Voda-no-fone: Unemployed Collier Row woman misses job calls during five-month signal loss

PUBLISHED: 13:28 26 February 2015 | UPDATED: 17:22 26 February 2015

Rhea Applewhite with her phone

Rhea Applewhite with her phone


An unemployed youngster has missed out on job interviews because phone network Vodafone has provided no signal in her area for five months.

Rhea Applewhite, 20, is one of hundreds of Collier Row residents who have been unable to make and receive calls and texts since October because of a decommissioned mast.

When she tried to cancel her two-year, £50-a-month contract, which started in February last year when she was employed, Vodafone demanded a £500 early termination fee – because terms state it “can’t guarantee fault free service”.

Rhea has been on Job Seekers Allowance since November and to make her job hunt even harder, she has missed calls from prospective employers’ due to the outage.

“I’ve missed three interviews because I’ve not got the voicemail until I leave the area,” she explained. “By then it’s too late. No one can get in contact with me. I have to travel two miles to Harold Hill to get signal.

“If I had the £500 I would pay it and leave but I am on Job Seekers Allowance.

“Every time I phone Vodafone I get fobbed off, the customer service is so poor. I have cried on the phone due to the anger and stress.”

Rhea, of Chigwell View, is not alone in her anger. Last month the Recorder spoke to Vodafone customer of 10 years Sylvia Patten, of Cornwell Way, after she was told to stump up £295 to buy out her contract. She said she would be leaving the company as soon as she could.

The mobile giants apologised in early January after initially telling customers the problem would be sorted in December.

Two months on, a spokeswoman has said the signal should be back “by the end of the week”, after sorting out problems with the new site.

“We realise how frustrating this is for our customers. We’re sorry they’ve been inconvenienced but building and commissioning a new site can be time-consuming.

“Customers unable to use our services for three days or more in a row can request the reimbursement of that proportion of the line rental.”

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