Face to face: Vodafail’s Brimo meets VHA chief


Over just a few short weeks his nascent website has become a focal point for customers angered by problems in the mobile networks of telco giant VHA, with his name being splashed across Australia’s mass media. Now Vodafail founder Adam Brimo has taken his complaints directly to the top of the corporate telco ladder.

This morning a spokesperson for VHA — which operates the Vodafone brand in Australia — confirmed Sydney resident Brimo had met yesterday with VHA chief Nigel Dews at the company’s North Sydney headquarters.

While not privy to the details in the meeting, the spokesperson said VHA wanted to meet with Brimo because the site had captured “a fair degree” of customer sentiment. “We’re interested in tapping into it — to see how best we can resolve customer complaints,” they added, noting Vodafail’s geographical targeting functionality could be especially useful for the telco as it could allow it to pinpoint areas of poor coverage in its network.

In his own post on the site disclosing the meeting, Brimo — who was released from his own Vodafone contract on December 21 and was looking for a new mobile provider — appeared to have come out of the meeting of the minds with a positive viewpoint.

“I started this website hoping to gain the attention of Vodafone so that they acknowledge our problems and get them resolved. This morning I took your complaints and suggestions to Vodafone CEO Nigel Dews,” Brimo wrote.

“He and his team are well aware of our issues and are focusing on how to solve them. It is now up to Vodafone to announce how and when your specific problems will be solved. Vodafone has clearly taken notice, however this website will remain open until our main issues are resolved.”

The Sydney resident said he was “appreciative and humbled” by the support and coverage Vodafail had achieved, but that it represented a “testament” to customers’ complaints and contributions.

“We understand that this may be a frustrating time for customers however please remember to be calm and respectful to Vodafone employees and each other. We cannot personally resolve any of your issues but we can keep you informed and direct you to the right people,” he said.

The sentiments represent somewhat of a change from the initial approach Brimo took to the site. On 16 December he described Vodafone (VHA) as “a useless company”, “a sorry excuse for a company” and VHA’s network upgrade efforts as “too little, too late, most likely”. He also encouraged all of his readers to contact sector watchdog, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, with their problems.

Since that time, several senior VHA executives — including Dews — have publicly apologised for the company’s problems, which have seen some customers experience dropouts, delayed delivery of SMS messages and more, and the company has committed to investing in its network to resolve the headaches.

Image credit: Rob Owen-Wahl, royalty free


  1. > however this website will remain open until our main issues are resolved

    Uh-oh… I’d like to know more detail about what was discussed regarding taking the Vodafail site offline.

  2. > Uh-oh… I’d like to know more detail about what was discussed regarding taking the Vodafail site offline.

    Vodafone did not ask us to take the site offline and we will not in the short term. We are committed to doing what we can to ensure aggrieved customers voice is heard and issues are resolved. We have already achieved what we set out to do in a big way – and that is to get attention for the existing issues.

    >He also encouraged all of his readers to contact sector watchdog, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, with their problems.

    I still do encourage people to take their problems to the TIO and the ACCC. As the site has grown I’ve changed the wording of some statements so that they are more useful and informative. Our ‘How to complain’ page (http://vodafail.com/complain.php) should now make everyone’s options more clear. I hope people’s issues get resolved (or they get out of their contracts) before contacting the TIO as that can take some time.

    On a personal note, I have a full time job and a number of commitments in my life so the sooner Vodafone fixes the problems the better. The proof will always be in the pudding and Vodafail will be around to voice our concerns for as long as it takes.

    Thanks, good article by the way.


  3. What kind of bogus “leader” do we have in Adam Brimo? The first chance he gets he runs to cut his own deal and gives VHA MD Nigel Dews a big sloppy blowjob. Then he tells the rest of us to cool it and ‘be respectful”.


    • Thanks Robert and I can assure you no such thing happened.

