‘Hoax’ call victim moves consumer forum over ‘inflated’ Vodafone billhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/hoax-call-victim-moves-consumer-forum-over-inflated-vodafone-bill/

‘Hoax’ call victim moves consumer forum over ‘inflated’ Vodafone bill

A victim of an international ‘hoax’ call scam has taken telecommunications giant Vodafone to the consumer court over an ‘inflated’ phone bill she received in November.

A victim of an international ‘hoax’ call scam has taken telecommunications giant Vodafone to the consumer court over an ‘inflated’ phone bill she received in November. The 78-year-old South Mumbai resident alleged that Vodafone cut her outgoing facility two weeks ago and representatives were putting pressure on her to pay,although no bill had been sent to her.

The complainant,Madhuri Varde,who lives in Warden Road area,retired from Somani

International Corporation three years ago.

“I had first been given a Vodafone postpaid connection by the company 12 years ago. They allowed me to retain it after I left. After retiring,I modified my plan and the bill came to Rs 1500-2,000 per month,” she said.

In mid-November,she said,she received a call from a number with the country code +37. “I answered it,but there was no response from the other end,so I disconnected the call. After that,I began to receive 20-25 calls daily from other numbers with codes such as +27 and +21,but did not answer them. Earlier this month,I received a call from a Vodafone representative,informing me that I had made numerous international calls in November,that my bill amount was Rs 7,300 and I should pay immediately,” she said.

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Varde,however,refused to pay. “The calls did not stop but only reduced. Meanwhile,Vodafone representatives called almost daily,reminding me to pay. I told them that I hadn’t made a single call abroad and asked for a bill to be sent. They refused,” she claimed.

She lodged a complaint with Gamdevi police.

Vodafone suspended Varde’s outgoing services two weeks ago. “They told me it will only be restored after I pay up. Their action has inconvenienced me,” she said.

Varde has written to the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission to take up her case. “Why should I pay? I have never incurred a bill of that amount in all these years of using a Vodafone connection. I am awaiting a

reply from the consumer court,” she said.

Vodafone said efforts were on to reach out to Varde and resolve her complaint. “Her complaint has been forwarded to the fast-track team. They will contact her soon. We advise all customers to never answer such calls or call back on the numbers. We also send regular SMS alerts on the matter,” said a Vodafone spokesperson.

srinath.rao@ expressindia.com

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