Real life

The dead iPad Sketch

My iPad is dead. It’s a stiff, bereft of life, it rests in peace (but try telling that to Vodafone)

31 January 2015

9:00 AM

31 January 2015

9:00 AM

My iPad is dead, that’s what’s wrong with it. The plumage don’t enter into it. But since the blasted thing fell off its perch last November, it has somehow run up crippling excess data charges.

At first, I could think of only two possible explanations: either my iPad was pretending to be dead, while secretly downloading movies it personally fancied watching, or the phone company was overcharging me.

All I could say with any certainty was that the iPad had been lying on a shelf, insensible, unchargable, un-switch-on-able throughout December, and then I got a bill showing that during this period of total inactivity it had apparently racked up more charges than it had done in the entire two years I was using it.

‘This iPad has ceased to be,’ John Cleese would say, were he to take it back to the very boutique where he bought it, as I did the other day, when I marched into the Vodafone store in Victoria Station.

I put it on the counter, explained the mysterious charges and invited the wide-eyed booby in the red uniform to try to plug it into a charger and fire it up.

‘It’s not dead. It’s just resting,’ was pretty much his position. ‘Remarkable thing the iPad, isn’t it? Brilliant gadget. Are you enjoying it?’

‘Now look here, my lad, I know a dead iPad when I see one. Go on, plug it in. Try to switch it on and see what happens. Nothing. This iPad wouldn’t download excess data if I put 4,000 volts through it. This …is a dead iPad.’

I should point out that before going to the store I had had a very long, convoluted phone conversation with the Vodafone billing centre, during which they also rejected the notion that the iPad was pushing up the daisies.


‘My iPad isn’t broken,’ said the guy on the other end. ‘I’ve had it years and it’s still going.’ ‘I’m pleased for you,’ I told him. ‘I’m glad your iPad is everything you desire and more. But I’m afraid I can’t say the same about mine. It won’t hold a charge. I haven’t been able to switch it on since late November. So why have I just got a bill for £300 when my bill for my phone and iPad is usually about £80–£100?’

‘Excess data charges for the iPad,’ he said. ‘Again,’ I said, ‘I must point out that this iPad is a stiff, bereft of life, it rests in peace.’

We went back and forth like this until eventually I demanded he stop the line. ‘I can’t do that,’ he said. ‘You need to give us 30 days’ notice.’

‘But in 30 days this thing will have run up more charges for nothing!’

And I confess I became hysterical, and claimed I wouldn’t be able to buy food unless Vodafone stopped taking my money, so he agreed to suspend the line with immediate effect. But he said the only way I would get my money back was by taking the iPad into my nearest Vodafone store so they could verify it was broken.

Which is how I came to be standing in the Vodafone store in Victoria banging my dead iPad on the counter and shouting, ‘Hello iPad! iiiiiiiiPad! I’ve got a nice cuttlefish for you when you wake up!’

While a boy in a red uniform insisted the iPad was just stunned. Pining for the fjords. Shagged out after a long iTunes session.

It was also out of warranty, he said. So he had no obligation to take it back and send it to Apple so they could verify it was ‘bleedin’ demised and not just kipping on its back’.

Nothing could be done to verify the deadness of the iPad unless I myself paid hundreds of pounds for it to be sent away to be repaired.

‘So, let me get this straight,’ I said. ‘In order for me to get my £200 back, I must invest £200 in fixing this iPad, even though I don’t want it fixed, I want to smash it to pieces and have nothing to do with it, or you, ever again?’

But he wouldn’t budge. He didn’t even offer to replace it with a slug. So I rang Vodafone HQ complaints department and asked them for an explanation.

Whereupon a very nice lady explained that the iPad had, in fact, charged me £90 for data while it was broken, which would now be refunded. But there was another excess charge of £130 on my mobile phone, which they couldn’t refund.

‘It seems that on December 24 you made a call to directory inquiries, and they connected you and you were charged £5 a minute for a 26 minute call.’

And when I remembered who I had called I felt even worse…

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  • fun-time freddie

    Oh dear. Dear dear dear. This is Great Britain. In America there would be an insurrection if they treated the customer like this. So they wouldn’t. And they don’t.

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