      As Vodafail has grown some of the comments have become increasingly threatening on both sides and that is personally and deeply concerning to me. I’m angry and frustrated about the mobile phone problems I’ve had just as many others are. However I’ve always differentiated between the casual staff member who sells the product and the company who makes that job increasingly difficult. The management of the company is responsible for setting those policies and when they change them the staff will be able to do their job better.

      I created the site to get Vodafone to acknowledge and fix the problems that I and many others are/were suffering with. Clearly I have gotten Vodafone’s attention and now it’s time for them to fix the issues. My issues are/were fixed when they agreed to let me out of my contract; that is the fix some people want while others might want free credit or just knowing when their reception will return to normal.

      I’m under no illusion that these problems will be fixed immediately or even soon for everyone. I want to hold Vodafone to account, prove that the widespread issues exist and ensure that people are getting the resolution they need to move on with their lives.


    • Yair, Robert. like that’s how you get people to take you seriously – use abuse and foul innuendo. Very helpful. This site shows maturity and respect, and as such the Vodafolk have given it and it’s founder some respect in return. People like you upset and sicken me as you are far from constructive. I want my problems fixed – I absolutely HATE whinging about ANYTHING – so if there is any chance the Vodafolk take note of the problems aired on this site with an intention to rectify them, then GREAT! I’m a happy camper! Long may Vodafail champion our cause!!!

  4. what was the point of meeting VHA? a big boss deems you important to meet and you get sucked into it to the extent you change the wording on your site.

    you should tell the people that your mad as he’ll and your (we’re) not going to take it anymore.

    don’t meet with the enemy, it simply starts you on the slippery road of being corrupted. next you be in the mailing list for VHA’s colouring department. you’ll start gtting VHA umbrellas and asked to raps test the next handset/toy.

    big friendly hi to VHA marketing department by the way

    • As far as I can see, Adam Brimo has done nothing that I wouldn’t have done. In fact, he’s probably acted with far more integrity than I would have… I’d have taken Vodafone’s “hush money” and run, personally, but that probably says more about me than it does about Adam. As far as I can see, the vodafail website is still up, and clearly it looks like Vodafone is paying attention.

      (not that I’m saying Vodafone offered hush money or anything…)

      • He simply can’t get connected. As far as Adam’s commitment to fight Goliath, I can make list of many other corporate giants ignoring frustrated going no ware customers. Good job Adam. I’m 3 months Voda customer use lot of sms’s and on the plan. My issue is coverage, dropouts occasionally and customer service 500% better then Telstra and Optus. The last was the main reason I have switched to Voda.

  5. Robert – you’re a dick.

    I can’t believe you guys have the audacity to pay out on Adam Brimo, simply for his doing something that most of us simply wouldn’t have the balls to.

    I ask you – what exactly is it that you would you do? Complain on meaningless forums, hiding from behind a pseudonym? That’s really brave. About as brave as hurling abuse at someone that you probably secretly admire. The fact is, your protestations have achieved nothing – Brimo has at least drawn massive attention to the issue, and kept immense pressure on Vodafone. I’m speechless at your attitude…it’s just beyond gutless.

    And well done Adam Brimo , for being so diginfied in your efforts. Hopefully you can ignore the faceless peanut gallery.

  6. Don’t worry, someone else is in the process of creating another Vodafail website which will keep going much longer then Vodafail, who obviously got threatened or paid out by the CEO of VHA :)

  7. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, isn’t that the saying. This is a monumental PR disaster for Vodafone. Not being a customer myself I am not sure if they deserve it or not. Surely they need to do better and invest more in the right places. More importantly they need to fix what is not working and fix it quickly.

    The meeting is about PR control and given the popularity of the website speaking to everyday customers is the aim. Criticism of Telcos goes on day in day out, take a look at Whirlpool. It seems to be a bit of a game. BTW why aren’t they meeting with Whirpool? Surely they read some of the posts.

    Personally I think that Adam has done his bit, or his site has. It’s up to him what he does with it. If it is meant to represent his visitors then he should let them vote on the direction to take.

