Up to three times the operator violated your right to disconnect and hindered the investigations of the Consumer inspection, which has ended up causing such a high fine for an unauthorized charge of not a large amount.
Unauthorized charges from third-party payments
Vodafone has been very accurate because it so happens that the affected is Olga Ruizpresident of the FACUA consumer association, so she was fully aware of her rights and how to proceed to claim.
To put ourselves in the background, the case dates from March 2021, when Olga Ruiz, as a Vodafone customer, observed that two unauthorized charges appeared on her monthly bill for Payments to third parties referred to as Twistbox Vip Club.
FACUA asked the red operator to rectify the invoice, with the cancellation and immediate return of the amounts improperly charged. To add more evidence, they attached a screen from the My Vodafone application area in which it was observed that the affected party had restricted third-party payment services with Vodafone for years, so that in no case could there be any charge for them.
At first, Vodafone confirmed to the association that the affected party had deactivated payments to third parties and returned the charges invoiced in the March invoice. However, charged you again for those services several more amounts in April and May. In June this abusive behavior finally stopped.
Seeing the recidivism, FACUA Sevilla denounced Vodafone in July 2021 before the General Directorate of Consumption of the Junta de Andalucía. More than the specific case of its national president, it was possible to verify that it was “an extended practice by the operator of telephony, as referred to by various internet forums with reports and complaints against this company for billing users of payment services to third parties without their express consent or activation”.
If you also want restrict payments to third parties from My Vodafone, access from the left menu to «Line Settings» > «Payments to Third Parties». In “Third Party Payments” you can allow or not the payment to third parties. You also have the option to restrict Payments to third parties through “My products”, by clicking on “Subscriptions”>”Restrict subscriptions”.
Exemplary sanction to Vodafone
Consumption required up to two occasions, in September and in October 2021, information to the operator, which during the procedure hindered the inquiries. In February 2022, the Consumer Authority of the Andalusian Government opened a disciplinary file that it resolved, verifying that Vodafone had “failed to comply with the obligation to guarantee its subscriber the right to disconnect certain services«. By qualifying the infraction as minor, he imposed a fine of only 1,000 euros.
However, the General Directorate of Consumption of the Junta de Andalucía also ruled that the company committed another offense of a serious nature for breaching its obligation to meet “in time and form the requirements formulated by the administration”, and imposed another 32,501 euros of fine.
Vodafone finally has accepted its responsibility for evading the legislation on the defense of consumers and users and has not appealed. Thus, it has benefited from the 60% reduction in the amount of fines provided for by legislation in these cases and has assumed the payment of a penalty of 20,100 euros.