts, investments that are tied to one supplier, etc), how much you dislike a company is a decent measure of how much money they are extracting from you for a given level of service. If

    • Oblig. movie reference:

      "There is only one CEO of the company... only one he can bend to his will; and he does not share power!"

      * Yes, the CEO is subject to the board of directors, who are (theoretically) subject to the shareholders. That's why they get the big salaries, stock options, and golden para-- er, severance packages.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rawler (1005089)

      Rory Sutherland touched this subject earlier of Ted. The 12-minute talk is here; http://www.ted.com/talks/rory_sutherland_sweat_the_small_stuff.html [ted.com]

      Many nice observations there, but instead of ruining it for everybody by trying to rephrase them, just spend 2 minutes and watch the beginning. You'll likely watch the rest too. ;)

  • Backs down = (Score:5, Informative)

    by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @06:44AM (#33249856) Homepage Journal

    Just in case you're wondering like me how they back down ...
    FTFA:

    Following the complaints, Vodafone backed down and said it would now offer an update without the Vodafone-branded applications.

    “Instead, in future we will offer customers two updates. The first will be a rollout of vanilla Android 2.2, once we have carried out appropriate testing to make sure it doesn’t cause any problems on our network or handsets.”

    • And this is why my phone isn't a smart phone.
      Any convenience or value provided by these devices, is never going to be worth placing myself in someone's walled garden.

      • Re:Backs down = (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Teun (17872) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @07:09AM (#33249908) Homepage
        Or you could get a non-proprietary like the Nokia n900.
        • Re:Backs down = (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Briareos (21163) * on Saturday August 14, 2010 @07:30AM (#33249948)

          Or you could get a non-proprietary like any Android phone NOT sold by the carrier directly.

          At least that's how it works here in Europe; dunno if the US has caught up with the times yet - do you still have no SIM cards?

          • AT&T uses SIM cards.

          • Re:Backs down = (Score:5, Informative)

            by hedwards (940851) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @07:59AM (#33250028)
            Actually, in the US most carriers use SIM cards. The exceptions are Sprint and Verizon which are both CDMA carriers. As far as I know, all the GSM carriers in the US use SIM cards. And if you're smart you get a SIM card and then buy a pay as you go card when you go traveling outside the US.

            It doesn't do you a lot of good, since the carriers haven't standardized their spectrum. Which is fine for voice as that is standard, but 3G isn't going to work without the carrier specific support. Around here T-Mobile uses the European equipment and AT&T uses a different part of the spectrum for whatever reason. Meaning that if you want to take your phone with you to the other carrier you're giving up 3G.
            • Re:Backs down = (Score:4, Informative)

              by realityimpaired (1668397) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @08:13AM (#33250064)

              AT&T is using the same part of the spectrum as Rogers and Bell in Canada, as well as several carriers in South America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Rogers got their spectrum license early. Way before it looked like most of the carriers in Europe would be using a different spectrum. Bell is using the same spectrum because they were late to the game and have a tower sharing agreement with Rogers.

              And the part which answers your question... AT&T was part owner of Rogers 10 years ago. Most likely, they bought into that spectrum in the US at the same time as Canada because they wanted to be able to buy the same equipment for both brands and take advantage of economies of scale.

              • Bell has a tower sharing agreement with Telus, not Rogers. Both companies worked together to provide a 3G HSPA network compatible with Rogers using the same bands. This makes it easy for them to grab Rogers customers. "Hey, you don't even need a new phone, just c'mon over!"

                • You'd be surprised how much tower sharing is actually happening between Bell and Rogers. Partly it's just to save on real estate: Bell buys the land for a tower in town X, Rogers does it in town Y, and both locations have antennas for both companies, but there's a fair amount of signal sharing that happens as well, especially now that Bell is switching over to GSM-based technologies.