    I have no doubt that Vodafone will get their act together, the question is how quickly.

  8. Having skimmed through the site, I am not sure what else this guy could do. He has certainly drawn more attention to the issues than any complaints on Whirlpool have. What is most important is that his site’s featuring on everyday newspapers has drawn attention to the issues for ‘non tech’ users who would in most cases just suffered in silence.

  9. helppp i just renewd my Vodaphone contract before all blew up. I have a new phone new contract and a useless phone which now has not had service for 12 hrs.

  10. Looks like Adam has been snubbed by Voda’s Spin and PR, Voda comes out smelling nice, I would have asked the CEO of Voda for a public interview in the media, rather than closed door meeting, Adam you been stiched up by PR and Spin Managers.

  11. So let me get this right, most of you want the vodafail website to exist so you can continue to vent and expose your issues regarding Vodafone, but then when Adam meets with Vodafone, as part of an attempt to fix the problems you’re all moaning about, you call it suss and part of some big conspiracy?? Your all idiots! Maybe you should all brush the maccas crumbs off your bellys, get off your lazy ar#@s and do something about it yourself!

  12. Adam had a right to do what he wants with his site and he got the attention and resolution he was craving but I think that maybe there needs to be a big lesson on what contracts are and how they work, what handset warranty and insurance entitles you to, what the telco’s responsibility is to the customer and what responsibility the customer has to do their own research and learn to use their own handset or not invest in technology that is beyond their capability to understand and use.

    Admitted coverage changes and congestion issues being the main problem in all of this, you can’t just end contracts on your say so as much as you might like or because you don’t like the phone you’ve chosen or can’t understand how to use it. Nor can you ignore your requirement to pay. You need to have evidence, be accurate and don’t stray from the facts. Communication is key as is patience with a busy call centre. If you want your unique complicated problem fixed you will unfortunately have to take time out to fix it. In my experience Vodafone has always listened to its customers and when applicable has always provided solutions.

    Unfortunately not all complaints are valid complaints. There seems to be a level of education missing on the customer end which has created unrealistic expectations of the handsets and what level of responsibility the customer has to self educate about the usage of the phone, it’s features and capabilities on the networks. But luckily the regulating bodies will factor in the lowest common denominator as they always do. Yay!

    To finish I’d say to anyone heading out to do some phone shopping and want to avoid pain with ANY network:

    1. Don’t do a contract. Most providers will have a sign up without a contract offer/BYO or buy your handset outright. Yes, pay for your luxuries.

    2. Don’t enter into a contract lightly. This is serious stuff.

    3. Do your own research. Seek coverage anecdotes from friends and relatives. Invite people, with the network you’re thinking to join, over for a cup of tea and see how their phone performs at your place.

    4. Alternatively buy a cheap handset (I’ve seen 3G phones for as cheap as $40 in some places) and test it out yourself. A $40 experiment is better then problems ending your contract later.

    5. Choose a phone that suits your level of knowledge, don’t just pick the one that is popular or heavily advertised and all your friends have.

    PS: I write this to be devils advocate and to maybe help a few people think…

  13. Funny how people say Adam “gave sloppy blowjobs” and took the money and ran etc. Point being you are simply jealous that he took some initiative to get HIS problem settled while you sat on your arse whinging like a little school girl!

    Get over it. If you want something doen, do it yourself! Adam has job and other things to do than try and sort out problems for other people that they can fix themselves should they do a little research.

    Is Vodafone providing you the service in accordance with the T&C’s you signed up with? No. Is that a breach of contract? Yes. Do you have grounds to terminate? Yes! Get out and do something for yourself instead of waiting for someone else.

    Complain to the ACCC and Ombudsman.

    Lazy people give me the shits.

  14. Thank you Adam for your website and integrity

    I think it is fantastic that he has met with the top level of VHA who may not have been aware of the extent of the problems because of the “bad news filtering” that is often a feature of large organisations.

