I have been a client of Vodacom’s for the last 12 years but not any more. In the last 2 months I have met nothing but gross incompetence from them on every level. If I had not paid them so much money over the years, this might actually be funny!
It started with an SMS to say my account was in arrears. I went into the Vodacom shop in Norwood, Johannesburg to sort this out. I told the consultant that I am closing my company that the phone is registered to & needed to transfer it into my personal account. The consultant gets me to fill in “transfer of ownership” forms and gives me an easypay number to use at Pick ‘n Pay to sort out the arrears amount. I fill in and sign the forms & go to Pick ‘n Pay to make payment of the arrears amount. I head home think how easy and well organized the whole process is. Nothing could have been further from the truth!
The next month, my phone is cut off ‘cos it is in arrears. Again, I go into Vodacom in Norwood to sort this issue out. The consultant check his computer and tells me that the transfer of ownership has not gone through. He reckons it is ‘cos the account is in arrears, only now it is in arrears for even more than last month. There is no record of the easypay payment I had made the month before. He connects me with someone in their account dept who kindly agrees to switch my phone back on if I make another payment and then supply them proof of both payments. I go home and find the slip from the last month, go back to Pick ‘n’ Pay & make another payment on that easypay number. Then go back to the Vodacom shop in Norwood and get them to fax the 2 slips through to accounts. Now, I am slightly irritated but still think that everything will now be resolved! Nothing could be further from the truth!
Then my “smart” phone (the 21st century’s best oxymoron) went on the blink. I took it in to Vodacare in Sandton to get fixed. I had to wait for a half hour just to hand in my phone. The guy says “no problem, we’ll get it fixed within 24 hours”. Ok, not too bad I think.
So the next day, a Saturday, I go back to fetch my phone. Again, a half hour wait before being helped (even though there are 6 staff members sitting around the shop doing nothing). The guy goes into the back to get my phone but comes back 5 minutes later to say there is still some problem and can I wait a little longer. After another half hour of waiting I get told that it has to go to their super repair depot and I will have to wait 10 working days to get it back. This is ‘cos it is under warranty still. If it was not still under warranty they could fix it within 48 hours, go figure!
I proceed to call the manager and ask him how come they have wasted an hour of my time and still not produced a fixed phone. Then it turns out the consultant who took my phone in should have told me to wait for an SMS before coming to fetch the phone. The consultant had NOT made this clear to me the day before, when I dropped off the phone. So, I call Vodacom’s “smile center” to report what I consider to be gross incompetence. They tell me that someone will get back to me before the day is out. Someone did get back to me that day but not with any feedback. They simply called me to tell me that it has been referred to a regional office and someone will call me back on Monday.
On Monday afternoon I called them again to find out what is going on, only to be told the same thing. It has been referred to the regional office and someone from there will contact me back. That was almost 2 weeks ago and still no-one from the regional office has contacted me in this regard. I kicked up a fuss about the 10 working days which I consider ridiculous in this day & age. I make it clear that 2 to 3 working days would be acceptable. They finally produced my phone, in working order, after 7 working days. Disgusting service, in my opinion. And still no response to my complaint.
Then, today I get a call from Vodacom’s accounts dept to tell me my account is still in arrears. I fish out the 2 x payment slips and give the guy on the phone the easypay number that I had been told to use by the Vodacom shop in Norwood. He compares it to his computer listing and informs me that it is the wrong easypay number. The easypay number I have been using is for my personal account, not the company account on which my phone is registered. He says he will request for the funds to be transfered to the right account but I must go back to the Vodacom shop with my two payment slips, write the correct easypay number on those slips & get the shop to fax them through!
So off I go again to the incompetent Vodacom Norwood shop. This time though, I ask to speak to the manager, thinking this will be better than speaking to an incompetent consultant again. First, they produce an assistant manager despite the fact that I clearly asked for the manager. Finally, the manager appears with her cup of tea which she was obviously busy making when I requested to speak to her.
I proceed to tell the manager the whole story and the fact that her staff have supplied me with an incorrect easypay number. She immediately goes on the defensive and says that it is impossible to give an incorrect number. Well sweetie, I hate to disagree but I am living proof that it is possible. Then we launch into a 20 minute arguement with this witch raising her voice at me despite me telling her numerous times to lower her tone. She faxes through the 2 slips that accounts have requested. Then we start looking for the “transfer of ownership” forms. She check her system and tells me there is nothing there. After much to’ing and fro’ing she eventually works out what she should have been looking for on the system and searches again. Then I notice she is checking something on the computer very intently. When I ask what she is up to, she eventually admits that she has found the record. She further admits that she had not found it the first time because she had not properly understood me. If she had not been so busy defending herself and her staff, and had instead been listening to me, she would not have misunderstood me. That silly woman should learn to listen to clients instead of trying to defend herself so vehemently.
The long and short of it is that it has gone through as a new account application and NOT a transfer of ownership, and she cannot tell me why. She says the only person who can answer that is the consultant who helped me! Talk about a cop-out. She says she will check with Vodacom central and come back to me within 24 hours. I will be seriously surprised if she does come back to me within a day. And I will be seriously surprised if this is the last of this idiotic episode.
Finally, when I get home, I decide to call Vodacom customer care on 082 111 to see if anyone actually cares. The consultant I get through to listens to what I have to say, then tells me she would love to help but is currently off-line and cannot! Seriously Vodacom, is that the best you can do?
As for Neotel, they are the next ones in my sights! There is another bunch of completely incompetent fools. Not only did they admit they could not supply the services they contracted to supply me, they refused to refund my money. What is it with telecommunications providers in South Africa? Are all your staff trained by Telkom?
Now, after being a client for 12 years, I want nothing more to do with Vodacom! The last hoops I am going to jump through with Vodacom are those required to close all my accounts with them. And from now on, it’s pay-as-you-go. No more contracts with any cell company ‘cos if the next one is as incompetent as Vodacom, I don’t want to have to wait or jump through hoops to get rid of them!