Vodaphone Mobile Issue

I am not sure where to park this, so appologies for placing it in the wrong space.

Question: What are my rights regarding the status of my prepaid mobile telephone account with Vodafone?

Issue: I have an old mobile phone (Nokia); no internet access, unable to click on links sent via SMS or view pictures
and of course, no ability to download apps.
For some time, accessing account details via a web browser was simple.
All of a sudden a few years ago, Vodafone threw hurdles for phone users to navigate when accessing their account details. One had to log into myvodafone.com.au, key in some details and choose if then choose if we want a link sent to us via SMS or email which we were to activate and thereafter have access to our account details (usage etc).

Given the vintage of my phone, I always opted for the email option and via my desktop, access was easy. Until now.
(Note I am not a caveman, I have an iPad with all the necessary work related apps but as it’s WiFi and not cellular, Vodafone cannot, so they say, send me the link to the iPad).

Today I logged into myvodafone.com.au and presto, the email option is no longer available.
Two calls and 3 vodafone cusotmer service folk later it was revealed that “due to privacy reasons” the email option
is no longer available.

When I asked how can I access my account details, I was told to download their app. My explanations about my
phone were either not understood well or staff couldn’t envision a person not having a phone that could download
apps. All of a sudden the staff member said “there isn’t the ability top check account details in any other way”.

I then asked “ok, so you’re pushing me out the door to another phone provider. I get it. Meanwhile can you give me the details I am after: usage this month, credit balance etc”.

“Of course” the chap replied, “for that I’ll pass you on to a colleague, please hold it should not be too long”.

I thanked him for his time and hung up as I do not have half the evening to donate to Voldafone. If I waited it would be the 5th instance I spoke to someone to answer me.

Must I spend money (ie upgrade my phone) just to access my usage etc details? If so, it seems very unjust.

If you just want to check balance and expiry, have you tried calling 1512 and enter the options, or sms ‘BAL’ to 1511?

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Do you mean a link or a security code?

Assuming the latter, as annoying as this is, and I may soon have the same battle myself, not all of this is the fault of mobile phone service providers. Some of the push is coming from government, ‘asking for’ more robust controls over mobile phone accounts - because often a mobile phone is the “key” to a successful scam, fraud, identity theft or other crime.

All three networks have fairly recently upgraded their security.

Ah, no. You will have the same problem with the other networks.

Not much. As it’s paid on an ongoing basis, usually a small amount at a time, and as they reserve the right to change the terms and conditions to your material disadvantage at any time … your rights would probably be

  • to terminate the service without penalty, and
  • if you are lucky, to get a refund of any unspent prepayment
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PS If this is a link, not a security code, and you can receive the link via SMS then presumably you can type the link in manually to your computer?

Of course the link might be a zillion characters long and hence error prone and inconvenient to type in but …

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Thanks for your perspective. It was a link not a code.

I did try to retype the link into my browser and it failed twice in the first 2 minutes of receiving it on the phone. According to the blurb included in the SMS from Vodafone, I have 5 mins to activate the link. I was well within the 5 mins.

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In these days of scamming SMS with embedded links to who knows where that seems to be somewhat less than just a very ordinary approach to 2FA.

I deal with a number of companies that once had but no longer allow email 2FA because of ‘security’ not ‘privacy’.

ING Bank is as bad or worse. They treat older phones with their app as insecure for certain actions but fine for most. Mine is 2 1/2 years old and became ‘insecure’ about a year ago. ING refuse to divulge what constitutes an ‘insecure phone’ or provide a list of ‘secure phones’ or even the criteria such as Android or IOS version. Hence the ING app, as good as most of it is gets handicapped for unknown reasons. The solution proposed by ING - buy a new phone but offer no guarantee that new one might become ‘insecure’ by ING very quickly. Their ‘solution’ is to ring in and have an agent action it, as if I have nothing better to do for the often 20-40 minutes on hold. Speaker phone while listening to the drone of music and advertisements? Value added :roll_eyes:

It is increasingly getting to the point where the companies are totally focused on ticking boxes for government mandates and directions from their own sometimes misguided security ‘experts’ without any consideration of or concern for their customers.


You are SO right. It’s amazing how so few companies focus on the customer. I suppose companies’ slavish devotion to being gov’t-centric is only made worse by the oligoplolies we have running many industries eg airlines, telcos, energy; supermarkets, media etc.

Oh, as to the clueless behaviour of ING… I am not surprised. Today’s ING from memory is the result of a merger b/w the Dutch bank (ING) and Britain’s Barings. At Barings, , a trader, Nick Leeson gambled so very badly that Barings collapsed. Then Barings had no idea about its staff and its successor has no idea about its customers.

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Yes I can obtain the balance via 1511, but I am after the usage history as well and from what I was told and found via Google, the only means is via myvodafone.com.au

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As an aside, it may not be a situation with just the Telco’s.

I’ve recently needed to update some details with two different banks. At every opportunity it appears I’m being directed via a reminder that I can solve my problem or meet my needs by downloading and installing their Banking App. It’s as if our mobile devices are going to become a surrogate for our identities.

