Vodafone gave away my number

by Kylie on August 16, 2012

And it wasn’t because I didn’t pay my bill. Last week when I was in Canberra I started having reception issues. Not uncommon with Vodafone, so I hoped it would clear up. On the Wednesday I discovered Vodafone had given my number to someone else.

I found out when I met my sister and she said when she called me some guy answered. Then I called my husband and he had been freaking out because some guy was answering to my number and since I was in Canberra with the kids, he thought the worst. So I went in to Vodafone to find out what was going on.

I had gone on a plan with them back in May, a $29 a month cap with a Samsung Galaxy S2. After a month I had no bill, so called and tried emailing to ask what was going on. They told me I am not with them. I tried again later. All the while I was able to make and receive calls.

When I went into Vodafone they said they had no record of me. The number I had for the past 3 months was only activated yesterday, it was a prepaid number and I was not on a plan with them. The number is not mine.

I had a couple of options:
a.) Go through their priority care. I had an email proving it was mine, so could fight to get the number back.
b.) Keep the phone and get a new sim and new number with Vodafone
c.) Keep the phone, unlock it for free online and get a sim and number from someone else.

Option A did not appeal to me at all. I have dealt with Vodafone customer service numerous times before. I usually end up frustrated, unable to understand what they are saying due to thick accents and the problem never gets resolved. In fact, I stopped my internet with them a couple of years ago and still get a bill because I am 10cents in credit, despite numerous calls and emails to be removed from their database. Those emails now go to spam.

Also, with endless reception issues and them now giving my number to someone else, I did not want to stay with them.

This left option C, which the customer service rep said was fine for me to do. So I took the phone, unlocked it for free and went with another company. I have not had any reception issues and the line is so much clearer.

It was stressful and really annoying that my number got given away, but I am glad this happened. I had been wondering how I could get out of my contract with Vodafone as their reception and customer service were shocking. I didn’t want to pay out the contract and then pay for the phone on top of that, so I am viewing this as a blessing in disguise for me.

What would you have done if this happened to you?

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Fiona August 16, 2012 at 6:07 pm

I would DIE if I lost my number :)

I’ve had it since 2001!
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Kylie August 16, 2012 at 6:09 pm

I am so glad this number was one I had only had for a couple of months or I think I would have lost the plot, lol.
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Debbie August 16, 2012 at 6:44 pm

I have been on continuous contracts with vodafone since 1998. Today I made enquiries to change provider as I am sick and tired of my phone dropping out and losing reception when I turn my head by 2cm… It’s bad for business and frustrating!

I too would have gone with option C after these events. I am glad to read you got it sorted!


Maid in Australia August 16, 2012 at 7:00 pm

I had a similar problem with Virgin Mobile a few years ago. Whenever I went to pay my bill, they had no record of me and insisted they did not have me on their books. Then I would get nasty letters for not paying. Then we would have to go through and manually do it, taking a huge amount of time. Sometimes it would work, sometimes not. Service was crap, and I rarely had reception. Now despite being out of contract and cancelling I still get bills and notices from them – despite not using the number for ages. I wish I’d taken them to the ombudsman right at the start.
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Kylie August 16, 2012 at 8:00 pm

@Debbie, I know so many people who have had nothing but problems with them, especially in the last few years. I have been with Vodafone since 2000, prepaid until a few months ago. So glad I got out of it, because of their mistake.

@Maid in Australia what a nightmare! Glad mine is not that bad.
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Surely Sarah August 16, 2012 at 9:00 pm

I probably would have taken option C as well, but also logged a complaint with the TIO as well, because somebody should hold them responsible for their incompetence!
I worked for Telstra for many years and so know a lot of horror stories, but this is a new one!
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Louise August 17, 2012 at 10:11 am

There is a Telecommunications Ombudsman. Get in touch. Contact Consumer Affairs and your State Ombudsman. Why not do the lot!!! Do it now. You need that number because you have a child with a disability. You also on medication for a chronic medical condition and might need access to medical care at short notice. Your husband needs to know you are safe at all times. Optus are lucky that your husband did not call the Police when He failed to contact you on your number. Optus have failed in their customer service. You should not have to pay anything to get this fixed. Act today. If no satisfaction by Wednesday, go to the press, television, and radio.


Louise August 17, 2012 at 10:14 am

I used the name Optus when I should have said Vodaphone. I apologise to all concerned. It does not change what I mean though. There are also a few other typos because I answered too quickly.
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Kylie August 17, 2012 at 1:17 pm

I knew what you meant. :) I had previous issues with Optus and had to take them further, so may as well be them in the post.
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Kylie August 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Surely Sarah and Louise, I hadn’t even thought of the ombudsman but have a lodge a complaint. It would have been really serious when it happened had my sister not been with me and had her phone available, so your right. I should take it further. Thanks.
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Amy @ JobCred CV Builder August 20, 2012 at 7:42 am

It’s a clear violation of contract and you may be entitled to payment of damages. Perhaps better outcome is possible if you can file a class suit together with other persons who experienced the same.
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Forest August 21, 2012 at 9:29 pm

That’s crazy!!!! I’ve used Vodafone when I lived in Egypt and for a while in UK and both times they have been great. I’ve been living in New Zealand for a while and using 2Degrees, their signal isn’t always 100% but it’s pretty decent and they have good customer service.
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Forest August 21, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Oh I would have probably done exactly what you did. These days with smartphones your address book is backed up in aout 100 places so a simple text message fixes a number change.
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Kylie August 22, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Yep, it was an easy switch thankfully. They have had numerous issues in Australia the last 12 months especially, but before that they were good. My mother in law uses Vodafone in NZ too when she visits. I’ll tell her to check out 2Degrees. Thanks.


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