Class Action Planned Against Vodafone

Vodafone have been accused of not providing an adequate mobile network, typified by dropped calls, bad reception and poor data performance. While this might cue the exasperated forehead slapping from some frustrated customers, the possible ramifications of the planned lawsuit against Australia’s third largest mobile service provider could effect customers across the entire market.  

Traditionally, Vodafone customers have been an easy bunch to spot, with their mobiles pointed to the sky, walking around in circles, desperately seeking that reception sweet spot. A focus on improving coverage and customer service has yielded better results for users in recent years. Yet, despite a 40% drop in customer complaints since 2010, Sydney based law firm Piper Alderman announced that they are seeking “tens of millions” of dollars on behalf of thousands of customers.

With 23 000 customers signaling their intention to join the class action, Piper Alderman have identified users registered with the network between 2010 and 2011 as the primary focus for the lawsuit. Piper Alderman issued the following statement this morning.

Piper Alderman aims to file the claim against Vodafone within three months. Complaints range from losses sustained by small businesses to the inability to make calls during times of emergency. The claim will focus on Vodafone’s misleading and deceptive conduct and other breaches of the Australian Consumer Law. Evidence will centre on dropped calls, reception issues and poor data performance experienced by millions of Vodafone, 3 and Crazy Johns customers.

Peak telecommunications consumer group ACCAN has advised customers against joining the the suit, fearing that the case was in danger of turning into a “lawyers picnic.”
Vodafone has already compensated some customers by
providing discounts on monthly plans or waiving them altogether until the
network was improved. More than a million customers voted with their feet and
left Vodafone altogether. We suggest those unsatisfied with Vodafone’s response
to their complaint contact the TIO which is a free, independent service set up
specifically to resolve complaints between providers and their customers
,” said ACCAN spokesperson Elise Davidson

This class action comes at a terrible time for Vodafone,
and we want to see things improve for the company. If VHA decides to exit the
Australian market we will be left with a network duopoly – Telstra and Optus.
We don’t think this will be a good outcome for Australian consumers. Vodafone
have always provided strong competition in the mobile market and we need them
to continue to do so
,” says Ms Davidson.

Vodafone are yet to comment.

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Mark Kolbe/Getty Images