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Vodafone customers to sue in class action

Stan

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He was unsympathetic. When I complained to my Vodafone dealer he said: ” You should have known you were joining a discount network”. I did not realise at the time that Vodafone was a discount network.Most people are understanding of problems but the arrogance of these people has annoyed me most.

- December 27, 2010, 9:31AM

- December 27, 2010, 9:21AM

But customers calling its customer care line have been placed on hold for hours on end and then forced to fill out long, laborious forms. “There will be nothing to pay unless you successfully recover compensation,” the firm wrote. Others have said they have been unable to call family after being involved in an accident. A litany of Vodafone customer horror stories can be found on the Vodafail.com website. It said it was investigating a class action against Vodafone to recover losses suffered by its customers over the last three years, plus interest. The apology provided no new information on when issues may be fixed but referenced a network upgrade which is not due to be completed until some time next year. “Calls dropping out, reception issues, poor data performance – this is not what Vodafone customers signed up for,” wrote PiperAlderman in a notice on its website. Some customers who complained the loudest and contacted the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) have been able to get out of their contracts and received compensation but others have given up long before this stage. Many Vodafone customers have said the constant call dropouts and reception issues have meant they have been unable to properly operate their businesses. “Some have also said that if we don’t like it, we should just leave, of course leaving Vodafone is what everyone is really trying to do.”

Vodafone says there is no concrete evidence the posts came from its staffers. Brimo has analysed contributions to Vodafail.com and their associated IP addresses and believes Vodafone dealers and staff members are taking to the site to defend the telco without identifying themselves. The owner of the site, Adam Brimo, has had legal threats from the telco and had the site’s logo removed from Facebook due to “copyright infringement” – a move he believes was sparked by a complaint from Vodafone. “We are also in regular contact with the ACCC and other consumer groups to advise them of what we are doing to improve network performance and services to our customers, and we are keeping our customers across changes through our website,” he said. On the prospect of a class action, Dews said in a statement that the most important thing the telco could do was to focus on improving its network and customer experience. “Vodafone, however, has continued to charge customers on its mobile plans, without providing the service it promised.”

The law firm said customers who signed up with Vodafone over the last three years may be entitled to compensation “if they were misled into signing contracts or if Vodafone did not live up to its end of the bargain”. Despite the immense issues faced by its existing customers, Vodafone continues to spend millions on advertising for new customers, including as a primary sponsor of the cricket. “They have been quite aggressive, the general tone is that it’s the customer’s fault and that all of our complaints are about tiny problems,” said Brimo. On Tuesday last week, after organisations like the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) chastised the telco for failing to inform customers of its issues, Vodafone CEO Nigel Dews published an apology on Vodafone’s website. Its furious customers then took to social media and sites like Vodafail.com, forcing the telco to admit to some remaining issues. Comments
148 comments so far “Our network performance is improving and we are confident that things will get better as we continue to roll out extra capacity across out [sic] network.”

The same statement was sent out to Vodafone staff members but it contained an additional line not sent to this website. Brimo, who was recently let out of his Vodafone contract, has now implemented a coverage map on Vodafail.com which, based on user reports, identifies problem areas on the telco’s network. “It’s obviously very disappointing to hear that a legal firm is using this to drum up business,” Dews wrote in the email, seen by this website.

- December 27, 2010, 9:35AM
Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

Adam Brimo, fresh out of university, started Vodafail.com out of frustration at being unable to resolve his Vodafone issues.
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Perhaps it’s you who need to harden up. And of course if you pay for convenience, but get ‘serious inconvenience’ (as you put it) you need to act, and react – as if someone were reaching into your pocket uninvited to take your hard-earned money. Ken | Sydney – December 27, 2010, 9:02AMPerhaps we DO need to ‘harden up’. And if, that means having to react like ‘litigious Americans’ when getting screwed over by business concerns, so be it.
What a shame that was once a great company is now in many respects on its knees. I now gather that internally the culture is descimated and reverted to a dictatorial/ authortitarion one – most of the Red, Rock Solid and Restless being washed out. so with that kind of support its unlikely things will get better. I am still with Voda but it has been truly terrible, so not sure how long I, and the rest of the familly, can continue. As an ex-Voda (pre the takeover by Hutch) I felt proud to work for a customer focussed organistaion that also built a strong vibrant internal employee culture under the stewardship of the late Graham Maher, and subsequently Russ Hewiit. From the rumour mill I have heard that both Vodafone Global CEO Vittorio Colao and Hutch’s Fok Kin-ning are desparately trying to sell their remaining share of the Australian VHA to each othe,r but neither want it….
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| Sydney

