Update: I received a reasonable refund from VIVA after they heard my complaint. Their management contacted me personally to resolve the issue and offered a way to stay as their customer. I appreciated their offer but demanded a refund for the over-charging which they satisfied. I have now moved back to Batelco. I hope my experience with them now will compensate for the experience I’ve had with them previously. With competition, they seem to be improving but there is plenty of scope for them to rise higher.
While it’s a fact that telecom companies are nothing but glorified automated billing systems, why aren’t they forced to let their customers know of the expiry or anniversary of their contract?
At the moment, VIVA, and I suspect the others too, carry on with their completely unethical practices of not notifying their customers that their contracts have ended, and continue with full unethical intent to charge them ad infinitum the very same charges per month even after their customer have fully paid their smartphone packages.
When I questioned VIVA why this is the situation when my iPhone contract expired in Dec 2013 and they continued to charge me nevertheless, their reply was that it is not their policy to inform their customers that their contracts have expired. I pursued the matter further to try to get a refund to no avail.
I thought I would take this to the telecom’s governing body, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority and submitted the following:
Mobile number: xxx
Type of complaint: VIVA did not inform me of the iPhone package plan expiry on the anniversary of the original contract (Dec ’13) and kept charging the same amount beyond that until Feb ’15 when it was discovered.
Type of resolutions requested:
- Refund the difference in charges from Dec ’13 to date
- Force ALL telecom operators to inform their customers on the anniversary of their purchased packages; either offer an upgrade or downgrade by customer choice
I’m available to meet to submit all correspondence with the operator to gain an equitable resolution.
I believe that the action of the telecom operators in this regard is unethical and should be corrected. All telecom operators around the world are essentially automated billing systems, it is their ethical duty to program those systems to inform their customers of the expiry of their contract and offer competitive packages to retain them. It is not the responsibility of a simple customer to keep track of these dates.
I look forward to your response.
The TRA’s response was not slow in coming, I just received a telephone call from them to inform me that they cannot accept and progress the complaint because it is up to company policy how they deal with this issue. When I asked them how I can escalate this matter, the response was that they didn’t know, effectively blocking any further action. To say that this was the response of the governing body is very disappointing. To me, this situation is taking advantage of customers in a completely nefarious manner. The bait and switch con doesn’t have anything on this.
There are two ways I can take this issue forward now: one is to go to court and the other is to get a member of parliament to sponsor a bill forcing a correction of these cons. I don’t have much hope of success on the first because of the necessary time and funds, and the second is equally as bad because parliament seems to be more interested in municipal, rather than legislative affairs.
What’s the solution then? How might a person effect change in this country whose very bodies that are supposed to protect citizens rights aren’t doing the jobs they are designed to perform?
I’m in the process of switching away from VIVA, hopefully never having to go back to them for any further service.