My Vodafone Data bill hits the news

Computerworld > Roaming blogger lands a whale of a data bill

When I did my round Australia trip one of the things I checked was the data usage charges for using my Vodem. I thought I could manage the bill if i used the thing as little as possible and where ever possible use the motel internet connections of where we stayed. How wrong I was.

My bill was jaw droppingly expensive so I did a little research and found that Vodafone charges a massive premium of over 5900% and up to 12000% more than the same data but from an Australian customer. That seemed a little excessive to me.

To put it in perspective, if i borrowed $10,000 from the bank at 8.9% and then lent that money to someone else at 12000% interest that would be called usury.

These rates are unconscionable and cannot be justified by any means you care to use. The Commerce Commission will definitely be receiving a complaint and request to investigate.

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  • rickyjj

    "if they had said upfront it will cost $7000+ we would not have used the service."


    Does it not say how much it costs in the terms and conditions somewhere? Somebody entered a contract with Vodafone and didn't read it properly! Why should we have any sympathy?


    "it is no accident that they are not upfront about their charges as no one would EVER use a $7000 service when they can get the exact same service for under $50"


    People pay $700,000 for watches! What's $7000 for a premium service? Getting the "exact same service for under $50" must have been more of a hassle than using Vodafone… And people pay through their teeth for less hassle. Welcome to the real world.


    "Capitalism has rules you know. I can charge what I like but my charges must not be hidden they must be clear to the consumer and lets face it no one will pay $3000 for a Big Mac from Mc piddles if they can get it for $8 at Mc Donalds."


    I'm sure the Arabs and Russians would be lining up to buy your Mc Piddles burger if you launched it in London. How clear do charges need to be? I found them pretty easily. And they're clearly spelled out:

    You should check how much something costs before you use it. And read contracts before you sign them!


    "Also they cannot be outrageous for example $900 for a banana when the wholesale cost of the babana is $1c"


    So if I buy a banana and put it on Trade Me for $900 and someone buys it, I can go to jail? Or what are you trying to say?

    In capitalism people can sell things for whatever they want.


    Can you take responsibility for your own actions or do you want the government to do it for you? 




  • rickyjj

    Haha I know your blog.


    You go on about how you're right wing, but when it comes to the crunch you're clearly not! 

  • Spanishbride

    Well we are going to fight this not just for ourselves but for all those consumers who like us will NOT find their charges at all clear and transparent.

    We will fight for those people who will be severely financially hurt to receive a bill of such ridiculous magnitude.

    Your watch example is pathetic. A rolex is worth more than a sieko, the under $50 local service was the exact same product as the so called PREMIUM service and NO it would NOT have been less hassle to use the local service at all.

    You must be made of money if you are happy to pay thousands to save yourself a 2 minute conversation on the phone to use a local provider.

    You are a TROLL and I will not be responding to any more of your shitty dribble.
    I will spend $7000 fighting this because it is exploitation of the consumer plain and simple.
  • rickyjj

    Haha and I suppose the judge who agrees with me will be a TROLL too?


    I really think you should get a legal opinion before you waste another $7k…  


    But oh well. I hope it's an enjoyable experience for you.

  • Whaleoil

    Fool, it is not a matter of can't pay, it is a matter of won't. It is egregious price gouging and existing laws prevent this. It is also people who stand up to gougers that halt predatory practices.

  • Leonidas

    Go Hard Spanishbride!, sock 'em one for me, it took over a month to get disconnected from the theving pricks.

  • Laughing at Whale Oil

    You might find this useful


    What an idiot, and tells the world about it as well.


    Poor Cameron




  • Spanishbride

    Yep, READ it, followed all the tips where possible, still got a bill for $7000

    If that makes him an idiot then it will make all Vodafones customers idiots as following those guidelines will reduce their bill not by hundreds but by thousands! Shit, had Whaleoil NOT read that little snippet you so kindly provided we might right now be selling the family home to pay for his little trip.

