Thursday, September 25, 2008

For those using Safaricom internet (Bambanet)....

It is very ironical that Safaricom advertises for services and makes such obscene profits annually yet is unable to train employees to give proper and accurate information especially on data services.

From the time I bought the Bambanet in June, my bill has been shrouded in mystery and none of the customer care agents has been able to explain.
For instance, for the first two weeks after I bought it, I was blocked ostensibly because I had burst on the 700 MB and reached my maximum of 4000 shillings per month.

That was puzzling because my Bambanet had an accumulated statistic showing that for the time I was online, I had used 750MB, my simple math shows for me to pay 4000 per month, I need to use the 700MB plus 250MB charged @ 8 per MB. So, if I am to pay 4000, then I need to use 950 MB a month.

The bills come as statements and are not broken down and any attempts to have an agent break it down have been fruitless, because “they also don’t understand”. Because I needed the service, I paid the bills anyway.

That was fine, until I applied to migrate from 700MB to 2GB on August 20th, 2008; I went to Sarit to pay my other outstanding bills plus the migration deposit. My data services account was indeed overpaid but I advised that the migration be done at the beginning of September.

Before I left, I asked the agent to inform me how many MBs I had used for August and after consulting with another agent, she told me that I had used 500MB and had 200MB on my monthly fees, meaning I could use the 200 in 10 days.

Ten days later, I called customer care to find out about the migration, only to be told that my account is blocked because I have a bill of 4000, then I sought to know how I accumulated such a bill in t10 days and I had 200MB left to use.

Explanation 1: By Anthony, when you applied to migrate, your account started being charged shs 8 per MB.

Explanation 2: Your account is X and not CMB blablabla…you see, we have various packages on how they take effect, and that is why we are charging you shs 4000.

Explanation 3: By the time you asked to migrate, you had already burst on your 700MB and you were already being charged at commercial rates (whatever that means).

In as much as Anthony gave cyclical arguments, I asked him to read the breakdown of the MBs I had used between the 10 days, he said the system was down and that the only option I had was to divide 4000 by 8, simple mathematics, or wait for the bills.

By the way, from the time I bought the service, I let the volume accumulate without resetting, and right now, the Bambanet shows that for the 289 hours 43 minutes and 16 seconds I have been online, I have used 2.1 GB, you can calculate the cumulative amounts I have paid on this data service to get the total.

Unless Safaricom supplied faulty modems, it should clearly indicate the statistics as it has.

The failure to get an explanation on the billing and the usage shows that Safaricom is hell bent on unjust enrichment without bothering to conceal it or making it look like am getting value for money.

Even if you have gotten away in other cases, please make it look like am getting value from this conmanship!

17 comments:

eleet said...

sorry about the fuss, yikes. i know dealing with safaricom customer care is a hair pulling experience.

i have been a user since the launch of 3G and aside from the activation issues when i started using the service, i, i very heavy user on the 2GB bundle have had no problems with billing. I pre-pay for a number of months to avoid the hassle and often have lots of Megs left over every month which as promised are carried over for 60 days.

Since i use a mac i do not have a cumulative usage provision hence i often have to check with customer care on my usage, since the mac modem software session meter is horribly incompetent and more often than not reflects triple the data for the session, unless one day they shall just slap me with a huge bill, now i am panicked....off to call them again.

Anonymous said...

think class action lawsuit

Anonymous said...

hi Beckyit,
I am a user and also an employee of safaricom.I understand your frustration, but its very, and i repeat, veeeery important to understand the product before using it, as that will and would have saved you the trouble you are in.
you can post your number on this blog and i can offer to followup an analysis of your bills and contact you with a clear explanation.

datafreak

Anonymous said...

Hi BeckyIt,

I agree with datafreak, I too use SAFARICOM data services plus a postpaid and prepaid line and I have never had issues with my bills after all SAFARICOM has online billing system that gives you detailed monthly bills to explain the monthly usage.

What I know is Kenyan rush into products because of the adverts they see but do very little to understand the product and the billing system. They then rush to complain very bitterly the way they are being exploited . . . Pls remember ignorance will always be expensive. For example how many customers complain of being disconnected for reaching their credit limit then they will start bringing up the deposit they paid . . . .who said the deposit pays the bills and allows you to exceed your limit? Who did put the limit at the point of application after all? Etc etc

SAFARICOM can only do so much but the customer has role to play too, but most SAFARICOM customers have extremely and unreasonably high expectations. By the way most of the data records by your laptop is not accurate this is tested and approved Use your itemized bill to justify your usage then call customer service to explain facts that you may have.

ME

Nykemartyn said...

Safaricom will currently not charge you to sign up/register for the Services, obtain an email address or vary or change the email address save as may otherwise be communicated by Safaricom from time to time. However, Safaricom reserves the right to charge for access or all of Services in the future, subject to a clear notice when accessing Services that are charged. Furthermore, you will however be liable for the cost of accessing the internet at such rates as may be prescribed by Safaricom from time to time.
-----------
Nykemartyn
Buzz marketing

Anonymous said...

i feel ur frustrations safaricom should invest in their customer care staff really fast...me i lost my phone and a the safcm customer care could not provide a simple solution of activatin my mpesa a/c can u imajin.... a guy from the cyber hepled me out.....

Anonymous said...

your frustrations are understandable, compared to Zain's , Bambanet is quite FAST but then again the bundles mess up everything for them, why cant they have something where ur billed a flat rate at the end of the month??

Anonymous said...

I think its crap to argue that data records laptop NICs is not accurate. BS! period.
That said, you may not have "consumed" 2.1GB but your computer may have in one of several ways, a) Windows Updates, 2) Untivirus updates, 3) Application updates such as Flash player, adobe acrobat etc. some apps (like acrobat) dont remember what was already downloaded for example if u shutdown midway thru an update (and since most updates are "silent" you may not realize u are interrupting an update). so next time it begins afresh (eating into ua MBs). My experience with bambanet is such that i cld not get 30 minutes of continuous connectivity, and as such a 15MB download may actually end up consuming upto 50mb+ in download restarts

Eugene

Anonymous said...

Hi, for those planning to buy bambanet kindly think twice. Having used the services for two years,the current frustration are such too much to bear. Constant signal lost and yet none of help from so called customer service.

Anonymous said...

Bambanet, something is wrong with the service. Customer service unware of the problems. Constant signal lost. Billing problems. i SOLD MINE AFTER much frustration. I current using orange one. Its better so far.

startupkenya said...

I thought I was the only one being
ripped off by Safaricom but I'm not surprised to see that's not the case.

My advice to you BeckyIT is that if you ever throw in the towel with Safaricom make sure you write to them terminating the contract, or three years later they'll show up with a bill demanding payment for the three years you were not using the service.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you, Becky.At our office we have been using their "Fast Corporate Internet Services" and have experienced a long list of frustrations, one of which you have described.What makes it worse is that the Customer Care guy who was dealing with our issue says that he "doesn't understand the billing system and doesnt see where the issue is" and "the other customer care guyz dont understand either" .Adding salt to the wound, their network has been experiencing serious outages in the past few weeks especially at peak times. This has been the Bitter Option for us, and from what Im hearing about Orange EVDO, they have their own set of issues.I would advice consumers to stick to reliable ISPs for their internet solutions and avoid these mobile phone companies because they seem to have bitten more than they can chew.

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