Knowledge Base
Community

Are giffgaff billing systems fit for purpose?

Started by: jaymailsays
On: 10/02/2019 | 11:35
Replies: 6
Reply

by: jaymailsays
on: 10/02/2019 | 11:35

Almost unnoticed, a Service Update announcement by @t_will that giffgaff billing metering had again malfunctioned late last month, attracted little attention.

https://community.giffgaff.com/t5/Service-Updates/Airtime-credit-billing-issue-refunds-being-issued/...

 

Little surprise, when it was tagged onto an open existing non-compliance investigation by Ofcom, dating from last year.

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/bulletins/competition-bulletins/open-cases/cw_01230

 

One ongoing but burning billing issue, that has never been properly addressed is that of queued, next day (midnight onwards) goodybag allowances, being deducted from today's usage, when sufficiently available allowances are still available within the current expiring goodybag (9pm-11.59pm)

 

Historically we were told that, although this might occur rarely and overnight the billing system would reconcile the allowances and rectify the loss of the new goodybag by reinstating the usage wrongly attributed to the queued goodybag, when allowances should have been deducted from the goodybag due to expire at midnight.

 

It has to be said that this particular billing error, mainly but not exclusively affects the lower priced goodybags. Examples crop up in Help but the reality is that many members might not ever miss the loss of minutes, texts or data. They either don't check or their ample allowance is not in jeopardy.

 

One member did check and confirmed they were wrongly billed.

https://community.giffgaff.com/t5/Help-Support/Goody-bag-expired-two-hours-too-early/m-p/23009244#M8...

 

It can't be right that either this happens or we have been misinformed about how allowances reconcile. It is far too easy to dismiss these over billing malfunctions, it is odd that I never see evidence of allowances added in error. So it appears it is a one way glitch

 

I can't comment on recurring goodybags at the moment, although the suspicion must be that they are similarly affected.

 

Unless of course you know better?

Get a free giffgaff Sim
Message 1 of 7
by: sloz
on: 10/02/2019 | 17:19

@jaymailsays wrote
"One ongoing but burning billing issue, that has never been properly addressed is that of queued, next day (midnight onwards) goodybag allowances, being deducted from today's usage, when sufficiently available allowances are still available within the current expiring goodybag (9pm-11.59pm)

Historically we were told that, although this might occur rarely and overnight the billing system would reconcile the allowances and rectify the loss of the new goodybag by reinstating the usage wrongly attributed to the queued goodybag, when allowances should have been deducted from the goodybag due to expire at midnight"

 

 


Were we historically told that the system would reinstate allowances used from the early starting goodybag rather than the expiring goodybag?
I don't recall that

It can't really be described as a glitch or billing error,. It's just a system requirement,
I don't really see what giffgaff could do about that if the early switch over is a system necessity

Get a free giffgaff Sim
Message 2 of 7
by: endorphin
on: 10/02/2019 | 18:12

@t_will confirmed there is supposed to be a reconcilliation here:

 

"Let's say someone had the £5 goodybag, with 20 minutes left. They have a recurring goodybag, and it kicks in at 10:30pm. They make a call for 5 minutes, and it comes off the new goodybag. Then they go to sleep. While they're asleep, the reconciliation happens - and despite their five minute call, it's been replenished back to the full 150 minutes and is ready for them to use again."

 

Get a free giffgaff SIM/microSIM/nanoSIM with free £5 credit
Message 3 of 7
by: frpc
on: 10/02/2019 | 18:19 edited: 10/02/2019 | 19:45

@t_will wrote: in 2017 (cut)  "we're not in the business of giving people less than they've bought, after all. If they've bought it through recurring or queued, then we can apply it bang on midnight, and we know they're getting exactly the month, so don't need to do that."

https://community.giffgaff.com/t5/Contribute/The-great-recur-queuing-goodybag-disappearing-day-trick...

 

@sloz@jaymailsays

I noticed sloz agreed with the member who reported this error, that they might be due a few pounds.