- December 27, 2010, 9:29AM

Sydney law firm PiperAlderman is seeking out disgruntled Vodafone customers to form a class action lawsuit over dropped calls, reception issues and poor data performance that have left customers fuming. Vodafone initially blamed software bugs and argued that there were no serious problems with its network. It has already presided over one of the biggest PR disasters of the year and now Vodafone faces being sued by potentially thousands of its customers over poor network performance.
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Hate to tell you Ken but we (at least in NSW anyway) are already a more litigious society than the Americans.
HiLo
- December 27, 2010, 9:34AM

Well i can assure you that i am no longer with Vodafone – I switched over to Telstra the other day and have not looked back (the prices are bascially the same with all networks now days, but Telstra has by far the best network)

Trump

- December 27, 2010, 9:33AM

If the company can’t make its computer do what it needs to do, it has failed to deliver. It’s done as if it’s the perfect excuse. Simple as that. They want us, the customers, to paraphrase it to “the computer did it, not us”, while obviously that company is laso responsible for the computer. As an IT professional for over 3 decades, I find it frustrating when companies blame “the computer”, in this case “software bugs”, for problems in providing service.
- December 27, 2010, 9:33AM
As for class action… I was going to sign up with another carrier, until I remembered, over the last 15 years that I’ve had a phone, the two other carriers have done exactly the same thing in one period or another – it’s just that we rely on our phones far more now than we did back then. Even serious inconvenience doesn’t entitle you to compensation. I’ve missed calls, I can’t get a line out, I’ve failed to get data with perfect HSPA signal etc etc. I’m a 2 phone, $99 + $49 user, so I’m not a light user. Just re-signed my contract despite the last 3 months of it being as the article describes. Are we becoming litigious Americans? I’ve been with Vodafone for just over 2 years now. It’s critical for running my business. Harden up princess!

| Sydney
| Melbourne

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- December 27, 2010, 9:02AM
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- December 27, 2010, 9:18AM

- December 27, 2010, 9:26AM

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Pity about Vodafone ..BUT they will NEVER be anywhere near as useless as TELSTRA ..!!! I was with Vodafone for many years and i always thought they were streets ahead of anyone ..especially those scammers at Telstra …I was the only person who could ever get reception in tunnels , behind concrete walls etc ..whilst my friends were let with nothing from their providers ..BUT ..recently i noticed that they seemed to becoming too ruthless with charges so i joined Amaysim …which I am still evaluating.
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| sydney
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Vodafone has got to do better instead of spending VAST amount on advertising when the coverage is deplorable.This is yet another example of failed promises by big corporation.Remember AXA’s promises when taking over National Mutual?Westpac-St. More SPIN and making the GREEDY gets richer.SO for 2011 – BEWARE of the “GREED” bearing GIFTS. George did not provide better service or cost savings but higher interest rates on mortgages.SGX so call merger with ASX is yet another which will fail to deliver.

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But Australia’s watch dog, the ACCC, is more like a lap dog with a really small bark and no bite. Refering to “capped” plan pricing when its really a minimum spend pricing is fraud that should be punished. Anyone who has priced any product knows that a cap is a max price and a “cup” is a minimum price. All carriers should be sued for the deceptive use of the word “cap” in there plans.

Vodafone customers to sue in class action

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- December 27, 2010, 9:33AM
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- December 27, 2010, 9:26AM

- December 27, 2010, 9:35AM
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I was with Vodafone for many years and i always thought they were streets ahead of anyone ..especially those scammers at Telstra …I was the only person who could ever get reception in tunnels , behind concrete walls etc ..whilst my friends were let with nothing from their providers ..BUT ..recently i noticed that they seemed to becoming too ruthless with charges so i joined Amaysim …which I am still evaluating. Pity about Vodafone ..BUT they will NEVER be anywhere near as useless as TELSTRA ..!!!

Its furious customers then took to social media and sites like Vodafail.com, forcing the telco to admit to some remaining issues. Brimo, who was recently let out of his Vodafone contract, has now implemented a coverage map on Vodafail.com which, based on user reports, identifies problem areas on the telco’s network. “It’s obviously very disappointing to hear that a legal firm is using this to drum up business,” Dews wrote in the email, seen by this website. Many Vodafone customers have said the constant call dropouts and reception issues have meant they have been unable to properly operate their businesses. “They have been quite aggressive, the general tone is that it’s the customer’s fault and that all of our complaints are about tiny problems,” said Brimo. But customers calling its customer care line have been placed on hold for hours on end and then forced to fill out long, laborious forms. “Our network performance is improving and we are confident that things will get better as we continue to roll out extra capacity across out [sic] network.”

The same statement was sent out to Vodafone staff members but it contained an additional line not sent to this website. On Tuesday last week, after organisations like the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) chastised the telco for failing to inform customers of its issues, Vodafone CEO Nigel Dews published an apology on Vodafone’s website. “Some have also said that if we don’t like it, we should just leave, of course leaving Vodafone is what everyone is really trying to do.”

