Today is my rant — VODACOM YOU SUCK in large chunks …..


I have been with Vodacom for the entire existence of my time of owning a cell phone.

I have always had one number – I have always been a client of VODACOM.


I hate upgrading.  I hate anything that puts me in a position where I feel I will lose information or the usability of my phone.

I do everything through my phone.

I run my business.  I run my life.  Everyone I have ever spoken to is a contact on my phone.

I am really attached to a sense of order, control over my information and that it all remains accessible.  This is how I function.

I struggle to function — so it is really important that I have lists, I have order and I have control.

I upgraded a few months ago — because I was meant to upgrade in April, and just ignored it.

Vodacom sent me several emails and and and ….. then I upgraded. I had a iphone 4S and I upgraded to an iphone 5S.

It came with a new SIM card and that made me nervous.  It would be a SIM swap, and I was fearful of losing any information and putting my life into chaos.  {I am not being overly melodramatic – I know how I function, and I function well as long as I keep a firm eye on where things are and that things run a certain way.}

I left the phone in my cupboard unopened for about three months.

Today I thought I need to stop being a TJOP and get the phone out and just do the SIM swap.  I called VODACOM and spoke to a call operator called Lucky at 12h37.

He was pleasant, efficient and reassured me that it was quite easy.  I had all the numbers and in a few moments he had arranged the SIM swap.  He made it clear I should not put the new SIM into the new phone until I had notification that the SIM on the original was cancelled.  And I would see this as it would who NO SERVICE or similar.

Cool!  Yay I thought. Look at me all brave and shit.

About an hour later it had occurred to me I have never actually put a SIM into an iphone.  Kennith had always sorted this out for me. that I should figure how to get the SIM in the phone in the interim.

I worked it out, but the SIM did not fit.  Long story short, VODAOM have supplied the incorrect sized SIM for the iphone 5S.

To clarify. Vodacom had contacted me for the upgrade.  They had sent the phone and the SIM. I had not gone to a retailer, or picked it off the shelf.  VODACOM had kindly done all of this for me.

I thought, this is a bit irritating, but these things happen – I will pop down to VODACOM at Canal Walk and sort this out before my phone and my existing number stopped working.

Just to recap — I run my business, my only source of income off my phone, so it working is sort of really important to me.

I pop along to a VODACOM store.  My sense/assumption is if I explain my little issue, someone will go “hells bells, that is terrible, we are very sorry, no worries, let’s sort that out for you in a jiffy – here is the right SIM card …. again we are sorry, but hey have a good day.”

That is sort of what I was hoping for.

It seems VODACOM stores are not actually VODACOM. They appear to be stores owned by people who are not VODACOM …. it took me a bit to get my head around as it looked like VODACOM.

The short of it was they could not sort out my problem — because the store emblazoned with VODACOM is not actually VODACOM.

At this point I was starting to sweat, my heart rate was increasing and I felt a definite panic attack coming on.

The guy at the sort of VODACOM store,which is not actually VODACOM, was really helpful.  He explained he could sell me a SIM card, and he would have to send an email to VODACOM who in turn would then do the SIM swap.  (Second one)

He could not guarantee whether that would be in 4 hours of 48 hours because he was not VODACOM.  And it was Friday afternoon.

I had no issue paying for a new card — I did sort of start to hyperventilate that I might be without my phone for 48 hours, because remember I had already done  SIM swap, and I had limited time on the SIM I presently had.

I figured no problem.  I will phone really efficient Lucky, explain my predicament and he would make this problem go away.

Then we laughed and laughed.  And laughed.  I also cried a little.  Or that could have just been me.

I called VODACOM – same number I had called earlier, Customer Service I believe (111 …. I think).

The person I spoke to could not transfer me within the department to another operator, but explained that I should actually call Sales on 082 1950 because THEY were the people who would sort it out.

I called Sales.  Explained my entire story – politely.  Oh no Sales said they could not help me – I needed to call After Sales – I could call them on 082 1945.

I explained — with a tetchy tone to my voice that I had already been bounced — the guy just spoke louder to make it clear that he could not assist me and if I called After Sales they would sort it out.

After Sales told me to call Retention.  Denzil in Retention explained that no, he could not help, I was at the wrong place I would need to call Upgrades.

At this point I was starting to lose my mind.  I had now been on the phone for an hour or two  — and not one person had apologised or taken responsibility or tried to assist.

This continued to the 8th department — I started to lose consciousness at this point.

Lerato was the person I was chatting to — she told me that I should call After Sales or Customer Service or GO FK yourself or Actually we do not give a Damn, but call them Department, and wanted to give me the number.

I had been patient, I had been polite I had wished them all a good day.

This woman was the final point of where I lost my mind. I said NO I actually was not going to call ANOTHER FERKING DEPARTMENT, I wanted to talk to her Team Leader.

She said that her team leader could not assist me — I figured, sure, probably not but surely a Team Leader, who may lead a team is going to have slightly more investment in not having a customer lose her sh*t and come through and just beat them all to death with a lamp shade.


Lerato explained to me that I needed to call …… another department and speak to that Department’s Team Leader.  She actually said that.

