Citizens' Issues
How Vodafone helped dupe its own subscriber

If you are in the habit of returning calls or missed calls received on mobile, beware; you may end up making an ISD call that costs Rs50-Rs100 per minute. In this case, the Vodafone subscriber received and dialled an ISD number without using any prefix like '00' or '+' or country code and yet was billed in thousands 

As if receiving unsolicited commercial communications (marketing calls, SMS) was not enough, here is a stunning case of a Vodafone subscriber who is billed exorbitantly for returning a call to a 'missed call' number. The number (2699108063) did not have any prefix to denote whether it is a local, STD or international number. Technically, the call should have been rejected by the mobile service provider, as direct dialling to numbers starting with '2' is not allowed in India. Mobile number within the same circle can be dialled directly (without any prefix), for call to any landline number one needs to add the STD code and for ISD, you will have to use either '00' or '+' and then the country code, as per the norms. And yet, Vodafone billed the subscriber at Rs50 per minute calling the number as an international (ISD) call.

 

Here is the first person account from the post-paid subscriber of Vodafone...

 

"I work as an accountant and my job includes dealing with various banks, financial firms, government bodies, etc. as well as speaking to a vast cross-section of people on a daily basis. I am on the phone most of the time and I regularly call back people who are on call waiting or if there is a missed call on my mobile.
 

In June, I received a missed call from 2699108063, an unknown number that did not have any prefix. As, usual I did not check any prefix before the number and called back. There was a girl on the other end who was speaking in fluent Hindi. She was speaking softly and slowly and hence I could not hear her voice very clearly. (In a way she was dragging the call, I realised later). Since, I could not hear her clearly, I called her again. Again her voice was not very clear and the call went on for a long time due to this. What little I could make from the call was that she was from Lokhandwala in Andheri and was seeking my personal information.
 

Later, when I saw the bill from Vodafone, I was shocked to find the calls to this number added up to Rs2,050. When I contacted Vodafone, they said this call was made to an international number and was charged at Rs50 per minute. I wonder how that number can be an international one as the girl said she was speaking from Lokhandwala in fluent Hindi."

 

The subscriber is a high-value customer of Vodafone with a dynamic credit limit of over Rs75,000. When the subscriber complained to Vodafone, he received an advice of being careful while calling back on unknown missed call number. As expected the mobile operator refused to reverse the charges.

Moneylife sent an email to Vodafone about this missed call scam where the subscriber was billed for calling a missed call number. We too received the standard reply from the PR agency of Vodafone. It says, "The scenario you have described in your mail about fraudulent international missed calls is one that is affecting the entire industry. People who are committing this fraud call from international SIMs, give one or two rings and then stop. This induces the receiver to call back."

 

The PR Agency also quoted the standard disclaimer from Vodafone's site, which says, "Please do not call any unidentified international number as it may result in higher call charges".

 

Unfortunately, the standard disclaimer does not resolve the issue. Especially, how a customer should identify an ISD number if the caller ID service from the mobile operator does not show the clear markings? And this may not be just a single occurrence.

 

Claiming that this type of incidents is not limited to Vodafone, the PR agency promised to get back to us with a complete and detailed answer. However, we never heard from them again.

 

Instead, on 23rd July, we received a call from Suresh Rangarajan, associate vice president for public relations at Vodafone India. He said, his team is finding out the details from its switches and would get back to us soon. (The switch is a computer-controlled component of a telephone network that connects two lines to complete a telephone call) Till writing the article, there was no response from Vodafone. We will incorporate their reply as and when we receive it.

 

In the meantime, Amin Shaikh, one of the customer service executives of Vodafone, contacted the subscriber offering to waive off 30% of the amount from his bill. When the subscriber refused, the Vodafone executive increased it to 50%. However, the subscriber out rightly, rejected this offer as well.

 

After searching on Vodafone site, we found that the number 2699108063 dialled by the subscriber, was from Comoros, a small island nation in the Indian Ocean. For calls made from India to this small African nation, Vodafone charges Rs50 per minute. However, we are amazed how the subscriber can make a direct ISD call without any prefix to the Comoros Island. Is there something more than what meets the eye?

 

There is a possibility that the 'missed call' may be from a charge-back number. But even in this case, Vodafone should have informed this to its subscriber, which it didn't. In the absence of any such mechanism, how the subscriber is supposed to know if the call he is making would cost him a bomb?

 

The only thing, a subscriber, especially a mobile user, can do is not to call back on any unknown and missed call numbers or install some application like TrueCaller that provide the information of the caller.

 

User

COMMENTS

Om

3 years ago

Hi,
I am an vodafone subscriber This month I have received bill for the Fraud Call Rs 1120/-. I fell vodafone is all part of this fraud because of following reason
1)The fraud is occurring for 2 yrs for which they have not built any security system to control this Fraud.
2) The international settlement which they are doing for these call they are the profit of these fraud.

As per that business is growing they are not interested in customer nor TRAI is taking action against them on this issue.

God save, Money transfer facility is also with them still security is not implemented for fraud call

raj

3 years ago

Whenever you get missed call from international number, calling nummber always comes with prefix "+" symbol. Whenever we get missed call from India, calling number always comes with prefix "+91".
We are also getting missed calls from such International number. It always comes with Prefix "+" symbol. These are ISD calls and connects to Friendship Chat Line in India. Vodafone has noting to do with such number.

REPLY

MDT

In Reply to raj 3 years ago

Thanks for your comment.
Kindly read the story once again. It clearly says (quoting the subscriber) "I received a missed call from 2699108063, an unknown number that did not have any prefix".
Also nowhere the article says about Vodafone having anything to do with with the number. All the article says is why there was no 'prefix'? So why are you giving clarification on behalf of Vodafone?
Thanks,
MDT

Pankaj Mehta

3 years ago

I too had the same problem with Vodafone, with a single ring when just retiring to sleep at 11 pm from 2698100216. In half sleep you think this call is from somewhere in Maharashtra, and call back. The bill showed a charge of Rs 50/min. A email to Vodafone to complain brought no response. Glad Moneylife wrote this article.

Vodafone India

3 years ago

Hello Sir/Madam,

Please help us with your current and alternate contact numbers at http://bit.ly/18Ymcln and we will get back to you with assistance at the earliest.

Regards,
Vodafone Customer Care.

REPLY

MDT

In Reply to Vodafone India 3 years ago

Thanks for your comment. Good to see that you are active in resolving a subscriber's issue when posted in public forum.
BTW...any comment on the issue mentioned in the article?
Regards,
MDT

Nihar Mody

3 years ago

Is vodafone involved in this scam? I never receive such calls on my Reliance number!

What does caller gain from such missed calls and we calling back. Clearly Vodafone is the gainer.

arvindkumar baid

3 years ago

Similar case has happened with me. In my mobile i had stored a 9 digit number to prevent sms being sent by my children inadvertently while using mobile on the first number stored on mobile. But the vodafone actually deducted charges for the same and that too std charges stating that the message has been delivered even though i don't think there is any 9 digit mobile number in our country. i have kept vodafone number for incoming call as there connectivity is good in gujarat but for outgoing calls i am using other operator

REPLY

Vodafone India

In Reply to arvindkumar baid 3 years ago

Hello Arvind,

Please help us with your current and alternate contact numbers at http://bit.ly/15C6nvX and we will get back to you with assistance at the earliest.

Regards,
Vodafone Customer Care.

