Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Are you paying your phone bills BLINDLY?

Seriously, how many of you out there are paying your monthly phone bills without giving much of a damn what you are ACTUALLY paying for?


Well, if you do... Good for you.
If you don't, it's time for you to find out NOW. 

(Don't worry, just keep on reading this entry and you'll understand)


I have my fair share of unpleasant experiences with local telcos. 
And I definitely live up to my name as a SG Complain Queen. 

*inserts tagline here: I don't usually lodge a complaint.. But when I do, it's usually for a logical reason!*

 Voicemail services.



Remember those times when you call a number and it gets unanswered, in which you were eventually directed to an *ang-moh* speaking voicemail asking you to leave your message after the tone *beep*?

Well, guess what -
If my bills hadn't been a nightmare last month which I eventually lodged a complaint, I wouldn't have known that I am being charged blindly for these #(*$(# voicemail services that I DID NOT even utilize ONCE.
(If you wish to find out if you are a *victim* as well, then just read on! You may just learn something new.)

When I first signed up for my mobile package, I was given the impression that everything was included.

INDEED, things were going smoothly for me for the first few years until changes started kicking in by themselves.

It all began when I received an unjustifiable phone bill last month - stating that I had overused my outgoing call limit (which I was VERY, EXTRA, ULTRA confident that I did NOT).
To cut the long story short, I lodged a complaint and asked for an evidence - which my telco gave me a list of my call logs.

Many of the numbers that reflected on the list were indeed calls made by me (and I won't deny that), but I stopped short when I discovered a long list of unknown 4-digit number "1302" appearing amongst my call logs. There was a long spam of "1302" which ate up most of my outgoing minutes.

WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT?!


So my dad took it to the customer service upon my request (I didn't have time to go down personally due to work commitment *sigh*).

And guess what?
The telco staff had the cheek to tell my dad that 1302 is a number belonging to a voicemail service, and that I have been utilizing it ALOT according to my call logs. She even asked my dad what kind of business I was doing for this kind of heavy usage.

HELLO?!! I was not even aware that 1302 was a voicemail number in the first place. SO how could I possibly have dialed that number on my mobile phone without knowing it myself??! 

Feeling more infuriated than ever, I decided to write in to the company and demanded for an explanation.
They eventually got back to me after thorough investigation, and I was left appalled when I was told how the charges were imposed. 

Here comes the appalling part:
I am not sure how many of you out there already know about this, but they charge you based on HOW MANY TIMES SOMEONE REACHES YOUR VOICEMAIL.

How is that even justifiable?
I shall give you a short scenario so you'll be able to understand better.

1) Your friend calls you but you happen to be unreachable. As a result, your voicemail picked up, asking him/her to leave a message for you. AND THAT IS ACTUALLY CHARGEABLE AT YOUR EXPENSE - MINUTE BY MINUTE.

Once the voicemail picks up, that's it. 

How much you are going to be charged will have to depend on how long the caller is holding onto the line.
Let's say if your friend forgets to press the "End call" button and he/she is on the line with your voicemail inbox for a long 30 minutes, then YOU ARE THE ONE who is accountable for that 30 minutes. 
To cut the long story short, the 30 minutes are charged as your Outgoing minutes.

Fair or not, you say?

Your friend will pay for his/her outgoing minutes for making the call to you, but you have to pay on your side as well because of the fact that your voicemail picked that up on behalf of you. (AND ALL THE WHILE I THOUGHT THIS SERVICE WAS FREE.)

And that was the reason why I ended up paying a lot more than I should as I have friends who called me and unexpectedly reached my voicemail inbox that were chargeable at my expense - Something that I was not in the least bit AWARE OF.

It was not fair to me as I know I haven't been utilizing any voicemail services throughout the years.(I did not even know my own password to log in!) I just took whatever I was offered in the basic mobile plan I was signed to, and now I have to end up with these extra shit suddenly.

That's how telcos work. They make changes as and when they like it, and they are NOT obligated to let you know through obvious means. To them, the lesser awareness from you is an added advantage for more $$$ flowing into their pockets.

After several complaints lodged, the customer service personnel offered to waive off the extras I was accounted for (I emphasized on the fact that I REALLY WAS NOT AWARE OF SUCH CHARGES), and they cancelled my Voicemail services without obligation.

So... If any of you out there have yet to encounter this BUT yet isn't aware of such things happening, do check out whether your mobile line is subscribed to any Voicemail services. If yes, just freaking go ahead to cancel that service away. You know you don't really need it nowadays. I mean, there are so many alternatives to reach a person such as leaving messages via IM, etc...Nobody really uses Voicemail anymore, unless you really, really require it.

This is the first time I am deactivating my Voicemail services, and one of my Facebook friends- whom I shall not name for privacy protection purposes- have reported another upcoming issue as well:

Even with Voicemail services deactivated, we face ANOTHER risk of paying more! (Whether or not this will happen to me... I'll update on my blog soon)

As quoted:

With voice mail, they allow the phone to ring longer before transmitting to voice mail, that's where they charged you. Without voice mail, they cut short the ringing duration and when you see that miss call, you call back, they charged you for the outgoing. Either way, they do this to earn the extra bucks. I believe it's a newly implemented rule, for those newly re-contract or new line.

Some telcos are getting really shady, they are using such routes to earn extra $$$!

Do feel free to share if you have any unpleasant encounters with your telco as well! Even if we can't do anything about it, at least their tactics can be shamed and more users will be aware of what they are actually paying for!

Enough of paying blindly! Let more people know about those tactics, NOW.

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