Vodafone user wins charges battle

A mobile phone user who was sent an astronomical bill has won a battle with telecoms giant Vodafone to get his money back.







Freelance journalist and website publisher Neil Winton was hit with hundreds of pounds in data roaming charges by Vodafone after a trip to America.



But after threatening to take the matter to the Small Claims Court, the 66-year-old got his money refunded.



Mr Winton said he was shocked to receive bills of £550.55 for January and £238.39 for the following month after the two-week US trip in January - his monthly bill is usually roughly £70.



He calculated he had been overcharged by £627.45 by Vodafone for data roaming charges he was unaware he was incurring through his HTC Legend phone.



"I was told about all the great things the phone would do, but I wasn't told it would incur all these extra charges. I wasn't aware I could turn it off," he said.



"As soon as you step across an international line apparently the charges suddenly rocket up.



"It struck me as particularly weird when going to America, where the phone systems are cheaper than they are in the UK, Vodafone are charging these charges to use the American system.



"If you were travelling to Angola or Honduras you might think it makes sense, but not in a cheaper market like the US.



"To be fair to Vodafone they did send out a message of some kind but it meant absolutely nothing to me.



"It talks in megabytes, if it had said I had consumed £50 worth of data I would have known what they were talking about but they used some sort of language that wouldn't mean anything to most people."



Mr Winton, from Findon, Sussex, wrote to Vodafone contesting the charges, instructing the company that it owed him the £627.45 that he felt were extra and unwanted charges for data roaming.



After his first complaint, the company offered to cut the data content of the £550.55 bill by 25% and of the current bill also by 25%.



Mr Winton declined the offer and took his case to the Sunday Times and BBC Radio 4's You And Yours programme.



Half an hour before the radio programme went on air, he was offered a 50% cut in the bill but again declined, he said.



Mr Winton instead threatened to take the mobile phone giant to the Small Claims Court, giving the company a deadline to respond before he started legal action.



"I set out in a letter exactly what I was complaining about, and saying that unless I received full compensation, I would see them in court.



"About a week before my deadline expired, I received another call from the Vodafone Director's Office, agreeing to refund everything I had claimed."



He has now received a full refund of the £627.45 he claimed he was owed.











Mr Winton added: "All I had done was threatened to take them to court and the letter I wrote to them was a basis for a small claims court case which I actually didn't ever start.



"I'm pleased enough to have got my money back, but it strikes me that there are hundreds of people who have been hit by the kind of charges I was hit with."



A Vodafone spokeswoman said they could not comment on individual cases, but all of their charges were on their website for the UK as well as countries people might be travelling to, so customers could look at where they are going and what they would be charged.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral