Smart Postpaid: Charged for Internet Usage That I Never Used

Why will I pay for something that I never used?

Why will I pay for something that I never used?

I am fuming mad at my February billing statement for my Smart Postpaid. Here is the whole story:

January 31- I used my mobile internet to send an email between 6:00 to 6:30 PM and between 8:30 to 9:00 PM.The internet connection at our area was poor so I needed to resend the email at 8:30 PM.

February 2- It’s always been my habit to check my running balance. My cut-off is every 26th of the month. Since I used the mobile internet twice on January 31st, I was expecting to have a running balance of PhP 20 but to my surprise, my running balance was alreadt PhP345! I called up the customer service and demanded an explanation why my running balance went up to that figure when I only used the mobile internet for a total of 1 hour. The customer service advised me to wait for the February billing statement to settle the dispute. So I would have to wait for another three weeks to find out what really happened.

February 3- I checked the running balance and it amounted to PhP 388! I called up the customer service again to report what was happening to my phone. She asked me if there’s any possibility that the data roaming service was not turned off. I told her that I knew my phone’s features and of course, I wouldn’t call if it was my fault to have left it turned on. Again, she advised me to wait for my billing statement.

February 4 to February 27- I religiously checked my running balance for any charges. I found out that my running balance for the February cut-off was not automatically set back to zero so I called up the customer service representative again to report it.

March 2- The running balance for the month of March was unbelievably high at PhP 800 when it was just the 3rd day after my cut-off. I called up the customer service again to ask why the running balance has not yet set back to zero. She advised me to have a balance inquiry every now and then to see if the system has corrected the error. It was finally corrected on March 3.

March 4- I received the copy of my February billing statement (see picture above) and I was surprised to be charged for 38 internet usages that I NEVER USED! That was from 9:00 PM of January 31st up to 5PM of February 1st. I called up the customer service to demand for an explanation. He advised me to wait within 15 working days for their technical team to investigate my case.

WHY WOULD I BE CHARGED FOR AN INTERNET USAGE THAT I NEVER USED, ANYWAY?

First off, I have internet at the office. Smart bro, Smart mobile internet and Globe Tattoo internet connection do not have a strong signal in my area so I prefer to use internet at the office whenever I need to send emails.

Second, I am NOT a Facebook addict and the last time that I opened my FB was last December 2012. C’mon, enough of the FB emo’s but that’s another topic.=p

Third, I KNOW how to use my phone. Before I purchased it, I asked my agent how to turn off the packet data to avoid unnecessary internet charges.

Fourth, I reported the incident on February 2nd. The balance inquiry on February 1st DID not reflect the supposed internet usage on January 31 and February 1.

Fifth, I wouldn’t BOTHER to call up SMART’s customer service representative to report something like this. I just hate the LOOOONG phone commercial before I finally get to talk with their customer service rep.

Sixth, three hundred plus pesos maybe a SMALL amount but if I will tolerate this, there is a possibility that this incident will recur in the future. Ano kayo, sinuswerte????? The reason why I got a plan 349 from Smart is because I want to practice frugality for 2012 onwards, ano!

Anyways, the last customer service representative that I talked to this morning was the most accomodating and the most sympathetic. She advised to me wait withing 15 working days for their technical team to investigate. I HOPE that their investigation would turn out to my favor. After all, what’s my fault if their system is erroneous or not working? That’s the reason why telecoms have Technical Team, ano! So that they will upgrade what needs to be upgrade and correct system errors that need to be corrected.

My officemate advised me to elevate my concern to the NTC (National Telecommunications Commission). Wag muna kako because it’s too early to judge Smart. Who knows, their Technical Team would find out that what I’m reporting for one month now is true—that Smart have system error!

To my fellow subscribers, don’t just pay once the bill has been delivered to you. Scrutinize the billing statement and yes, report any inconsistencies to the customer service representative. It’s your right as a consumer to be heard. =)

Prepaid Card Modus Operandi

Don’t fall prey! If someone who claims to be your friend asks for prepaid card or cellphone load, be wary! He/she could not be your friend he/she is projecting to be.