 

Yet in this thread sloz says in effect that the charging is a 'system requirement'. I doubt that a requirement of the system would get the network off the hook with Ofcom, for charging a member next month for charges incurred the preceding month.

 

When you buy a subscription for a service that purportedly commences at midnight, you have a reasonable expectation that it will start at midnight and not 2 or 3 hours earlier or 2 to 3 hours later, after midnight. As was seen with the billing error that charged from credit balances during active live goodybag allowances the billing system was flawed and giffgaff issued refunds for the incorrect billing period of around two years. giffgaff claimed that they first became aware last year in early 2018. That is misleading. In 2017, thread conversations with t_will and members had raised billing concerns surrounding reconciliation of airtime balances during the first day of a goodybag currency. That would appear to contradict later admissions that they found out following a 2018 member's complaint.

 

If my house insurance expires at midnight I expect to be covered for a fire that might take place at 9.30pm two and a half hours before expiry whether or not I renewed the policy with the Insurers or obtsined cover elsewhere from midnight onwards.

 

If we can't rely on the clock, why stop there, should all kinds of timed commitments be variable? 

 



Message 4 of 7
by: k89bpa
on: 10/02/2019 | 18:20
I saw that help thread overnight and was appalled.

To answer the question about whether the billing system is fit for purpose or not...

If you're paying by voucher and buying goodybags directly then yes, I think that works very well.

If you're paying by card and queuing/recurring your package, not so much.

Not gonna lie, I've heard/read so many stories about the company screwing up the financial side that I wouldn't ever trust giffgaff with my card details.

Part of that is due to the tales of unauthorized charges, double charging, payments saying they've failed when they haven't, and so on, part of it is due to the thought of having to contact the agents if one of the above, or something else happened if I were to use giffgaff habitually and give them my card details.

I was gonna run via PayPal to try and reduce the risk of that happening but of course there was a problem and I never actually managed to successfully have PayPal and giffgaff link up so that I could successfully make a payment, (something which PayPal claimed was due to multiple issues on giffgaff's side - whether that's true or not I have zero idea, I'm sure giffgaff would blame PayPal, that tends to be what happens when more than one company is involved, they just blame each other until the customer gives up out of sheer exasperation).

I have the same reservations about Vodafone if I'm honest. The tales of their billing screw ups are plentiful, and I reduce the risk of personally being affected by maintaining a credit balance of several hundred pounds with them.

I'd be more willing to give my information to giffgaff if I could do similar here, (and have the credit balance protection I enjoy on Vodafone), and if support here was even half as good as it is with Vodafone, but sadly neither are true.

My wariness stems from BT continually screwing up bills back in the day which coupled with their appalling support left me in a monthly hell cycle for what felt like eternity.

All that said, like I said right at the beginning, the voucher option works really well, it's just not very convenient.

Huawei P20 Pro | 9.0.0 | Data Plan: 80GB

Message 5 of 7
by: shabazmoqsud
on: 10/02/2019 | 20:59 edited: 11/02/2019 | 08:57

@jaymailsays good thread much needed 

 

This issue is exactly why i use vouchers to purchase my goodybags.  However because we cannot have £5 topup vouchers my wife gets a £10 topup voucher buys her £5 goodybag and queues her next one.

 

She doesnt keep the remaining £5 as balance for fear it might get used a litte by mobile data hence queues her next goodybag.

 

The billing systems does need to be fixed by giffgaff

Get a free giffgaff Sim
Message 6 of 7
Highlighted
by: frpc
on: 11/02/2019 | 02:01 edited: 11/02/2019 | 02:07

k89bpa wrote: <cut> If you're paying by voucher and buying goodybags directly then yes, I think that works very well. 

 

@k89bpa Members will queue goodybags using a variety of payment methods.

 

From airtime credit, vouchers, paypal, bank debit cards and credit cards. 

 

If the queuing action is not acting as intended but is instead reducing allowances on a goodybag today, that ought to start tomorrow, that is a billing error whichever payment  option is chosen.

 

Buying a queued goodybag directly with a voucher will not prevent a billing error as outlined in the OP by @jaymailsays

 

 



Message 7 of 7