When cellular network operators aren't trying to find new and interesting things to charge for they are making sure that they don't have to wait until the end of the month to get their money.
On Friday a mailing list for people working in Public Relations was buzzing with stories of calls from Vodafone with demands that customers make an interim payment on their bill or risk disconnection. In one case payment was demanded within three hours.
It seems that when people have exceeded their “monthly allowance” then an interim payment is demanded; except that people have never been informed of their “monthly allowance”, nor does it exist in any contract or clause.
Such behaviour is not limited to cellular companies: Telewest left a voice mail with one poor customer and, when he didn't respond for a day or two, they suspended all international calls pending his paying the bill up to that point.
Call us old-fashioned but we always thought that “pay monthly” meant paying every month, not just “pony up when the company feels like asking”. Perhaps someone working for Vodafone might like to ask for an interim wage payment half way through the month?
All ended well for the PR people who complained to the mailing list; they got apologies from Vodafone (who obviously read the list) and offers of nice shiny phones and contracts.
But we have to wonder if they would have been so well treated if they weren't in PR, so do let us know if you've received the call, or ever found out what your “monthly allowance” is.®