My friend’s YM was hacked several months ago and I didn’t receive her warning about the fake one who’s asking prepaid load from the people in her YM list. The fake one chats with whoever is online and pretends very well that she is the real one. The fake one knows that the real one is abroad and has a wide circle of friends in the Philippines that includes me.

The fake one chatted with a common friend who’s based in Singapore, but was on vacation leave in the Philippines, to ask a favor. The fake one requested our common friend to send her 50 pieces of Globe prepaid card worth PhP500.00. Fortunately, our common friend was in a tight budget due to his wedding preparation. But unfortunately, our common friend referred me to the fake one thinking that she was the real one.

Our common friend texted me and gave me the fake one’s roaming number. I was in the middle of a trip but I texted that number since our common friend said that it was urgent and important. The fake one replied and asked for 50 pieces of Globe prepaid cards worth Php500.00 and she would pay me through my bank account the next day. I didn’t read the text message clear enough and thinking that it was only one piece, me and my companion rushed to the Globe prepaid card outlet to buy one. Just when the salesgirl was about to hand me over the card, I re-read the fake one’s message and realized that she was asking for 50 and not a piece of prepaid card. I only had PhP3,000 in my wallet at that time and the additional PhP23,000 was impossible to produce for the following reasons:

1. it was holiday in the Philippines on December 26 and the banks were close

2. I was on a tight financial budget to be able to give her that amount of Globe loads

But since she was a dear friend, a friend from wayback primary school and also my mother’s friend, I asked her if I could give her 20 pieces of Globe load instead. She said that it was fine but I had to speed up since her customers in her area were asking for Globe load. Like a friend’s intuition, I wondered when she started having an eye for business? She was never the type who would push a friend to give her favors, too. I wondered why she didn’t greet me “Merry Christmas” just the way she always did in the past. I decided to call Globe Customer Service hotline to check whether the number is roaming or not. It was not registered to be a roaming number but the number was unreachable when I tried to make a call.

It was a Friday when that incident happened and I promised the fake one that she’ll receive the Globe cards on Monday. What made her believable was she knew the real one’s YM ID and even asked me to have a chat with her. But her ignorance of the real one’s MSN ID was a give-away that she was not really the real one. At this time, me and my companion were playing games with the devil.

Sunday afternoon, I tried to contact the real one’s mother’s contact number but her mother replied the following day. She was surprised to know that the fake one is still actively pursuing for preys and she was glad that I didn’t fall into the fake one’s trap.

That same afternoon, I received a sort of follow up text from the fake one to verify if the cards can be delivered to her on Monday. I affirmed and asked her how her lovelife with ASG is going. ASG was recently married to our common friend and I expected her to react. But instead, the fake one said that I received the news about her and ASG very fast!

The following day, after a series of follow up text messages from the fake one, I told her that I only got 15 pieces of prepaid card and I was on the way to their house. This time, she said that I should not bother going to her house since she’s abroad. I acted surprised and told her that I could still go so that I could visit her mother.She said that since it was urgent, I should send her the cards’ PIN before going to their house. I replied naughtily,”You expect me to send all those 15 PIN’s? It would be easier for me to just give the cards to your mother and have her send the PIN’s to you.” She asked for my bank account number and I told her that she could send it thru Western Union.

After three hours, the fake one asked me if I could send the PIN thru text message. I told her that I gave the cards to her surprised mother. The fake one did not text anymore up to this day. She must have realized that I knew she was a fake.

My realizations:

  1. That we should not open malicious links that could give the hackers our important passwords.
  2. That we should be careful when using public computer terminal and remember to log out everytime we’re done.
  3. That it is alright to delay a favor if it means saving ourself from the hassles and pains of being duped.
  4. That we should trust our intuitions:if something seems not right, it probably is really not right.