Two-year battle to get cellphone fixed

This is one for Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Or the Guinness World Records.

Shane Matthews of Eden Park near Brackenfell tried for almost two years to get Vodacom to repair his handset.

Even though he gave Vodacom video evidence of the fault on his Samsung S6, they kept telling him there was nothing wrong.

Mr Matthews was without his mobile for six months and being billed for usage.

He bought a Samsung S6 uChoose Flexi 200 on a 24-month contract in August 2016 and it has been in for repairs about eight times.

“Vodacom has had the mobile for repairs for the same fault on four separate occasions. And they have had my phone since the end of June. The Johannesburg Vodacom repair centre claim that they cannot find a fault even though I have provided video evidence, clearly showing the issue, yet they are not interested.

“Google says this is a common issue and explains the cause but no one has bothered to read it. Vodacom Canal Walk have the device and are running tests of their own and I have called them numerous times but they say they are still investigating. More than one Vodacom employee told me that if the same fault occurs more than three times then they replace the device. But this hasn’t happened,” Mr Matthews said.

“I have not had the device for almost six months out of my 24-month contract and I have not only paid for the airtime I received with the contract but have to also pay a R199 handset instalment fee every month. I have asked for an early upgrade (even though this would leave me with no device at the end of my current contract) but this was also declined.

“My feeling is that Vodacom is trying to hold out until the end of my contract so they don’t have to replace the device,” Mr Matthews said.

“You are my last hope. I know you helped my mother with a Cell C issue about three years ago, when she was paying each month although they claimed she was in arrears.”

Vodacom said they would investigate.

Kagiso Mokou, executive client liaison officer, sent an email to Mr Matthews. “Thank you for your correspondence to the CEO’s office through the Consumer Goods and Services Ombudsman (CGSO)”.

But Mr Matthews didn’t contact the CGSO.

Mr Mokou apologised for the way in which the enquiry was handled.

“This is not in line with Vodacom’s drive to ensure that our customers receive efficient service and care.

“I have been liaising with our Advanced Repair Centre and they have advised that the device was returned not repaired as there was no fault found. It has passed our quality assessment and it is at Century City where it has been since August 2.

“We will give you a credit for
R1 815.78 which will reflect in your account within two to four working days,” Mr Mokou said.

But there was no word about exchanging the handset.

Mr Matthews asked Mr Mokou about the replacement handset and sent him the video evidence of the fault.

Vodacom confirmed that Mr Matthews would be given a credit.

When I asked about giving Mr Matthews a new device they said they would investigate. But after that there was no reply.

However, a few days later Mr Matthews told me: “I would like to thank you for resolving an almost two-year issue. After nine ‘repairs’ and countless times being advised there is nothing wrong with the device, it was replaced with a new Samsung Galaxy S8, and I was also given a credit for the six months that I was without the device. Thank you for getting involved.”