Vodafone: ‘Ripping off’ faithful customers?
Per the views expressed by some mobile voice subscribers in Ghana, there is no doubt that Vodafone is currently the telecom company of choice in the country.
Vodafone-Ghana is said to have had about 9.7 million mobile voice subscribers as of January 2021.
Vodafone-Ghana prides itself as the only total communications solutions provider in the country; especially in the areas of mobile, fixed lines, internet, voice and data.
Some telecom industry experts in Ghana also ‘vouch’ that Vodafone-Ghana provides the kind of innovative and responsive service for which the Vodafone Group is recognised worldwide.
But for some time now, some Vodafone mobile voice subscribers claim that the company is ripping them off their sweat.
The reason? For instance, a Vodafone voice subscriber in Cape Coast says; “Vodafone will send SMS to a customer on low-credit indicating: ‘Your balance is low! Get SOS credit of GH¢5 and pay back in your next recharge. Reply “A” to this SMS or dial *505# for more options.’
“If a customer replies ‘A’ to the SMS; Vodafone quickly and excellently responds per another SMS indicating that: ‘GH¢5 has been added to your account and will be deducted from your next recharge or bundle activation. GH¢0.50 has been charged as service fee. Dial *505# anytime for more SOS credit.’
“Then without any hindrance, the customer can activate his or her phone to use for mobile services.”
According to the Cape Coast Vodafone subscriber, some Vodafone customers, including himself, who recharge their accounts with Vodafone RECHARGE CARDS are sometimes ‘ripped off’ when they receive SMS from Vodafone , prompting them that the ‘balance is low.’
For instance, he said, if some customers (including himself) sometimes recharged their low-accounts with GH¢5 Vodafone RECHARGE CARDS, they would receive SMS from Vodafone saying:”Your main balance is GH¢5 valid until so-so-and-so-date.”
The Cape Coast subscriber claims that when some customers (including himself), sometimes attempt to make calls after the confirmation of a successful recharge, “a voice message is received still telling the customer that: ‘Your balance is low. Get SOS credit of GH¢5 and pay back on your next recharge. GH¢0.50 will be charged as service fee. Dial *505# anytime for more SOS credit.’ “
Some of the Accra ‘victims’ said:”When you call the Vodafone help-line to complain, a voice on the line tells you to go to the nearest Vodafone Office for them to address the issue.”
Nii Doodoo, a resident of Weija (Accra) asks:”After Vodafone has inconvenienced you and frustrated your recharge, do you have to waste time again and hire a taxi to a Vodafone Office because of the GH¢5 they have ripped you off?
“Why is it that Vodafone is unable to restore the GH¢5 they have instantly ‘stolen’ from you when you call and complain to them on their help-line?
“After all, the evidence of having ‘stolen’ the GH¢5 is recorded in their system, as per the value of the RECHARGE CARD you loaded but ‘refused’ to reflect on your phone?”
A Takoradi-based Vodafone subscriber who also claims to be a ‘rip-off ‘ victim says, “Vodafone has a huge customer-base so if on daily basis about one thousand (1,000) of its customers are ripped off and you multiply it by GH¢5 ; the total per day is equal to GH¢5,000.
“And if it is for 30 days; GH¢5 X 30 days = GH¢150, 000. And if it continues for six months; it will be GH¢150,000 X 6 and that will be GH¢900,000.
“And for 12 months, it will be GH¢150,000 X 12, which will total GH¢1,800,000. And where will such money be going at the expense of the customer?”
Comparing the Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) of the banks with the Vodafone system; a ‘victim’ said:”When you insert an ATM card into the machine in an attempt to withdraw a stated amount of money and the money does not come out of the machine but the machine gives you a receipt, deducting the amount from your account; the machine later corrects itself by crediting your account with the deducted amount that never came out from the ATM.”
The victim said, Vodafone can learn from the banks’ ATMs and develop a software that can credit the accounts of Vodafone customers whose RECHARGED CARDS are ‘swallowed’ for free by the Vodafone system, without crediting their accounts with the value of the ‘swallowed’ recharged cards.
Since Vodafone is credited for ‘providing the kind of innovative and responsive service’ to its customers, it is the expectation of this column that the company will swiftly investigate the issues under reference and address them as quickly as possible.
Contact email/ WhatsApp of the author:
By G. Frank Asmah