Marie Corcoran got in touch with Pricewatch “pleading for help before I’m taken away by the men in the white coats”.
Vodafone were the cause of her consternation.
She has had home broadband, home phone and two mobiles with the provider for years and everything is paid for by direct debit so there were never any accounts issues.
“The bizarre carry-on started on December 13th when, inexplicably, my internet was disconnected,” her mail starts.
She rang Vodafone “and spent years of my life on hold on a practically daily basis getting assurances that I’d be “just put on hold for two minutes”.
“The average hold was 39 minutes and one was 79 minutes.”
I cry down to phone to the man. He makes soothing noises but can’t help. I step into hell again
When she told them she was “losing the will to live” they would undertake to phone her back. Did they? No.
“Eventually a team leader told me I’d moved house to Buncrana. I’ve lived in Clonmel all my life and have never been to Buncrana which I’m sure is grand but I don’t live there,” Marie says.
Fast forward several days and Vodafone finally accepted they had made an error and said they were “setting up an investigation” as to how this happened. “Tribunals on planning corruption have been concluded quicker,” Marie says.
She says she “respectfully” suggested they restore her connection first “and then investigate to their heart’s content.”
“A team leader undertook to fix it all and get me back and running before I’d know it. This was around December 21st.”
The very same day she received a “do not reply” mail from Vodafone “expressing their anguish and sadness I had cancelled my service. I hadn’t obviously .”
She contacted the company and they agreed this correspondence required another investigation but said not to worry it would be all sorted.
It really wasn’t.
On December 23rd, she was told the reconnections team located in Egypt were on the case. After that there was silence.
So Mari contacted Sky to switch provider. “A box was posted to me in jig time and an engineer was scheduled to install tomorrow – happy days and bye Vodafone.”
But no. She then got a call from Sky in early January to say Vodafone had a “hold or block” on the landline and they can’t do the switch.
“I need to contact Vodafone to establish why and what’s going on . . . I cry down to phone to the man. He makes soothing noises but can’t help. I step into hell again and call Vodafone tell them the name of my mother’s first doll and am asked ‘how they can help me today?’
“I plead with them semi-hysterically to read the record. A staff member sees there have been issues but he needs to put me on hold for ‘two minutes’. I beg him not to. After holding for six minutes he comes back and says he has to investigate it and will ring me back.
Not one person can tell me who has blocked me from leaving Vodafone and using a different supplier. It’s mad mad mad
“He asks me what is my phone number and can he do anything else for me today? Short of calling an ambulance I tell him just to please free whatever hold they are maintaining and release me from this nightmare.”
She says that while she had tried to set out her tale of woe “without too much drama” it is very serious.
“I work from home, I’ve lost a significant income because I have no wifi and I’m really going insane. Can you please please suggest what I can do? I’m so upset and fed up and frustrated by this – it’s a nightmare.”
We contacted Vodafone almost immediately after we got this mail but before we had heard anything back we got another mail from Marie.
“This just gets worse and worse,” it started. “I phoned Vodafone again . I’m told that a new customer account number was allocated to me on December 21st to provide me with a new service as a new customer. However no one bothered to arrange any connection in spite of daily assurances to the contrary.
“I’m now told that because I’m a ‘new customer’ , it will take at least seven days for a Vodafone engineer to come to ‘install’ the connection in spite of the fact that I’m siting here in my home office looking at a Vodafone modem.
“An agent suggested meanwhile I should take myself off to a Vodafone shop and buy a dongle and that Vodafone would give me my money back on my next bill.”
Marie went on that “without laughing hysterically I asked why on earth he would think it reasonable for me to have confidence in that proposal in light of my experience. He replied that ‘the call was recorded and I could access it though Data Protection Commissioner anytime’. Right so!”
Marie asked if he could confirm in writing any or all of this undertaking and he replied that “you know I can’t. You know the limit of my authority and you know I can’t, but why would I give you false information?”
“Why indeed? To crown it all in the middle of this morass Vodafone gave me some free data to use as a personal hotspot and now that’s run out so I’m liable to any data in excess of my existing package. Not one person can tell me who has blocked me from leaving Vodafone and using a different supplier. It’s mad mad mad.”
It certainly is.
Three days later we got another mail.
“I’m almost afraid to say it but I think thanks to your intervention a resolution as in a reconnection may be on the horizon”, although she said she feared that reconnection was not likely to happen for sometime.
We contacted Vodafone who told us Maria’s broadband was cut by mistake.
“We are currently in the last phase of rollout of our new IT & Business transformation and while we are working extremely hard to mitigate any possible disruption, on this occasion this customer’s account was disconnected in error,” a spokeswoman said. “ We have contacted Ms Corcoran to apologise for any distress and the inconvenience caused and have resolved this matter to her satisfaction.”