    However, now that we know the heads of VHA are aware, there is an expectation they will fix the issues

    From a PR point of view they simply must recover this situation with their customers and their franchisees. A positive story highlighting improvements with performance and customer satisfaction in the mainstream Australian press within the next couple of months will be essential

    But as the cat is out of the bag these will have to be real stories

    Isn’t the internet great? This website appears to have brought about real awareness at the most senior level of VHA and the mainstream media

  15. Robert M and Robbie (i’m thinking it’s fair to assume ur the same user) either that or ur both as deluded as each other

    Adam has done something noble and deserves nothing but credit for the work he has done providing Vodafone customers with both a collective outlet via the vodafail site and the tools and advice on how to make formal complaints and get issues resolved.

    If you do some research rather than just troll on the forums and articles, Adam met with the CEO AT VODAFONE’S REQUEST NOT HIS and he had already been let out of his contract when he did so.

    So what if they paid him off He still hasn’t given up on the site and has issued public statements to that effect!

    Get over yourself seriously. Don’t be jealous he go off his ass and stood up for what he believes in.

    The site is still going strong with new posts daily and data still being updated and supported on the site.

    In regards to the “New Vodafail Site which will last longer” I CALL BULLSH!T

    Adam has already said he’s not taking the site down til the main issues are resolved.

    Got proof?? Post it!!!

    otherwise go back to your little whining stint so your missus can continue to bitch to about how much you complain and never do anything about it.

    ur wasting the space on the servers of all of these forums and articles by slagging off at Adam for no reason!

    If you’re a disgruntled customer – call them and get something done or lodge a complaint with the ombudsman. There’s plenty of info on the http://www.vodafail.com/ site – seriously just copy and paste from this post!

    Honestly…………End your contract or end your life……. either way we will no longer have to hear you whine about your petty issues and continue to spit Bullsh!t about new sites and how much Adam sucked off some CEO when he did nothing of the sort

    • **Apologies – Please Replace “CEO” with “MD” in the above post

      but still Robert M/Robbie – crawl away and shut up – the less you say, the less you’ll look like a Fu<kw!t

  16. Personally, Adam has done pretty much what I would have done, meeting up with the Vodafone top brass, however I would have taken a far stronger leadership approach since the meeting was initiated by VHA’s boss. Rather than just agreeing to the meet, I would have approached ‘A Current Affair” and “Today Tonight” to see if they wanted in on the deal, preferably in return for a payment, after all, Adam’s put a lot of time and effort into the site, he has a life and job outside of vodafail.com – might as well get compensated for this

    My approach would have been to go in and meet with the VHA brass with hidden microphone and camera, and taken a much more assertive position, remember, CEO types, such as VHA’s Nigel Dews, laugh behind closed doors, these people collect hefty management bonuses for delivering a good balance sheet and profits for the company and its shareholders. As is clearly evident with the number of complaints, and recent media coverage of widespread issues with Vodafone, leaking of personal details, network issues, customer service issues, and the number of complaints posted on vodafail.com, and the media coverage that site has received, I would have done nothing less than taking an aggressive stance on behalf of my supporters.

    Walk in, covert camera rolling, chit-chat, rapport building with the VHA brass, then down to busines, rather than discussing what they (VHA) had planned to resolve the issues, I would be far more upfront in leading into the juicy part of the conversation and put the pressure on the guy big time. Here we have THOUSANDS of ANGRY vodafone and 3 customers, I’d simply be saying hey mate, you are going to make things HAPPEN NOW, and HERE ARE THE TIME LINES and ACTIONS that WE DEMAND, or suffer the consequences. VHA to give substantial discounts to complainants with legitimate complaints regarding network coverage, first of all, living smack bang in the middle of Robina and getting continous drop-outs and poor network coverage and speeds, I would expect that the company would waiver that months’ bill, or at the very least credit a substantial discount against same UNTIL THEIR PROBLEMS ARE RESOLVED and we have acceptable levels of service.

