Off to Disney Paris for a few days next week, and Disney have a new App that lets you see queue times (and other less useful propaganda) while you wander around the park. Could be handy if it works, but I can’t tell as it uses GPS and won’t let you see the times unless you are in the park grrrrr. It’s almost as if they don’t want you seeing the massive queues till they have your cash. Anyway…

Given there isn’t any wireless in the park, you need a data connection. At a quid a MB (and no clue as to how much the app uses) I figured I’d look into the options. Also, I have a look at call charges while roaming.

I’ve got an iPhone on Voda and as part of their iPhone contracts they give you Vodafone Passport for free. This sounds quite good – a 75p charge for any call (incoming or outgoing) and then it comes out of your normal allowance. Sounds great if you are using the phone a lot – but the most I’ll do is a couple of “I’m off the Rock’n’Roll coaster, and I’m going back on as it’s frikking awesome” type calls. 20 seconds most. With passport these will cost 75p. Without it it would be 19p. Passport less impressive now, so I ask if I can turn it off via twitter.

@VodafoneUK going to france, making short calls – can I get passport removed from my iphone accnt? 75p per call works out more expensive!

I get the reply

@dmchapman You can, email us here with WRT135 as the subject line and we’ll remove it ^ HP

Sounds good. I promptly forget all about it.

This weekend I’m thinking about what I need to sort this week, and remember the Vodafone Passport. I have a look at their website, and while I’m poking around an invite to use their online support chat pops up. Handy, I click accept and wait.

After a couple of mins I get connected to Mckenly.

info: You are now connected with Mckenly.
Mckenly: Hello, you’re chatting with Mckenly, one of Vodafone’s online customer service specialists. May I take your name please?
You: Darren
Mckenly: Hi Darren
Mckenly: How are you doing
You: hi, can I turn off voda passport online? Or do I need to phone you to do that? I think it’s enabled by default on my iphone contract
Mckenly: No need to turn off
Mckenly: as this work automatically once you are abroad
You: I don’t want to use it – I’m going to be making short calls so it doesn’t make sense
Mckenly: passport is to reduce call rates while abroad
You: it’s a lot more expensive for a 30 second call though
Mckenly: Okay
Mckenly: I will remove it for you
Mckenly: Your mobile no. & date of birth please?
You: 077blahblahblah
You: $DOB
Mckenly: Thanks
Mckenly: Done
You: excellent, thanks
Mckenly: also
Mckenly: I’ll be pleased to get your valuable comments for this chat
Mckenly: Once you end this chat you will get a feedback form….Thanks in advance..
Mckenly: have a nice weekend

Not entirely sure they were on the same continent as me, but hey ho, seemed efficient and easy. Too easy in fact… Call me paranoid, but I don’t trust computers, or mobile phone companies, or offshore call centres. An online support chat to an offshore customer service guy for a mobile phone company sets my “they’ll have buggered it up somehow” alarm in my head ringing. (apologies is Mckenly isn’t offshore, and apologies to offshore support bods – I’m sure some of you are brilliant but I base most of my opinion on Virginmedia… a pretty low base).

I log into my online account. hmmm. I’m sure that used to say 1GB data. Now it just says “Internet”. It’s probably fine – but I log an online ticket just in case. I get an email back from them:

Hi Darren,

I have checked your account and can see that you are on price plan with 300 minutes + unlimited text + Vodafone Mobile Internet (1GB) + 1GB BT Openzone Wi-Fi with line rental £25.54 excl VAT.

I trust this helps.

I’ve also attached a short customer feedback questionnaire and would really appreciate your thoughts to help us improve our service and I can assure you, this will be treated in confidence. Just click here to start.

Kind regards,
Neeraj Marlecha
Vodafone Customer Services

Excellent – 1GB data still clearly there. While thinking about data, I discover the Vodafone Data Traveller opt-in. Sounds perfect, 2 quid a day (only if you use it) and it gives you 25MB of data while roaming in Europe. Perfect, I’ll have one thanks except the phone number they tell you to ring is “experiencing technical problems, please use the website”. The website tells you to ring the number. I pop into the Voda store in town and ask. After much prodding at a computer they claim to have turned it on in a not-very-convincing way. I’m not convinced. I get home and prod them again via twitter

@VodafoneUK how can I confirm I have data traveller and *no* passport on my account? Folkestone store not sure! Website not showing it…

I quickly get a reply offering to look if I email them some details. I do this and get confirmation that I do have data traveller, I don’t have passport and I have 300 mins, unlimited texts and 512MB data. errrrrr….what? Where has my 1GB gone?

After a few emails I get a phone call from them (actually, I get two – the first one was just as I was putting dinner in the over – sods law) and speak to Holly who was very helpful and pointed out that when the online support bod took passport off of my account he/she moved me to a different tariff as that’s the only way it can be removed. Given Voda no longer offer 1GB data I got the standard 512MB. Not impressed. I ask to be moved back. Not possible it seems. I point out that in neither the orignal tweet or the online chat (handy that they email you a transcript :-)) no one had mentioned this. I’m just about to point out that earlier the same day they have emailed me confirming I did have 1GB allowance but before I get a chance, she spots the email in my account. Excellent.

Given the email (incorrect) and my chat transcript she decides I’ve been rather short changed and attempts to find a contract that actually has the old allowance. Only one is a sim only deal, but that’s got 900 mins a month instead of the 300 and is actually a few pence cheaper (exactly 25 quid, instead of 25 quid + the 2.5% VAT increase). Other than that, it’s the same (and is without passport, perfect) so after a bit of faffing, she agrees to put me on that.

Excellent. We got there in the end. I now have

900 minutes, unlimited texts, 1GB internet and Openzone WiFi. This is £25.00 before VAT and £30 with VAT included.

Your extras are:

Data Traveller – This is free until you use data abroad when you’ll get charged £2 for every day to get either a 25MB or 5MB allowance. In France it is 25MB.

I also got her to send me confirmation that I’d not just been signed up to a new contract term

Hi Darren,

The priceplan changes I have made today (detailed below) will not affect your commitment or monthly cost in anyway, this was not an upgrade, it was just a case of me changing your allowances to what they should have been before you had passport removed.

Enjoy Disneyland! 🙂

Thank You
Customer Service Advisor
Web Relations Team
Shared Services
Vodafone UK

It’s not that I don’t trust them, but, well, I don’t trust them… (but Holly was really helpful, so thanks to her :-))

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