Last gripe against Vodacom (overbilling)

Posted on July 14, 2012

I have moaned enough about Vodacom on here, and my last post was around my happy and seamless migration from Vodacom to Cell C. I am delighted with Cell C.

To have more grief from Vodacom was somewhat unexpected.  I just received my last bill from Vodacom. For a little bit of background. I had a 24 month contract from my son on Vodacom (amongst three others), had many issues with Vodacom so cancelled and removed various contracts. This was the last of them, it was a discounted monthly fee contract and the cancellation fee was too high to warrant early termination.

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The painful process of recovering from an Identity Theft part 2

Posted on June 02, 2012

A short while back I wrote about my experiences with having my identity stolen –  and with Truworths, Identity and collection agencies hassling me for payment on accounts which I didn’t open.

As previously described I had some painful experiences with TransUnionITC, who in my opinion, are not respecting the National Credit Act and provide some pretty painful customer service.

Shortly after having lodged my complaint with ITC I received an SMS confirmation that the “trace alert” on my account as placed by the collection agency had been removed. Clearly due process had not been followed so that black mark against my record was resolved.

On Thursday 30th I received two more SMSs, one for each of the objections I had lodged against Truworths and Identity. The SMSs said “The account and payment history that reflected against your personal credit report with TransUnion has been deleted for TU20120502-000214-01/02″. the last two marks erased.

It took them the entire allowable period but they did remove the bad credit references on time. I received no calls back from TransUnionITC managers with respect to calls I made when none of them were available. I received no reply to the questions on my initial objection with respect to them not following the provisions of the National Credit Act. I still believe that TransUnionITC are breaking the law by virtue of not following due diligence procedures in vetting the information provided by their clients (the credit providers), by still prejudicing us (the consumers) by flagging our references being provided to credit suppliers as being suspect when a dispute is going on, and being party to this bullying process going on against the consumers.

I am not sure if I should be saying thanks to them for the pieces of the law that they actually obey, but I am still annoyed with them for treating me as a criminal and prejudicing me while their own staff don’t know the law and they are not obeying it.

The good news, I managed to dump vodacom in the meantime, and have happily and easily moved to a Cell C prepaid option (viva 99c everything). More about that in another post. Still looking forward to hearing from others having similar challenges.

If you haven’t read the original article, it includes extracts of the National Credit Act, highlighting relevant areas for cases like this. Link here.

(Posted from my iPad)

How do unused “free minutes” carry forward and get used up

Posted on August 04, 2011
I managed to log in this morning to the Vodacom portal, it has a new section showing me the free minutes and carry overs. It is laid out nicely and gives all the info, but sadly, I don’t have a clue how to read it.
Below is a screen capture of what is reflected on the portal, followed by some thoughts and research on reading it :

Finally got my phone back from Vodacom… Thanks Helena and @UysPJ

Posted on August 03, 2011

My ongoing saga with Vodacom with respect to my faulty phone is now (mostly) resolved. Thanks to Helena and @uyspj.

Background for those who missed it :

  • Got a new HTC desire on contract during late May
  • It worked for +- 10 days then died
  • Took it back to Vodacare, they confirmed it was dead (at very least the battery was stone dead and couldn’t be “boosted”), I asked for replacement under CPA as I thought was my right, they said go back Vodashop
  • Vodashop manager was extremely unhelpful, said CPA doesn’t apply to them, and they don’t represent Vodacom
  • I left the phone at the shop (on the counter and walked out) after laying a complaint with Vodacare against the shop
  • Same day I laid a complaint on Hello Peter
  • Had various interactions with Vodacom people over two months, nothing useful – weeks would go by while they were “waiting for feedback” from someone else

I sent a twitter message to @uyspj (just one) who responded immediately. Thank you Pieter, I really do admire you for interacting with your clients and following through on your actions.

@uyspj had Helena call me the next day, she asked a whole lot of questions, I mailed through what I had and forwarded various SMS’s, Helena then followed up for me.

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Another Vodacom “lost” “free” minute debacle – Now Vodacom 5, Consumer 0

Posted on July 18, 2011
Vodacom vs the consumer

Who's your daddy

When you renew a contract with Vodacom they don’t carry forward accumulated free minutes to the new contract.  Huh?  How can this be? How come nobody told me this before?

I complained on Twitter to @vodacom111 who quickly asked for me details and had a representative call me. I was really impressed at the response rate (that is something you guys are really getting right), it was much quicker than calling the call centre.

I explained the details to the Vodacom representative who seemed to think I had made a mistake and this can’t be right.

