Vodafone bug stings iPhone users to the tune of thousands of dollars

Billing error overcharges customer more than $1600 in excess data usage.

Some Vodafone iPhone customers got a rude awakening when they were hit with hundreds of dollars in excess charges due to a data billing error.

Customers switching to new iPhone plans with large data caps in July were charged upwards of two thousand dollars after a Vodafone billing error based costs on previous plans with more expensive data usage rates.

One customer speaking to Computerworld was overcharged more than $1600 after receiving a $1880 bill.

The customer, who requested anonymity, expected excess charges of less than $100, and was alarmed when she checked her bill which was paid automatically by direct debit.

Vodafone had not informed her of the overcharges, processed yesterday, but issued an apology for the error when she contacted the billing dispute line.

Vodafone spokesperson Greg Spears said the error occurred when customers former billing plans were not replaced by new iPhone plans.

“Originally the policy was if someone migrated to a new cap or plan that migration would kick-in at the end of their billing cycle,” Spears said.

“People were using the iPhone straight away when they were on a pre-existing cap [although] they might have signed up to an iPhone cap.”

Spears said Vodafone has created a taskforce to update phone plans and reverse overcharges for affected customers.

“We have waived the data charges customers would not have ordinarily incurred had they had an iPhone cap from the get-go.”

Spears could not confirm whether it had contacted affected customers about the error, but said the company had informed users via a statement on its Web site.

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