When I remember some things I smile silently, not because it’s worthwhile, but because it’s funny. Have you ever had this annoying call from Telco agents? Well, if no, you must be a lucky chap.
If I’m asked to describe the most striking example of bad timing, these random calls from telcos will definitely be among the top 3.
Case scenario: you are expecting a very important call, next thing you see 4043 calling, you rush to your phone but shit! you end the call quickly.
Another case scenario: you attended an interview, and they promised to call you, next 3 hours you see a full legit phone number calling you; out of excitement you pick the call, next thing you hear:
Sweet Female voice: My name is Nkechi Ogbodo, I am calling you from MTN, am I speaking with Mr Ayomide Deji
Your head start swelling “Wait! MTN calling me? Have I won an aeroplane?”
Yes! Next thing you hear
Sweet Female voice: “Do you have the time? We have this interesting package for you that allows you to call friends and family for as low as..
What that fuck!
This can be very annoying, let me tell you my personal experience.
Finally, I decided to get an Airtel line, why? Some of my friends had been persuading me to get it because of some reasons: call is cheap, internet is cheap (you remember the 2k for 4.5gb plan then). Well, I reluctantly got one then, I never knew what I was getting into.
First month, I subscribed to the 4.5gb plan, speed was good (mehnn this shit is good I thought). Weeks later, I noticed a pattern, they kept throttling the speed, until it was so bad that even ordinary GPRS is faster than a whole HSPA+. I yanked the line off my smartphone, got a Nokia touch and stuffed it inside; that was the beginning of my troubles.
Everyday I got so many text messages with funny and annoying contents like: Do you know that the president of America is Obama. Text YES to XXXXX (What the Hell! who doesn’t know that?); Are you in love? Text LOVE to XXXX (Hmmm!).
Then, the calls started coming (Wao I have graduated to calls, I had thought). The most annoying part was that these calls came from full legit lines, I couldn’t even detect which was them or another person calling. I would pick and drop the call once they start their legendary pick up lines (Oh they made me feel like a pretty lady and I was playing hard to get LOL).
On this day, if I could remember precisely on Thursday, I just got to the office and sat down. I was in high spirits, before I could boot my laptop the call came in. I recognised the line. This people again! I decided to answer the call and play along, next thing I heard was a pretty female voice:
Airtel Agent: Hello, Good morning sir, this is Shade from Airtel
Oops! I thought, Game on!
Me: Good morning
Shade: Am I speaking with Mr Andy.
Me: Yes. (I muttered)
Shade: Hello, can you get me?
Me: Yes I can hear you.
Shade: Alright thank you, as part of our continued efforts to benefit our customers, I will like to introduce to you Talk more bundle on the network, may I know if you are aware of this?
Me: Talk more bundle?
Me: As in a service plan or what?
Shade: A talk more bundle is a bundle that gives you more value for your money and gives you three times amount you buy and you can use it to call all networks in Nigeria, you can use it to browse, you can use it to call international destinations like China, India, Canada, UK.
Me: OK let me understand you, you said you will give me 3 times of what I recharge?
Shade: its not what you recharge..
Me: (cuts in) What?
Shade: (continues) but when you activate the bundle, we give you either three times the amount you activate.
Me: Ok if activate the bundle, do you charge me to activate it?
Shade: No, it’s Free
Me: Ok if I activate, it’s free? So If I recharge like 500 Naira…
Shade: (cuts in) what am saying is that, depending on the amount you want to activate you get three times the amount; we have for 50, 150, 200, 500, 700, 1000, 1500 and 3000. For example, if you go for the one for 500, we remove 500 Naira from your main account and give you 1250 Naira, that you can use for 7 days to call all networks in Nigeria.
Me: Wait! Wait! Wait! You will remove my 500 and give me 1250?
Shade: Yes please
Me: But you said that the migration to this thing is free! How will you now remove my 500?
Shade: What am saying is that you activate it, you buy the bundle from your main account, you are not migrating it is a bundle
Me: But you told me it’s free!
Me: So you are offering me a bundle, I will pay 500 and get 1250?
Shade: It depends..
Me: Hmm, ok using the 500 as an instance
Shade: Yes please, the one for 500 will give you 1250 valid for 7 days.
Me: But, wait your said it 3 times my money, 1250 is not 3 times of 500!
Shade: You get 3 times or 2 times the amount you activate, depending on the one you choose, like the one for 700 will give you 2100 valid for for 7 days, one for 1500 will give you 4500 valid for 15 days.
Me: You said the 700 is valid for 15 days
Shade: No, the one for 1000 is valid for 15 days.
Me: Ok that means I can call as many as I want within that period?
Shade: No it depends on what you want to use it for, you can call all networks in Nigeria or use it to browse or international calls to China, India, Canada, UK and send SMS.
Me: but you just said I can’t use it to call as I want?
Shade: Sorry you can.
Me: So it won’t finish until 7 days?
Shade: No it depends on usage..
Me: (cuts in) OK OK, let me ask you something, so If I go for one of 1000, you give 3 times which is 3000, right?