Here is what he could determine.  I was carrying forward a few minutes each month, I used them all in May and had none to carry forward to June. That didn’t sound right to me so I asked him to check for me on the details. How many minutes were carried forward from April to May, and how many did I use in May. (The contract was renewed late May).

It took a while, their system is slow, but he got an answer. There were 87 minutes carried forward from April to May. I was allocated 120 more in May. I used 119  in May (not sure that is right, but won’t argue).  That means the 87 (+1) should carry forward to June. The problem is that the system reflects ZERO carried forward to June.  After seeing this the Representative conceded there was a problem. He logged a call on my behalf, made sure I was SMS’d the reference number, and I received the SMS which states my problem will be attended to within a day. Having heard that before (on previously unresolved complaints) I have my doubts, but we will see tomorrow.

Update : Lesley contacted me yesterday (19th July)  lunchtime, read me some numbers, which seemed to be back to a position of saying I didn’t lose any minutes. Hard to get it all over the phone so I asked for the info to be emailed to me. Maybe I did get this all wrong? She agreed, I waited all afternoon, no email. Then at 5:30pm I received this SMS “Good day Mr Justin Regarding the free minute, i logged your request with our (IT) department to assist with information. will give feedback on e-mail after receiving feedback from them. Kind regards, Retentions and Upgrades and Cancellations Admin Team Lesley ####”. Glad to receive the feedback, let’s see whether the email arrives to provide the necessary info.  As of the 24th July, still no feeedback

While this was going on I had another twitter user (Mandy) send me a message. She upgraded mid-month. They zapped her free minutes, then billed her for the calls she made. 500 minutes lost and a big bill to deal with. This happened about 3 months ago and she got nowhere in trying to complain and get it resolved. I mentioned this to my friendly rep, who suggested Mandy also contract @vodacom111. I messaged Mandy suggesting she does. Will keep you posted on her progress if I find more info.

Seems this poor customer services and putting the customer last is rife. I will update this post with any further progress I get from Vodacom, as well as with the info from any other people who have similar stories. If this all sounds too familiar, please share your stories. The more the better, maybe we can get a positive result here, and at least make more people aware of what is going on.

If you were following my previous post : Vodacom vs the Consumer (Protection Act) – We lose, four nil – for now well, I guess this makes it a good solid Vodacom Five  –  Consumer Nil 

The news today that the consumer commissioner, Mamodupi Mohlala, has looked at the contracts the phone companies are still using and says they are not compliant at all with the CPA is good news. Cell C is closest to compliant but all the service providers need to fix their contracts. This revelation comes as Mohlala prepares to sign consent order agreements this week with the chiefs of each of the companies. If they don’t comply within the agreed timeframes (a few more months) they face fines up to a million Rand. More info here.

Update (4/8/2011) :

Another Vodacom representative from a different department (billings I think he said) contacted me. He explained a few things :

  • My current balance was +-280 minutes
    • this means that if I used none in June and July (which isn’t the case) then there would still have to have been at least 40 carried over from May, which seems to indicate to me that the May carry over had happened.
  • He could not see any lost minutes (and nor could I with the “new” balance)
  • My contract had changed from a per minute to per second billing when I did the upgrade
  • In response to my question on the previous phone calls and discussions and why minutes appeared to have been lost, he did say that sometimes the carryover can take a while to reflect, and that maybe a balance had not been updated on time.
All in all, problem resolved. I am still at a loss as to why it takes so many calls and discussions to resolve a simple matter, and why it is so complicated to have an email showing me the balances, useage and carryover (I still don’t have the email BTW, but it is no longer relevant).

Vodacom vs the Consumer (Protection Act) – We lose, four nil – for now!

Posted on July 13, 2011

Vodacom and MTN continued their strong financial performance over the last year, and executives from these companies benefited from the higher profits, with the CEOs take home millions as revenues and profits increase in the telecommunications market. Vodacom’s annual report for the year ended 31 March 2011 reveals that CEO Pieter Uys received a total remuneration of R13,190,826 – up from R10,700,571 a year ago. (Article from Mybroadband).

So how are we, the consumer doing? Well, we have a new Consumer Protection Act (CPA) that came into effect from 1st April 2011 to help protect us in our interactions with the big boys who have the money (and lawyers) to make sure they get their way most of the time. Andrew Weeks’s article written back in October, “The Consumer Protection Act and the cellular industry Q&A“, gave me hope that things would change (link here).

Let’s see how things stack up.

