Saturday, July 23, 2011


THE contract with the Billabong’s mobile phone provider expired at the start of the year and, for reasons that now seem entirely ill-considered, the business was switched to Vodafone. The consequence has been a standard of service that might have passed muster in, oh, 1998-or-so, but is sadly lacking by today’s norms. Calls drop out in mid-sentence (if they can be placed at all), web browsing is slower than Wayne Swan and customer service is of the Subcontinental variety, so heavily accented as to be unintelligible. Six weeks have passed, for example, since a lady in Bangalore (or some such other remote location) promised to straighten out an incorrect bill. While she has not called back as promised, Vodafone’s collectors have continued to send dunning notes. If you are thinking of signing with Vodafone, don’t. A wet blanket and a smoky fire will do the job just as competently and at a lower cost in aggravation.

Poor service and a call centre operated from a sheltered workshop are two good reasons to spurn Vodafone.  There is also another.

While Vodafone could and should be putting every available cent into fixes and improvements, it has decided to invest in the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, which boasts of the sponsorship in its 2010 annual report (see page 28).

On page 29 of the same report, other sponsors are listed, including NAB, the Ten network (wait until Andrew Bolt hears about this!) and, improbable but true, the US Government. Why American taxpayers would wish to support a posse of adolescent attention-seekers in another country is a matter a congressman might like to raise, especially with Washingtom poised to shut down for lack of funds.

But let us go easy on America. The hegemon could drown little brown babies in Agent Orange and it would still be not half so annoying as Vodafone.

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