                  It's not an accident that Bell chose the same data frequencies as Rogers. But I think your reasoning is backwards... Bell's HS

            • Re:Backs down = (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Night64 (1175319) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @09:33AM (#33250316)
              That is the problem with the whole "regulation is bad" dogma. In Brazil telecom companies are forced to use the standards, in a way that I can freely hop between carriers at will. And my phone number is MY phone number. No matter what carrier I contract, my number goes with me. That's how a free market was supposed to work. Competition, folks.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Solandri (704621)
                Except that the "regulation is bad" dogma worked. Verizon and Sprint are CDMA providers while GSM originally used TDMA. The marketplace in the U.S. chose CDMA as the winner because it worked better and wasted less bandwidth than TDMA. The folks making the GSM spec agreed, and the 3G version of GSM in Europe (UMTS) used wideband CDMA.

                In fact you can probably thank CDMA in the U.S. and Japan for getting you UMTS and HSDPA as quickly as you got it. The CDMA carriers got 3G speeds almost two years befor
                • by sznupi (719324)

                  Ehh, confusion because one of the groups chose a name of basic radio method for its marketing, again. And with some fairytales...

                  GSM still uses TDMA and will continue to do so (perhaps because it's a notably older standard? Which kinda implies relying on simpler method, simpler & cheaper phones, base stations, etc. - it proved fine in the end, seeing as GSM is the uberdominant one worldwide. Also in places not exactly known for much...governance, for starters). The US also has very strong GSM/TDMA prese

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by MobyTurbo (537363)

                That is the problem with the whole "regulation is bad" dogma. In Brazil telecom companies are forced to use the standards, in a way that I can freely hop between carriers at will. And my phone number is MY phone number. No matter what carrier I contract, my number goes with me. That's how a free market was supposed to work. Competition, folks.

                My number goes with me, if I chose to, in the US too, I think the UK has this regulation as well. I'm not sure who's market you have in mind for that one.

                Of course, the US happens to have a lack of standards, especially with regards CDMA vs GSM and the existence of two standards even for GSM 3g, that make keeping your actual phone, if it's a smartphone, difficult. (Even if you're switching from T-Mobile to AT&T with an unlocked phone, or vice versa, you're unlikely to be able to do better than EDGE spee

            • by EvilJoker (192907)

              Actually, in the US most carriers use SIM cards. The exceptions are Sprint and Verizon which are both CDMA carriers. As far as I know, all the GSM carriers in the US use SIM cards.

              Not exactly. Short version is that yes, the GSM carriers use SIM cards, and CDMA carriers do not. (Europe is all GSM, hence all SIM)

              However, in the US, there are only a few noteworthy GSM carriers- AT&T, T-Mobile, Cincinnati Bell, and SunCom (now part of T-Mobile). All the rest appear to be CDMA- including Verizon (including

              • by sznupi (719324)

                Yeah, and only four-five noteworthy overall. Half of them GSM. With close to half of all subscribers.

          • by Threni (635302)

            I'm in Europe (the UK, to be precise). How do I get rid of the crap Orange branding, including un-uninstallable trial versions of games? The new OS - Froyo, aka v2.2 - is out for my phone. At least, it is for customers of some carriers, but not Orange. When's the Orange version coming out? A few weeks? Apparantly. Or will it be months. Before 2.3 comes out? Is 2.3 coming out? It's not very clear, is it?

            • by netsharc (195805)

              Is it an HTC Desire? Google "leedroid", it's a hacker-made Android 2.2, but he does say Orange users need an unlock-code when upgrading the radio firmware... the hacker's also on Orange UK, so he might have some more info.

          • Or you could get a non-proprietary like any Android phone NOT sold by the carrier directly.

            At least that's how it works here in Europe; dunno if the US has caught up with the times yet - do you still have no SIM cards?

            That's not the problem, public awareness is. I've seem amazed comments along the lines of Google/Apple (or whoever) have come up with the revolutionary idea of selling a handset separate from service. But you've been able to by SIM-free phones in the US for years (I got mine from Amazon). People either haven't heard of the idea, or think that it's somehow illicit, like hacking, or owning a region-free DVD player.

