Melanie Calvert of Goodwood took out a Minute_100 contract for a Huawei P8 smartphone in June with MTN on behalf of her niece, who later realised she had not received her allocated data.
So the niece and her mother went back to MTN at N1 City soon afterwards where a consultant, Bulelwa Salman, took the mobile to the back of the store and then told them she had activated the usage limit.
But while Ms Calvert was in hospital in July she received an SMS to say that she had exceeded her credit limit of R4290 and that her service had been suspended for outgoing calls. After she contacted MTN, the problem was quickly rectified.
However, a few days later she got the same message.
“When I queried it, the agent told me the data usage was on my niece’s phone and that she had uncapped data. But we wouldn’t request uncapped data for a student.
“I went back to N1 City where Bulelwa told me she would investigate and get back to me. She didn’t but my bank account was debited with
R4868.01 for two contract phones plus the R4290 (the data her niece used). I was irate, as this is an astronomical sum. I spoke to Bulelwa again, who informed me she had logged a fault, but according to MTN, they have no records on their system of a data usage limit. This is not my problem, so the consultant and MTN must sort it out. I did not give MTN permission to take R4290 out of my bank account. What they’ve done is illegal,” said Ms Calvert who demanded a refund of R4290.
“I have been an MTN customer ever since I’ve had a cellphone. This is my third contract and the first time I have ever been treated like this. I am finished with MTN. Can you please assist me.”
MTN apologised to Ms Calvert. Customer experience officer Farzanah Karriem confirmed that the usage limit did not “kick in on the activation date, and, as a result you, incurred additional data charges”.
However, Ms Calvert was not satisfied with the explanation. It was a case of shooting the messenger. She said in an email: “No, Farzanah, this does not meet with my requirements. I want to know who sets the SUL (set usage limit)? Certainly not the customer. It is not my problem if it did not kick in on the activation date. That is entirely MTN’s problem.”
However, Ms Calvert said MTN had undertaken to refund her. “R4 868 was deducted from my account on September 1, which I reversed. I owe MTN R578 for contracts.” She wrote to Ms Karriem: “MTN refunded me R3116.91. Have you, therefore, deducted the R578 for August and September. If so then your refund is correct (R18 short) and a debit order should not go through at the end of the month. Please confirm whether this is so.”
Ms Karriem confirmed this and said the refund has been processed and it will reflect within five working days.