ISLAMABAD: When it comes to selling of mobile phone connections, telecommunication companies have a chain of customer service centres and franchise outlets aided by aggressive marketing campaigns. However, when a subscriber tries to unsubscribe from a particular mobile phone connection, almost every conceivable hurdle is created to fleece money from him.
Recently, I visited multiple mobile service providing outlets in order to unsubscribe from my post-paid connection. To my surprise, I found that the retail points, which sell post-paid services do not entertain such requests and instead users have to visit their main customer services outlet, which is usually miles away from one’s area of residence. At the customer service outlet, I was told that in case a user wants to unsubscribe from a service, the security amount can only be refunded through a cheque and that, too, if the outstanding payment is over Rs1,000, which was not the case with me.
Unsure of how to handle my situation, I was then advised to not pay the bill as the company would then automatically disconnect my connection if payment is not received for three months. Another mobile operator accepted my disconnection request. However, when I asked for the refund, I was told to come back personally after a week to collect the payment.
In other words, keeping fuel prices in mind, to get a refund of Rs 1,000 I have to spend at least Rs1,500, not to mention all the time taken to get a simple task done. Telecommunication companies are using these tactics to discourage customers from asking for refunds, thus earning millions of rupees. In a country where regulators have almost no control over such activities, there is little hope that telecommunication operators will come up with a fair policy for refunds.
Dr Irfan Zafar
Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2012.
More in LettersProtecting farmers