            Similarly, there's a lot of confusion over the difference between jailbreaking and SIM-unlocking

          • Google tried to change this by selling the Nexus One direct to users (I have one of those and am very happy with it!) but this seems to have been a dismal failure, overall.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by PeterBrett (780946)

          Or you could get a non-proprietary like the Nokia n900.

          Hear, hear -- the N900 is great!

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by GameboyRMH (1153867)

            Wassup N900 buddy? (^_^)/\(^_^)

            It's good to be free!

            • How many apps are there in the Ovi Store, these days? Did it finally break the 100 mark?

              • I dunno, I don't use the Ovi Store much. All the good apps are in the community repos, the Lenny/Squeeze repos I can use on my chrooted Debian install, and the "garage" pages.

                • I know you can run vanilla Linux apps on N900 - e.g. OpenOffice - which sounds awesome on the surface of it... but I've seen the screenshots, and the UI looks awfully tiny and inconvenient to use on a touchscreen. So I wouldn't really count it the same as a native (Maemo) app.

                  Back when I was picking a smartphone, the lack of apps was largely what drove me towards Android - N900 was a better fit for practically anything else.

                  • There's a good selection of Maemo apps, you rarely have to resort to squeezing a Debian app onto the screen. The only must-have of the Debian apps is the OO.org suite (yeah it's cluttered, but it beats the hell out of Docs to Go). I also use Iceweasel, gFTP, GIMP (much less of a PITA than you might think) and PCmanFM from time to time.

        • by Builder (103701)

          Ah yes... The n900. Which OS is that running today again? It's so hard to keep up, between Nokia merging ideas with Intel and killing product lines.

          • by exomondo (1725132)

            Maemo, it's only ever been Maemo, not sure how you're having difficulty keeping up, you can count to 1 can't you?

            The difference is that - if you want - you could install any unofficial, unsupported OS like the preview of Meego or NITDroid.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Simon Brooke (45012)

        And this is why my phone isn't a smart phone.
        Any convenience or value provided by these devices, is never going to be worth placing myself in someone's walled garden.

        An Android phone is no more 'inside someone else's walled garden' than an Ubuntu[1] PC is. You can accept the updates offered to you by your supplier, whether that's Vodafone or Canonical, if you want to. You don't have to. And you can install third party applications through the provider's repository, if you want to, but you don't have to. You can download them directly from third party suppliers and install them, or write them yourself and install them. In what way is this a 'walled garden'?

        [1] Or Debian

        • A PC running Ubuntu (or any other Linux distro) lets me:

          1) Remove any app I do not want
          2) Turn off services that are not needed so save RAM/CPU
          3) Add third party repos
          4) Install a different OS

          I am pretty sure vanilla Android will let you do all of the above. Vendor or operator modified versions of Android often will not, and that is the problem.

          • I am pretty sure vanilla Android will let you do all of the above.

            It will.

            Vendor or operator modified versions of Android often will not, and that is the problem.

            So take off the vendor's version and put your own choice [cyanogenmod.com] on!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by netsharc (195805)

      Ah, my HTC Desire runs a hacker-made Android 2.2 (google "leedroid"), installed using a hacker-made recovery mode (google "unrevoked3"). It runs great, any Vodafone customers reading this should try it.

    • Just in case you're wondering like me how they back down ...
      FTFA:

      Following the complaints, Vodafone backed down and said it would now offer an update without the Vodafone-branded applications.

      “Instead, in future we will offer customers two updates. The first will be a rollout of vanilla Android 2.2, once we have carried out appropriate testing to make sure it doesn’t cause any problems on our network or handsets.”

