I’d write about this in my column, but there are so many more important things to talk about in that space. At the same time, I couldn’t let this pass, just because this is how big businesses gets away with charging their subscribers more than they should, and often it is an injustice to those who are putting out our hard-earned cash for services that are overpriced to begin with.
I’ve been a super sipag, consistent, and loyal subscriber of what … nine years? with Smart. And when anyone at all would ask me, especially with family and friends who are mostly Globe subscribers, I would always say that it’s Smart that works best for the work I do, traveling more than most, dependent on the internet as my writing is.
I remember being in Tacloban soon after Typhoon Yolanda, and being able to depend on my Smart line better than the prepaid Globe I brought along; and working in faraway Guian Samar so many months after, Smart was ever dependable, too. In Tiaong Quezon, even with a Globe Tattoo wifi service, I can always fall back on my Smart phone for connectivity.
Yet while the services remain the same, Smart is messing up customer care and service big time.
Case #1: When I checked my subscriptions recently it told me that it would only be available until the next cut-off date of my billing. But my subscriptions are always for a full month, which means that it should last me until May 21.
The cut-off date of my billing? May 17. Which means that Smart is forcing me to re-register my subscriptions and lose out on four days worth that I’ve already paid for.
It tweeted about it on May 1, the first time I checked the status of subscriptions, and customer service got back to me quickly enough with a non-resolution:
Because these subscriptions eat into the P1200 plan that I have with Smart, the moment I subscribe, I’ve already technically used up my cash. So how can Smart prorate that exactly?
It’s also telling that when I said I don’t understand, there was no more response from Smart’s (Twitter) Customer Service.
At least the experience was better with Zoe, a customer service rep I talked to on the phone about another Smart-fail.
Case #2: On April 21, my Smart billing was sent to me via SMS, a service I registered for, but this month I was floored by the amount. It was almost triple my usual mobile phone expense, on a month when I wasn’t using my services any differently.
The only difference for the past month was that I had my sim changed to a nonsim on April 5, so I figured that must have had something to do with it. Sure enough, when I talked to customer service rep Zoe, he told me that the moment I changed to the nanosim, I should’ve re-enrolled all my subscriptions.
Here lies the problem: I was not properly informed about this. Not just once, but twice.
First, on April 5, when I went to the Smart store in Megamall — which was fantastic and had swift service BTW — I was told by the kuya who served me that I only had to re-enroll for service AFTER it expires, as it’s the auto-enroll function that’s disabled when you get a replacement sim. So I could keep using my phone as normal until my services expire.
But because I’m paranoid about my bills, I actually called Smart Customer Service on April 6, because after checking the status of my subscriptions, nothing was turning up on my phone. I called while I was in Bacolod for a talk with students at the University of St. LaSalle, and was told that (1) according to Smart’s computers I was still subscribed to my services, and (2) I was still subscribed even if I changed my sim. I even told her: You’re sure ha? Mamaya I’m being charged for my internet use. And she said she was sure.
Yet so many weeks after, I’m told that I had started being charged for my mobile internet use since I changed my sim, which means I was not subscribed to services anymore — not even on that day I called customer service on April 6.
Not only that: when I called Smart Customer Service and talked to Zoe on April 21, he found that according to their computers I was STILL registered for subscriptions! This, even when he himself said that once you change your sim, you’re un-registered from all subscriptions and you’d have to re-register again — something that neither of the first two customer service reps (the one in Megamall, and the one I talked to on April 6) had told me.
I protested the billing, and asked about what could be done. He said he would file a report and that I would hear back from Smart after 10 business days.
The past two days, I’ve been getting a call from Smart. Today I finally answered, thinking it was an update on this case, and hopefully a positive response to at least Case #2.
But no dice. It was for some new service they were offering me as a loyal subscriber.
As if I’d even thinking of availing of anything new when they’re messing up existing services big time.