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Vodafone customers have accounts suspended after racking up bills of thousands of pounds due to "technical error"

Victoria Woollaston
15 Oct 2019
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Some customers were hit with bills as high as £10,000 and others had their accounts terminated to prevent them incurring anymore charges

 Vodafone has apologised after a technical error saw customers being charged thousands of pounds for using their phone abroad over the weekend.

Some customers were told their data had run out, despite their online account still showing them as having allowance left. Others were hit with bills as high as £10,000, according to reports on Twitter, and the worst affected had their accounts terminated by Vodafone to prevent them incurring anymore charges. 

Affected customers were sent text messages warning them of their high bills and that their accounts would be suspended until payments were made towards these mistaken costs. 

As a result, customers were forced to report the faults to Vodafone's social media accounts after they were unable to reach the operator due to their phones being cut off. 

Since 2017, under EU regulations, UK consumers can use the minutes, texts and data included on their mobile plans when travelling in the EU at no extra charge. 

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It is not clear what caused the error but Vodafone has confirmed it has now been fixed. In a statement, a spokesperson said: "We are very sorry that yesterday, some customers could not use data or calling services when roaming abroad. 

"Any affected customer should restart their phone to ensure that services are resumed. As a result of the issue, some customers are receiving billing messages in error; we are working through these as an urgent priority and removing any errors from customer accounts.

"Customers will not be charged and do not need to worry about contacting us as we are proactively checking accounts and fixing any issues."

Vodafone will be hoping to restore accounts and fix the issues quickly to avoid another penalty from regulator Ofcom. In 2016, the company was fined £4.6m for failing to credit the accounts of 10,000 pay-as-you-go customers leaving those customers out of pocket.

If you've been affected by this latest Vodafone error, and restarting your phone does not solve the issue, there is a number of ways you can contact Vodafone.

If you still have access to your Vodafone account, call Customer Services by dialling 191 for free from your Vodafone mobile, or via its website which includes an online chat assistant called TOBi. Click 'Start Live Chat' to start a conversation.

Alternatively, if after you've spoken to Vodafone and you're not happy with any formal response you have received, you can escalate your complaint to the Ombudsman Services: Communications

Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at uSwitch.com, said: "The fact that his can still happen is incredibly disappointing and I would expect Ofcom to show a keen interest into how this is resolved. The onus has to be on mobile phone operators to proactively fix this for any customer who is out of pocket, it is also important to acknowledge the knock on effects this could have on their customers’ finances."

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