Looking after our customers

Mother and daughter using mobile phone at home

Communications technology provides so many benefits for businesses, consumers, the environment and society generally, but it can also cause harm such as cyber-bullying or if used while operating a vehicle. At Vodafone we have addressed some of these harms by introducing products and services to empower customers to address these issues.

 

Malicious cyber behavior

Cyber bullying and other malicious behaviour using communication technology is a serious issue. Developing Vodafone Blacklist was a response to this issue, and we have ensured we have a process to enable customers to address the issues directly. We are currently working with Netsafe to develop a new tool that we hope will help schools and young people communicate better about bullying in schools.

Vodafone Blacklist

In November 2010 we launched Blacklist, a free service that allows our customers to self-manage unwanted contact by TXT message. When a customer Blacklists a number it prevent any further TXTs or picture messages (PXTs) coming through from that number to their phone. This includes TXT/PXTs from any other network. As at 3 April 2013 96,835 people had activated Blacklist on their account, and as at 3 May 2013 we had passed the 100,000 user mark with 100,084 active users.

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Complaint and investigation process

Vodafone works with NetSafe, the Police and other mobile operators to maintain a standard approach to individual complaints across all organisations, and an agreed process for handing over complaints when the message originates on a different mobile network.

The figures for last year show a significant reduction in the number of actions needing to be taken (which includes actions for nuisance, bullying, malicious and wrong number calls). We believe that this year-on-year reduction is due in part to the growing use of Blacklist.

Malicious and nuisance complaints

 

2013

2012

2011

2010

Warning

1,075 2,421 2,829 3,277

Forward to other telco

253 333 219 280

Temporary service bar

103 127 241 215

TXT removed

8 3 20 148

Account deactivated

7 7 17 10

TOTAL

1,447

2,891

3,326

3,390

Cybersafety and cybercitizenship education

Technology is a part of our lives, so helping young people to use it safely is a core part of our approach to addressing this issue.

Connected programme from Parenting Place (formerly Parents Inc)

Vodafone has partnered with Parents Inc since 2009, supporting its mission that "family is everything".

Our partnership is focused on educating parents and young people on the healthy and positive use of technology. Together we've developed Attitude's Connected programme, which is presented to secondary school students every year and empowers them with education and practical tips around using technology in everyday life. During the reporting period Parenting Place presented to 145 high schools, which represents around 37% of all high schools in New Zealand. Around 30,000 students attended the presentations, and 7338 Connected handbooks were handed out. During the year, there was a special focus on delivering teaching resources to schools that could be used in the classroom with over 450 teaching resources given to schools.

Skooville

TelstraClear has partnered with Skooville (formerly SuperClubsPLUS) since 2009, to bring its cyber-citizenship focussed children's social media network to New Zealand schools for free. Skooville is a place where children learn how to be safe and responsible online, and teaches them firsthand, giving them a guided experience that helps to develop confidence, skills and behaviours to protect themselves in their online lives. In New Zealand 53,800 children are users of Skooville and 292 schools have signed up for the service.

Online and mobile content

Protecting children and restricting their access to inappropriate content is also a key part of our response to these issues.

Vodafone Guardian app

It is now easy to use a phone to gain access to the full range of content available on the internet. Some of these services include content unsuitable for young people. In order to protect young people from adult-only content and support parents to help their children to use technology safely, we launched the Vodafone Guardian application in December 2011. The Vodafone Guardian app is a free Android smartphone application that allows parents to choose who can call/TXT their child, the times their child can use their phone and whether they can use the camera, browse the Internet or download apps.

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Content Guard

We have ContentGuard, a filter for material that customers access through Vodafone Live!. ContentGuard must be deactivated via an age-verification process before any restricted content may be accessed.

Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System

In our fixed-line business, both Vodafone and TelstraClear, participate in the voluntary Department of Internal Affairs Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System which blocks websites that host child sexual abuse images.

Mobiles and Road Safety

Despite the ban on the use of handheld mobiles while driving, which Vodafone supported, many people are still continuing the behaviour.

Vodafone DriveSafe

We launched DriveSafe in February 2012. It is a free service for Vodafone customers, that when activated by a short code, sends an immediate response to any TXTs stating that the person is driving and will respond when they are available. As at 3 April 2013 we had 11,530 active subscribers to this service.

Vodafone DriveSafe won the Global Telecoms Business Innovation Award in June 2012, the same award won the previous year for Vodafone Blacklist.

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Responsible marketing

As competition increased and operators responded with new products and services, there were occasions where some customers considered our advertising misleading or confusing, or they considered we had breached consumer protection legislation. Customers are able to have their concerns address through avenues such as the Telecommunications Dispute Resolution Service, of which Vodafone is a member, the Advertising Standards Authority or to the Commerce Commission under the Fair Trading Act.

During the reporting period, there were no complaints against us upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority. We were convicted and fined for three separate charges under the Fair Trading Act in relation to promotional campaigns undertaken between 2006 and 2009.

We are very focused on making sure that our communication is clear and that our systems support the offers we have in the market. Further we have introduced consumer legislation training for all Vodafone NZ staff so everyone understands what they can and can't say when dealing with customers.

Billshock

With the increase in numbers of smartphones, customers were telling us that one of their key concerns was billshock, which occurs when a customer receives a bill for a significantly higher amount than expected. High risk circumstances for billshock were data use on a smartphone and overall use while roaming.

Data Angel

In response, in May 2012 we introduced our free Flexi Data service. This service notifies customers when they reach 80% and then 100% of their data plan usage, then giving them a choice about how to proceed - buying another bundle, continuing to browse at a per megabyte rate or stopping data use all together. In November 2012 we launched Data Angel Overseas to address international roaming billshock. Vodafone customers can no longer use data without buying a data bundle, and they are notified when they have used 80% or 100% of that bundle. Once it has run out, their data session stops and they are redirected to a free website where they can choose to buy more, or simply stop using data.

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