Vodafone helps families and friends of Missing Persons

Industry first procedure to relieve unnecessary stres

Vodafone today introduced a Missing Persons procedure to help family and friends of a customer who is missing manage their account in their absence.

The procedure, which is the first of its kind by an Australian telecommunications company, gives authorised representatives permission to manage and make account-related decisions on behalf of a Vodafone customer who is a missing person.

Vodafone Director of Customer Service, Errol van Graan, said Vodafone hopes the introduction of this procedure will relieve any further unnecessary stress on the family and friends of customers who are missing.

“We understand how distressing it is for families and friends to deal with the loss of a loved one, especially under extenuating circumstances such as a disappearance,” said Mr van Graan.

“Vodafone always aims to act in the best interests of our customers, and this is even more important during periods of difficulty and distress.

“We recognise that greater consideration should be given to the process of handling an account of a customer whose whereabouts is unknown, which is why we are introducing a Missing Persons procedure to make it easier for authorised representatives to act on behalf of a customer who is missing.”

Founder and CEO of Missing Persons Advocacy Network (MPAN), Loren O’Keeffe, said Vodafone’s decision to introduce a formal procedure to handle missing persons’ accounts will ease the administrative burden often faced by the families and friends of a person who goes missing.

“We are heartened by Vodafone’s introduction of such a compassionate policy, and hope other organisations recognise this need and consider what they can do to help ease the burden on those with missing loved ones,” said Ms O’Keeffe.

“This is a relatively simple change that will have a very real positive impact on families and friends, and we are sincerely grateful to Vodafone for its understanding and support.”
Ms O’Keeffe was one of four recipients of the 2013 Vodafone Foundation’s World of Difference program. The initiative provided Ms O’Keefe with 12 months of paid charity leave and the opportunity to devote her time towards launching a world-first guide on what to do when someone goes missing: www.missingpersonguide.com. The idea came to her after Ms O’Keeffe’s younger brother Daniel went missing.

Vodafone procedure for Missing Persons

Authorised representatives will be required to supply an Australian Federal Police (AFP) Missing Person’s Report reference number and a statutory declaration regarding the circumstances before they can request to either cancel or transfer a missing person’s service. The service will then be placed on a temporary hold for six months before the account is disconnected.

If a missing person reaches out to Vodafone within the temporary six-month holding period, the customer’s account and all services will be reactivated.

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Notes to editor

  • Producing an Australian Federal Police (AFP) Missing Person’s Report reference number and a statutory declaration will curtail credit management activity when closing or transferring the account to another person close to the missing person.
  • In the event a customer is missing, the account holder is responsible for any charges relating to actions taken upon the account.
  • If a missing person calls Vodafone, the temporary hold will be removed within 48 hours after which account activity will resume as normal.