One of Australia’s most recognised independent mobile phone retailers is effectively no more, with Vodafone confirming plans to shut down the Crazy John’s brand next month.
All Crazy John’s stores will be closed entirely, or rebranded as Vodafone stores, by February 20th – meaning that from this date, no new customers will be able to sign up under the Crazy John’s brand. Around 40 of the 60 Crazy Johns stores in operation will be closed, with the rest being transformed into Vodafone outlets.
Crazy John’s is assuring its existing customers that they will, for the most part, be unaffected by the decision – there will be no changes to pricing or plans, no changes to call rates and all accounts will remain the same. Customers who have signed up to one of the unique offers that set Crazy John’s apart from Vodafone, such as its Twin and Family Value plans, will be able to stay on their plan until their contract expires.
Although all retail stores will stop trading, the Crazy John’s website and phone support will still be available for existing customers needing assistance or wishing to make account related changes.
If you’re in the market for a new plan and are leaning towards Crazy John’s, you’ll be able to sign up before the February cut-off and have your contract honoured for the full 12 or 24-month period. However, you will not be able to purchase a new device or plan with Crazy John’s after February 20, although current customers may still have the option of upgrading their service for an unspecified period of time after this date with a new handset or device.
Vodafone bought controlling shares in the company in 2008, with the initial plan to keep Crazy John’s as a stand-alone brand. Instead the telco has now announced its intentions to ‘streamline’ its retail operations into one single Vodafone brand, shutting down Crazy John’s much as it did the 3 Mobile brand previously.
It’s one of a number of moves Vodafone has made recently – including changes to how data is charged, and scrapping unlimited social networking for prepaid users – in order to prioritise its spending to improve its mobile network.
Although Vodafone has announced it will ‘do its best’ to redeploy as many Crazy John’s retail employees as possible to work for Vodafone instead, reports are that up to 300 jobs have been put at risk by the decision.
The silver lining for Crazy John’s customers is that they will have access to a greater retail network of stores for ongoing support, once the transition to Vodafone outlets is complete. It’s also likely that there will be some great run-out specials in the coming weeks from Crazy John’s, so customers should keep an eye out for deals.