I’m familiar with the challenges of those in the family with old age. For those who are smart device enabled Is Vodafone setting the bar too high by excluding access from a PC or similar connection over the internet. There are increasing physical and visual challenges for many of us as we age, despite the mind remaining capable.

If one is only provided the use of a mobile device app to access ones account and call details with VodaFone, they’d not be an option I’d recommend.

There is a broader consideration arising from the OP. If the other Telcos follow the same strategy, at what point is there a failure to meet accessibility requirements of current legislation?

To some extent they are not seeking to exclude access from a PC but rather to provide a second mandatory access device so that the compromise of the PC alone does not compromise the account.

Every time a consumer blames Big Tech or Big Bank for the consumer’s own failure, and someone else’s crime, it pushes us towards more and more of this kind of thing.

But for sure there is also a marketing / data collection / data retention / surveillance agenda.

Just putting it out there … something that I plan to look into one day … can I run a virtual mobile phone on my PC in order to substitute for a non-existent mobile phone? On the one hand, that completely undermines the idea of 2FA. On the other hand, it may be cheaper and more practical. (It could also be more secure in the sense that it can then isolate one entity’s mobile phone app from another entity’s mobile phone app - and isolate both of them from, you know, the weaknesses of the actual mobile phone.)

It is likely that this is a non-starter for iPhone. So your virtual mobile phone would run Android.

It is likely that this is a non-starter for actual interaction with the mobile phone network i.e. would only work for apps that strictly communicate only via the internet. So no good for (directly) sending or receiving SMSs.

I do business with at least one US company whose 2FA texting phone system is ‘not compatible’ with VOIP numbers, possibly on purpose. Trying to use a VOIP (eg a Skype software phone and all the others) for 2FA texted codes doesn’t work. Another company’s system is fine with VOIP numbers. So hit or miss.


That’s why I said “strictly only via the internet”. Bear in mind that VoIP is just vanilla phone network as far as the other party is concerned (well, unless the other party is also using VoIP). So if the company’s app sends or receives any codes and it does so just by communicating over the internet with the company’s servers, it might work. But if SMSs are involved, it is going to be fraught (as you are saying).

An option could have been Microsoft’s Phone Link:

But, this still requires you to have a smart device which can also run the app. If the information is critical, maybe time to bite the bullet and by one of the more affordable smart phones in the sub $200 price range.

Cost is only one of the issues though. Other issues that have been explicitly or implicitly raised in this topic are:

  • usability
  • security
  • privacy
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I SO agree with your comment.
Surely such corporate behaviour smells like breaches of anti discrimination or disability laws.
Another outrage I found is that after I visit or transact some websites eg NRMA I am “invited” to download their
app to “make life easier for me”. The subtext is that it’s too costly or tiresome to serve me via their website.


  1. I know what makes life easier for me and don’t need a vendor or service provider to tell me;
  2. Everyone seems to want us to download their app. Are smart phones (which I don’t have) forced to turn into rubbish bins that house every app under the sun even when (a) some members of the public prefer to transact via a website or actually calling; (b) some transactions eg NRMA is a once a year affair for which many don’t need limited storage space on a phone to be devoted to such an app which will be used once a year; and (c) moving to forcing apps to be downloaded is no doubt either cheaper for companies to interact with customers than previous methods, but as you correctly point out, such moves by some companies indeed sets the bar way too high, especially but not only for seniors.

Unfortunately it won’t be unless one can argue there isn’t any other suitable solution available.

Unfortunately technology is changing faster than many want it to. Businesses respond to meet the demands of almost all its customers. Those who choose not to progress with technology get left behind. It is possibly more about capitalism than discrimination.

The unfortunate reality is that if you have a mobile phone that cannot connect to the Internet in some fashion, through the cellular network with the various data protocols like 3g, 4g, etc, or through Wifi to a Internet connected hub router, then you have a piece of junk not fit for the 21st century.
Time to bite the bullet and get a phone that can connect. Plenty of very inexpensive mobiles out there that have all the data connection options.
Hey, my last two have been free hand me downs from friends who wanted the latest models and just gave the old one to me.


I doubt any customers are demanding … limit the functionality of the web site and make certain functions only available in the app.

Apart from the insidious marketing and surveillance opportunities of an app, this is likely to be a cost consideration for the company: it costs more money to add functionality and maintain functionality on more platforms i.e. Android + iOS + web site.

And the government ‘asking for’ 2FA.

Basic functions like history and balance should be available on all platforms.

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You can definitely run Android on Windows. Of course, you still don’t have a mobile number to which any SMS may be sent unless you sign up for a virtual number.

There are very few ‘important’ apps on my phone. I do not trust something like my bank to do mobile security right, and I don’t want it tracking me in the background.

We can always hope that companies will actually implement FIDO 2, although that comes with its own problems (e.g. interoperability between service providers such as Microsoft/Google/Apple).