Vodafone says there is no concrete evidence the posts came from its staffers. Despite the immense issues faced by its existing customers, Vodafone continues to spend millions on advertising for new customers, including as a primary sponsor of the cricket. It said it was investigating a class action against Vodafone to recover losses suffered by its customers over the last three years, plus interest. “We are also in regular contact with the ACCC and other consumer groups to advise them of what we are doing to improve network performance and services to our customers, and we are keeping our customers across changes through our website,” he said. Brimo has analysed contributions to Vodafail.com and their associated IP addresses and believes Vodafone dealers and staff members are taking to the site to defend the telco without identifying themselves. Some customers who complained the loudest and contacted the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) have been able to get out of their contracts and received compensation but others have given up long before this stage. “Calls dropping out, reception issues, poor data performance – this is not what Vodafone customers signed up for,” wrote PiperAlderman in a notice on its website. The owner of the site, Adam Brimo, has had legal threats from the telco and had the site’s logo removed from Facebook due to “copyright infringement” – a move he believes was sparked by a complaint from Vodafone. The apology provided no new information on when issues may be fixed but referenced a network upgrade which is not due to be completed until some time next year. “There will be nothing to pay unless you successfully recover compensation,” the firm wrote. “Vodafone, however, has continued to charge customers on its mobile plans, without providing the service it promised.”

The law firm said customers who signed up with Vodafone over the last three years may be entitled to compensation “if they were misled into signing contracts or if Vodafone did not live up to its end of the bargain”. Others have said they have been unable to call family after being involved in an accident. A litany of Vodafone customer horror stories can be found on the Vodafail.com website. Comments
148 comments so far On the prospect of a class action, Dews said in a statement that the most important thing the telco could do was to focus on improving its network and customer experience.

Harden up princess! Are we becoming litigious Americans? I’ve missed calls, I can’t get a line out, I’ve failed to get data with perfect HSPA signal etc etc. I’ve been with Vodafone for just over 2 years now. I was going to sign up with another carrier, until I remembered, over the last 15 years that I’ve had a phone, the two other carriers have done exactly the same thing in one period or another – it’s just that we rely on our phones far more now than we did back then. Even serious inconvenience doesn’t entitle you to compensation. It’s critical for running my business. As for class action… Just re-signed my contract despite the last 3 months of it being as the article describes. I’m a 2 phone, $99 + $49 user, so I’m not a light user.

Error: Please enter your comment.
| Sydney
- December 27, 2010, 9:34AM
Vodafone has got to do better instead of spending VAST amount on advertising when the coverage is deplorable.This is yet another example of failed promises by big corporation.Remember AXA’s promises when taking over National Mutual?Westpac-St. George did not provide better service or cost savings but higher interest rates on mortgages.SGX so call merger with ASX is yet another which will fail to deliver. More SPIN and making the GREEDY gets richer.SO for 2011 – BEWARE of the “GREED” bearing GIFTS.

Hate to tell you Ken but we (at least in NSW anyway) are already a more litigious society than the Americans.
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Pete
- December 27, 2010, 9:31AM

HiLo

As an ex-Voda (pre the takeover by Hutch) I felt proud to work for a customer focussed organistaion that also built a strong vibrant internal employee culture under the stewardship of the late Graham Maher, and subsequently Russ Hewiit. I am still with Voda but it has been truly terrible, so not sure how long I, and the rest of the familly, can continue. I now gather that internally the culture is descimated and reverted to a dictatorial/ authortitarion one – most of the Red, Rock Solid and Restless being washed out. so with that kind of support its unlikely things will get better. From the rumour mill I have heard that both Vodafone Global CEO Vittorio Colao and Hutch’s Fok Kin-ning are desparately trying to sell their remaining share of the Australian VHA to each othe,r but neither want it…. What a shame that was once a great company is now in many respects on its knees.
- December 27, 2010, 9:21AM
- December 27, 2010, 9:18AM
| Sydney
You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

| Sydney

They want us, the customers, to paraphrase it to “the computer did it, not us”, while obviously that company is laso responsible for the computer. As an IT professional for over 3 decades, I find it frustrating when companies blame “the computer”, in this case “software bugs”, for problems in providing service. It’s done as if it’s the perfect excuse. Simple as that. If the company can’t make its computer do what it needs to do, it has failed to deliver.
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Adam Brimo, fresh out of university, started Vodafail.com out of frustration at being unable to resolve his Vodafone issues.

Well i can assure you that i am no longer with Vodafone – I switched over to Telstra the other day and have not looked back (the prices are bascially the same with all networks now days, but Telstra has by far the best network)

He was unsympathetic. When I complained to my Vodafone dealer he said: ” You should have known you were joining a discount network”. I did not realise at the time that Vodafone was a discount network.Most people are understanding of problems but the arrogance of these people has annoyed me most.

