Vodafone And The Goddess Elena

This is going to be a story “in a very large nutshell.”

We had internet and phone (landline and mobile) services through Vodafone when we lived in Sevilla (click here if you’re interested in reading a little about that disaster). When we moved to Fuengirola, we decided to switch to Telefonica/Movistar only because we could also bundle a good television/movie service into the package. Following is the truly condensed version of what ensued.

THE WORLD’S LARGEST NUTSHELL.
(THANKS TO WIKIPEDIA FOR THIS IMAGE OF A SEA COCONUT.)

  • In February 2013, I cancelled— in-person and via FAX — our Vodafone service in Sevilla.
  • We arrived in Fuengirola and signed up with Movistar. I confirmed our cancellation with Vodafone.
  • Six weeks later, we noticed Vodafone was still pulling money from our bank account.
  • I finally got someone on the phone who said it was obviously their mistake and we received a full refund (at this point for 3 months of charges). 
  • The following month, Vodafone began charging us again.
  • We tried phoning but were told we needed to log in with our “Mi Vodafone” account. 
    • When we tried to do so, we were disconnected because: “You do not have an account with Vodafone.” 
  • We tried their website. Same result.
  • So, we emailed another office, explaining in detail the problem and why we could not log in to Mi Vodafone.
    • The response? “Please go to our website and log in using Mi Vodafone.”
  • We realized that we could simply block Vodafone from pulling money from our account. Duh!
  • Three months later, I received a text from Vodafone saying we owed them 50+ euros.
  • We tried contacting them, but were told we didn’t have an account. Yes, we know!!!
  • I posted a message on Vodafone’s facebook page. 
    • I received a response telling me to send the details in a private message on another Vodafone facebook page.
      • After I did, someone wrote back to say we owed 50+ euros.
  • I went to the Vodafone store. The rep looked up our record and said it was clearly their error. She told me to resend the original FAX from last year as proof. I should hear from them in 4 days or come back to the store.
  • Three days later, Vodafone called and told me we owed 50+ euros. 
    • They had no record of anything else. I was asked to FAX a copy of our first bill from Movistar. I did so.
    • The next day, I received a call from a collection agency. (We owed Vodafone 50+ euros.)
  • I went back to the store. The embarrassed rep said I should go to City Hall and file a complaint against Vodafone — her employer. 
  • There’s only so much I can accomplish with my unpolished and limited Spanish. Our friend Elena — or as she will forever now be known, The Goddess Elena — came to the rescue. Elena loves a good fight and had been offering for months to step in. 
    • Elena spent an hour on the phone (repeating the story to 12 different people). She even received a case number. Elena was told to have me FAX (again) my first Movistar bill and that Elena should then call in two days. (Elena then taught me a really, really bad Spanish word.)
    • Two days later, I received a call from the collection agency. Did you know we owe 50+ euros?
      • Elena called Vodafone and was told there was no record of any of our conversations. She was insistent (and had a case number) and finally seemed to have success.
  • Tuesday night I received two texts:
    • The first told me my complaint was legitimate and my refund was approved. Yes!!! 
    • They would deduct the money we owe them. We don’t owe any money!!! 
    • The second text said I would receive a brief survey in a day or two to rate them on their service and also on this [unknown] rep’s personal management of my account. She would be grateful if I would share my thoughts.  Oh, no she would not!!!
  • I sent the texts to Elena. She called Vodafone this morning. 
    • I then received a text saying the entire refund would be in our bank account within 10 days. But, wait! There’s more!
      • A second message arrived telling me our internet service has been reinstated with apologies for the inconvenience. But we don’t want ANY service!!!
        • Then a third message arrived, telling me if we don’t sign a contract we will be charged 2.90 euros a day for internet.
San Geraldo told Elena we owe her dinner. 
I told Elena we owe her a house in the country. 
Elena said, it’s still not over, but she would prefer a house on the beach. 
To Vodafone:

The sound of the word “Vodafone” always makes me think of Paul Simon’s song, “Kodachrome.” Vodafone, however, does not make me “think all the world’s a sunny day.”

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

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