A stolen cellphone is an almost routine occurrence.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of cellphones are reported stolen every day. We’re not sure what the current statistics are but between January 2005 and the March 2008, some 249 911 cellphones had been reported stolen in South Africa.
Cellphones get stolen and there’s supposed to be a whole machine that kicks in as soon as you report your cellphone stolen: first to your network operator, and then, to the police.
But what happens when the network operator does not play its part in the routine? And with every single contact number leading customers to an abyss called customer care, where exactly does a customer go to solve the problem?
One man, a self-described doctor working in the public health sector, simply had enough.
He took his story to Facebook. And from the a href=”https:www.facebook.commuhammad.manjra.9osts10152446869161296″ target=”_blank”reactiona he’s received, it seems he’s not the only South African who wants to tell MTN to go get stuffed.
MY OPEN LETTER TO THE CEO OF MTN SOUTH AFRICA(PLEASE SHARE WIDELY, PLEASE)
My name is Muhammad Manjra, I currently work as a doctor in the public sector. Unfortunately I happen to also be an MTN contract customer. It really pains me to have to write this piece. Its valuable time taken away from more pressing and demanding aspects of a doctors life-extended working hours, studying and reading, a severely constrained health care sector and over burdened hospitals to name but a few. One would think that working in such conditions would immunize a person to routine incompetency, inefficiency, lack of accountability and ethics, but Irsquom in a sense glad to say that the health sector clearly tops your company in all these categories. Lets backtrack a bit to where this pitiful situation has arisen.
On the 15th October 2014 the MTN cellphone with its SIM card in question went missing from our home. After endless searching we finally concluded that the device had indeed been stolen. We tried numerous times to block the sim and blacklist the phone via ldquocustomer carerdquo (having the word care there is a complete farce), sometimes holding on the line for up to 30 minutes. We concluded that the only way to get around this was to go to MTN directly. After finding that the MTN store at Southdowns mall was miraculously offline we proceeded to the MTN Centurion Mall branch on 17 October 2014.
We overlooked the complete lack of professionalism the place emanated, and proceeded to talk to a consultant with regards to our problem: that we needed to blacklist the phone and simline. After around 20 minutes of him sitting on the phone he suggested to we go back home and phone ourselves. Once we had gotten over the completely absurdity of the comment, we insisted that he hold the line for us as it would turn out to be costly for us to have to call ourselves from a non-MTN phone. He managed to get through after around half an hour of us waiting with our hungry and tired children. We were given a reference and ITC number. I then confirmed with him that I would do the sim swap at a later stage once I had replaced the phone. He confirmed that this would be ok as everything was in order and the phone and sim blocked.
Less than two weeks later I go back to another store to perform the sim swop only to find that my account limit had been exceeded. The unbilled itemized billing on the online invoice confirmed that calls had been fraudulently made from the line after the 17th October to the value of R1100. I immediately called customer care and confirmed that the store had not blocked the sim but merely blacklisted the phone. The phone I might add had been subsequently unblocked – according to the ldquoFind my iPhonerdquo application.
I called the store who once again gave one of the most absurd responses: the customer needs to separately request to blacklist the phone then block the sim card. Annoyed I sent an email to the manager of the store and laid a complaint with MTN complaints line. The MTN complaints line much like the customer care line-a series of preset responses. Itrsquos impossible to actually get to deal with an actual person.
I was then forwarded to the so called (mis)manager of the store: a certain Lizette. After numerous phone calls and attempts at explaining the situation she showed some promise in being able to comprehend what is going on. The call recording from the store to MTN from the day in question was obtained from MTN, which according to Lizette revealed the following: when the store consultant was asked whether to block the sim card he never gave a response. Neither customer care nor the consultant bothered to follow up despite me having explicitly asking him to block the sim line as the phone was presumed stolen.
I then had to wait another month or so get word form Lizette than that MTN had come to the conclusion that the customer is liable for the calls made. The amount was deducted from my account via debit order, which was successfully reversed by my bank for good reason. MTN now responds by cutting my line. And this is where we stand.
Lets just delve into some of these issues. MTN customer care is a farce, its nearly impossible to get through and often when you get through the call spontaneously cuts. As a paying contract customer I walked into an MTN store expecting a certain level of efficiency and competency expected of any service provider, which was clearly not met. The inefficiency and incompetency of your MTN store is now costing me over R1100, including the fraudulent calls as well as endless futile calls made to Lizette, who I might add had the audacity to accuse me the customer for this complete mess. She then proceeds to suggest that I should deal with MTN directly as she refuses to pursue the matter further. Over and above the obvious incompetency and inefficiency mentioned above, the MTN store further displays not only complete stupidity in not understanding or comprehending the situation, but a complete lack of professionalism, immaturity and irresponsible conduct in being able to deal with customers.
MTN itself on the other hand prefers to deal with the customers through cryptic emails and bullying tactics instead of doing the sensible and responsible thing of dealing with customers directly and professionally. Irsquom at the end of the road with MTN, how they can allow a customer to feel so frustrated, alienated, helpless in the face of such clear injustice disturbs me.
So MTN if it really makes you happy and will help you sleep at night, then keep the money, but please give me back my line. That line that echoes the voices of frantic nurses needing assistance with a dying patient, echoes the voices of broken families seeking closure after the death of their relatives, echoes the voices of my family calling me during a long night holding the hands of other peoples families while my own sleeps alone at night.
Keep the money I earnt while the world slept but myself and other medical staff stayed awake so that our nations sick will continue to breath, while our nations broken will one day walk again, our nations children will one day return to the classrooms and playgrounds. The money I earnt through sweat and tears, often through the night in the hope that others could have a better tomorrow. Go ahead and keep it, but if you have a shred of decency contact me directly.
Source : The Daily Vox