Vodafone responds to outcome of Commerce Commission investigation
The Commerce Commission has decided to bring proceedings against Vodafone under the Fair Trading Act regarding an historical billing issue.
The issue arose for a group of broadband customers who gave notice they wished to terminate their service with Vodafone on a specified future date. Some customers were then charged for their services to the end of a subsequent billing cycle, rather than to the end of their notice period.
CEO Russell Stanners said, “We are disappointed by the Commerce Commission’s decision to prosecute. We have had an ongoing dialogue with the Commission throughout their investigation, and they have acknowledged our cooperation.
“The billing errors in question were unintentional. We launched an extensive and pro-active initiative to put things right by tracking down customers, refunding credits and donating the balance to charity. We have made process and technical changes to avoid repeats of this issue going forward. Taking all of this into account, we hoped the Commerce Commission would opt for one of its other enforcement tools, rather than costly court proceedings.”
The errors took place between January 2012 and December 2016 and were due to a combination of unintentional system and human errors which Vodafone has since resolved.
Vodafone undertook a detailed and extensive project to identify all current and former customers affected by this issue, applied credits to their accounts, and issued refunds. Further, the company engaged an external agency to help track down former customers whose contact details may have changed since they left in an effort to ensure they received their refunds.
None of the funds have been retained by Vodafone so it has not profited in any way from its errors. To date, Vodafone has refunded $55,896.71 to 2,001 current and former customers. In addition, the company has made a charitable donation of $86,226.77, which equals the amount still unclaimed by 13,350 customers at 1 June 2018. Notwithstanding this donation, any customer who has been advised they have an outstanding credit is encouraged to get in touch with Vodafone to claim it.
Stanners added, “We generate over one million invoices for our customers every month. Ensuring they are accurate is an absolute priority for our business, which is what our billing experience team is focused on every day.”