Shade: No no, the one for 1000 gives you 2500.
Me: Haba! that’s not 3 times naa
Shade: Yes! As i said earlier, its either you get 2 or 3 times the amount.
Me: Ok, I have 2500, I can use it to buy another bundle of 1000 and get another 2500
Shade: (cuts in) No that’s not how it works
Me: But its my money naa, you already gave it to me.
Shade: Yes, but…
Me: (cuts in) Wait if I go for 3000 bundle and get 9000, I can use it to buy a data plan?
Shade: Yes you can use it for browsing and …
Me: (cuts in) I mean a data plan, like buy 2gb from the 9000 you already gave me
Shade: (cuts in) That is not how it works, your browsing, calls and sms will be charged from the 9000, you can’t buy a data plan, it …
Me: (cuts in) But you already gave me the 9000, you can’t tell me how to use it, I bought it with my money, and you said I can use it the way I wanted, why can’t I use it to buy data plan, not pay as you go browsing.
Shade: That’s how it works naa!
Me: Ok, I will come to that later. What is the call rate per second or per minute.
Shade: It is covering for both your calls, browsing…
Me: (cuts in) That’s not what I asked you! Am asking what is the rate you charge?
Shade: As i said earlier, you are being billed for the 3 of them. I am unable to tell you the exact amount you are being charged for calling. It covers calls, sms, and browsing.
Me: Ok, If I make a call, what is the rate it deducts my airtime 20k/sec, 25k/sec?
Shade: I’m unable to tell you the amount it deducts.
Shade: Because that’s how it works.
Me: If I send an SMS, how much will you deduct?
Shade: I am unable to tell you the amount it deducts
Me: Wait, wait, haba! How would I know that I have the money when I don’t know what you are charging? So if I send an SMS you can take 50 Naira or 100 Naira and I wouldn’t even know.
Shade: When you want to check your balance, dial *123*5#…
Me: (cuts in) I know how to check balance, am asking, ok for browsing, what is the rate per kilobyte?
Shade: When you are browsing it is 5 kobo per kilobyte.
Me: Ok 5 kobo per kb, good, for the SMS, normally you charge N5 or N4 per sms, is it still the same thing with this bundle?
Shade: It’s N4
Me: N4 Naira?
Shade: Yes Please
Me: Now for calls, the current rate am in you charge me like 25 kobo/sec, is it still the same thing?
Shade: You are being charge 20 kobo/sec on your current package, that’s what am seeing.
Me: Ok this bundle, will you still charge me the same thing?
Shade: What you will be charged is from the bundle, when you make call it is charged from the money you have in the bundle.
Me: Ok let me ask, Shade right?
Shade: Yes please.
Me You have a line, and you recharge your phone, after making calls don’t you check your balance?
Shade: (Now sounding very tired and impatience) I do, but you can check your balance…
Me: (cuts in) I know, but am trying to arrive at something; when you check your balance, for example you made 2 minutes call and you check your balance and you see that you were charged 200 Naira, how would you feel?
Shade: But that’s how the company has made it, but am unable to tell you the amount that is being deducted.
Me: But you know the amount right?
Shade: I am unable to tell you the amount you are being charge…
Me: (cuts in) But you know it?
Shade: This is a bundle the amount being…
Me: (cuts in) You have not answered me! You know it but don’t want to tell me?
Shade: I don’t know it naa.
Me: You don’t know it?
Shade: Yes please.
Me: Are you sure?
Shade: Yes please.
Me: You want me to move to this bundle right?
Shade: (sounding pissed) It depends on the amount you want to buy naa.
Me: But you called me to persuade me to move over to this bundle?
Shade: Yes please, you will enjoy it as you are getting more value for your money.
Me: I want your assurance.
Me: That if I move to this bundle, that the rate is going to be fair.
Shade: Yes you will get more value for your money, as you will be charged from the bundle and not…
Me: (cuts in) This more value for my money is not correct. If I get 3 times the amount I buy and you decides to increase the call rate three times, is it not better If I just use my normal airtime? And after 7 days if I haven’t used it up you take everything both my money and the bonus or bundle as you called it.
Shade: (very pissed and frustrated) But that’s how it works naa
Me: I know it’s how it works, but if you are me will you get into this plan?
Shade: (sounding subdued) But that’s the information I have on the network.
Me: You know we have many networks in Nigeria, and for you to get people to be using your network you have to give them a fair package.
Me: This your package sounds good, but I have two problems with it; the validity and the call rate you are not disclosing.
Shade: OK, I will take your feedback to the company, thanks for your time and do have…
Me: (cuts in) You should take a feedback to your company and get back to me
Shade: Alright thank you
I spent a little over 16 minutes on that call, because I had time to waste and I was in high spirits, but it was worth it because they stopped calling me after that call.
I was chatting with my friends the other day, he said I had time to waste that he warned them that he will sue the company if they call him for the nonsense again and that did the magic for him. So next time you get these weird calls, you know what to do.
What are your experiences with these telcos? Drop your comments below.How to Stop Annoying Calls from Telcos: My Experience with Airtel Call Center Agent by Andy