Hi Lifehacker, I am currently a Crazy John's customer for mobile phone and mobile internet (with 18 months to run on a 24 month contract), and with the news that the brand will be absorbed by Vodafone in the coming weeks, I am wondering what my contractual rights may be should I wish to terminate my service given my past experiences with Vodafone have been less than satisfactory! I didn't sign up to deal with Vodafone — are there any outs here? Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks, Not So Crazy
Vodafone's reputation (for both network availability and customer service) has certainly taken a battering in the last few years. Given that, the news that Vodafone was planning to get rid of the Crazy John's brand was something of a surprise in reputational terms, though presumably Vodafone's local management think the savings involved with not running multiple brands and paying for multiple points of real estate in shopping centres will make up for it.
That said, we can't act as if Vodafone's involvement is shocking. Vodafone has actually owned Crazy John's as a brand since 2008, and the company has used the Vodafone network for even longer. As such, it's difficult to argue that as a Crazy John's customer who signed up six months ago you could should automatically expect a service that was radically different simply because the brand name has changed.
It certainly seems unlikely you could challenge your contract on that basis; there will be terms in that document which detail the right of the provider to make changes if needed. More to the point, you can't actually demonstrate that anything has changed yet. "I think this will go wrong" isn't a reasonable basis to take a complaint to the TIO *or anyone else).
Vodafone has said that it will maintain existing Crazy John's contracts on current terms, and provide support through its existing channels. If Vodafone contacted you and suggested your plan was about to change, you would have room for renegotiation. Similarly, if you experienced ongoing problems and Vodafone failed to resolve them, you could certainly complain to the TIO. But the changeover hasn't actually happened yet.
Having said all that, it never hurts to ask. Ringing and requesting to be let out of your contract might not result in its termination, but you might well find that Vodafone is willing to sweeten the deal with extra credit or other goodies in order to retain a customer. Just remember: be polite, not aggressive. Screaming about how you expect the service to go downhill doesn't give the customer service staff much of an incentive to try and help you.
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