And if, that means having to react like ‘litigious Americans’ when getting screwed over by business concerns, so be it. Ken | Sydney – December 27, 2010, 9:02AMPerhaps we DO need to ‘harden up’. And of course if you pay for convenience, but get ‘serious inconvenience’ (as you put it) you need to act, and react – as if someone were reaching into your pocket uninvited to take your hard-earned money. Perhaps it’s you who need to harden up.
Vodafone initially blamed software bugs and argued that there were no serious problems with its network. Sydney law firm PiperAlderman is seeking out disgruntled Vodafone customers to form a class action lawsuit over dropped calls, reception issues and poor data performance that have left customers fuming. It has already presided over one of the biggest PR disasters of the year and now Vodafone faces being sued by potentially thousands of its customers over poor network performance.

- December 27, 2010, 9:29AM

| sydney

Matt
- December 27, 2010, 9:02AM
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- December 27, 2010, 9:33AM

All carriers should be sued for the deceptive use of the word “cap” in there plans. But Australia’s watch dog, the ACCC, is more like a lap dog with a really small bark and no bite. Refering to “capped” plan pricing when its really a minimum spend pricing is fraud that should be punished. Anyone who has priced any product knows that a cap is a max price and a “cup” is a minimum price.
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Vodafone customers to sue in class action

wsDK_II

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Stan

- December 27, 2010, 9:02AM

“Our network performance is improving and we are confident that things will get better as we continue to roll out extra capacity across out [sic] network.”

The same statement was sent out to Vodafone staff members but it contained an additional line not sent to this website. Despite the immense issues faced by its existing customers, Vodafone continues to spend millions on advertising for new customers, including as a primary sponsor of the cricket. “We are also in regular contact with the ACCC and other consumer groups to advise them of what we are doing to improve network performance and services to our customers, and we are keeping our customers across changes through our website,” he said. Brimo, who was recently let out of his Vodafone contract, has now implemented a coverage map on Vodafail.com which, based on user reports, identifies problem areas on the telco’s network. The owner of the site, Adam Brimo, has had legal threats from the telco and had the site’s logo removed from Facebook due to “copyright infringement” – a move he believes was sparked by a complaint from Vodafone. Many Vodafone customers have said the constant call dropouts and reception issues have meant they have been unable to properly operate their businesses. “It’s obviously very disappointing to hear that a legal firm is using this to drum up business,” Dews wrote in the email, seen by this website. “Some have also said that if we don’t like it, we should just leave, of course leaving Vodafone is what everyone is really trying to do.”

Vodafone says there is no concrete evidence the posts came from its staffers. On the prospect of a class action, Dews said in a statement that the most important thing the telco could do was to focus on improving its network and customer experience. “They have been quite aggressive, the general tone is that it’s the customer’s fault and that all of our complaints are about tiny problems,” said Brimo. Brimo has analysed contributions to Vodafail.com and their associated IP addresses and believes Vodafone dealers and staff members are taking to the site to defend the telco without identifying themselves. Others have said they have been unable to call family after being involved in an accident. “Vodafone, however, has continued to charge customers on its mobile plans, without providing the service it promised.”

The law firm said customers who signed up with Vodafone over the last three years may be entitled to compensation “if they were misled into signing contracts or if Vodafone did not live up to its end of the bargain”. But customers calling its customer care line have been placed on hold for hours on end and then forced to fill out long, laborious forms. The apology provided no new information on when issues may be fixed but referenced a network upgrade which is not due to be completed until some time next year. “Calls dropping out, reception issues, poor data performance – this is not what Vodafone customers signed up for,” wrote PiperAlderman in a notice on its website. Comments
148 comments so far Some customers who complained the loudest and contacted the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) have been able to get out of their contracts and received compensation but others have given up long before this stage. On Tuesday last week, after organisations like the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) chastised the telco for failing to inform customers of its issues, Vodafone CEO Nigel Dews published an apology on Vodafone’s website. “There will be nothing to pay unless you successfully recover compensation,” the firm wrote. Its furious customers then took to social media and sites like Vodafail.com, forcing the telco to admit to some remaining issues. It said it was investigating a class action against Vodafone to recover losses suffered by its customers over the last three years, plus interest. A litany of Vodafone customer horror stories can be found on the Vodafail.com website.

redkelpie

| Melbourne

Trump

It has already presided over one of the biggest PR disasters of the year and now Vodafone faces being sued by potentially thousands of its customers over poor network performance. Sydney law firm PiperAlderman is seeking out disgruntled Vodafone customers to form a class action lawsuit over dropped calls, reception issues and poor data performance that have left customers fuming. Vodafone initially blamed software bugs and argued that there were no serious problems with its network.