Compensation for no service (or service interruption)?

Just a few days ago there was a major outage on the Vodacom network. Customers lost signal in parts of the country (from Cape Town to Johannesburg and inbetween) for most of the day. Many incensed customers let their dissatisfaction be known, thousand of posts appearing on Twitter all day. Pieter Uys, to his credit, ate humble pie and give his apologies on twitter, on Radio, in full page newspaper adverts and in other forums. The question then arose, will customers be compensated, and if so how.

National Consumer Commissioner Mamodupi Mohlala said that an apology from Vodacom is not good enough, and that Vodacom should refund their effected subscribers as laid out in the Consumer Protection Act (CPA). Mohlala told Radio 702 that if Vodacom’s subscribers can prove loss of income they can claim compensation from Vodacom through the CPA.

Update (25/7/2011) : 7 complaints were received by the Commissioner and forwarded through to Vodacom for comment. Nothing received back yet but this is still under investigation and could result in sanction. Details here  @ Good news indeed for the consumers.


Vodacom vs the consumer

Who's your daddy

Vodacom : No way

Vodacom spokesperson Richard Boorman said that Section 54 of the Consumer Protection Act does not make provision for a claim for damages such as loss of business or income.

“We will be responding directly to ICASA and the National Consumer Commission with respect to their inquiries on this topic,” said Boorman. (from Mybroadband)


Vodacom 1  Consumer 0

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When the simple isn’t – Buying ebooks on Kalahari

Posted on June 17, 2011

For a while now I have been wanting to read Mandy Wiener’s “Killing Kebble”. Having just finished Lauren Beukes’ two books, Moxyland and Zoo City on my Kindle it was time.

Lauren’s books weren’t available on Amazon for Kindle, but she provided a useful hint in that the eBooks can be purchased from for £4.49 each, so around R100 for the pair. They come down in epub format and are quickly converted to work on the Kindle using the excellent Calibre (best friend of every Kindle owner).  Simple, quick and you can be reading in just a few minutes.


Killing Kebble is available from as an e-book in epub format. Yay. Or so I thought. I paid the R105, got the sms on my phone confirming they had the money, and waited. Scavenged, looked. Mmmm. No download link, found a link to my “Library Box” where I found my purchased. Happily flagged with a status of “new”. Yes, I just bought it so I guess it is new. Still no download link, I click the “show only products to download”, nothing shows up. Odd I thought. Clicked the “More information” action button to be instructed to download Kalahari’s (Beta) e-reader, create an account on and a whole lot of stuff.

Bugger. I just bought a DRM’ed book. What the heck. Ok, so I want to read the book, let’s see how this works. I downloaded the 20 Meg reader, installed it, had a failed Adobe Air install. Loaded the reader, Air installed again and worked. Created the account on (do I really need to give them ALL my personal details, so many people have been hacked recently I am more nervous to hand these out). Finally all installed and ready and …

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Sony PlayStation Network hacked, the mea culpa letter and some tidbits

Posted on April 29, 2011

Update :

So now it turns out that Sony have been hacked again, this time it is the turn of Sony Online Entertainment (SOE), the publishing division responsible for maintaining Sony’s numerous online gaming titles, like EverQuest,  EverQuest II,  DC Universe Online and Free Realms. This affects 12,700 credit card numbers and 24.6 million accounts, including accounts in Austria, Germany, Netherlands and Spain.

Read more here : Source:

A copy of the press release can be see here :

After the previous PR disaster Sony have been quicker to react this time around, their situation does however go from bad to worse.  The Sony PSN is supposed to be coming back online shortly, along with a few “freebies” to say sorry to all their users. If you are still willing to trust Sony with your info there may be some goodies in there that interest you (the specific ones available to SA haven’t been announced yet), and 30 days free use of PSN+.

Out of interest, there are over 100 000 SA users of PSN :

Original post :

After days of hearing about the Playstation network breach on Sky News and on various sites, and reading about it on various hacking sites, that elusive mea-culpa email finally arrived from Sony.

It says a lot without really saying it. We might have lost your credit card details? Watch your statement?

This really isn’t good enough. Currently being out of the country for a few days, having to cancel a credit card and get another issued would be a real real pain, apart from being rather expensive. There is no talk of compensation for loss in the mail, but then I guess if you have managed to “lose” the details of millions of customers that could be a rather expensive exercise.  My card replacement fee is in excess of R150.  7million x R150 =  over R1 billion just for card replacement fees, before any fraud claims. Expensive mistake? Sony do claim that the database had an encrypted table of credit card details, with no CVS numbers or expiry dates, so perhaps the risk is not all that high of widespread abuse.

