Vodafone sends wrong bills to 1.5 lakh users in Delhi


As many as 1.5 lakh of Vodafone India’s customers in Delhi were charged wrong amounts in October owing to technical errors, with the problem further accentuated after the country’s second largest telecom operator followed up with text messages to its subscribers quoting the erroneous figures. The company had under-invoiced some of its subscribers in the Delhi circle, which led to the users paying less than their actual amounts. However, even after Vodafone’s customer care staffers said the system had been rectified, the subscribers continued to receive messages with the erroneous amounts and would be greeted with a voice message reminding them of “outstanding dues” each time their tried to make a call. 

“Due to a technical fault, some of our customers in Delhi circle were charged for lesser number of days than the 30-day billing cycle typically followed.The fault was identified and corrected immediately. We deeply regret the inconvenience caused due to this,” a Vodafone spokesperson said in response to an ET query. Vodafone subscribers said they faced glitches in the service even after paying the amount billed to them and sent through an SMS. 

“I had problems making calls. The pre-recorded message kept saying I hadn’t paid my bill which was irritating and embarrassing as well,” said a subscriber, who did not wish to be identified. When she checked with the customer care, she was told that she had a certain outstanding amount that had to be paid. “They refused to admit that there had been a problem at their end and kept telling me until I repeatedly called the customer care and asked them for details,” she added. 

Vodafone, with 9.3 million users at August end, has been striving to close the gap with market leader Bharti Airtel — with 10.6 million subscribers — in the lucrative Delhi circle, but such service issues may prove a damper, say experts. 

More so as Idea Cellular, India’s third largest telecom operator, is close to starting its 3G services in the national capital, which will intensify competition for netting users, mainly users of data. 

“Quality of service, including call centre responses, today plays a huge role in customer retention, especially when MNP (mobile number portability) is a big play,” said a Mumbai-based analyst at a foreign brokerage, requesting anonymity. 

MNP allows subscribers to change operators while retaining their numbers.

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