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| Sydney

- December 27, 2010, 9:29AM
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Well i can assure you that i am no longer with Vodafone – I switched over to Telstra the other day and have not looked back (the prices are bascially the same with all networks now days, but Telstra has by far the best network)
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Harden up princess! I’ve been with Vodafone for just over 2 years now. It’s critical for running my business. Are we becoming litigious Americans? I’m a 2 phone, $99 + $49 user, so I’m not a light user. As for class action… Just re-signed my contract despite the last 3 months of it being as the article describes. I was going to sign up with another carrier, until I remembered, over the last 15 years that I’ve had a phone, the two other carriers have done exactly the same thing in one period or another – it’s just that we rely on our phones far more now than we did back then. I’ve missed calls, I can’t get a line out, I’ve failed to get data with perfect HSPA signal etc etc. Even serious inconvenience doesn’t entitle you to compensation.

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- December 27, 2010, 9:18AM
| sydney
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- December 27, 2010, 9:21AM

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- December 27, 2010, 9:26AM
Hate to tell you Ken but we (at least in NSW anyway) are already a more litigious society than the Americans.

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- December 27, 2010, 9:35AM

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- December 27, 2010, 9:34AM
They want us, the customers, to paraphrase it to “the computer did it, not us”, while obviously that company is laso responsible for the computer. It’s done as if it’s the perfect excuse. If the company can’t make its computer do what it needs to do, it has failed to deliver. Simple as that. As an IT professional for over 3 decades, I find it frustrating when companies blame “the computer”, in this case “software bugs”, for problems in providing service.
- December 27, 2010, 9:33AM
When I complained to my Vodafone dealer he said: ” You should have known you were joining a discount network”. I did not realise at the time that Vodafone was a discount network.Most people are understanding of problems but the arrogance of these people has annoyed me most. He was unsympathetic.

- December 27, 2010, 9:31AM

| Sydney

| Sydney

| m

Pity about Vodafone ..BUT they will NEVER be anywhere near as useless as TELSTRA ..!!! I was with Vodafone for many years and i always thought they were streets ahead of anyone ..especially those scammers at Telstra …I was the only person who could ever get reception in tunnels , behind concrete walls etc ..whilst my friends were let with nothing from their providers ..BUT ..recently i noticed that they seemed to becoming too ruthless with charges so i joined Amaysim …which I am still evaluating.

Perhaps it’s you who need to harden up. And of course if you pay for convenience, but get ‘serious inconvenience’ (as you put it) you need to act, and react – as if someone were reaching into your pocket uninvited to take your hard-earned money. And if, that means having to react like ‘litigious Americans’ when getting screwed over by business concerns, so be it. Ken | Sydney – December 27, 2010, 9:02AMPerhaps we DO need to ‘harden up’.

You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.
Adam Brimo, fresh out of university, started Vodafail.com out of frustration at being unable to resolve his Vodafone issues.
Enough

Matt

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Vodafone has got to do better instead of spending VAST amount on advertising when the coverage is deplorable.This is yet another example of failed promises by big corporation.Remember AXA’s promises when taking over National Mutual?Westpac-St. More SPIN and making the GREEDY gets richer.SO for 2011 – BEWARE of the “GREED” bearing GIFTS. George did not provide better service or cost savings but higher interest rates on mortgages.SGX so call merger with ASX is yet another which will fail to deliver.
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- December 27, 2010, 9:33AM
But Australia’s watch dog, the ACCC, is more like a lap dog with a really small bark and no bite. Refering to “capped” plan pricing when its really a minimum spend pricing is fraud that should be punished. Anyone who has priced any product knows that a cap is a max price and a “cup” is a minimum price. All carriers should be sued for the deceptive use of the word “cap” in there plans.

As an ex-Voda (pre the takeover by Hutch) I felt proud to work for a customer focussed organistaion that also built a strong vibrant internal employee culture under the stewardship of the late Graham Maher, and subsequently Russ Hewiit. so with that kind of support its unlikely things will get better. From the rumour mill I have heard that both Vodafone Global CEO Vittorio Colao and Hutch’s Fok Kin-ning are desparately trying to sell their remaining share of the Australian VHA to each othe,r but neither want it…. I am still with Voda but it has been truly terrible, so not sure how long I, and the rest of the familly, can continue. I now gather that internally the culture is descimated and reverted to a dictatorial/ authortitarion one – most of the Red, Rock Solid and Restless being washed out. What a shame that was once a great company is now in many respects on its knees.

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The Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, and the Victorian Premier, John Brumby, were moved to speak out on the issue after tribute pages for a Melbourne teen and a South Australian family were desecrated with obscene images and vile comments yesterday. Facebook will come under immense pressure from state and federal governments to do more to stamp out widespread incidents of grotesque vandalism of tribute pages for young people who have died. Family of Chantelle Rowe, 16, who was found dead in her Adelaide home with her parents this week, have said they were harassed in private messages sent to their Facebook accounts by the attackers.

