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LETTERS: Profiteering at customers expense

Saturday 9 April 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Opinion

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LETTERS: Profiteering at customers expense

Dear Editor, I noticed the Cook Islands News article regarding the high cost of broadband.

I have a couple of points to make regarding this subject.

Recently I bought the Vodafone Thursday data promo deal of 15 Gigabytes of data for $15. On the following Tuesday I was alerted by text that said I had used half of the data. Two hours later all the data was gone and the money in my Vodafone account started being used very quickly. Vodafone had started charging me for data at $200 per gigabyte. I then purchased the Vodafone 2 Gigabytes of data for $10 to keep going. Now I understand that forgetting exactly when my data runs out is my fault for not being more alert. I believe a fairer way would be for Vodafone to send a text telling me my data had run out and listing the data options available.

Instead Vodafone are allowed to remove all the money from my account and they do not have to tell me they are doing it. Even when the account is empty Vodafone stays quiet. I only discovered my mistake when my phone stopped working. Another time Vodafone increased their profits by $20 at my expense due to making this mistake.

I hope now that Vodafone know about this revenue gathering issue, they will take steps to improve their service to customers. I hope that Vodafone do not operate with a monopoly attitude and keep punishing their customers because Vodafone has a captive market and can do what they want.

Changing this one thing may drop Vodafone out of the top 15 per cent most expensive broadband providers on planet earth. Surely a positive step?

Also recently I purchased products including food, petrol and some chain oil for the chainsaw. It has been more than five days since I bought these products. None of the companies have been to my house to remove the food, petrol or chain oil I haven’t used yet, and tried to sell it back to me at a higher price.

Vodafone does this to me twice a week. Vodafone takes the data I have paid for with my money, and then sells it again at a higher price. Last week I lost 7 gigabytes of data and had to buy 2 gigabyte for $10.

I cannot think that this charging structure is anything other than a large revenue gathering scheme for Vodafone. Vodafone cannot ever lose, only the customers can lose. And I suspect many Vodafone customers lose money every day, greatly increasing profit for Vodafone, and making Vodafone one of the most expensive broadband services on the planet.

I believe Vodafone should start looking at moving down the table of “most expensive” rather than try to make the top 10. Seven day data deals with enough data for seven days would be good.

Alerting customers that their data had expired and letting them know they are paying $200 per gigabyte would certainly help those that cannot afford the price. Or can Vodafone please explain why their charges are fair to customers, and not the work of a monopoly squeezing money from customers during a difficult financial period for everyone during these testing times of Covid?

Yours sincerely.

Tom Kerkhofs

Rutaki


Vodafone Cook Islands – Thank you for your feedback. Our current data promotions expire 5 days from purchase. Prepay casual rates for data are 20c per MB (Vodafone NZ charge 40c per MB for casual rates) and apply once data promos and bundles have expired. Our Promotion Terms & Conditions, as well as our casual data rates can be found on our website.

If concerned, we advise our customers to check their usage regularly in the MyVodafone app or by dialing *888# and selecting the view balance option and not solely relying on text notifications.

We do appreciate customer feedback and have taken this into account as we develop our service offerings. We will be releasing some new prepay deals in the coming months.

Our Customer Care team can be contacted on 123 or 29680 to report a complaint or dispute any of your Vodafone services. Alternatively, you can leave feedback on https://www.vodafone.co.ck/contact-feedback.

Meitaki ma’ata


Local egg producers

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so two pictures must be two thousand, right?

The attached two pictures will answer your Old MacDonald letter but I need to add a few more of my own.

Invariably my letters provoke anonymous writers to crawl out of the woodwork with their particular brand of fallacious irrelevancies and bigotry only too keen to promote the official, or vested interest, line without benefit of independent enquiry. That is why people like that hide behind anonymity, so their ignorance is not exposed.

You don’t hear the other egg farmers complain because their daily production is just a few hundred eggs. They would become very vocal I can tell you if it were several thousand.

People today are complaining about the cost of everything going up and it is a fact but this same government whose policies have you paying more for your eggs (see photos) has additionally exacerbated your cost by resisting any move to reintroduce price control or enact a Commerce Bill.

There used to be strict control of margins on a vast range of daily household items but that was all sacrificed on the alter of the ‘free market system’ successfully promoted to a compliant and willing Administration by commercial interests.

At one of the previous general elections, I encouraged the contesting party to commit to bringing back price control suggesting that it should be handsomely rewarded. I do so here now again but to make a Commerce Act part of the promise.

A protective levy, which is what we are talking about here, was to deter imports and support import substitution. That after all is supposed to be Government’s policy. Removing the levy and freeing importers/wholesalers/retailers of price control thus enabling them to charge whatever they liked and stocking local eggs only from those farmers they knew did not have the capacity to meet the entire demand, allowed the imports to continue in the artificially dependent environment the commercial/government cartel had created.

The protective levy did not result in higher prices. It encouraged expansion to the point where almost the entire Cook Islands egg demand was being met locally. That was a significant volume, and it was taken away from those interests that previously enjoyed it and resented buying locally and being limited to a strict 15 per cent which was the maximum allowed margin when purchasing from a wholesaler which we were. That is why Scott’s Eggs were refused access to those outlets and the floodgates opened.

The paradox is that while people complain about rising prices, they willingly pay more for their eggs than they need to and in doing so help contribute to Government’s strange and corrupted idea of how to achieve import substitution and food security.

And what they have so successfully done to the egg industry they have also done to a once flourishing pork industry, proud achievements consistent with the role of a Ministry of Finance and Economic Management tasked with identifying successful businesses and destroying them.

John M Scott

Scott’s Farm

Comments

Corey Numa on 10/04/2022

The data and speeds we had in Australia, were excessive also, but now we have new options, that are only $139 month, unlimited, 300MB per second download... https://www.starlink.com/ $700 odd for the requirements, and you just plug it in and away you go. Time to catch up to the rest of the world