I thought okay. I am done. “Lerato, I want to speak to your Team Leader, call your Team Leader. I demand you put me in direct contact with your Team Leader.  No I insist that you escalate this problem to your Team Leader!”

I was pretty vexed at this point.

There might have been saliva collecting on my chin, and I had stopped blinking —- I was trying to conserve energy, because I felt a full sh*t fit coming on.

She humphed, put her head set on the desk and walked off.

How do I know this?  Because I heard the clunk. I could hear her foot falls as she walked off and there I sat.  And sat and sat.

I am not sure if Lerato just thought, fK it I am not paid enough for this crap, and went out for a donut and a beer.

I have no idea, as I continued to sit there and eventually ——— I kid you not, my call ended up at one of those automated ‘On a scale of 0 – 10, with 0 being hell no, and 10 being yes, definitely — would you refer our service to a friend….” or something of that nature.

Lose my sh&t I did.  Right there.

I had been on the phone for more than an hour hedging close to two.  Every department had purely wanted me to call another department.  Which I had done. I had obeyed the instructions.

Even though they made absolutely no sense to me what so ever.

The only departments I had NOT spoken to was HR, Events and Organising and possibly Call us if your Testicles are sore, because we have a cream for that Department at VODACOM.

Eventually I decided to acknowledge that VODACOM had actually just beaten the will to live out of me.

Me with my can-do attitude.  Me with my professional telephone voice.  VODACOM had just beaten me down and shown they were the big boys and a client really was not going to slow them down.

Also they had a really nice shiny logo and spend a great deal of money on advertising — maybe some can be diverted to customer service.

Customer service where you deal with one person and THAT person takes full responsibility for the call and the problem.  I know it is an off the wall idea — but hey let me just put it out there for you.

VODACOM store which is not actually VODACOM-guy was really helpful.  I bought a SIM card, he said he would send an email to SIM swap and and and …..

Now bearing in mind I have now lost three hours of my day — I then had to do the usual rushing and I am stressed, anxious and well truly *****  OFF at this point.


Oh mother.

The time I would have spent making sure I had moved all my data to a safe spot, had all my passwords and user ID’s sorted and well you know the stuff you need to do a move from one phone to another, did not get done, as I WAS BEING BOUNCED FROM ONE INEPT DEPARTMENT TO ANOTHER.

By the time I got home — the first SIM swap had been made. I sat and moved the new SIM in, and then I had to run around a bit because I was late for kids.  I was frayed and stressed and looked like I had taken a few beatings by that point.

I kept forgetting my name.  And to breath.

Then the next  SIM swap happened.

I now had to move to the iphone 5S — because that had just happened.

I had done none of the preparation.  I am a super organised person. I keep all my stuff in organised lists, and in diaries.

Unfortunately as my entire day had taken a turn for the frustrating, I had not prepared any of my stuff to be able to move information from one phone to another.

I was so buoyed by Lucky and his confidence that I did not run around and go bezerk, because he had smiled and assured me this would be fine.

By this evening I have had to start my new iphone with no ability to move the data or contacts or history from my previous iphone.

My fault – I did not have my stuff organised, and at this stage I can barely think — I cannot NOT have access to my number for any longer whilst I go and find the information.

Right now I am sitting with an empty iphone 5S – my contact lists, my history, my information that I have accumulated over the years is no longer accessible to me.

Keeping all my user names and passwords in one place and accessible was my responsibility.

Screwing me over as a client and single-handedly managing to destroy my day was yours VODACOM.

You assisted in making me so stressed that at a point in this evening I was SCREAMING AT MY CHILDREN because I just needed a few moments to think.  My phone not working correctly is not just because I think phones are cool — it is sort of vital to my income.

You know the income that I use to pay VODACOM amongst other things.

You guys are totally tossers — you have destroyed my day, probably impacted on my weekend, and in end this will take me several weeks of sorting out to get my new phone sorted like my old phone.

I am so angry —- I am so ANGRY WITH VODACOM that I am spewing.

Everything that I was scared of with a SIM swap happened and then more — BECAUSE your inability to assist a client who was desperate, and tried to call your company fell on deaf ears.

Your staff are POORLY trained —- you have absolutely no interest in the knock on effects of today on to me, on to my business.

Your total disregard for me as a client has impacted on me today in a profound level.  When did I as a client get this irrelevant to you?  What did I need to do today differently to get someone, anyone to actually assist me to avert the disaster.

For VODACOM to listen to me — talking. On a phone.  Asking for assistance.  When did I get this invisible to you?




I would change service providers in a heart beat if I did not have to go through a SIM swap and what ever else may sit before me, because I sure as hell know that as a service provider I can pretty much expect you to give me the middle finger as you did all day today.


Well done VODACOM, well done.

I do hope at your next conference where you pat your staff on the back for being so brilliant, so damn good — you possibly give some thought to that fact that: you do NOT train your staff well, do not oversee your call center sufficiently, and do not have built in facilities to escalate a problem, when the same client has called consistently with no results.

