It’s not me, it’s you

Have you ever tried to end your relationship with Vodafone?

Early last year I tried to organise the installation of fibre broadband through Vodafone but, because I live up a private drive, it was not a straightforward matter. For some reason, Vodafone imposed a time limit on the whole process of three months. Unfortunately,?we simply couldn’t get everything organised (neighbours, a plan as to where the channels will be dug etc)? in time. So, sadly, as the deadline passed, I came to the conclusion that maybe my relationship with Vodafone was not as it used to be, and I needed to think about moving on.

So, I contacted Spark. We began the same process, but Spark did not put a time limit on the procedure. Without going into too much detail, it took eight months (from June last year until the beginning of February) to get the installation done, but we did it. As I was to become a Spark customer once the fibre installation was complete, it was then time for me and Vodafone to go our separate ways.

I called them in February, a week or so after my fibre installation had happened, and told them I was terminating my account. The response was cool and unemotional.

I know. It hurts.

Then I got a bill from them in March (for February) indicating that, as far as they were concerned, nothing had changed. I called them again, to tell them that it was over, and encountered an extremely rude and stroppy individual who said I never called in February, that I had to give a month’s notice and that, basically, I could stuff off.

OK. Anger now. I get it. These are the stages we have to go through.

I actually began to wonder if, in fact, I had called them in February. Maybe I didn’t. Maybe I just thought about it. Maybe I hung on the phone for ages and then gave up. Maybe I gave out the wrong signals. But, never mind, I’ve told them now. This break up can now commence properly.

When the March bill arrived, in early April, I started to get a bit miffed. I was sure I had called them in February, and I definitely called them in March. So, what is the story, Vodafone? Don’t you understand what I am trying to tell you? It is over. We both need to move on.

I called again. Guess what? The angry individual hadn’t bothered to make a note of the March call either. So now I knew that I had called in February, but no one bothered to record the conversation. The lady I spoke to this time was really helpful. I explained that the problem was not them, it was me. It was all my fault. But it was too late now because the decision had been made. So, please, would you just let me go?

She said yes. But, there was a catch. She couldn’t do it herself. I had to talk to the Retentions Team. She would put me through. I thanked her gratefully. And waited.

Twenty minutes later, I got cut off. I rang again a few days later. I waited on the line for about 20 minutes, only to be told that I had to talk to the Retentions Team. I was put through. Twenty minutes later I was cut off. Again.

In early May the April bill arrived. I called the next weekend, hoping to encounter shorter wait times. It worked. The young man I spoke to was really nice. But, I still had to speak to the Retentions Team, and they don’t work weekends. So, I would have to call tomorrow.

I asked for a number so that I could call them directly. Not a chance. You have to call the main line, get put through to a normal call-centre operator, who then puts you through to the Retentions Team, who never answer their phone.

I went to the website to see if I could send a message somehow. Basically, Vodafone doesn’t like emails, preferring you to call them. I know. We all like the personal approach. It also means you wait for hour upon hour in a queue before your call gets picked up.

I did find the bit on the website where I could make a complaint, and I did. I told them that it had all gone far enough. Time to let me go. Please, could someone contact me?

In the meantime I had paid the February bill, even though I wasn’t sure I had to, but I decided not to pay anything more after that. Now I was fielding automated calls from them on a regular basis, because my account had now gone into arrears.

This is just straight out denial. How can you treat me this way?

I did get a response to the complaint, and was told that someone from the Retentions Team would contact me. I waited. Yes, there have been four phone calls from Vodafone. I missed two of them, but I picked up the other two… and, both times, there was no one at the other end of the phone. Seriously.

Are you stalking me now?

And then, someone from Vodafone called me today. I thought: Hallelujah!

But no. He wanted to know if everything was going well with my VDSL account.

Are you kidding me?

I told him I was very disappointed that he was not from the Retentions Team. He told me he would make sure that someone from the Retentions Team called me within the next 48 hours.

Of course, the Retentions Team are amazing at doing their job. They retain clients like they are going out of fashion. No one can leave Vodafone. Not ever. They must win awards every month.

I’m sorry you are taking this so personally, Vodafone. But, after all this time there is only one thing I can say to you: It’s not me; it is definitely you. Please let me go. I have a really good thing going with Spark now.