Saturday, 17 August 2013


Copyright (c) 2013 by Mohamed Jiwa

Airtel (KENYA) LOG

5:44 PM 8/17/2013

I bought a bundle from Airtel just to try it out with the caution that they were likely to renew it without notice.  They renew a 24 hour bundle in the afternoon and, it seems, about the time I had actually bought it, then expire it by midnight, everyday.  They don't renew it at midnight or expire it after 24 hours. That seems to be one one problem because if the downloads don't work we have only eight or so hours to make them work.  The rest of the 'day' is stolen, if I am correct.

The bundle then renewed itself and I tried to unsubscribe but failed, because the service doesn't work.  This is the same service I used to buy the bundle.  I try another five or six times to unsubscribe with the same lack of success.  The message is:

system is currently unavailable.
please try again later.#. previous menu 
{Reply}                                             {Exit}
The darn bundle just renewed itself again a few minutes ago, so now I have lost 30/-.  If we multiply the fee of 10 or 15 or 30/- per day by 500,000 customers who might be having the same problem, how much would that be per day that they would effectively be stealing?  How big is their customer base?

Ok, so I got tired of 'trying later' and forgetting that I have a monkey sitting on my back that's going to bite me once every day.

When I got bitten once again, today, I decided to CALL instead of 'send' customer services.  An assistant duly answered the line and it was a bad line. I had to ask him twice what his name was and then guessed, "Geoffrey?"  This was at about 17:35h today. 

Geoffrey explained that *111# is having problems and that I should use *544#.  I asked him, "what about the 30/- that I have just lost?  When will you refund it?"  This is what followed.

Geoffrey:  We cannot refund that money because when one service does not work you can easily try the other service line.

Me:  But I bought the bundle from this service and I should expect it to work. I find that highly unethical.  Airtel could be getting away with this automated re-subscription with a million customers (telling them to try later) which amounts to 15 million shillings a day!  That is theft.

G: It is not theft because you are supposed to know what our numbers are.  You are supposed to know about the 544 service.

M:  That is an expectation that is not realistic if  as it says, one has to try later.  (I should have added, "I am not calling you just to be unsubscribed but to ensure that I get my lost money back.)

G:  Everyone knows about the 544 alternative.

M: Why should I know everything about you?  Are you my girlfriend that I should know everything that is inside your nose or ear and know you intimately?  Who is Airtel that I should know everything about them? (I did not get a chance to add that resubscription of service is a form of disingenuousness that is despicable).

G:  No answer.  He may have tried to remonstrate with the hardness of my speech, to say that it is not unethical.

M:  If you can't refund me my money what is the difference between your ethics and Bunge ethics? I want my money refunded immediately or I want to talk to your supervisor.

G: If you send to 544 then you will be unsubscribed.

M:  That is not enough.  I shall do that but I want my money back.  I want to talk to your supervisor.  Now.  Can you call him.  (I did not add that I ought to be paid for the time I take to complain, too and for the inconvenience and that there should be a penalty for service that smack of insult to the customer's intelligence.)

G:  Hold on, sir.

I held for 2 minutes and 44 seconds and then got fed up. He should, rightly, have asked for my number and resolved the problem.  He never intended to do so.

Mobile companies have captive markets that they are going to continue abusing till a law is made to stop them from doing so.  But even laws in this country are all doomed to fail except SELECTIVELY so.  They will be used to forward the evil and corrupt agenda of the ruling classes who don't mind if the citizenry is abused.