A photo of Chantelle Marie Rowe from a public Facebook tribute page. ‘Murdered’ …
A Facebook picture of Cameron Lowe.
The government has also contacted Facebook to alert them to the issue.”

A Joint Parliamentary Standing Committee on Cyber Safety is discussing social networking sites and the merits of an online ombudsman that would watch over the space. “The loss of any family member is devastating and to have that loss compounded by such demeaning material is reprehensible,” said Brumby. “If a crime has been committed against an Australian in Australia then the law doesn’t traditionally pay much attention to the location of the website or the manufacturer of the knife,” he said. “My lungs are in pain right now from laughing so hard … these people deserve it to be honest, they go on the internet trying to get people to feel sorry for them by making a group for this kid,” he said. “Social networking sites such as Facebook have responsible use policies and the government expects them to be enforced,” his spokeswoman said. It was impossible to verify the identity of the alleged vandal but he said the group was largely based in the US, with one member in Australia. Victorian and South Australian Police have said they will not investigate the vandalism because no offence had been committed. “We have co-operative arrangements with other countries around crimes committed by foreign nationals including arrest upon attempt to enter Australia and extradition treaties. However, in Queensland a young woman has received a three-month suspended jail sentence for desecrating a tribute page. Conroy’s spokeswoman said the government would await the recommendations of the committee. “While Victoria has led the way in relation to cyberstalking laws and penalties, this outrageous vandalism has apparently been committed by anonymous people living overseas and can only be dealt with by a national approach.”

Conroy said the government was consulting Facebook to strengthen processes to remove offensive material. They could also prevent people from publishing pictures and videos and remove content that had already been posted. Online rights advocate Geordie Guy said police could and should do more. Many of the shocking images on the tribute page for Cameron Lowe, 17, who died after being punched in the head, were published by an organised group who gather in an online forum, seen by this website, to discuss their targets and gloat about their work. “I can’t think of any way in which defacing tribute pages on the internet to exacerbate peoples’ grief doesn’t fit this,” he said. “Facebook has recently become a member of the government’s Consultative Working Group on Cyber Safety. The Crimes Act made it an offence to use a “carriage service” to “menace, harass or cause offence”. I can’t see why those can’t apply.”

Following several other cases of Facebook tribute page vandalism earlier this year, the site sent out a memo to Australian users informing them of how to protect their pages. “There’s also other state-level differences that vary, mostly around laws originally written to address stalking but are broad enough to encompass this.”

While Brumby indicated that it would be hard to go after the vandals because they are largely overseas based, Guy said this was “difficult to swallow”. It said administrators of the tribute pages could report offensive content to Facebook and ban users from the page. An alleged US-based member of the group, who contacted this website yesterday after seeing a report of the vandalism, said the group were “motivated by the laughs and the entertainment we get from it”.   Brumby was outraged by the “grossly offensive and deplorable behaviour” and said the Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls would write to his counterparts in other states to “develop an effective response”. Facebook acted to remove the offensive content posted on the tribute pages late yesterday but only after media reports chastised the site for being slow to act and Victorian Police Homicide detectives contacted Facebook administrators in the US.

We’re all hanging up the landline

  The number of fixed telephone lines has remained at 10.7 million since June 2000, but the number of mobile telephone connections has increased from 8 million to 24.2 million in the same period. Of those choosing to keep their fixed telephone line, a third said it was convenient or cheaper than mobile, and just 13 per cent said it was because fixed lines offer better quality or more reliable service. About 7 per cent of respondents said they kept a fixed line for an internet connection.
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Its revenue from fixed-line rental and call tariffs has declined from about $7 billion in 2006 to $5.8 billion last financial year. About 14 per cent of mobile-phone users no longer have a fixed-line telephone at home, says a survey of 18,000 people by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. This is bad news for Telstra, which owns and operates the copper wire telephone network and has experienced declining revenue from this high margin product line. THE number of people ditching fixed-line telephone services in favour of mobiles is larger than previously thought; just two-thirds of young Australians connect landlines when they move out of home.

