Vodafone Australia faces class legal action for poor network quality

Vodafone Australia is faced with two major hurdles as thousands of customers threaten class legal action against them for poor network quality; and subscribers’ database also get exposed because an insider revealed access password to external characters.

More than 9,000 customers of Vodafone Australia have signed up to join a legal suit against the company over allegations of poor network quality.

Meanwhile the company has also confirmed that customers’ private data have been exposed to the outside world because either an employee or a dealer revealed access passwords to external characters.

A law firm, Piper Alderman said on its website that it has signed up over 9,000 people interested in joining the class legal action.

The lawyers said that they are investigating the class action against Vodafone to recover losses suffered by its customers over the last three years, plus interest.

They intend to start contacting signatories within the next couple of weeks for specific examples of problems so that it can start building a case against Vodafone.

“The Vodafone network has been subjected to a series of failures over the past few months that seem to have spurred the surge in complaints,” the law firm said.

Meanwhile a statement from Vodafone Australia said its network improvement plans will see the company upgrade or build more than 2,500 base stations during 2011.

Vodafone added that a number of task force teams are working to continue to resolve the current network issues, and it is monitoring and testing the network across the country to evaluate its performance.

Vodafone said that while signs are encouraging, it admitted that there are some customers who may not be experiencing these benefits as yet.

Meanwhile Vodafone Australia has confirmed that its customer database has been compromised by an employee or possibly a dealer, who then shared their access password with outside parties, revealing the personal details of the company’s customer base.

The company says that it became aware of the security breach when contacted by a local newspaper, and has launched an internal investigation to find out who the culprit is, and how the breach occurred. The company also said that all internal passwords were being reset to prevent further access to the database.

“It appears to have been a one-off incident, but we are investigating that thoroughly now and we will have a much better picture of that in the next 24 to 48 hours,” said Vodafone chief executive, Nigel Dews.

Australia’s Privacy Commissioner is also investigating the security breach, but even if the company is found to have been negligent, the Commissioner has no powers to issue sanctions against the company.

The security breach comes at a bad time for the company as it deals with increasingly vocal customer complaints about network quality, and a possible class-action lawsuit over the issue.

By Samuel Dowuona

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