Seeing red: Vodacom charges woman R90,000 for its mistake

A Cape Town resident is furious after her credit was downgraded for an account she claims she didn't open

28 May 2018 - 08:00 By Dan Meyer
A pedestrian walks past a Vodacom-branded billboard. File photo
A pedestrian walks past a Vodacom-branded billboard. File photo
Image: Nadine Hutton/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Despite its jolly groove, the jingle that accompanies the dialling tone for Vodacom call centres is the sound of many South Africans’ nightmarish frustrations.

For Cape Town resident Gill Ritchie, it’s a noise she no longer cares to endure.

Sitting with an invoice billing her for nearly R90,000 over six months for an account that she claims she never opened, Ritchie said the telecoms service provider has left her with a credit downgrade, suspended service, loss of business, legal fees and an unquantifiable amount of stress.

“It’s a vicious cycle,” she said of the financial woes this incident has created. “And it all starts with Vodacom.”

Ritchie, who owns a construction firm and works as a volunteer firefighter, upgraded her phone at her local Constantia branch in October 2017 – and the mysterious account that has run up amounts from R16,000 a month began appearing on her statements shortly afterwards. R18,000 was debited from her bank account at the end of October and alarm bells were raised.

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