#DataMustFall: Customers complain over hefty data bills

2016-11-23 17:59
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Cape Town - Mobile network customers feel duped by sudden high data bills, according to Fin24 users.

Disgruntled consumers have aired their views after Fin24 published a letter from a user who was shocked to get a R25 000 bill from Vodacom.

Anton Swart said he got an account of R1 600 for 1.6GB out of bundle data.

"I have 20 gig day and 20 gig night bundle."

When the day bundle was close to finishing, he wanted to top up but couldn't because there was an error on Vodacom's app.

"I left it because I was busy and when I tried to buy again, same problem. When I phoned, they said that I have used 1.6GB data for R1 600."

He said that he needs access to the internet because he runs a small business.

Boaz Yarmarkov said in June and July this year he got an unexplained bill, mostly for data, of R7 500 and R7 000 respectively.

"I was told that their [Vodacom] system of notifications when data has run out was not malfunctioning - and that I probably just ignored their message two months in a row."

He then enquired about cancelling the contract but was told it would cost about R22 000. "Well January is coming and Vodacom will lose me as a customer after 22 years."

Another unhappy user was Michelle Schutte. "You pay about R1 000 per gig on out of bundle rates. Vodacom will not end a session. If you forget your browser open they will charge you. If you have only 500 mg left, but download a bigger file they won't end the session and [will] charge you out of bundle rates."

She said top up or prepaid works best.

Papago-Rori Malapane said in January Vodacom billed her R19 000. She said the last straw for her was when she told her data came to R8 000.

Robin Page explained that when she wanted to buy extra data, her existing data bundle that she received every month was cancelled by the consultant who assisted her.

"So because it was cancelled I was out of bundle charged for almost four months. Because my bundle was deleted I never got a message that I was out of bundle because their was no bundle any longer."

At the time she was away on Christmas holiday, but when she saw her bills in February she nearly "had a heart attack".

"I got zero from Vodacom. They took my money and never took responsibility for the fact that it was their employee's fault for removing my data bundle."

Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services recently held a two-day hearing on South Africa’s mobile data costs.

The hearing was sparked off by the #DataMustFall hashtag, that went viral on Twitter with social media users calling for networks to slash data prices.

Stakeholders ranging from government, mobile networks, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) and the public gave their input at the hearings.

Disclaimer: All letters and comments published in Fin24 have been independently written by members of the Fin24 community. The views are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent those of Fin24.

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