      The interesting thing is I have a Nexus One on my Vodafone UK contract. I got 2.2 over a month ago, and it is plain vanilla-flavoured FroYo with no social media nonsense or bookmarks I didn't add. I can't believe that the Desire is so different from the Nexus - similar hardware from the same maker - that rolling out plain 2.2 to the Desire would cause damage to Vodafone's precious network that rolling it out to the Nexus didn't do.

      Most strange.

  • by ickleberry (864871) <web@pineapple.vg> on Saturday August 14, 2010 @06:50AM (#33249874) Homepage
    This shows once again that the little bit of a subsidy the network gives is never worth it.

    Remember lads this is in the UK where all networks offer good SIM-only plans and prepaid doesn't suck ass like it does in the States.
    • by jez9999 (618189)

      And it takes the price of a smartphone through the roof.

      (Disclaimer: I always try to buy unlocked)

      • You will still pay the same price, its just spread out over your bill. Its like buying something an a credit card and paying the bill off over the next year: you pay less up front, but you end up paying a lot more in total.

    • Back in 2006, I made the mistake of buying a Nokia N70 from Orange. Now let's skip the debate as to whether or not the N70 continues Nokia's trend of excellent user interfaces. What's certain is that the "Orange Homescreen" was a LOT worse than the options that Nokia offered - just Google it and you'll see what I mean. There was an option to disable it (which required a reboot), but guess what, if you rebooted after that then it just brought itself back.

      The solution I found on the Internet at the time wa

    • by wigaloo (897600) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @08:19AM (#33250086)

      To me, this shows we need a truly open distribution of Android that isn't controlled by any company. i.e., the Debian of Android. Debiandroid?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DMoylan (65079)

      i do buy unlocked phones. and used to use vodafone sims on prepay here in ireland. till they changed their prepay service so that pages i browsed had shitty vodafone links and logos at the top. rang to ask how to turn the crap off and was told you couldn't so threw the sim away.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by grumling (94709)

      Lucky you can do that in Europe. Here in the US, every carrier (save one, which I'll get to) is more than happy to provision your unlocked phone. But if you want to get an unlimited data plan, you have to sign a contract. The contract-free plans are horrible for data, in one case almost $5.00/day. And they don't give you a break on the contract if you have a phone, so you might as well get the cheapest phone with the offer and add on stuff later.

      Verizon's billing system won't let you add anything to a plan

    • Well, that's as maybe, but in this case I found that the cost of a SIM free Desire and then 2 years of a SIM only contract was about 180 GBP more than the cost of a 2 year contract plus a Desire from Vodafone.

      When I bought the phone, before signing on the dotted line I asked specifically about the branding aspect of the software and was told that it was essentially unbranded but with one "scene" (home screen wallpaper/icon/layout) that was not even set as the default. I was also told that Vodafone would not

    • by EvilJoker (192907)

      It depends- I have the Motorola Droid on Verizon. It runs vanilla Android (about to get Froyo) and Verizon is contractually bound (by Google) to not pull any of that shit. Therefore, the subsidy (if you can call it that) is worth it in this case.

      Unfortunately, I do not believe any other Android phones in the US have such protection (and all on AT&T are crippled).

    • by Malc (1751)

      Perhaps you shouldn't perpetuate this fallacy. Pre-paid is bloody expensive in the UK. The best deal I can get away with for somebody who uses their mobile lightly is £15/month, and quite frequently I'd bust that. Rogers in Canada is known for fleecing their customers, yet I used to a pre-paid credit of CAD$100/year (just over £5/month). This credit would last because my evenings and weekends plan (when I most use the phone anyway) was CAD$0.01/minute (about 0.62p/min). For work visits to t

  • by jgreco (1542031) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @07:27AM (#33249940)

    If they're going to dictate mandatory apps and screen layout, that seems like it's moving away from a true smartphone and towards the realm of featurephone.