MDT

In Reply to Vodafone India 3 years ago

Thanks for your comment. Good to see that you are active in resolving a subscriber's issue when posted in public forum.
BTW...any comment on the issue mentioned in the article?
Regards,
MDT

Simple Indian

3 years ago

I had been a Vodafone subscriber in Mumbai for 4 years and was desperately waiting for the MNP policy, as Vodafone's tariffs are among the costliest in the circle. Besides, it was perhaps the first mobile telecom operator to start charging its own subscribers for calling up their Customer Care (think it was 123). They also twice rejected my MNP request on frivolous grounds of "you have violated the contractual obligations" which turned out to be due to an add-on SMS Pack I had subscribed to (how silly of them). Finally, when I managed to migrate to another operator through MNP, my bill charges dropped by over 50% - for the same usage.
It is an open secret that Airtel-Vodafone-Idea are a cartel and raise tariffs in tandem.

Siemens swings to loss in June quarter as sales decline
Macro-economic concerns, currency volatility and project-related provision affected Siemens’ net profit as well as sales. It is also hiving off two subsidiary companies for Rs122.8 crore
 
Siemens Ltd, a unit of German Siemens AG, swung to third quarter net loss on uncertain macro-economic situation as well as volatility in the Indian currency and commodity exchange rates.
 
For the quarter to end-June, the Indian unit of engineering giant Siemens AG, reported a net loss of Rs48.8 crore from a net profit of Rs36.2 crore while its total revenues including sales, fall to Rs2,645.2 crore from Rs2,856.2 crore same period last year. During the quarter the company’s sales fell to Rs2,588.4 crore from Rs2,979.4 crore a year ago period.
 
Dr Armin Bruck, managing director, Siemens, said, “Our results have been impacted by the uncertain macro-economic situation as well as volatility in the currency and commodity exchange rates. It is imperative now that concrete steps are taken to create an environment that will encourage growth in the country through increased capex expenditure.”
 
The board of directors, in its meeting held on 2nd August, approved sale and transfer of the company’s divisions, postal and parcel logistics technologies and airport logistics technologies (both forming part of the infrastructure and cities sector), to Siemens Airport Logistics Technologies Private Ltd, a 100% subsidiary of Siemens AG, for Rs122.8 crore. 
 
Siemens closed Friday 5.9% down at Rs451.4 on the BSE while the benchmark Sensex ended the day marginally down at 19,164.
 

User

COMMENTS

vivek shah

3 years ago

If a company of the stature of Siemens reports losses there are systemic faults in our country. The same goes with the likes of BHEL, L&T and ABB where they have reported below par results. The sooner the policy paralysis ends the better for the countyr. Our country certainly deserves a better government.

Save More on Car Insurance: Here are the survey results

Moneylife online survey on car insurance shows that car-dealers often offer ‘free’ insurance while purchasing a new car and other ‘freebies’ in subsequent years. Are they really the best options?

Read Save More on Car Insurance, our cover story, which explores different parameters which help you to reduce the premium and avoid questionable ways to reduce it.

Our survey received responses from 427 readers. Only 27% of the respondents have used web aggregator sites like Policybazaar.com to compare car insurance premium. Two out of three have not compared the quotations of the premium for online renewal/purchase from the same insurance company.

 

Over 61% said they would renew car insurance with the existing insurer. Interestingly, only 11% feel that the car-dealer will give them best quote at the time of purchase or renewal. Four out of 10 said that they buy or renew car insurance from car-dealers believing that claims handling will be smoother. A few stick with car-dealers due to fear of unwarranted charges or delay in service. Some respondents opt to buy from the insurer based on manufacturer’s recommendation.

 

At the time of renewal, three out of 10 respondents listen to tele-callers from rival companies. One out of three respondents uses online web aggregators. Two out of three will talk with friends or insurance advisors.

 

Only 42% of the respondents were aware that some insurers offer discounts based on profession, age group, an automobile association’s membership and anti-theft devices. A good 60% are aware of the meaning of ‘IDV’ (insured declared value) of the car.

 

75% respondents check for no-claim bonus or NCB while renewing car insurance. Unfortunately, almost half of the respondents are unaware of the protection offered by ‘own damage’ cover; only one out of four lacks awareness of ‘third party’ cover.
 

User

COMMENTS

M P Bhaya

3 years ago

Why do not you tell your Readers as to which co; one should renew his Car Policy.

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