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Old 08-16-2009, 10:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Terrible customer service, a "water damaged" Storm and a girl at her wits end.

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This is my story...pasted from a post I made in a lj community yesterday asking for help.
Iím looking for some help regarding my phone contract with Vodafone, I believe that Iíve been treated badly as a customer and I know you lot are good at things like this. Iím literally at my wits end so anything you can suggest will be helpful. Iíll put this under a cut because I fear it might take a bit explaining!

Problem: I took out an 18 month contract with Vodafone for a Blackberry Storm. It costs me £40 a month, equalling a total of £720 for this service, I do recognise that currently that Iím not really paying for the handset but the minutes/internet and such, but you get what I mean. I donít have insurance. A few months ago my phone started playing up, just little buggy things that you come to expect with technology, it crashed a few times, etc. It ended up getting a lot worse, through no fault of my own (Iíve never done anything that would cause Ďdamageí to my phone, but more on that later). My Blackberry now crashes several times a day, the touch screen is unresponsive, it no longer charges on the mains supply (I thought this was a problem with the charger and since have ordered two replacements which didnít work either). It only charges via usb (which is bizarre) but not very well, which also means that if Iím away from home I have to find a computer to charge my phone and the battery drains so quickly. Even if Iím on the phone for ten minutes with a full battery to start with, my phone will run flat and switch off. I have to keep it running at the minimum (screen turned down to 10% brightness, gps off, only one thing open at once) for it to work without crashing but it usually does anyway.

Customer Service: I tried to arrange a postal repair on the phone, but was left on hold for about 40 minutes altogether, after being passed to one representative to the next, none of which who could understand a word I was saying, referred to me as a Ďmisterí and kept offering me add-ons to my account that I clearly wasnít interested in. After speaking to on rep who completely ignored what I was saying re: getting a postal repair kept telling me about Ďbarsí I had on my account for international calls etc that he would kindly lift for me free of charge, all of which were irrelevant and just drove me to further disbelief. I finally spoke to a seemingly helpful member of staff after much discussion who promised to send out a pre-paid postal repair envelope.

Unsurprisingly it never turned up. I wasnít prepared to call up ever again after my previous experience and several emails/messages to the online customer service never got replies. I ended up taking my phone back to the shop, where the staff agreed that it was a hardware problem and sent it off for me. A week later (letís remember this week of no phone cost me £10 so far) I went back to the shop. A useless staff member couldnít find my phone for about 10 minutes and he then handed it back over explaining that it had Ďwater damageí. This is itself excludes the product from the manufacturers warranty, (which is still well within), and presented a blurry picture of what looks like a leaf with a red splodge on it to prove this. When I asked him what Iím supposed to do with a phone that doesnít work for the next ten months he said Ďnothingí and handed it back over, leaving it like that. He told me that my Ďshower or bathí wouldíve caused the damage, without a doubt, I literally do not know how though, Iíve never ever taken my phone in the bathroom? Another offered factor is Ďclimate changeí which amuses me, surely this very same Blackberry is used is much more humid climates?

My Solution?:
As soon as I got home I looked into my options. People seemed to be getting quick, useful replies to their queries on Vodafoneís eForum, so I wrote a post on there, detailing what had happened. I included all the information about the service I had received so far, via email, phone and in person and the fact that at £40 a month I havenít been misusing my phone in a way that would damage it or my warranty. I refreshed the page 5 minutes later and my post had been deleted. I re-pasted it into a new thread with the topic ĎWhy was my post just deleted?í Almost immediately I had replies from members of the forum telling me that the mods (who work for Vodafone) often delete posts that make the company look bad, they wished me good luck with getting it sorted and even gave me links to some places that could help, Oftel being one of them. Two minutes later, a mod on the forum sent me both an email and a reply to the post saying that as this case concerned my account, it needed to be discussed privately, at which point, no mentions of any account details had been made. The thread on the eForum was also closed by the same mod for the abovementioned reason.

Since this correspondence by email started Iíve had no luck at all. I already feel like Iíve been treated disgustingly, not at any point have I been provided with customer service to a standard that I believe Iím paying for. I only started getting replies to my emails after I emailed the CEO of Vodafone (I know, I know, but it worked!) and am now talking to the Director Complaints Office who can speak on his behalf. Iím basically being told now that as I donít believe what the Vodafone repair men are right about ĎWater Damageí, itís up to me to sort it out myself. As a customer paying £720 (to Vodafone, not Blackberry) donít really see why this is my problem. My dad reckons I should get citizens advice involved and see what they say, my boyfriend thinks that getting in touch with the press will ensure Vodafone act on it a bit more quickly.