Brisbane strikes NBN out

Mr Turnbull, the opposition communications spokesman, told a conference in Melbourne on Wednesday that ”the majority of Australians already have access to fast broadband”. Both sides sought to turn Mr Newman’s announcement to their advantage yesterday. He also noted Mr Newman’s proposal had not undergone a cost-benefit analysis, a criticism the Coalition levels at Labor’s scheme, which will deliver broadband across the nation. The federal government and the Coalition are at loggerheads over Labor’s $43 billion network, of which taxpayers will contribute about $27 billion. Yesterday Mr Turnbull said that Mr Newman’s proposal showed there was adequate private sector interest to build such networks. The Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, noted the lack of detail surrounding the announcement but said it was ”recognition that fibre-to-the-home was the ultimate future proof technology for Australians”. NBN Co, the company charged with building Labor’s network, said it was business as usual and that it would continue its national roll-out. The deal with i3 Asia Pacific would provide homes and businesses access to 100 megabits per second broadband, the same speeds Labor plans to offer. “The mayor’s proposal clearly disputes Malcolm Turnbull’s claims that people living in cities already have adequate broadband,” Senator Conroy said. with Daniel Nancarrow

  i3 would act as a wholesaler, providing broadband capability to retailers such as Telstra and Optus. ”If this is feasible, why is the Commonwealth taxpayer picking up the tab?” he said. As part of the deal to form minority government with the independents, Labor shifted the emphasis of the network roll-out to rural and regional Australia and Mr Newman said Brisbane was not prepared to wait. It would pay for the network and rent the infrastructure to internet service providers.
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THE Brisbane City Council has announced its own breakaway broadband project, promising residents and businesses they will have their own high-speed fibre network within four years. It aims to deliver broadband to 463,000 homes. The commercial venture, into which i3 Asia Pacific will invest $600 million, will use the city’s sewer and stormwater ducts as conduits for the cables. Saying Labor’s $43 billion national broadband network would take too long to arrive in Brisbane, the Liberal lord mayor, Campbell Newman, said yesterday that his network could be delivered without cost to ratepayers through a deal with a private company, i3 Asia Pacific.

Photo: Glenn Hunt Unwilling to wait for his city’s turn … the Brisbane lord mayor, Campbell Newman.

Apple to fix alarm bug

This website attempted to contact Apple Australia on Tuesday and today. Technology site ZDNet Australia today reports Apple as saying it had found a solution, which would soon be deployed. Apple is yet to respond to a request for comment. “We’re aware of this issue and already developed a fix which will be available to customers in an upcoming software update,” Apple told the tech site. The bug appeared to affect only those with a “recurring” alarm, which is useful for when you want to be woken up at the same time each and every day of the week. Online forums were filled with Australians discovering the bug; they have found a simple fix – to set their alarms one hour late. The author of this post is on Twitter: @bengrubb Setting a manual alarm each day – instead of having it occur automatically – was also said to work, Macworld said. Whirlpool user Mr.Likeable suggested that recurring alarms set before daylight saving time would make your iPhone alarm go off one hour later than you wanted it to and that an alarm set since the time change would make it go off one hour earlier.
As NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, the ACT and South Australia switched to daylight saving time at the weekend, a bug in the Apple iPhone caused some workers to run late on Monday. If so, Apple plans soon to patch that bug. But it’s unlikely Apple will give Australian users an IOU for putting some into sleep debt. Were you woken up either early or late this week by your iPhone’s alarm app?

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Twitter gets an upgrade, but will it pay?

In the past week Twitter has unveiled a new look aimed at making Twitter.com a richer media experience, like Facebook. The changes are being read as a sign that Twitter’s founders are finally addressing some of the shortcomings of the site that until now have been largely addressed by third-party applications such as TweetDeck for use on mobile phones. Mr Houltham said Twitter’s changes would not make much difference unless it altered terms and conditions to force the developers of applications to include the ads. They are also seen as a sign that they are looking at ways of finally making money from the 190 million people who use Twitter each month. This year Twitter started carrying sponsored tweets from advertisers at the top of some search pages. Social media experts question whether it will make any difference, given that the Twitter website accounts for just 14 per cent of Twitter usage, according to Experian Hitwise. The changes include the ability to preview content and indicate locations of tweets (known as geo-tagging), and mini-profiles that do not require leaving the site. They also allow the inclusion of replies. Twitter accounted for 0.05 per cent of upstream traffic to all sites in February 2009; Google referred 27.24 per cent, Hitwise said. Rather than see traffic go off its site to other websites, Twitter’s strategy appears to be to keep users on its site for longer. It is moving from being a distribution platform to becoming a destination in itself.”

But media buyers, among them Mr Houltham, are assessing what this means for their clients, who are turning to Twitter as a means of getting their messages across to its massive global audience. As well as the simple news feed of text and links, users can now watch video and view images without leaving the site. ”But the flip side is that people are less likely to leave and go to your website. SOCIAL MEDIA experts predict Twitter is gearing up to make itself more ad-friendly but question how relevant the microblogging website’s homepage is when the vast majority of usage takes place elsewhere. Coca-Cola reported that within 24 hours of sending out a sponsored tweet promoting a product it was seen 86 million times, giving it an ”engagement rate” of 6 per cent, compared with the average 0.02 per cent of users engaging with a standard online ad. Matt Houltham, a partner at Zenith Optimedia, said: ”This marks a fundamental change in the way that Twitter is used. Mr Small said the changes might be a precursor to introducing charges for users who wanted a premium Twitter service, much like the business networking site LinkedIn. We are all still trying to figure it out.”

