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Thursday, June 03rd, 2010 | מְחַבֵּר:

Why I’ve left MTN

So I’ve been shopping around in a non-serious fashion in the last few months trying to figure out how best to leave MTN and how get the best deal for me. I don’t like MTN since I became anirate“, as I might call such a customer in the ISP industry. MTN’s Customer-Service Call Centre had rarely been helpful or knowledgeable on their own systems. The final straw however was when their systems let me screw myself over and Customer Service was as helpful as a dead redshirt:

I had a billing issue where, admittedly, it started of my own fault. MTN has a feature where you can call in to find out the amount owing on your account. Only, as Murphy would have it, this amount was לא the amount owing on the account but the last amount that was billed.

So one month my account was about R900. I called the number, mis-heard R500, paid the amount I thought I should: R500. 15 days later MTN suspended my account. No wrong done, right? Wrong.

First off, I received no notification of any kind. An sms would make the most sense, especially since it would cost MTN almost no resources: “Your account xyz is in arrears by R400. Please contact blah blah blah”. They could phone me, they could email me, something, but nothing of the sort happened. Suspend without Prejudice. Thats the best way to get the customer’s attention!

Now, not only could I not make calls and sms’s, I could not receive calls or sms’s. Further, I could not even call MTN’s toll free phone number. I had to use someone else’s phone to get to the bottom of the problem. After two days of haggling I finally found a lady kind enough to re-enable the account. Ten days later my salary goes in, I call the same number and hear a number close toR900”. I think to myself maybe I should double-check juuuust in case I mis-heard. I call again, I hear the same number again. Right. Pay the R900. Fifteen days later, my phone is suspended AGAIN. WTH?

Remember what I mentioned earlier?: “this amount was לא the amount owing on the account but the last amount that was billed.” So, in spite of the fact that the voice prompt specifically saysPress 3 for Balance Due; [Presses 3] ; The Total Outstanding Balance is; Nine; hundred; ו -; #whatever ; Rands; ו -; #whatever; cents”, I actually owed them R900 plus the R400 that I’d paid short the previous month. No, I do not know if MTN has fixed this. I no longer care. Since I figured this out I started waiting for paper statements to see how much was actually due. Interestingly, their paper statements were also wrong. Only they had the opposite problem: “This invoice: R1300in spite of the fact that on the next page it says opening balanceR400”, closing balanceR1300”. Pah! Is it fixed? Again, I don’t care.

I let them know I wasn’t renewing the contract and I’ve now already ported my number away to Virgin Mobile. Because I want to keep my number and port it elsewhere, the store said I could not putunsatisfactory serviceas the reason for ending the contract but that it should simply sayporting”. Apparently by putting anything else there they might notnoticethat I want it ported. WTF.

What next? (without MTN)

In my research I’ve found that contractdealsare most popular. Typically, you can get a R8000 phone for R800 per month over 24 months with R500-odd worth of airtime per month. This amounts to you paying R19 200 over a 24-month period for a phone worth R8000 which will be obsolete within 12 חודשים. You will get some airtime every month so you might feel its not a complete loss. However you should also remember that it costs the cellular companies nothing when you make those phone calls. רווח.

There’s a better way

There are much cheaper contracts, contracts for between R50 and R200 which include cheapish phonesphones that work damned well as a phone but won’t let you play games on the train. Most of these contracts actually give you the same airtime value (sometimes more!) as what you are paying. So for R100 you might get R100 worth of airtime plus some free sms’s, and a cheapish phone. The best deals I’ve seen recently have all been for the Samsung STAR, an understated but good cell phone, available from a number of retailers for between R100 and R200 per month. In most cases the deals have included the full amount of airtime. Virgin Mobile has probably the best example here: The cost is R199 per month which includes R200 in airtime and 1000 sms’s (כן, you read that rightone thousand!).

Virginal Service All the Way!

