My business partner in Nurture Your Future, arrived for a meeting rather distracted. She had just received notification that her 3G data card useage was up to R4800 for the current month. This on a contract of R649 per month.
A couple of weeks later she is still struggling to get Vodacom to look into how the usage shot up in less than a week.
Wishing to learn from her bad experience I called 111 to see if I had a setting on my 3G card to warn me when I exceed my contract limit. I was informed that everyone receives an SMS to let them know when they are going to be billed for bandwidth useage outside of the contract.
My first gripe is that, that SMS is sent to the data card number. I don’t use my 3G card for SMS’s. I use my cellphone. In fact I don’t use my card much at all as I have ADSL at my office. If something goes wrong and my data allowance is being chewed up I am not going to know anything about it. There seems to be no option to have the notification sent to another cellular number. Does Vodacom actually want me to see the message? Or do they just want to be able to say they sent it?
The call centre agent helpfully suggested that I could put a call limit lock on the card’s number as well. I thought this was the perfect solution. The minimum limit allowed is R50 over contract excl VAT. So I agreed on this limit thinking “50 bucks plus VAT, that’s an acceptable risk”.
Then came the catch. Before they implement the limit you have to receive a request form, and return to them the reference number on that form, in acknowledgement that you have received it.
When the form arrived I found it contains a waiver. The clause reads “If for any reason whatsoever your limit is not enforced you will remain liable to pay all the charges in excess of the limit set or not.”
Now I ask, why should the technology not enforce the limit? And why should it be my fault if it doesn’t?
Have I not done my part in asking for it to be placed there?
To my mind this is not customer service. This is PR. The company can say it sends warning messages when certain levels of use are exceeded. It can say it has systems in place for customers to limit over use. But in reality the messages are quietly placed where they may well not be seen and they take no responsibility for enforcing the safe guards.
Does this sound like the behaviour of a company that values and respects its clients?
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