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No such thing as a free dongle!

Posted on 15th June, 2017

What do I mean by my neighbourhood?  Traditionally, the friendly little community around my home.  But as the world becomes more connected, perhaps we need to rethink the word.  Aren’t your Facebook friends “neighbours” of a kind?  Perhaps we should call them e-neighbours and the community to which I am electronically connected, is my e-neighbourhood.


My e-neighbourhood is really a jungle.  E-thieves, e-beasts and e-snakeoil salesmen lurk behind every tree.  Here’s a recent example.  I had a friendly but unsolicited call from my phone company (Vodafone, to save you guessing).  The lady wanted to review my account.  I agreed and it turned out she could put me on a better plan, with more monthly data that matched my actual usage.  That would save me money!  Of course, I was grateful and ready to agree.  And, she said, with this plan, you will receive a free tablet computer!  Wow!  I don’t actually need a tablet computer but maybe my 2 year old granddaughter does.  I’m sure she does.  And then I remembered…


2 years ago, I had a similar call from Vodafone.  This time, it was a free dongle that would create a wi-fi zone for multiple computers.  I could use it on the train.  Free?  Not really!  When my monthly bill arrived, I discovered that I was paying £15 a month for the SIM card inside.  I had unknowingly signed up for a year.  Ugh.  But once bitten, as they say, twice shy.


“So,” I said suspiciously to the Vodafone lady, “does this tablet come with a SIM card?”  “Oh yes,” she said, “of course.”  Ah-ha!!  “In that case,” I said firmly, “I don’t want it.”  “In that case,” she said firmly, “you can’t have the new data contract.”  I saw red.  The conversation became heated.  The term “mis-selling” floated between us.  It was the magic word.  All of a sudden, I could have the new contract, and no tablet needed.  


I’m sharing this, hoping it will help a real neighbour being stung the same way.  


This article is an editorial piece, not derived from the official Neighbourhood Watch.  


Has something like this happened to you?  Comment below or email us: editor@thefarleighs.co.uk  

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