    I can definitely see having some predefined layouts handy for new smartphone users who don't really know what to do next, but it seems to me that one of the biggest advantages of a smartphone is the ability to customize it for your own arbitrary uses, adding your own layout and apps. If wireless companies are going to start dictating layout and apps, that seems like a step backwards. These phones are going to keep getting more capable with every passing month, new hardware design, and OS release, and if anything the market for featurephones would seem like it ought to be shrinking (since a smartphone can completely replace a featurephone). At some point, it'll be easier to sell a smartphone with a predefined featurephone-like template for users who would prefer that - instead of developing separate featurephones.

    Is it possible that someone at Vodafone simply doesn't quite understand this? I couldn't quite put my finger on what problem Vodafone 360 was designed to solve...

    • by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @07:40AM (#33249972)

      I couldn't quite put my finger on what problem Vodafone 360 was designed to solve...

      The cashflow problem.

      These guys have 2 products: the phone which they sell to you, and you who they sell to their partners.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hedwards (940851)
        Perhaps in general there ought to be laws against that. In the US it's absolutely ridiculous that Fair Isaac Co., thinks that it owns my credit score. They calculate it, but they do so in a relatively fixed way on my data. They don't ask or get a waiver, they just spy on everybody and then expect to be paid. Likewise computer and phone manufacturers include software by companies that pay them to install it, but don't ask permission of the people buying the items. Given how prevalent it's become and the lack
      • by ErikZ (55491) *

        "Vodafone is the world's largest mobile telecommunication network company, based on revenue, and has a market value on the UK FTSE of about £80.2 billion (August 2010), making it Britain's third largest company"

        Seems like they're doing ok to me.

      • by jgreco (1542031)

        I can see that possibility, though I idly wonder whether a dating site is going to be able to create sufficient volume... presumably they're paying some large sum to get screen real estate on every Vodafone (360) phone, but that seems like it'd need to be a rather big number, and what happens when the expense crushes the dating site because actual clickthroughs don't match projections? Or maybe Vodafone sells their customers for cheap. That doesn't quite make sense to me because I would expect that the p

      • I couldn't quite put my finger on what problem Vodafone 360 was designed to solve...

        The cashflow problem.

        These guys have 2 products: the phone which they sell to you, and you who they sell to their partners.

        Yes, and much of that crapware is there because the phone company is being paid by a third-party to put it there. It's just another revenue stream to them. This is one case where the user backlash was too strong and they had to back off, but they'll try again. They can't help it, they're born-and-bred moneygrubbers.

  • by Sockatume (732728) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @07:37AM (#33249960)

    I'm on Three, and anyone who wasn't previously on their "Xseries" service*, and isn't willing to pay £5/month for that service, is subjected to a content block. The content block redirects objectionable sites like B3ta to Three's PPV porn portal. It's like a protection racket: "pay us £5 per month, or you might find yourself looking at porn instead of the site you wanted to go to".

    *Long story involving their move from a walled garden internet service

    • ...and if you *want* to view porn on you phone?

      So what happens if you refuse to pay? Do they browbeat you into changing your mind? And what did you decide to do?
      • by Sockatume (732728)

        I've got a choice between occasionally being redirected to a porn site when I'm trying to get to a modestly distasteful geek comedy site, or paying an extra £120 over the duration of my contract. Right now I'm trying to convince them to waive the service charge and/or redirect me to a brick wall that's not covered in porno.

    • I was all ready to get fired up with righteous indignation, but I just tried visiting B3ta from my Three UK mobile and there was no issue.

      I'm on a standard contract, never had Xseries, not paying the extra fiver. Want to list a few more sites you're having trouble with? I'll test them out here, could help getting unblocked for free if other customers aren't having the issue.

    • by balaband (1286038)

      The content block redirects objectionable sites like B3ta to Three's PPV porn portal.

      "It's not a bug, it's a feature!"

  • Future Expansion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Arbition (1728870) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @07:43AM (#33249980)
    By the sounds of it, they haven't actually given the option to roll back to Vanilla 2.1, they just said, in fututre, the 2.2 will be available vanilla. Maybe they are expecting people to warm up to the "features" prior to the update?
    • Vodafone don't care about firmware upgrades unless they can control the content.