It shall be interesting to watch what happens from here on in, and see how the class action suites already being filed play out. Sony has already lost a lot of support and goodwill with the “OtherOS” fiasco and the GeoHot saga. Neither of which are really satisfactorily resolved.

Out of interest, it seems that when Sony first found out about the hack, it was more in the context of people being able to access paid for content without paying. Seems they had insecure methods of requesting that content, and the changing of a simple flag meant you didn’t need to pay. Hackers had produced custom firmware for the PS3 which allowed these changes to be made. It seems that there wasn’t a whole lot of security in the client/server requests. Read some of these here on IRC logs. No certainty on the validity, but sounds plausible enough.

Mocking of Sony abounds on the net (Source: tweet by @mxatone (Thomas Garnier) :

Would you like to download some credit card details?

For those of you who didn’t get the mail (lucky you), here it is :

This is an email from Sony Computer Entertainment Australia Pty Ltd. If you can’t see the images in this email, please click here (link removed)

Valued PlayStation Network/Qriocity Customer:

We have discovered that between April 17 and April 19, 2011, certain PlayStation Network and Qriocity service user account information was compromised in connection with an illegal and unauthorized intrusion into our network. In response to this intrusion, we have:

  • Temporarily turned off PlayStation Network and Qriocity services;
  • Engaged an outside, recognized security firm to conduct a full and complete investigation into what happened; and
  • Quickly taken steps to enhance security and strengthen our network infrastructure by re-building our system to provide you with greater protection of your personal information.

Read the rest of this entry » the bad and the slightly better (updated)

Posted on June 03, 2010

Three weeks ago (20 days to be exact) I ordered the Blu-ray version of The Lord of the Rings trilogy from Exclusive Books online store. I had been given a gift voucher by ITWeb for talking at their Infosec conference so thought it would be a good way to spend it.

The online process was reasonably painless, I was signed up with a new account linked to my Fanat1cs card. I went to check out, was prompted that I had a R50 discount voucher from Fanat1cs (which I didn’t know about – nice bonus), and chose the option to deliver it to my local bookstore for collection. Nowhere in the process could I use my paper based gift vouchers. What a pity. Still, with the decent price and R50 off I placed the order anyway with a notice that I could expect delivery in 8-10 days. Great.

8 Days later I was in the local exclusive bookstore so visited to found out the status of my order. #fail. The store has no way of tracking my order and could only tell me to check online or call the call centre. mmm.

I went online, found my order, the status was useless. It told me the status was “confirmation”. Great. There was a button to “send a message” to customer service. Perfect, clicked that sent a message, 2 days later I hadn’t heard from them so called. Item was out of stock, I would definitely get it next week (being this week). This morning I went online, checked status, same status. Clicked on “send message” – heard nothing. This afternoon I called them around 4:15.

Sorry sir, our warehouse is closed, we can’t help you. Great. What happened to the message I sent online I asked? “We get too many messages online, we can’t possibly respond to them all, its better you phone us.” I see red. Why have the #@%@$$ button if that is the attitude. I asked if they had a customer services manager, they do. Can I speak to him? No, sorry, he is in a meeting. Mmmm, where have I heard that before. Anyhow, his name and number was promptly supplied. He was out of the meeting at 4:30 I was told. Called at 4:40, he answered :)

I spoke to the man, he was very apologetic, seemed appalled to hear the story, and what the staff in-store and on the call centre were telling me. He offered me a further discount on my purchase, promised to call me tomorrow to explain the whereabouts of my purchase, and explained the site was still being developed further to remove the teething troubles.  In my eyes he redeemed the situation (slightly) and if he follows through I will order from them again. If he doesn’t, they won’t be getting any more business. I certainly haven’t had these kinds of problems from or Amazing how the “big guys” can get on-line so wrong. Here is hoping they can turn it around and get things working properly. I really want to order Avatar Blu-ray and Fifa worldcup soccer for PS3. Their prices are good. Come through and you can have the business.


I received a mail this afternoon from Exclus1ves. They are now promising me that I can have it in another 11 days time (its been 21 days, and the original order said 10 days).

The mail tried to console me by telling me no retailers have stock (strange I have seen it at Look & Listen in the Pav a few times), and that if they can’t deliver they will give me a full refund (by then having had my money for 6 weeks). mmmm. I’m back to being less than impressed. Honesty I appreciate, but treating the customer like a fool?

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