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Does Airtel steal from people?

Filed under: Special Comments |

By Kennedy Gondwe

Yesterday, I got a phone notification that my internet bundle had finished. I immediately proceeded to buy K200 worth of bundles, that is 25GB and 5GB Airtel TV bundle.

Around 10 this morning, I again got a message from my provider that my bundle had finished.

Like yesterday, I bought my usual 25GB and 5GB Airtel TV Bundle and added another K200 for voice calls which I converted to minutes, just in case. The total spent in about 24 hours came to K600.

My new balance, according to the automated message from Airtel, came to “1571.07Mins,13268SMS,1.15GB Allnet valid until 29-10-2023 14:59hrs”.

But I still didn’t have internet availability despite twice restarting my phone!

This prompted me to call the customer service line and when I explained my issue about the unusual fast depletion of my bundle, the lady on the other side of the line started telling me about how fast bundles run out when all applications are running at the same time.

I told her it’s not the first time I was meeting that explanation from Airtel and that on occasion, their bundles deplete unusually fast for the same level of usage while at other times, everything appears to work normally.

Our call cut due to a poor line and on my third attempt, a lady called Ketra answered the call.

As I was explaining myself, I realized my internet had been restored so this prompted me to still ask her why the bundle I bought yesterday ran out so fast.

As she was about to start giving me the ‘all applications’ reason, I told her we’ve been there before. My issue was why, despite the consistent use of my phone, the same bundle sometimes run out too fast.

Her answer was, “From our system, I can see that your bundle ran out yesterday and today, you’ve bought the same bundle”. I asked her to check my usage history and the unusualness of the latest bundle running out that fast.

She didn’t have an answer except to tell me that “We’ll look into your issue”. I asked for a reference number for my case in the event I needed to call them back but shockingly, she told me that cases like mine were not issued with reference numbers because from their records, my bundle had indeed finished.

Despite pressing her, she insisted that my case would be looked at but that no reference number would be issued to me.

After a back and forth, she promised to call me back after 10 minutes. It’s been two hours and I am still waiting for Ketra’s call.

In the intervening period, I received what I consider a rather obtuse message from Airtel, given the circumstances:

“Dear Customer, Thank you for contacting Airtel. Please rate your experience on a scale of 0 to 10, 0 being the worst and 10 being excellent, SMS is free.”

Poor Airtel, how I wish you’d extend the rating scale to -100 as rating your pathetic service out of 10 is way too kind and unfair to yourself and your customers.


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