On balance Mr Small said an improvement for users ”can only be a good thing for marketers as it will give them less of a reason to go elsewhere”. ”The very first step is to see what those ads are going to look like.”

He suggested contextually placed ads or those that appeared at the top of searches would be the most likely next step. Simon Small, who heads the social media unit at the media agency Mitchell Communication Group, said: ”There’s more of a chance that your content will be found because people will be spending longer there because they don’t have as much of a reason to leave.

Official block … on what MPs said

Customs said that it was “important to note that the filter list is provided by a third-party” and that it “simply consumes this list”. It could not allow “general access” to websites classified as blogs “due to the threat websites within this category can pose to the security of the Australian Customs and Border Protection network”, the email said. But Mr Landauer has argued that the OpenAustralia.org website itself is not a blog but a helpful way of keeping track of what is said in federal parliament. “We do not make decisions on what category a website should be placed in,” it said. “So, clearly, they were wanting to use the site for a very sensible, work related activity.”

After hearing this, Mr Landauer contacted Customs for a response as to why the site was being blocked by the department’s filtering software. Examples of blogs, it said, included commentary on particular subjects such as news or politics, online diaries, photo blogs and audio and video blogs. “The website http://www.openaustralia.org and it’s charity foundation http://blog.openaustralia.org/foundation/ are classified by the filtering software … “Irrespective of whether you think government departments should be blocking blogs as a matter of ‘security’ policy, anyone who has spent more than a passing minute looking at OpenAustralia.org will know that it is most definitely not a blog, but rather republishes the federal Hansard, the official proceedings of the Australian parliament,” he said. Customs and Border Protection is in the process of developing a Social Networking Policy to identify and address social networking requirements. In addition, Customs and Border Protection is in the process of developing a Social Networking Policy to identify and address social networking requirements. Click here to read their full response to Mr Landauer. Customs did, however, say that if a “business requirement exists for a user or groups of users to access content that is unavailable, they can request an exemption which will be granted after the appropriate approvals have been sought”. as ‘blogs’,” the department said. In an emailed response from Customs to Mr Landauer, it said that the site had been classified by its third-party internet filtering software as a blog. “It happened that they wanted to use email alerts to stay informed on issues relating to Customs policy discussed in the federal parliament,” Mr Landauer said. This reporter is on Twitter: @bengrubb Customs and Border Protection officers can access blogs and any other website provided they have a business requirement. Customs and Border Protection uses a third party filter list to determine which sites are accessible. In a statement provided after publication, Customs said:

Customs and Border Protection uses a list devised by a contracted service provider to determine which sites are accessible to its staff.
The site’s co-founder, Matthew Landauer, said in a blog post yesterday that the site had been contacted by a person working for Customs who had told him that it had been blocked. Employees at the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service have been denied access to OpenAustralia.org on the grounds that it has been classified as a blog by its third-party internet filtering system, according to the site. A site which makes it easy to keep a track of what MPs have said in parliament has been blocked by a government department.
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Screenshot by Ben Grubb An example search on the site.

Such is the concern about online privacy that American regulators are even considering a ”do not track” register, similar to the Australian Do Not Call database set up three years ago to combat telemarketing. Both are part of a wave of companies poised to enter the market to mine the data that flows from people’s browsing history.   It was found to have served up ads to users of British Telecom’s net service without seeking their prior consent. And a British company, Phorm, which has been investigated by European regulators for alleged privacy breaches, targets customers of consenting internet service providers with ads based on websites they visit and their customer details. ”However, that’s rapidly changing and the question arises whether the current law is sufficient to address these issues.”

BlueKai says it does not collect or share personal information such as names, addresses or phone numbers. ”Up until now Australian businesses have not been very aggressive in this area,” said Mr Crompton of the consultancy Information Integrity Solutions, which advises companies and government on privacy matters. A former federal privacy commissioner, Malcolm Crompton, said the debate over online privacy in Australian would become a ”man in the street issue”. ———————————-Inside the cookie monster———————————-

The world’s largest ”data exchange”, the Californian company BlueKai, boasts it already has the computer addresses and ”purchasing intent” of 8 million Australians it knows are in the market for cars, holidays and online shopping. Users are identified by their computer browser’s address and not by name. BlueKai could not be reached for comment to find out how many of the 160 million people whose profiles it is selling to advertisers worldwide had opted out of the service. It is set to ignite a debate in Australia over whether the harvesting of people’s internet browsing history is an invasion of privacy. THE online behaviour of millions of Australians is to be tracked and auctioned to advertisers by a new generation of internet businesses setting up shop here.