Whanganui pensioner Delia Ruscoe was distressed to discover that her phone had been disconnected during December.

"I didn't realise it wasn't working until I tried to call out and there was no dial tone," she said.

"Vodafone had cut me off without any notification."

Ruscoe said she had asked Vodafone to discontinue the broadband connection because it had been arranged by her late husband Graeme and she does not use a computer.


A Vodafone spokeswoman confirmed that Ruscoe had contacted them in April last year.

"In April 2018 Delia contacted the team and advised she wanted to cancel broadband and Sky and keep home phone only.

"As we did not have any packages at the time for home phone only [without broadband] we offered to 'rerate' the cost of the bundled package to $47.00, which is the price of a home line."

Despite the cancellation, Ruscoe says she was still charged for the other services until November when she called to dispute her bill.

Vodafone communications advisor Meera Kaushik said it was understood at the time that Ruscoe had terminated her account with them altogether.

"At that time, we also refunded her all charges from March until then."

Ruscoe says she was aware that she had received a refund but says she would not have disconnected her landline because she needs it for her medical alarm as well as communicating with friends and family.

"I didn't want to close the landline account, just the broadband," she says.

Vodafone sent her a bill for $91.13 this week and Kaushik says that includes part of December and all of January.

"Because the new account was opened partway through the month, the invoice included a part-month plus a full month in advance charge," says Kaushik.

"However, we have waived this invoice for her in goodwill."

Ruscoe says she appreciates the gesture but has found the whole experience very distressing and thinks previous communications with Vodafone have been frustrating.

When Consumer NZ surveyed telco customers during the past two years, Vodafone rated last for both mobile and broadband services.

"Vodafone was the only provider that rated below-average on all our performance measures – from customer support to value for money," Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said.

About three quarters of customers reported spending a long time on the phone waiting to speak to a rep. Nearly half said the service was poor once they finally got through.

"Vodafone needs to spend less on flashy advertising and more on sorting out its service," said Chetwin.

Consumer NZ advises customers unhappy with their service to contact the Telecommunications Dispute Resolution (TDR) scheme, a free service for resolving telco complaints.

TDR can be contacted with a free call to 0508 98 98 98.