I don’t like writing about negative experience because I’d rather turn the page and forget it as soon as possible. However, I have read a lot about this and it seems that the situation I was put into is not unique for me. Hundreds of people got tricked by the phone companies here in Turkey that it almost became old news despite its regular occurrence. Still, I decided to tell you about the possible thing that can happen to you if you are a Vodafone user.
I have heard about many bad things customers experienced here in Turkey thanks to this reputable company but they are barely reaching the foreigners community because we either decide not to address the problem or we give up thinking nothing could be done anyways. Are the foreigners targeted more? No. Everyone can be a victim but as a foreigner who doesn’t speak the language, you may be a little bit more vulnerable so be extra careful!
I have used Vodafone since 2016. and apart from the myriad of SMS that flooded my inbox, I haven’t experienced many difficulties let alone real problems. Was the service cheap? If you consider paying 35TL for 4GB of internet, then I guess it was cheap. Was the connection perfect? As of lately, not at all. I experienced a huge slowdown and wasn’t able to use my 3G at work at all. I was considering to switch to another operator. What happened next was a complete nonsense and I still can’t find any logic behind this entire Vodafone’s act.
I have spent almost entire summer outside the country and didn’t use or top up my phone credit until I returned to Turkey where I continued using my prepaid package as I used it for almost four years – put one month’s worth of money through my bank account and use it until it expires or until I spend it. Have I mentioned that Vodafone tends to send dozens of messages on daily basis. A lot of them are just useless ‘kampanyas’ that I don’t even open.
The problem started in the middle of September when I was about to top up my call credit. It appeared to me that I had more GB available on my account so I continued using it thinking that may be Vodafone granted me some sort of a bonus or a gift like many phone companies do. Since I planned to switch to another operator and since I couldn’t use Vodafone’s internet at work due to the impossibly weak connection, I did not look into it with too much care. I was thinking, ok as long as people can call me, I will go on using it.
When my phone calls got cut off, I figured I had to top up the credit after all and that is when I noticed that something was really wrong. The voice mail that I could hear in Turkish was longer and talked about some unpaid bills suggesting to use my credit card to pay the ‘borç’ or a debt in order to activate my line again. At that point I still could receive the calls and messages but I couldn’t make or send any of them. I had a bad feeling but I brushed it off thinking may be it is Vodafone’s reminder to top up the phone credit before I lose the line or something like that.
I opened my online banking to top up the credit and immediately noticed that the particular option on my bank account was not responsive. I couldn’t proceed with the payment. Then I sent an SMS to Vodafone’s number 7000 and typed ‘internet sorgu’ like I had always done for years but that service was not responsive either. I started wondering what debt they were talking about. What went wrong?
When it eventually dawned on me that there was a real problem, I talked about it to my husband and that is when we realized that Vodafone, on their own accord and without my knowledge or permission, without any inquiry via e-mail or SMS, switched my prepaid account to postpaid account. I have never received any visible and tangible notification about this change. In the meantime, I allegedly accumulated 16,20 TL of debt.
Vodafone’s customer service later said that they sent a pop-up message that switches the account from faturasiz to faturali in just one click. That pop up message is their main trick! It shows up on your display and you can click on it even without noticing it. That is what probably happened to me. I have never experienced such thing in my life. Not by the phone operator themselves. Usually, the third parties tend to scam us and interfere with our accounts but once reported to a company they fix it and protect the customer’s best interest. In this case, Vodafone stated that they had my interest in mind when they sent me the message that I could have clicked on in my pocket to make the change that I did not even want! Think about it!
A few questions need to asked:
1. Why did they send a message with the change that I never applied for or expressed any desire to make?
2. Why didn’t they send a proper e-mail with a form to fill so I could be aware of the options and possibilities?
3. Why couldn’t I switch back to my original prepaid account in one click? Why do I have to apply to Vodafone and then wait to go back to my old system?
4. Why haven’t I received any information about the change that they made via e-mail, SMS, or a phone call?
That is not all! Since I was not aware of the scheme, I have allegedly made another bill that greedy Vodafone assigned to my ‘regular usage fees’. The cost of that one is around 90TL including taxes that I have to pay upfront for who knows how many months. Nothing is clear except the money they ask from me and that I now have to pay.
On top of all of this, entire correspondence was made in Turkish and without help of my husband there is no way I could have figured out what was going on let alone fix it. As an expat and yabanci, I feel fooled, exposed , scammed and violated by Vodafone. Needless to mention, I switched to another operator and immediately felt relieved. I took great pleasure in cutting their SIM card in half and saying goodbye to Vodafone for good.
If you have been treated wrongly by a company like Vodafone, share your experience in the comment section down below. If you want to report them, find a Turkish speaking friend and go to the e-Government’s page, and have them write a statement to the Consumer Rights Bureau (Tuketici Hakem Heyeti) and explain everything in Turkish. So far, this is the best option for you to look for your rights as a consumer. If you want your story to be anonymously published, you can write an e-mail to email@example.com
Learn from my experience and be very careful with this operator.
Hi, there! I am Almasa aka the cool teacher in charge of allmasy.com I teach English in Istanbul 🇹🇷 My homeland is BiH 🇧🇦
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I enjoy blogging, video editing, photography, public speaking, and spending time with my family.Currently, I live in Istanbul with my husband, and a cat.