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In 2020 my partner and I were working from home with a poor internet connection. We bought a dongle from Vodafone on a contract. However, it couldn’t support both of us and was effectively useless. I felt we’d been mis-sold. I asked my partner to call and cancel it but he was upsold more data.
When I called Vodafone it agreed to cancel the contract and waive the early termination fee. I was told there would be no more costs. I canceled the standing order with my bank just in case there were more erroneous charges. Several months later I was contacted by a debt collection agency over unpaid bills.
Because Vodafone had canceled my account it was virtually impossible to speak to anyone there. Eventually Vodafone agreed to cancel our early termination fee and the agency wiped my £254 “outstanding debt”. But I am still left with a mark on my credit file.
It has caused my credit score to drop from 999 (excellent) to 678 (good). We are looking to move house and this black mark will count against me when applying for mortgages.
– CE, Derbyshire
You say you were told the cancellation fee had been waived, but Vodafone has a different version of events. It says it explicitly advised you not to cancel your direct debit so your early termination fee could be collected, but you ignored this.
I wonder whether different customer service agents gave you conflicting information, so you chose to listen to the advice you preferred and hoped for the best?
If so, this has turned out to be a costly mistake. I agree that this charge seemed terribly unfair given your poor experience with the dongle, but this didn’t mean you could just walk away from it. If you could go back in time you would have kept the direct debit in place and disputed the early termination fee as soon as it was charged.
In addition, Vodafone says debt collection letters were sent to you on multiple occasions, but you swear blind you never received any. However, the good news for you is that despite your various disagreements Vodafone has agreed to remove the credit marks from your file, so they won’t affect your ability to move house.
A spokesman said: “When we reimbursed the early termination fee, we advised that the credit mark couldn’t be removed. It’s clear that the customer did not fully appreciate this, so we have now begun the process of removing the mark from the credit file.”