What happened? Between 2020 and 2022, the National Consumer Commission (NCC) received and looked into about 700 complaints alleging Vodacom had violated various CPA sections. But it sampled 27 cases for the investigation.
Customers said Vodacom charged a 75% cancellation penalty, denying them the ability to end their fixed-term contracts.
The regulator added that Vodacom required payment of the cancellation penalty and any unpaid fees before terminating contracts upon request.
What did the Tribunal find after investigating? Vodacom violated Section 14(2)(b)(i)(bb) for failing to terminate customers’ contracts promptly after receiving consumer notification and for failing to follow CPA requirements.
It further said that Vodacom violated Section 14(3) of the Act by sending customers quotation letters with a 75% cancellation penalty instead of cancelling contracts within 20 business days of the customers’ cancellation notice.
Consequently, the Tribunal determined that Vodacom’s actions were “unconscionable” because the company kept billing customers even after they cancelled their contracts or attempted to do so, referred them to debt collectors, put their names on a credit bureau blacklist, and threatened legal action.
In conclusion, the provider also violated sections 41(3) and 29(b)(i)(ii) and (v) by advertising a data bundle package that was neither offered nor available.
Back to the beginning: The Tribunal fined Vodacom R1 million for its “unconscionable and prohibited” actions.