A recurring issue that has stormed one of the largest telecom giants in the country has come to notice:
The issue is that Vodafone sells inactive numbers of existing customers to different customers and sometimes, it even sells the same number to 2 different customers regardless of the status of the number’s activity.
Well, I’m not sure whether to refer to this as just plain ignorance or a carefully worked up evil plan to disrupt their customers’ privacy and put their data and digital presence in danger.
The fact that Vodafone sells inactive numbers holds 2 major debates:
The first one is the obvious harassment that their customers have to face because of the number being sold to someone else.
Now, here’s the catch: If 2 people are operating the same number and you call your contact with that number, there’s no guarantee which person you’ll end up calling.
Secondly, it has been reported by multiple people on Reddit and other forums such as ConsumerComplaints.in that Vodafone sells inactive numbers without even informing the customer. A user said that he had not been using his Vodafone number that often but the company sold his number to a different customer without even informing him.
Another user was quick to point out about how her number was sold to someone and the customer care executives were extremely rude to her instead of helping her out.
Now comes the bigger picture and a more serious debate at hand: a simple contact number is a fundamental block of your digital presence, as you link it to your WhatsApp account, E-mail and multiple other social media facilities and more importantly, for financial services via banks.
If Vodafone sells inactive numbers to different customers and the messages about your bank transactions, identity details, UPI app details, etc. are forwarded to the person with the same number as yours, there’s a high propensity of misuse of your details.
Secondly, this directly shifts the discussion to a point where your privacy also becomes susceptible to damage and leaves your position vulnerable.
One of my colleagues recently pointed out about how her Vodafone number was sold to some other customer (it was a largely inactive number but it was sold without any warning or ultimatum) and it created a ruckus for her, in terms of managing her social media accounts as a lot of them were linked to her Vodafone number.
She also pointed out that her Aadhaar Card had been linked with her Vodafone number and it has now become extremely problematic for her to shift her contacts, important WhatsApp chats and update her number in her Aadhaar Card due to the telecom provider’s negligence which hasn’t been acknowledged by them.
So, where do we as customers stand now?
Because apparently, even our contact number which we have rightfully purchased isn’t even being given a green light for uninterrupted usage, regardless of the status of its inactivity.
And secondly, what is the ultimate cost of data privacy in today’s age and how is this act of negligence any less in terms of magnitude and damage than the ones in the west such as the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica debacle?
Sure, there exist multiple avenues to change your number entirely, shift your messages to a cloud platform and obtain them later but why do 2 customers need to be put through so much trouble over a simple telecom connection?
For all this and much more: Vodafone, we expect an explanation. Make it a good one.
Image Credits: Google Images
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