Vodafone's chief executive has apologised to a widow who had to fight to get the telco to stop billing her dead husband.

Deborah Scheib lost her husband Brendon three years ago when he was killed in an accident at work.

Several service providers, including Vodafone, required her to supply a Death Certificate.

But Vodafone kept sending bills in Brendan's name, and it took his widow five months of phone calls and emails to finally stop them and cancel his account.


At one point, a Vodafone helpdesk staffer even claimed to have received a call from her dead husband.

Scheib told TVNZ's Fair Go - which has documented her fight - that it was was a painful reminder, every month, of her loss

Vodafone's chief executive Jason Paris is expected to front on the show tonight to apologise.

"We know we got it very wrong in this instance. In addition to our Customer Care team in Christchurch, who have been working hard to fix the problem, our CEO Jason Paris has contacted Deborah Scheib to personally apologise," Vodafone spokesman Rich Llewellyn told the Herald this morning.

"While we have recently made a big move on network leadership in terms of announcing the launch of 5G, we know we aren't always getting it right for everyone on service leadership yet.

"This is a major priority for us, we are working hard to implement changes to deliver a more consistent customer service first time, every time, and we expect to announce more on this in coming weeks."

Earlier this year, Paris instigated a sweeping restructure across Vodafone NZ, which saw some service roles outsourced to Indian-owned Tech Mahindra, while some functions were automated.

The new CEO says part of the aim of the restructure was to improve service, which was falling short.


Vodafone NZ's new owners - Infratil and Brookfields - took control last week. Paris says the new local ownership model will make the organisation more responsive.