    He ain’t going to like that, as that would impact their bottom line, their viability as a business, and the returns for their shareholders, however I would be making it explicitly clear that failure to insitute such measures would have dire consequences for the company as a whole, as I would be using the website and its many supporters as a mechanism to drum up support for volunteers to hang around 3 and Vodafone retail outlets, and using my ACA or TNT payment to fund the printing of information flyers for these people to hand out to prospective customers approaching their stores.

    Remember, we have a phone company here with major problems, whilst current users are experiencing constant on-going problems with their 3 and Vodafone services, the company and its dealers are actively marketing themselves, and need I say, very aggressively, offering amazing deals such as $39 for 10Gb mobile broadband, so we have more and more users coming online to their network, compounding the problem for existing users already struggling to get a decent quality service.

    In the concluding minutes of the meeting I would finish with “Mr Dews, it has been a pleasure meeting with you, starting tomorrow we will begin assembling an army of volunteers who will be in the vincinity of your stores and booths, handing out information leaflets to prospective Voda/3 customers about to enter your stores, so they are aware of the problems their current customer base are experiencing, in addition to mainstream media coverage, such actions will continue until such point that it can be ascertained that Voda/3’s problems have been mostly addressed and fixed. Only then will we stop our campaign against Voda/3 – it is not in the best interests of the thousands of complainants on the vodafail site to have the company continuing to load more and more users onto an already over-stressed, over-used and under-resourced mobile phone and mobile broadband network.

    Then watch the big brass wilt and shrivel back into their cosy little office with a completely different outlook – I guarantee you that actions to rectify their issus will happen much, much quicker if they can see that direct action by angry customers will directly influence their dealer network around the nation. They certainly won’t be happy if new sign-up numbers dwindle on account of a couple of people hanging around in the vincinity of their outlets handing out information brochures about Vodafone/3’s network and service issues. Inaction or slow action would see dealers terminate their business with Voda/3 and deal with a different carrier.

    Actions speak louder than words.

    • I completely agree with your comment however when dealing with a company this large there are several legal concerns that Adam would have had to take into account.

      However theres nothing stopping other people from doing this if they don’t improve service in the next month.

      If you’re motivated enough just put a post up on vodafail.com and ask for volunteers

      • next door neighbour’s a solicitor – he seems to suggest that there’s little to be concerned about in regards to legal issues if it’s done properly and in a tactful way – the important thing is to stick to the facts, so flyers handed out must plainly and simply stick to the facts and not be too ‘gung ho’ – this is something I will be doing – already posted my feelings about vodafone on my facebook fan page (which has over 12’000 ‘likes’ btw)

  17. 6 months since I have left Vodafone, I have churned from Optus back to Vodafone. My phone is connected to Vodafone’s 2G network for 50% of the time with EDGE data service. Surprisingly, EDGE actually worked MUCH better than what 3G was capable of doing 6 months ago. I would have assumed that Vodafone really did make a change. The current problem is, 3G to 2G while Telstra is ready to fully launch its 4G network? Oh well, a working 2G service is better than a 3G coverage that doesn’t work I suppose.

    It really seems like Telstra is the only option out there in the market at this stage. However, due to its high cost, I have decided to give Vodafone another hit before seriously considering paying for a substantial higher (percentage wise, compared to Vodafone and Optus) premium on monthly basis.

    I’ve found it pretty ironic while reading an article on SMH today, Optus is to launch a 4G network next April as per article mentioned. Second to Vodafone’s crisis 6 months ago, I’ve had enough with Optus’ coverage in the past 2 months with drop outs and black spot around home (wasn’t an issue when I first joined), alongside to snailspeed data on both 3G and 2G coverage. Paying a slightly higher (compared to Vodafone) premium of $69 (89 less 20 BYO credit) on an unlimited plan doesn’t seem to make a difference. Did the “churning rush” out of Vodafone a few months back contributed to Optus’ recently network performance?

    Why does telco bothered to bring out a newer technology when the existing network is not in a functional manner?

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