Call for help as data usage limit exceeded

Melanie Calvert of Goodwood took out a Min-ute_100 contract for a Huawei P8 smartphone with MTN on behalf of her niece who later realised she had not received her allocated data.

So the niece and her mother went to MTN at N1 City where a consultant, Bulelwa Salman, took the mobile to the back of the store and then told them she had activated the usage limit.

But while Ms Calvert was in hospital, she received an SMS to say that she had exceeded her credit limit of R4 290 and that her service had been suspended for outgoing calls. After she contacted MTN the problem was quickly rectified.

However, a few days later she got the same message.

“When I queried it the agent told me the data usage was on my niece’s phone and that she had uncapped data. But we wouldn’t request uncapped data for a student. I went back to N1 City where Bulelwa told me she would investigate and get back to me. She didn’t but my bank account was debited with R4 868.01 for two contract phones plus the R4 290. I was irate as this is an astronomical sum. I spoke to Bulelwa again, who informed me she had logged a fault but according to MTN, they have no records on their system of a data usage limit. This is not my problem so the consultant and MTN must sort it out. I did not give MTN permission to take R4 290 out of my bank account. What they’ve done is illegal,” said Ms Calvert who demanded a refund of R4 290.

“I have been an MTN customer ever since I’ve had a cellphone. This is my third contract and the first time I have ever been treated like this. I am finished with MTN. Can you please assist me.”

MTN apologised to Ms Calvert. Customer experience officer, Farzanah Karriem, confirmed that the usage limit did not “kick in on the activation date and as a result you incurred additional data charges”.

MTN approved a credit of
R7521.47: June 6 PSD calls
R3 761.66: July 7 PSD calls R3759.81 and the usage limit was set at R0. Ms Karriem said that account holders were able to set the usage limit themselves.

However, Ms Calvert was not satisfied with the explanation. It was a case of shooting the messenger. She said in an email: “No Farzanah, this does not meet with my requirements. I want to know who sets the SUL? Certainly not the customer. It is not my problem if it did not kick in on the activation date. That is entirely MTN’s problem. Also, you’re trying to tell me that an amount of R3 761.66 was incurred over three months, yet
R3 759.81 was incurred in one month? No, I am not happy with this at all. If you can’t sort this out please get your superior to contact me. I do not accept your apology.”

Which I thought was a bit harsh seeing Ms Karriem was doing her best to help when by Ms Calvert’s own admission she got nowhere with Bulelwa or the call centre agents.

“MTN have undertaken to refund me: R4 868 was deducted from my account which included my contract subscriptions of R578. In effect they charged me R4 290 for data.”

Again she wanted an explanation from MTN: R4 868 was deducted from my account on August 1. This included R4 290 for data and R578 for contracts. MTN owed me R4 290, R4 868 was deducted from my account on September 1, which I reversed. I owe MTN R578 for contracts. MTN refunded me R3 116.91. Have you, therefore, deducted the R578 for August and September. If so then your refund is correct (R18 short) and a debit order should not go through at the end of this month. Please confirm whether this is so.”

Ms Karriem confirmed this and said the refund has been processed and it will reflect within five working days.