Vodafone’s Roam-further charge – customer advice

12 December 2017

Customers who’ve found themselves paying more following the introduction of Vodafone’s ‘Roam-further’ charge have been given extra time to decide whether they want to leave the contract without paying a penalty, following intervention by Ofcom.

Earlier this year, Vodafone introduced a new roaming charge for customers travelling in 60 countries outside of the EU. This means that pay-monthly customers are now charged a flat fee of £5 a day, if they activate roaming services in these countries.

Certain customers, particularly those who may be light users of their mobile phone when abroad in these countries, are likely to be affected by the new Roam-further charge, considering they can no longer send texts, make calls or use data on a ‘pay-per-use’ basis.

Between April and May 2017, Vodafone sent text messages to all customers to inform them of the change to their contracts as a result of the Roam-further charge.

For a group of customers that Vodafone considered would be particularly disadvantaged by the new roaming charge, the text message included a link to its website which informed them of their rights to exit their contracts without penalty.

Following complaints from Vodafone customers, Ofcom raised concerns with Vodafone about the clarity of that text message, and questioned whether it had been sent to all affected customers.

In response to our concerns, Vodafone:

  • sent another text message to the customers it originally contacted, and to additional customers that may have also been affected. This text message clearly informed customers of their rights and gave them 30 days to exit their contract without penalty if they chose to do so;
  • committed to refund customers who had complained about being left out of pocket because of the Roam-further charge; and
  • updated its guidance and processes to ensure it can better assess whether customers are likely to experience harm due to changes in contract terms, and improve how it tells customers about contract changes and their right to exit without penalty.

Customers who are concerned they have also been affected by the Roam-further charge should contact Vodafone. See Vodafone’s contact details.

Ofcom rules on contract modifications

Ofcom had concerns that Vodafone had not fully complied with our rules that require providers to give customers 30 days’ notice of any contract changes that are likely to be of ‘material detriment’ and allow them to exit their contract without penalty.

We have also provided guidance (PDF, 55.3 KB) about this rule which makes clear that providers should ensure the right to exit information is provided in the main body of the text or email, rather than via a link to a separate webpage.

If consumers have a complaint about contract changes, they should contact their provider in the first instance. For more details, see our contracts page.