Vodafone class action delayed further

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Vodafone class action delayed further

Law firm promises filing before end of August.

A class action lawsuit legal firm Piper Alderman is attempting to get up against Vodafone has been further delayed, according to an update sent out by the lawsuit's financer.

The possibility of a class action was first floated in December 2010 in relation to claims of poor service and reception issues on the Vodafone network - complaints which led to the telco losing 443,000 customers last year

Piper Alderman said it had around 20,000 people interested at the time, but has refused to disclose how many have signed up since the law firm launched the campaign in February.

Litigation funding company LCM was engaged to provide funding to the case. It prefers to take on projects in which the legal claim exceeds $2.5 million, and charges between 35 and 50 percent of the amount recovered from the claim. Piper Alderman is seeking a damages award in the tens of millions of dollars.

LCM managing director Patrick Coope recently put out an update on the matter to those who had signed up to the lawsuit, saying the process would not be finalised for another few weeks and the court case was expected to be filed before the end of August.

In February the law firm had announced the suit would be filed before the end of May. In May it said it would be filed "within weeks". 

“Since our last update, we have been speaking with some of the people who have joined the class action to find a few who would be ideal plaintiffs as representatives of everyone who has joined the class action,” he said in the note, first reported by Computerworld.

“Finding the right people to represent everyone is an important part of this legal claim and it can't start without them. We are presently speaking with a number of people who have indicated they are willing to take on this role. We expect to finish this part of the process in the next few weeks.

“The lawyers will then need to finish preparing the necessary court documents. We will then need to speak to Vodafone to comply with the rules of the Federal Court of Australia. We are aiming to issue the court case against Vodafone by the end of August.”

Vodafone said it had not been contacted by the law firm about the issue in the last three years since it first rose. It declined to comment further.

Vodafone previously criticised the law firm for being class action-happy. Piper Alderman currently counts five class actions on its books and previously spearhead a 2010 $16 million class action against Standard & Poor’s, as well as the joint councils class action against investment firm Lehman Brothers in 2011. 

Telecommunications consumer advocate group ACCAN (Australian Communications Consumer Advocate Network) was similarly critical of the lawsuit, calling it a “lawyer’s picnic” and recommending disaffected Vodafone users take their complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO).

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