      I have an N900, admittedly a niche product, and they just stalled and stalled about putting newer firmware on it. I think they are currently 2 or 3 versions behind the latest, and they are unlikely to produce a newer version since they dropped the phone from their line up. They probably dropped it because they can't control it.

      They intentionally make vague threats about installing vanilla firmware and losing your warranty. They

  • by brindafella (702231) <brindafella.gmail@com> on Saturday August 14, 2010 @09:51AM (#33250400) Homepage

    I keep telling this story **about** Vodafone, which cost me a **considerable** amount of money; and, they know it.

    Quite a few years ago, not long after Vodafone arrived in Australia, I was sold a mobile plan with Vodafone using an existing handset. I inserted the Vodafone SIM, and the phone would not work. **I had not yet made one call!** The company's designated repairer agreed to have the phone "unlocked" and, weeks later, it was returned to me supposedly fixed.

    I tested the phone in the store: The phone still did not work with Vodafone's SIM, but seemed to work with my old carrier's SIM. I gave it back to their designated repairer on the spot.

    Weeks later the handset was returned to me and I was told that the phone was affected by water, and would cost over $1000 to fix; much more than the handset was worth, or could be replaced, even back then.

    I pestered Vodafone for over a year, when they bothered to call to try to get me to pay their mounting monthly bills which I refused to pay. at the risk of repetition... **I had not yet made one call! (on Vodafone)**

    My premise was that I would happily talk to their people, for hours in some cases, until I had used up the cost **of their time** that they had ascribed to my "bricked" phone (that Vodafone had "bricked".) And, I alays told them what I was doing; that I was using a headset with the phone when they rang me at work, and I was actually productive while they were not!

    I regularly suggested that they buy me a new handset, which I would use with my existing Vodafone SIM. They refused. I would have used it, too! (Meanwhile, we had another handset with another company.)

    Eventually, a senior manager from Vodafone who called me worked out -- in the midst of a long conversation -- that I really meant what I was saying, and "wiped" my bill. However, my parting shot to him was to say what I had said to his other people; that I would continue to tell this story ABOUT (and never 'against') Vodafone. After all, I do not want to get into any legal trouble by bad-mouthing such a prosperous company.

    So, I just have told my story, again!

    You decide.

    Peter

    • by valeo.de (1853046)

      Sounds shitty. Everyone has operator horror stories, though. Myself, I've never had any problems with Vodafone in the five or so years I've been using them here in the UK. My old phones (all Sony Ericsson handsets) were branded, but not to buggery like they tried with the Desire. And on the rare occasions I had to deal with their customer service department, they were always very helpful and eager to resolve my (minor) issues as quickly as possible. I guess they saw me as a valuable customer... pits operato

  • Just another instance of mobile phone companies (mostly service providers) thinking they know what their customers want.
  • by Cyberllama (113628) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @05:02PM (#33252686)

    I don't have to deal with Vodafone, but I get so much ridiculous crap from AT&T I've started to wonder how long before *customers* have to form unions to protect themselves from this sort of garbage. One person threatening to take their business elsewhere gets no notice, but if you could organize and get thousands of customers willing to "strike" together, maybe we could actaully have telcos that don't act like they're monopolies. I think a little bit of collective bargaining could really help us out on the monthly fees department too.

    • by Velex (120469)

      but if you could organize and get thousands of customers willing to "strike" together

      It's called a boycott. Good luck with that. Seems only religious kooks are willing to do boycotts anymore.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Cyberllama (113628)

        Boycotts are not quite the same thing. They're reactive instead of proactive. A company does something you don't like, and then you TRY to get enough people to care to boycott. I'm talking about organizing people beforehand and being very clear about what you don't want done.

        • Then isn't what you're asking for something along the lines of the eff? There are already consumer watchdogs, et al around that try to keep companies inline so what would yet another one add?

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