    Ooooooh and you think you know his name too..   danger music I feel soooo scared…ooooh   
    I don't laugh at people less fortunate than myself so I won't laugh at you

    kiss kiss
  • Anonymous Sooky La-la

    (cross-Posted from kiwiblog)


    "“I don’t accept that.”

    You don’t? I’m afraid you don’t understand how roaming or real time billing really works then. When you make calls or use data connections you’re using the OpCo’s network as a guest – they add up everything you use and bill the NZ telco at the end of the month adding in their own cut for the privilege.

    Roaming CDR’s (Call detail records) do come in once a month. Post-pay (contract) customers CDR’s are tallied once a month for the bill. Also note that if you are not on a data plan data is charged at 1c/kb in NZ – is 3c/kb “extortion” for using someone elses network that you do not have a business relationship with? You’re paying Vodafone for the data plan, not the network your roaming on. Can you use your free minutes while roaming? No. Why should you be able to use bundled data?

    That’s why you need a credit card associated with your account if you roam on prepay, the calls don’t touch the NZ network unless it’s terminated there so it can’t traverse the RTBS.

    Roaming contracts between worldwide telco’s are expensive – yes. But is it something you can regulate in NZ? No.

    The cheapest option is to get a local prepaid SIM for making calls (or rent) or using data."

    NOTE: These charges is what the OTHER carrier is charging Vodafone NZ for you using their network. Why should any telco eat the debt of your spending? And good luck getting the commerce commission to regulate overseas carriers prices. Any type of roaming IS a premium service and the amount of logistics that go into enabling it to happen are huge so, a tip for next time, use it only as a convenience!


  • Spanishbride

    Also CROSS posted from Kiwi Blog…

    Roaming Data Charges

    August 7th, 2007

    Within NZ my Vodafone data card is invaluable.  Around $40 a month for 1 GB of data, it saves me a lot of money as without I’d be paying $35 a night to the hotel for Internet access.

    But overseas it is a very different case.  Suddenly your cost per MB goes from 4c to $30.  Yes $30.  There is a story in Computerworld about Whale Oil being hit with a $7,000+ plus bill for roaming in Australia.  I’m quoted also.

    Vodafone say that can put in a warning system as they only get informed of the overseas charges at the end of each billing month.  I don’t accept that.  Firstly they could set up a system where they do exchange data more often.  Secondly they could modify the software on their mobile connect package so the package itself alerts you.

    Yes people should look up and be aware of the fine print about the cost when overseas.  But you know if whenever the mobile connect package connected to an overseas network, it flashed an alert box warning your data rate is now $30 a MB (or $10 if still Vodafone) then people wouldn’t be caught unawares.

  • Camryn

    I took a Vodafone prepay mobile to Spain, where it was stolen. I contacted Vodafone fairly quickly and they sent me an email confirming the disconnection. Imagine my surprise when I got a $4500 bill. I guess Vodafone never told the Spanish networks, and the thief ran up quite a bill on adult chat lines and calls to Morocco. Since the "prepay" was associated with a credit card, the bill was actually a notice that they were about to bill the card. Luckily I still had the disconnection confiormation email. Since they were obviously at fault, they wrote of the entire $4500 (including $200 or so that I was liable for, since it occured between the time of the theft and the time on the disconnection notice). The Vodafone person said it was the biggest write-off she'd personally seen.

    I think you're liable for the $7000 though. I'm no legal scholar, but it seems you'd have to successfully argue that the contract was deliberately deceptive. Small print is small and commonly ignored, but if the pricing data is there and is comprehensible then you have no case.

    I thought, for example, that my liability for my prepaid account was limited by the value of the funds I'd loaded. I was wrong, since Vodafone has no system (currently) of communicating balances to foreign networks. That's why they had a credit card on record from me, and I'm sure their contract explained everything. I hadn't bothered to read it, but that was my choice. I'm lucky that I'm vindictive enough that I wanted to cancel the account just to stop the thief using any of my credit. It's a pity that objective wasn't met.