For the second time in two weeks I had cause to ring my network service provider MTN Nigeria in an attempt to resolve issues I was having.
The first instance was an issue with my blackberry Internet service which did not work for two days after renewing my (prepaid) subscription. I had paid for my subscription, received confirmatory text regarding renewal but was unable to receive emails, use messenger or mobile Internet. After two phone calls, preceded by a long time on hold for an operator and the constant promptings to select if I wanted to listen to information about products and services, my issue was unresolved. It took several attempts by myself and T to get it sorted, turned out it was not a complicated issue. Even with an open case pending, and the assurance from the call centre agent that I would receive a call back I never did.
The second problem I had was activating a data plan on my mifi (a mobile personal wireless device) which I use for my wifi only iPad. The intent was to subscribe to a 5GB one month data plan for N8000 but instead received a message to confirm subscription to a 3GB plan which cost N7000, needless to say I was surprised. I thought, due to the fact that there is also a 3GB/N6000 plan, that there was some sort of error. I immediately put a call through to the call centre and after several attempts got to speak to an agent who was just as confused as I was and had to get help. His ‘supervisor’, came on to explain that the plan I wanted had been discontinued and I was automatically placed on the new plan.
I felt blindsided because I felt I should have been given an option to choose if I wanted to be on this new data plan without having it imposed on me. I said as much, requested a cancellation and a refund while I made up my mind if I wanted to continue. This request was met with a negative advising; “we can cancel the data plan but you MAY not get a refund of the N7000”.I found this statement ridiculous and said as much. After a while, and being told to “call back” to which I responded an NO, the agent hung up!
I am appalled at MTN Nigeria and their attitude towards customers. Apart from the fact that paying N7000 for a 3GB plan is a rip-off, they have this corporate attitude that suggests they do not care about what the customers feel. This is an attitude a lot of big Nigerian firms take, customers can do nothing or have no option than to continue to patronise them. Even when their services are below standard.
Having worked as a customer support agent in a telecommunication company (although in the UK) I expect more than the ‘you have no choice’ attitude of this company. I was offered nothing apart from a sorry for the inconvenience. An inconvenience caused because this change to the data plan was made without any alert sent to customers. I was informed that their website was updated, I supposed customers are expected to constantly check their website for updates even when renewing an existing subscription.
I hope we get to the point in my country where companies understand that they are meant to offer services and should attempt to add value to customers instead of only seeking a high premium for minimal service. We also need to have agencies or ombudsman-like bodies that stand up for consumer rights.