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Vodafone Spain subscribe users to new service without consent

Source: FACUA - Sun 19th Jul 2015
Vodafone Spain subscribe users to new service without consent

Spanish consumer association FACUA has reported Vodafone for signing up most of their users in the service + Megas even though the clients have not requested the service.

The company has used the same text message where they warned about a tariff increase and changes of the conditions of the service to let the clients know about the signing up in this additional service.

The + Megas service allows users who run out of the monthly data included in their smartphone plans to keep browsing online at the same speed by paying an additional tariff - 2 Euros - to have more data available in 200 megabytes packs. As the company has signed up users by default, users can see their bill inflated without even realising that this is happening, since they keep browsing online normally without noticing they have finished the data included in their plans while the bill increases.

FACUA reminds that activating this service by default and charging for it is a forbidden practice and an unfair term. Section 1 of the Consumers and Users Protection Act states, expressly, "it is forbidden sending and supplying goods (...) or services unrequested by the user, when they include charging a fee of any kind". In addition, the law also states that "the seller who provides an unrequested service will not be allowed to request the user to pay a fee of any kind".

In FACUA's opinion, the correct thing would have been offering the additional service first, giving information about all their terms and conditions, so that those consumers who were interested would then sign up, instead of activating it by default.

The report against Vodafone has been submitted to the Spanish Consumer, Food Safety and Nutrition Agency (Aecosan, according to its initials in Spanish), Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Information Society (Setsi, according to its initials in Spanish), the National Commission on Markets and Competition (CNMC, according to its initials in Spanish) and the consumer protection authorities of the region of Madrid, where Vodafone has its headquarters.

FACUA's report has been submitted along with another one against the tariff increase announced to Vodafone users in seven mobile phone deals (Red S, Red L, Red XL, Plan Smart S, Plan Smart M, Plan Mini S, Plan Mini Voz). This increase will be effective from July 1st.

FACUA considers that this increase is illegal because it leaves users unprotected and warns that the fixed-term contracts bind both clients and companies, which have to keep the same tariffs while the contracts last.

The association also reminds that clients who have fixed-term contracts have the right to keep the same tariffs while the contracts last. In relation to this, those affected by the increase can report Vodafone to the consumer protection authorities to require that the tariffs are kept or cancel the contracts and require the company to pay the penalty fees set in their contracts due to its unfulfilment.

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