Tuesday, 28 December 2010 16:21

Vodafail class-action a portent of things to come?

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When companies fail to live up to their promises, are hard to contact and hard to get compensation from, it should come as no surprise that its customers will rise up and revolt in as public a manner as possible, with Vodafone's Vodafailure in stopping the Vodafail site and class action a portentous corporate omen.

Remember when Optus had its network problems in 2008 following the introduction of the iPhone 3G in Australia? Sure, we all do, but fast forward a couple of years, and not only is Vodafone going through the same seeming issue, but is facing far more heat than Optus ever felt.

UPDATE: (see end of article for an update).

This is evident through the creation of the Vodafail.com website by Vodafone customer Adam Brimo, sick to death of the poor service he claims to have received, with plenty of presumed Vodafone customers likewise listing their beefs with Vodafone at the Vodafail site.

The Vodafail site makes for some interest reading, and makes me wonder how soon it will be before we see variants of Hellstra, Droptus, Virgin Slowbile, Notsoamaysim, Flee Mobile complaint sites starting up to report the same kind of issues, followed by similar sites for other corporations in Australia, whether those issues are real or not?

For example, with NAB Bank's recent chaos, some clever wit could have a site named something like nab-means-not-a-bank to complain over NAB's banking problems, or just continue with the Vodafail nomenclature, such as nabfail, whichbankfail, Govfail, powersellofffail, NBNfail or plenty of others. 

It is also evident through the creation of a class-action lawsuit from firm Piper Alderman, and while some have claimed this is simply a way for Piper Alderman to drum up some publicity and new business, it's interesting to note that Optus never suffered the same fate despite having some pretty peeved customers in 2008.

Piper Alderman's 'Vodafone' class-action page says: 'Calls dropping out, reception issues, poor data performance - this is not what Vodafone customers signed up for. Vodafone, however, has continued to charge customers on its mobile plans, without providing the service it promised.

'Customers who signed up with Vodafone over the last three years may be entitled to compensation if they were misled into signing contracts or if Vodafone did not live up to its end of the bargain.'

'We are investigating a class action against Vodafone to recover losses suffered by its customers over the last three years, plus interest.

'If you are one of these customers, register your interest in joining the class action by clicking here. There will be nothing to pay unless you successfully recover compensation", which is where the appeal to join Piper Alderman's class-action ends.

Perhaps Vodafone could set up a classactionfail website in response... or more positively, a Vodasuccess site showing exactly where Voda is having problems, what it's doing to fix them, realistic time frames for solutions and realistic compensation for those affected - although it shouldn't take the threat of a class-action lawsuit for this to happen. Whatever happened, oh corporate world, to honesty and transparency?

Depending on how successful the class-action ends up, it would come as no surprise to see more end-users and customers of major corporates taking matters into their own legal hands, joined with the hands of others, as consumers use their power to demand action on the delivery of quality service, and end to rip-offs and a restoration of actual, real and prompt customer service!

UPDATE: Vodafail has issued an update on its communications with Vodafone. Click here for more details!


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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