Subscriber rejects premium refund offer

Zhemeco Schuller has been banging his head against a brick wall trying to resolve his billing problems with Cell C.

The Rocklands resident said he had two contracts with the cellphone company.

“The first contract ended in June 2019 for which I paid R5 546.53 but on June 14 2020 at 9.17pm Cell C deducted R806.05 and I had to go to Capitec to do a debit reversal. My second contract ended in February this year but they were still deducting R402.23 in March and April amounting to R806.46. I was not aware of such a thing as a debit reversal until I discovered that I could which I did for May and June.

“Since February this year I have been sent from pillar to post: going to the Cell C store at the Promenade Mall in Mitchell’s Plain to phoning head office and demanding to speak to account queries to cancel both my contracts. They assured me they have but lied to me and gave me reference numbers which I quoted every time I called in. However, the request was not logged and they never assisted, telling me the people who deal with cancellations are either on leave or the department is closed as a result of Covid-19 and they have forwarded my request when they clearly haven’t.

“I am livid, frustrated and at my wits’ end. I just want my money back because I have not used the added benefits they mentioned because I have been purchasing my data and airtime all the time through my Capitec mobile banking app,” Mr Schuller said.

“I don’t know what to do. I have tried my utmost to reach these people but they blatantly lie to me that there is no one there to assist to cancel these contracts. Every time that I phone I am losing money here and I only found out in February that it is for ‘added benefits’ which I did not need. I didn’t use the free SMSes, data and call minutes. I would like to know who has access to my account to do this when every 25th of each month is when I get debited?”

Cell C said Mr Schuller had two lines with them; one line expired in June 2019 and the other in February 2020.

“However, no cancellation request was received from the customer as per our subscriber terms and conditions. Mr Schuller also continued to use both lines until March 2020.He then made contact in April 2020 to cancel both lines which were running on a month-to-month basis. One contract was cancelled in May after serving ‘one calendar month’ notice. But the one stayed active and was only cancelled in June,” Cell C said.

“Mr Schuller reversed payments for April and May which he was liable for. Nevertheless as a gesture of goodwill, we credited both amounts, including the amount invoiced for June.

“We have also offered Mr Schuller the CSurance subscriptions which amount to R1 198.98 as the service was not used. In other words refunding his premiums because Mr Sculler did not claim from CSurance in the period between the contract expiring to when it was cancelled. However, he declined this offer and asked to be credited from the date of expiry of both contracts but based on our investigation we will not be able to commit to this,” Cell C said.

Mr Schuller said: “I personally want to thank you for your time and assistance and that you went the extra mile for me in this matter. Whatever synopsis they have concluded is pure fabrication and merely covering their tracks. I expected a lengthy procedure but you exceeded my expectations. Greatly appreciated.”

However, a few weeks later Mr Schuller wanted to know what was happening even though Cell C had credited his account. I also reminded him that he rejected Cell C’s offer of refunding his insurance premiums and suggested he negotiate with them directly.

Sometimes a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Which means that it’s better to hold onto something you have rather than take the risk of getting something better which may come to nothing.

It is probably one of the oldest and best-known proverbs in English which came into use in the 15th century, probably imported from other cultures.