My number should have been RED FLAGGED by the third time I called in and escalated to someone who could assist me.

Logic tells me if a client has called you in a space of 24 hours, then something needs to be looked at.  Maybe you need to call the customer then to see if you can assist.  Again, I am looking at this as a client.


Before starting each conversation I stated my number and name — I must assume that my records appear on the screen in front of the customer services person?


{yes I know I am swearing like a drunk pirate, but I am so angry, I am so frustrated, and I am stressed …. maybe tomorrow I will regret this post.  Then I will look at my data and my chat history and my client contacts and all the other stuff that I will need to sort out …. and then I will think again how much I really really hate VODACOM}


For a moment I was rethinking whether saying you SUCK is possibly a bit of a rash thing to say, and I should calm down.

Glanced at my phone, it has now reads NO SERVICE —- which means that something is either wrong with the new SIM ….. and I will need to call your very efficient CUSTOMER SERVICE DEPARTMENT AGAIN – or I will actually just need to go and get a lampshade and walk into one of your call centres and make it very clear that you guys do in fact SUCK.

But I am one client, and what do I matter when you have a shiny logo and all your ads tell us how fantastic you are?

No points for guessing how that is going to go.





Leave a comment


  1. Um… i’m not sure I should tell you this but…. You can buy a thingiemajig that changes the size of your sim card. There’s one to make it bigger. And if you need it smaller then vodacom staff can cut it down to size. I don’t know why the moron at Canal Walk did not know this though. …

  2. Oh my God. How they do suck. I have a Vodacom mobile router. (I work from home and need a backup internet connection for emergencies when travelling or when home internet is down.) When it went on the blink, I had the same experience as you being tossed from department to department trying to find customer support that could deal with mobile internet. Apparently nobody at Vodacom recognised the product nor the service and nobody knew how to give technical support. Then, when after several hours of bouncing from department to department we FINALLY found someone who could give support, do you know what he told me to do?

    “Have you tried switching it off and back on again?”

    I shit you not. That was the extent of his technical expertise. When I told him I had in fact done that a few times, he said, “Oh. Er. Then there is nothing else I can do for you. The device must be faulty.” I think that was when the blood vessel burst in my head.


  3. Hear, hear Celeste! Have you started regretting your post yet or can I share it on FB? Get the word out a bit. I want to get an S5 phone (currently have a S3) and I tried to get a new contract (with Vodacom) and it said I should rather upgrade as I have an existing contract already. However, an upgrade will cost me R150/month more than a new contract! That is R3600 in total. They are so focussed on getting new customers that they forget about the existing ones.

    On calling managers, my husband was not happy with the service when speaking to a lady at Clientele and asked to speak to her manager and she flatly refused. Said the manager could not help him only she could. But she wasn’t! He almost blew a gasket!

    • No I am not regretting the post — I am glad I went back to re-read it and removed the majority of the effing and blinding that the original had in it.

  4. Jimina

     /  August 25, 2014

    Bastards. I have also had upgrade issues with them, you are definitely not alone. I once had such an awful call with them totally losing with my shit. At wok. That when I was done with the call my colleagues gave me a round of applause for hanging on and eventually getting it sorted.

  5. Oh dear me, I feel your frustration. I had the same thing happen to me with mtn. So I think you will have the same issues regardless of network. I pestered mtn fit months after till ensure they reimbursed me for the 2 extra SIM cards I needed to buy from non Mtn ‘mtn’ branded stores

  6. My dear friend, I am so sorry! I completely share in your frustration. Let’s add Standard Bank, Fedhealth and Discovery Health to that list – delete client/call center experiences and add in any of the above mentioned. I really believe they just want you to go away and wither in anger. We are just continuously fighting a losing battle. I recently screamed at a Fedhealth call center person while trying to contain my stroke (11th one I was speaking to in one day trying to sort out mother’s medical aid) that they are “FKN incompetent nimkimpoops!” And for Discovery Health, after telling me I have to wait two weeks for Chris’ chemo to be approved (giving he was only given two weeks to live) that I will personally slice his body into pieces and drop it off on each and everyone’s desks at Discovery. I just need the street address please. I can truly understand why people take a shotgun and take people out. There is a complete inability for one person to take responsibility for a problem. Everyone throws up little incompetent hands and say “it’s not me”. Take the problem and sort it out! Yes, you on the other side of the Vodacom/Discovery/Standard Bank/pathetic large corporate company telephone line. What we want is – Sort it out, phone me and tell me it is all working. And here is a special little sticker for your phone cover for being such a long-standing and patient client while we agree we are all nimkimpoops. Cheers Chicken – if you need wine pop around!

  7. Post a link to this blog on Vodacom’s Facebook page and ask them for a response! Also tired of terrible customer service everywhere.

  8. Dave

     /  August 23, 2014

    Celeste, a trick I learnt years ago is to get a gmail account and synchronize all your contacts there. When you do a sim sway you simply login to Gmail and voila, your contacts are there. Big peace of mind. If I lose my phone I can go to any PC and login to Gmail and see my contacts, then phone them from any handset till my phone is replaced. Big peace of mind.


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