I donít know what my options really are, Iím not prepared to be spoken to the way I have, being told that it is my fault when Iím done nothing but completely care for this product. Itís clearly not fit for itís purpose and even I know that the fact it charges via one medium and not another would not be caused by water damage. Phones damaged by water donít work as they short circuit or rust the components inside, my phone still Ďworksí. Iíve since lost about another 2 weeks worth of usage of the phone due to not being able to charge it (thatís another £20!) and Iím starting university in September, I canít afford all this money for something that doesnít work! I literally donít know where to turn but Iím hoping you lot might be able to give me a few options. I have seen a few success stories on forums about Vodafone customers who managed to get out of their contracts and even got fully refunded after a few months of fighting which would be amazing, I just do not feel at all supported by this company. I totally agree with my bf that naming and shaming the company publicly might just get this sorted. I donít think I have missed anything out but if you need to know anything else just ask, can anyone halp me?! Pleaseeee! :(

I'm looking to go to citizens advice tomorrow to see what my options are but I'm literally quite confused by the whole thing. My boyfriend reckons I should get an independent bb engineer (do they exist?!) to check if it is water damaged. I also wanted to hear your views about my phone, does it sound water damaged to you? I don't really understand how it charges on usb and not on the mains if it is wd but I'd like to hear a few more opinions. I've taken so much care of this phone, never dropped it in water or used it near my bath/shower etc so this whole thing feels like a proper smack in the face. And that's before I even mention the customer service!
Any advice/opinions? Thank you in advance!
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Old 08-16-2009, 11:14 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Ok. What really happened? Sounds to me like it was dropped or got wet. BBs don't usually start going wacky for no reason, although stranger things have happened.

If the phone is water damaged or broken from a drop and you have no insurance, there isn't much you can do. It isn't the phone's fault it got wet or dropped. It isn't the carrier's fault either.
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Old 08-16-2009, 11:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I can honestly say my phone has never gotten wet/been dropped. I'm the type of girl who usually does drop things all of the time but considering I'm paying so much for this I've taken so much care with it. Always kept it in my case, in my bag, away from water, never used it in the rain or taken it in the bathroom with me etc etc. I do appreciate that this is a delicate piece of technology and if I had misused my phone in any way that would lead to this wear and tear then I wouldn't be concerned, it would be my fault, I'm with you there!
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Old 08-16-2009, 02:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If you took it into a shop and they said they would send it off and that it was a technical problem, they should have checked for water damage before they told you that. The problem is that it's their word against yours. It does seem pretty shady, but did you check for water damage before bringing it in?
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Old 08-16-2009, 04:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Wirelessly posted (9530; (I'm mobile) MF231; 35h)

So do you have the device now or does Voda
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Old 08-16-2009, 07:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The first few problems you said you had could have been fixed with a battery pull, or update of software.
was this ever done?

"presented a blurry picture of what looks like a leaf with a red splodge on it to prove this"
Id love to know what this is.
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:17 AM   #7 (permalink)
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stranger things have happened, but like MD said.. battery pulls/software updates are usually a great big help!

my aunt dropped her javelin in water, (she has a contract with O2), and even though there was severe water damage..they were really helpful. my sister uses Vodafone UK, and she's had SEVERAL issues with them. they're really unhelpful, and rude, and lazy. so even if the water damge may/may not be your fault, vodafone uk are useless.
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Old 08-17-2009, 03:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSanders View Post
Wirelessly posted (9530; (I'm mobile) MF231; 35h)

So do you have the device now or does Voda
Yeah, I have it. They've basically washed their hands of the problem, saying it's up to me to deal with it now.
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Old 08-17-2009, 03:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midnightdraven View Post
The first few problems you said you had could have been fixed with a battery pull, or update of software.
was this ever done?

"presented a blurry picture of what looks like a leaf with a red splodge on it to prove this"
Id love to know what this is.
Sorry, I should've mentioned, I was having to do battery pulls on a daily basis (if not more) to keep my phone running well enough to use. Software was fully updated as well.
I have since found out that the blurry red splodge is an indicator inside of the phone which turns red after contact with water? I spoke today to a girl who used to work for Orange who told me that they are overly sensitive, and often phones that come back with this indicator activated haven't been affected by water/humidity at all, it is often something else which is the problem. Eurgh.
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Old 08-17-2009, 05:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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If they claim water damage, thats it!
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Old 09-14-2009, 03:04 AM   #11 (permalink)
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The water damage indicator on my battery came pre-tripped. Thankfully my phone's wasn't because the trackball on my pearl went bad after 7 months. If there's a water damage indicator that's red though you're pretty much ****ed.
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