Friday, November 21, 2008

Vodafone - Shame - Another Deaf Unfriendly Company

I'm not very happy with Vodafone. I have to deal with them because ihug (Internet Home Users Group), sold themselves to them. When it was ihug, I had a great service there, if I ever needed help, I used to email someone, and give my MSN details and a helpdesk attendee would add me and we would sort the problem via msn, seeing I couldn't hear on the phone. This was fantastic and a service all companies should offer to deaf clients.

Anyway - Vodafone is now my provider of Broadband services. I don't like their plans, they favour phone users - if you take phone and tolls out with them, then you can get cheaper broadband. Well - what about the people who can't use phone and tolls and dont want them? Their data allowance plans are funny too. They have 1gb, 3gb an 5gb data allowances, but then the next one is 20gb. Well - how about a 10gb plan? Something in the middle. But no.

Anyway - I looged onto the Telecom Broadband services and notice they're offering a 10gb plan for the same price as I'm paying for a 5gb plan at Vodafone.

So before changing, I decided to contact Vodafone to ask what they could do for me, a long time user since 1996. They probably don't care as they only bought the company recently, but those existing users are important, as that is what was in their purchase price, and if they don't cater for the existing customers, then they will lose them.

Anyway - I sent the email last weekend and got an automated reply. This reply was really weird. First it said...

Do NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE. This email message was sent from a notification-only address that cannot accept incoming email.

If you need to add information, or cancel your question, you can do so through the 'My Help' section of this site.

Okay - automated response. I can live with that. The next part of of the email starting to be a bit weird. Firstly, it was filed under a separate heading called 'auto response'.

Dear Robyn,

Thank you for your feedback.

We are extremely grateful that you have taken the time to contact us with this feedback. This will be channelled to the appropriate department(s). Please keep in mind that they may not be able to contact you directly.

Well - why won't they be able to contact me directly? I furnished my email address didn't I? Most companies have email, and if you didn't forward it that on to the department - then why didn't you?

But now comes the really weird stuff....

In the spirit of the Silly Season our secret santa gifts are intended to make customers smile by celebrating great things about summer and the silly season.

Whether it is because of an amusing phrase on a fridge magnet, a fun colour on a beach towel or a weekend away to a sunny part of New Zealand.

The gifts are allocated entirely randomly. They range from the silly to the spectacular and we feel that each of the gifts embody something fun and friendly.

Well - what does this have to do with my data allowance. I have no idea what sort of Santa gifts the company is offering, and quite frankly, I would rather the company spend their money on a decent helpdesk service that could cater for the likes of me. And - why would I want to know about this in an auto response email - it doesn't make any sense whatsoever for me. If you really want to send me a gift - send me money, or offer me a free month of Broadband, or extra data allowance.

Finally, the ended with this little gem...

If you have any further questions please reply to this email or call our Customer Contact Centre on 777 from your Vodafone mobile or 0800 800 021 from any other phone. From overseas you can contact us on +64 9 355 2007.

Yours sincerely
Vodafone Customer Support

Well - WTF??? Please reply to this email??? Didn't they say up the top of the email DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE?? This makes the company look really dumb and unprofessional in my eyes. We're dealing with idiots!!

To date - I have NOT had a reply back from my query. At all. Nada. Zip. I have waited 5 days. And NO I cannot ring their 0800 numbers or any other number they state. If they're going to offer an email service for customers - then they need to use it and treat them as important like a phone call.

Come on Vodafone - you are so Deaf unfriendly. It's time to pull yourself together and work for your customers.

I have been onto the website again under the 'My Help' section and there is NO, absolutely no reply to my request for help. Useless - why does it take 5 days to reply to an email?


Rachel @ Cochlear Implant Online said...

I'm seriously laughing at this post. Vondafone sure does seem to be one of the worst companies! Does New Zealand have a law that is similar to American Disability Act? In other words, are there any laws that require companies to give the rights to the deaf people to communicate effectively with the companies?

Anonymous said...

Hi Rachel - must be a worldwide phenomenen. They have helpdesks in Egypt - what to egyptians know about the NZ market? Very little!

In New Zealand we have no law similar to the ADA unfortunately. We do have human rights commission, of which I'm sure I could make a case of them discriminating against me in their plans simply because I can't hear, can't use, so therefore can't have a discount!!

I may yet move over to another ISP simply because I think their service is a far cry from what ihug was. Ihug at least had the decency to contact you immediately when you had a problem, via email.

If you look at their website too - it's very confusing.

Oh well I'll blog about any replies they may or may not give me :)


Anonymous said...

Yep Robyn, we are with Telecom and outta the blue, they sent us a letter saying we would now be getting 10gb allowance instead of our usual 5kb allowance for nothing. And I do have to say their customer service seems to be improving... I think since Therea Guttung who was head of Telecom awhile ago upset Helen Clark our former Prime Minister... Telecom have been getting lots of thrashings for their service and have been working hard to improve their game since. I do have to say when I email them we do get the "do not reply to this message warning" - but it's more an acknowledgement warning ... and you do get an actual reply within 24 hours. Not great having to wait that long... but at least way better than five days with Vodafone!!

Dave said...

You could just substitue the name of Vondafone and put any company that I have tried to deal with in the space. I am over the moon angry at the useless responses I get when I try to get some help via email.
The world is still built for the hearing and the phone.
I emailed a company a few weeks ago and explained I was deaf and needed them to email me some information, as they refuse to close caption their commercials with the product I was interested in. They replied with "thank you for your email....please phone our customer help line at..."

David said...

On a side issue our comedian Adam Hills had a stage show on telly and had a lady to sign to the audience. He took delight in telling people..yes she could hear and no she wasn't deaf..duh!
He also took great delight in highlighting her signing of hos naughty words culminating in Hairy Clit**is..which came fro a 12 year old in the audience.. yer its a long story! :)