I had almost made up my mind to give up blogging when I was struck by the unfairness of Vodafone. I felt it was my duty to blog about this unsavoury experience.
Those of you who have been following me would have noticed that from 23 May – 14 June I was blogging from my iPhone. This was because I was in America far away from my trusty desktop.
I have now got quite used to blogging on my mobile and was seriously thinking of using it all the time when I got a whopper of a bill from Vodafone.
Here’s the story of why Vodafone pisses me off
When I went to the US last September , I was travelling with Daughter No 1 and since she had a Singapore SIM with International Roaming, I didn’t bother with getting my International roaming activated. I bought a local SIM card in the US and used it during my stay there.
But this time round, I was making a transit halt at CDG Paris which is about the worst airport to fly in/out of. Moreover with a short 40 minute layover on my return flight and a high chance of missing it, I HAD TO HAVE THE FACILITY of contacting my family at either end.
So I bought myself an iRoam package fromVodafone which assured me 30 days of free incoming, outgoing calls and unlimited data transfer. I didn’t need a month’s subscription but since that was the only option, I took it .
The minute I boarded the aircraft I put my phone on Airplane mode. When I landed at Newark, I switched on the phone and called the taxi that was waiting outside. I called my daughter who was waiting at her apartment and then chose her wifi network to read emails, whatsapp, download data and of course BLOG.
The only other time I used my phone to make a call was from CDG to inform Hubby Dear that I hadn’t missed the plane. He actually does have quite the black tongue and his misgivings that I’d miss my flight made me quite nervous.
I wish I’d listened to his misgivings about the small print and hidden traps that Vodafone lays for you in their seemingly easy customer friendly plans that let you roam fearlessly round the world. Because a few days after my arrival, I received a bill for an amount that I normally spend over two years of mobile phone usage in India.
Suffice to say my jet lag vanished in a flash and I was on fight with Vodafone mode. After several phone calls to a helpline number where a husky voice assured me that Vodafone empowers you, I eventually managed to talk to a live human. Obviously her mumbled explanation didn’t throw any light on the matter . So I went to the shop for a harrowing experience. It was filled with drippy umbrellas and wet haired, grumpy people. Every second person was a senior citizen. So by the time it was my turn I had already been standing in the store for an HOUR! By this time it was way past my lunch time and my sugar levels were lowering as fast as my temper was rising.
When I finally sat in front of the customer sales person I asked for a cup of tea which was promised in true Ahmedabadi style ( the man is asked to bring a tea with a wagging finger which actually is code for DON’T BRING THE TEA I’M ASKING FOR) . Foolishly, I thought Vodafone was better than the traders at Mangaldas Market, who specialise in the Ahmedabadi Tea, being international and all. However the Customer Sales person bumped me up to his supervisor who also gave me an unsatisfactory explanation.
Several phone calls to various customer sales persons who are happy to help you, I got a step closer to solving the mystery. It seemed that while my calls were free, the data wasn’t because I hadn’t chosen the right partner. Now I don’t buy this argument because if a service provider has an arrangement with another service provider, your pack should link up with the chosen one automatically. I mean can you really think in a flash whether you have to choose T mobile ? AT&T and God alone knows what other network? All when you have travelled over 20 hours over 1000s of miles, two airports and several time zones?
I mean when I go to the US on an airline with a partner airline, I am not asked to choose at the airport which airline I would prefer to travel on? It is already linked up when I make my booking with the ticket provider so all I really have to do is show up at the airport with my boarding pass and get onto any plane that is scheduled to fly at that time.
But even if this were the case, what really got my goat was the explanation that my 2 minute call from CDG was the real killer . It seems that it was enough time to transfer data that cost me all of Rs. 10,000!
Now Vodafone I maybe stupid but do you really expect me to buy this story?
Honestly, dear reader do you ?
Do you think I’d have fared any better with Airtel or Jio? Frankly, with all the verification required for a new SIM, I’m a bit wary of changing my service provider, but there’s one thing I can assure you :
The next time you travel just go for a local SIM . Don’t opt for the Vodafone experience that impoverishes rather than empowers you !