ACMA orders Vodafone to fix customer problems


news The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ordered mobile telco Vodafone, to fix its customer violations under the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (TCP Code) — and threatened penalties if it doesn’t.

An investigation conducted by ACMA found that there was non-compliance in the areas of analysing and classifying of customer complaints according to the code, failure in providing customers information about network performance issues, and for implementing security systems that were not robust enough for customer privacy protection. ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said: “These directions are intended to make sure Vodafone remains focused on improving outcomes for its consumers by increasing the regulatory consequences of any further breach.”

Vodafone’s poor performance has been in the news for a while now. In Dec 2010, Australian firm Piper Alderman filed a class action suit against Vodafone for sub-par performance and poor customer service. In January this year, mobile telco VHA said that it was investigating an alleged breach in security of the Vodafone customer database. In January, Vodafone was also slammed with a 28 page report on its multiple failures by Adam Brimo—the creator of Vodafail—which was launched in Dec 2010 to publicize his issues with Vodafone.

ACMA recently conducted a public inquiry called ‘Reconnecting the Customer.’ This resulted in a compilation of a number of improvements for complaint handling and customer care for the industry. The orders to Vodafone tie in with those results. “Certainly, Vodafone has made positive changes over the course of this year but, from this point on, if either Vodafone company [there are two legal companies targeted by ACMA under the Vodafone umbrella] fails to comply with the TCP Code, the ACMA can approach the Federal Court seeking civil penalties of up to $250,000” said Chapman.

The violations in the directions to both the Vodafone companies include:

  • Not providing timely information about network issues to its customers.
  • Not advising customers on its limitations on network coverage.
  • Inadequate processes for customer privacy protection.
  • Inadequate processes for handling complaints as per the TCP code.
  • Inadequate processes for analysing and classifying complaints as per the TCP Code.

In response to the ACMA’s orders, Vodafone yesterday stated that it had addressed the issues raised in the order. Nigel Dews, CEO of VHA said: “Since the issues emerged in late 2010 everyone at Vodafone has been committed to delivering a better network and service experience.” Dews also said that they were aware of the issues and had started working on them even before ACMA’s order.

Image credit: Matt Wakeman, Creative Commons


  1. We are so dissapointed in Vodaphone – we upgraded all our company iPhones this year and changed to Vodaphone – counting the days till the plans expire – there are 518 days to go. Will NEVER use them again.

    • Jen, I completely understand where you are coming from on this one. Vodafone are absolutely rubbish as a telco. But if you are going to comment on an article and try and rally support to turn people away from this company, at least spell their name right.

    • Why would you “upgrade” to vodafone after all the publicity about how many problems they have ? Doh! that must be the stupidest decision i have ever heard of, who did you hire to consult with to advise you on your needs and what telco could provide them at the best price ?

  2. Nigel Dews, simply, no-one believes you.

    Social media is full of complaints about Vodafone, moreso than any other network.

    You run a failed network, a failed customer service team, and soon (we all hope) a failed company.

    Vodafone in Australia is a dying brand. Good riddance to you and your fibbing ways.

  3. Dear Wil. Point taken re spelling – never my strong point! And its the end of a long week. Lets us put the poor spelling down to running from one side of my office to another trying to send a text via Vodafone! Merry Xmas!

  4. I have this network issue with Vodafone for one month. Yesterday I spoken to them for about 2 hours and at the end they cancle my contract and issue new contract with new mobile, which will not have any network issue (Hopefully).

    At the start of conversation, they said we will give you some LG mobile in replacement of HTC to fix problem, but that mobile was very old model. I said no thanks. and finally i will receive new mobile soon. Galaxy S II

  5. Nikul. I hope your new phone is sucessfull but I fear it may just move the network problem from one mobile to another. Good luck!

  6. A few months ago my son’s contract with Vodafone ended. He was encouraged to sign up to Telstra as part of the package of having a new iPhone 4 (the latest model). He is suffering from the same signal problems as Vodafone and also like Vodafone they blame the handset and not their service. I am still with Vodafone and I am benefiting from the newly upgrade network with super strong signals even in the middle of a building.

  7. Forget $250k penalties! with over 175,000 complaints a year to the TIO (of which allegedly Vodafone/ 3 account for half) how bad does a mobile company really need to be in Australia to lose its operating license?!?

    Years of poor service, underinvestment in bandwidth, overcharging, hidden charges, misleading plans, class actions… in what other business can you get things so wrong and be still given so much leniency and allowed to continue as business as usual?

    ACMA just need to pull rank and put Australian consumer interests ahead of industry players… a first and final notice to revoke the mobile telecoms license is the only thing that will get Australia taken seriously in the boardrooms of these multi-nationals!…

  8. We have a couple of company phones with them. We have not been able to get an itemized bill from them since we started the plan 4 – 5 months ago. And so we have not paid a single bill.

    Their systems are pathetic.

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