Another reason I’ve gone with Virgin Mobile is a little something no other service provider does: AmixedContract/Prepaid facility. I get R200 in airtime however, if I go over that, the extra just gets added to my invoice. With MTN this could go sky high without the option of a limit! With Virgin, because I asked, it has a limit of R300. אולם, I can still add prepaid airtime (with cellphone banking, nogal). No other service provider lets you do this!

Remember that R8000 cell phone I mentioned earlier? My plan is to get the Samsung STAR and spend less than R300 per month. I’ll have saved enough money to actually go and buy a more expensive phone (or laptop) with the cash I’ll have saved! כמובן, if you actually use that R800-worth of phone calls, I guess the best available deal is where you spend the R19200 anyway. Maybe at least with a more critical view on your choices you’ll save yourself a good amount of money in future. Good luck in your search for your best deal!

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Tuesday, December 09th, 2008 | מְחַבֵּר:

an exercise ball is good for posture

I’ve been using a ball as a chair for well over 18 months now. Its comfortable and healthy, and hella cheaper than one of those fancy office chairs. R120 will get you an expensive ball and if you’re lucky, you’ll get two!

If you need extra chairs for impromptu meetings, they’re a lot less annoying than office chairs. They’re also more portable. 🙂

Its not quite as good as a full-on workoutbut it requires a lot less time out of your schedule. Oh and its fun to game with as well. I’ll leave that to your imagination. 😉

See 10 Reasons to Use an Exercise Ball as Your Chair

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יוֹם שִׁישִׁי, November 21st, 2008 | מְחַבֵּר:

So I gots me s’more spam to mah mobile. o.O

Thankfully, it turns out that there is some proper recourse. Thanks to Stefano for pointing me in the right direction. (original post כאן)

WASPA (or Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association) is theIndustry Bodyfor Wireless Service Providers in SA. They have a complaints page where you get to submit all the juicy details about how a WASPA (or WASP) has breached the WASPA Code of Conduct.

Perhaps the provider in question gets featured on the complaint reports pagewhere everyone will see how much they’ve been fined along with a full report of the complaint. This includes WASPA’s investigation and a summary of the communications with the Service Provider concerning the matter. Importantly, its all publicly accessible.

I just wish people actually KNEW about this thing though. I certainly didn’t know that a WASP isn’t just the name of a (usually) flying insect? Yeahturns out some wasps don’t have wings and are mistaken for antsgo figure.

Back to the topic at hand: Spread the word! And lodge your complaints!

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Thursday, November 13th, 2008 | מְחַבֵּר:

I don’t receive much דואר זבל to my mobile phone. I have received random sms’s on occasion aboutspecialoffers and so forth. Someone also once sms’don my behalfto one of those late-night e-tv specials adverts. Every month I receive an enticing message informing me about what I’m missing out on. I wonder though, is there a no-send list I can add myself to at MTN, Vodacom, or Cell-C?

Can any cellular provider list all the companies that have sent you sms’s through bulk sms systems in the last month, for example? And can I tell my cellular provider to CAN that SPAM without having to send an sms costing me R7.50 with the wordSTOP”? [editturns out this SMS is supposed to be charged at the lowest possible rate. Thanks, Tumbleweed]

Lastly, I’ve heard of these services where you pay to receive content perpetually. Perpetually in that its a service where they assume you want them to charge you R5 every day to send you something. My sister had an issue where she never had airtime. It was because her R20 weekly allowance would be swallowed whole the next day by one of theseserviceswhich sent her a silly picture and deducted R10. She could have downloaded the same or similar picture using her computer for about 5c using גוגלשל image search and I’d have sized and cropped it to fit her phone’s screen perfectly with no visible distortion or aliasing. At the same time, they claim copyright on the content which is LAME. I’ll bet they’re stealing the pictures from the Internet themselves anyway.

In the end it was easier for her to get a new prepaid number. I just hope that they’re not still going to send more content to whoever gets her old number after its recycled. 😮

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