Can Vodafone force us to keep a service we don't use?

23 posts in this topic

Hello everyone,

 

I've never had a great experience with Vodafone, and it's frustrating how they try to force you into their services.

 

In this case, I'm not using their phone number anymore because I travel all the time, often outside EU, and I'm going to get an international SIM.

 

In short:

 

1. I ask to cancel, they say "I must wait 2 years"

2. I prove to them it's been 2 years (which they could have seen themselves after I gave my full data)
3. They say "we can't cancel you now, the first chance is in August" 

3. I ask to pause the service until then, which was an option some time ago, they say "you can use the plan anywhere in Europe, we can't pause"

 

What's also frustrating is that the process seems done on purpose to waste time, answering every 24h, and changing support operator so that I need to re-explain again and again.

 

I'm wondering: is this legal?

 

And would it be legal -or simply just possible- if I just stopped their SEPA mandate? 

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You must cancel at least 3 months before rhe start date if you missed this o  the 24 month initial contract it renews for 12 months. You then still must cancel 3 months before the start date. If you know you want to cancel you can do it even 9 mos before the contract date. But you still must pay to the end.  Make sure they send you a copy of the contract cancellation . This way you wont miss the 3 month window. You have to pay to the end of the contract and not using the phone does not change this

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This is a German specialty, the auto-renewing contract.  Basically means that instead of a 2 yr. contract ending or going month to month after 2 yrs., it auto-renews for usually a full year at a time if you didn't cancel in writing with proper notice before the end date.  It will have this in the small print.

 

Removing the SEPA mandate will not help.  It will mean they can't charge your account but you still owe them the money because you still have a contract with them so they will come after you for it.

 

Of course you can cancel it now and you should to make sure you don't forget and get stuck for another year.  The contract will however run until August or whenever the end date is.

 

Here's a text you can use: 

 

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

hiermit kündige ich meinen Vodafone-Vertrag fristgerecht zum nächstmöglichen Zeitpunkt. Bitte senden Sie mir eine schriftliche Bestätigung der Kündigung unter Angabe des Beendigungszeitpunktes zu.

 

This says you are cancelling with proper notice to the next allowed date and asking them to send you a notice that they have received your cancellation and when your contract ends.  You should include your customer number, name, address and sign it.  You should send to Vodafone via snail mail or fax.

 

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42 minutes ago, LeonG said:

It will have this in the small print.

I would not call it being in "small print".  At least in the contract I got, the cancellation dates were upfront and clear as daylight.

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Well, when I worked for a website provider we were told that the reason they do the auto-renew is that if people forget, they don't lose their product.

 

It really comes down to that (even if the providers only use it to justify hat they do). You either have auto-renew and risk people forgetting to cancel or you don't and risk people forgetting to renew.

 

No matter which way it was, we would still have complaints about it on here as people would forget and it being a problem, depends on what has happened to you. 

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9 minutes ago, cb6dba said:

It really comes down to that (even if the providers only use it to justify hat they do). You either have auto-renew and risk people forgetting to cancel or you don't and risk people forgetting to renew.

 

There is a 3rd way, used in many other countries which is to have it revert to a month to month.

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What I learned in Germany regarding these contracts is to send the cancellation quickly after signing it. I also make sure that they send the cancellation confirmation my snail-mail. Once the cancellation is in their system, then its a done deal. Now they are suppose to mention the earliest cancellation date in every bill and status of the contract if already cancelled, which acts as a reminder.

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Winsim / Drillisch offer a contract

with a1 month cancellation period.

 

So does O2...but here it needs to be specified explicitly and also paid for. 

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Germany is terrible for this. I would say it's a deliberate mechanism to extract money from people for services they no longer want. If this was not the case, you'd have the ability to cancel at any time, with a reasonable period, such as one month. Phone companies are perhaps the worst offenders in this regard. There are (more expensive) phone deals with simply just one months notice. After too, being stuck with an expensive contract I didn't need, I never again would take such an option and specifically look out for such 'sting' operations. Gyms and many other companies routinely do the same. Unless I really want a service 'forever' then I see no reason to agree to such onerous terms.

 

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It's always non essential services, where if the service went down for a few days because you forgot to renew it would be an inconvenience, not life threatening.

But that's their argument. Continuity of essential service. 

 

I've always thought it makes German companies non competitive because they can rely on income from people who forget to cancel, and don't have to actual improve their service or introduce better products.

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51 minutes ago, MadAxeMurderer said:

It's always non essential services, where if the service went down for a few days because you forgot to renew it would be an inconvenience, not life threatening.

But that's their argument. Continuity of essential service. 

 

I've always thought it makes German companies non competitive because they can rely on income from people who forget to cancel, and don't have to actual improve their service or introduce better products.

 

You can leave eventually but you might be stuck for a year longer than you planned to.  Germans don't know anything else so this is normal to them.

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Thank you so much guys!

 

Sure there is a part of me who'd like to undo the SEPA mandate just for the terrible customer service, but I guess that for peace of mind I'll just pay till the end.

Then once back to Germany I might remove the DSL from Vodafone, just to stop giving money to a poor service provider.

 

Also, I discovered "International SIM" cards, that work in most countries outside EU as well, and you can top up either through them, or with e-stim Internet services such as Airalo for only as long as you need.
That's what I'll go for, and glad new technologies empower the consumer.

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On 3.3.2021, 16:34:44, scook17 said:

Unless I really want a service 'forever' then I see no reason to agree to such onerous terms.

The reason that you get a discounted price. Short term contracts are more expensive or don't come with benefits like discounted / free cellphones.

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4 hours ago, lux7 said:

Thank you so much guys!

 

Sure there is a part of me who'd like to undo the SEPA mandate just for the terrible customer service, but I guess that for peace of mind I'll just pay till the end.

Then once back to Germany I might remove the DSL from Vodafone, just to stop giving money to a poor service provider.

 

Also, I discovered "International SIM" cards, that work in most countries outside EU as well, and you can top up either through them, or with e-stim Internet services such as Airalo for only as long as you need.
That's what I'll go for, and glad new technologies empower the consumer.

Could you give a link to such an international SIM card provider? Curious to see how that should work.

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4 hours ago, lux7 said:

Sure there is a part of me who'd like to undo the SEPA mandate just for the terrible customer service, but I guess that for peace of mind I'll just pay till the end.

 

Don't forget to cancel it though or there will really be no end.

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9 hours ago, jeba said:

The reason that you get a discounted price. Short term contracts are more expensive or don't come with benefits like discounted / free cellphones.

True- I was given €100 voucher for Karstadt, with newspaper subscription. Nice!

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On 3/6/2021, 1:04:00, jeba said:

Could you give a link to such an international SIM card provider? Curious to see how that should work.

 

Sure, this is one of them, and there are several on the market: https://www.onesimcard.com/ 

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On 3/6/2021, 1:04:44, LeonG said:

 

Don't forget to cancel it though or there will really be no end.

 

Yep, good reminder, thanks :)

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On 3/6/2021, 12:59:57, jeba said:

The reason that you get a discounted price. Short term contracts are more expensive or don't come with benefits like discounted / free cellphones.

 

In general, that could be the case.

But not always, and not in this case.

 

I'm paying more to Vodafone than what I've paid changing short-term, Internet-enabled SIMs to almost all the different countries I visited.

 

And it will be even more convenient with that "global SIM" I linked, albeit I realize the benefits there might be more of a thing for digital nomads, heavy travelers, or just people who want to be free of binding contracts.

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