Vodafone have demonstrated the contempt they feel for their users by massively increasing their call prices on PAYG and couching the rise in terms of making things “easier” for their customers. They have decided to round all outgoing call costs to the nearest minute and instead of rounding to the nearest minute or saving customers a few pence by rounding down, they have arrogantly made the decision to always round up so they get more revenue.
As a result, there are no possible scenarios where customers will pay less than they currently do. Yes, Vodafone have publicised the price gouging in terms like “pricing just got simpler” and “no more complicated pricing”. Excuse us if we explain why we think they’re taking the piss just a little…
Not only does this demonstrate unprecedented greed, but it also belies an utter lack of respect for their customers. Effectively, Vodafone are saying that their customers are too stupid to work out how much they are spending on their calls or how much their credit is worth. As one user put it:
So, I’m too thick to work in seconds as well as minutes, and Vodafone are therefore making life easier for me. To reward themselves for being so helpful, they are, in effect, going to charge me more for my calls.
In any case, this is beside the point as we have been unable to find a single Vodafone customer requesting this change. There is nothing on their user forums to suggest that anyone found by-the-second billing to be overly complex. Most networks charge in this manner and customers are used to it. Furthermore, there nothing to suggest that people judge their remaining PAYG airtime credit in terms of “minutes remaining” rather than the more straightforward figure of pounds and pence. Indeed, this is how the credit is represented to customers implying this is the way in which it ought to be considered.
It’s purely disingenuous behaviour on Vodafone’s part as they attempt to dress up a price rise as a customer-friendly service. As if people are stupid enough to fall for that. Utterly pathetic.
All this from a company that reported an operating profit of £12 billion just a couple of months ago at the end of March 2013. Apparently that’s not enough and now they want to resort to tricks like this to scrape off more cash from their millions of customers. Nothing escaped the price rise – even voicemail calls are subject to these new terms unilaterally introduced by Vodafone.
As a result, if you regularly make several short calls – perhaps to ask to be picked up, to be let in or to arrange somewhere to meet – you’re existing credit has been massively devalued. Call costs are in some cases going to rise by over 90% and current airtime credit will be worth around 50% less for several customers.
On customer forums, the price increase has been met with outrage and ire. In response to the claim from the Vodafone Tech Team that the change was made in order to make things “simpler”, Funboy responded:
Please don’t patronise us. This is being introduced to make more money for Vodafone pure and simple. It doesn’t make anything simpler other than the fact that PAYG customers will essentially pay more for calls.
Simpler? Maybe slightly. More expensive? Potentially much more. Communicated in a reasonable manner? Certainly not.
I am sorry but this is a joke, it is price hike and nothing else and you are treating us as idiots in trying to call it anything other than that.
These changes are the latest in a line of price hikes from Vodafone. Only back in September 2011 Vodafone announced that they would “simplify” contract bills by rounding up – again, note they decided not to round down – to the nearest £0.50. This equates to a potential rise of £5.88 a year and on average across about 9.5 million customers, meant that Vodafone benefited to the tune of about £28 million!
These latest price increases clearly reveal Vodafone as an out of touch company intent on pressing the self-destruct button. This is a cynical profiteering stunt and may well turn out to be marketing suicide. Only recently they were found to be still dodging tax payments in the UK. And this was following their last PAYG price rise in 2011 as well as their shameful support for ousted dictator Hussain Mubarak during the Arab Spring popular uprisings.
They evidently fail to realise that switching network is simpler than ever nowadays and people will vote with their wallets. Furthermore, by disrespecting the small PAYG users in this way, they will inevitably lose their big money-spinners such as massive corporate contracts too. Nobody likes to be taken for a fool.
Are you on Vodafone? Have you been affected by these changes? What do you make of them? And if you’re switching, who’s going to be your new mobile phone network?