7/16/2009 11:48:00 AM
Vodafone halts handset refunds as part of plans to cut costs in the company
Vodafone has withdrawn its option for customers to return handsets for refunds, as it looks to cut costs and improve business efficiency.
Customers will no longer be able to take back handsets for a refund, even if the device is faulty. The operator’s policy was previously to exchange or refund faulty handsets within a 14 day grace period.
Under the new rules, retail staff have been told if a customer is unable to get signal on a handset within seven days of purchase, they can return the phone. However, if the phone is faulty it can only be exchanged for the same handset within 28 days of buying it.
The rules regarding online sales and telesales have not altered, and customers can still change their handset within seven days if it is not suitable.
One Vodafone employee said the network had instructed staff to demo handsets in store, so the customer ‘can’t complain about it being the wrong handset’.
He added: ‘It’s about saving money – if someone signs a new contract with an expensive phone and then returns it, we can’t sell it as new so it halves in value.’
However, another staffer said: ‘It is for the benefit of the customer, it’s about spending more time with them to make sure they walk away with a handset they are happy with.’
A Vodafone spokesperson said: ‘Customers now have up to 28 days to return a faulty mobile phone (pay as you go or pay monthly) and receive a like-for-like exchange. This has replaced the 14 day no quibble guarantee.
‘If customers buy a handset online or through telesales there is a seven day no quibble returns policy, as they have bought the phone “unseen”. The 28 day policy for returning a faulty phone also applies to online and telesales.’