Posted by: Wolfe on Jan 13, 2011
Adrenaline is a funny thing. A metallic taste spreads through your mouth while you are trying concentrate on your fingers hitting the right keys in coherent order. The result is that for every letter I currently type, my heart beats at least three times.
This burst of adrenaline has been brought on by MTN.
I can hear a unanimous sigh echoing “Not another cellular provider complaint”. So if you can predict the content of this post, close it. If you are interested to know why I suggest you do not go with MTN as your provider, read on.
First off, I have a MTN corporate contract. The theory is, other than a small discount, you get to go through to the business interaction centre (for which there does not seem to be a special number) and you should receive a little more attention on your queries. The truth is, the difference between a corporate customer and a normal customer is just a code on your account, nothing else.
Now for the main act of this post….my experience.
I had a BlackBerry Bold that I dropped in February last year. I took it into MTN at Canal Walk and after two month I contacted them to find out if they had a quote. They advised that the phone is back at the store and they are unable to repair it, but they can give me a refurbished phone for R1000. I wasn’t interested and never had time to pick up the phone. It is now almost a year later, they still have my phone and I never heard from them again. Obviously it doesn’t bother them to have customer phones, broken or just lying in their store for a year.
Last week Friday (7 january 2011) I decided I want the new BlackBerry Torch. I phone a number for the store in Canal Walk and they confirm they have in stock. I rush through to the store at 10am, expecting to leave with my new phone. Once I get to the store, I inform the consultant I want an extra contract with the BBT as my current contract is not due for an upgrade yet. I fill out some forms and while he captures the details on his system I stand like a child in front of a Christmas tree waiting for his gift, only to be told that he will phone me to come and collect. It turns out that they send your information off to their Credit Vetting Department via fax and it can take 24-48 hours for them to approve.
The consultant hears my lip drop on the counter and after explaining that Canal Walk is out of my way, he tells me that he will do his best to get it through on the same day.
I hear nothing for the rest of the day.
On Saturday I phone the call centre and I am told that Credit Vetting is closed over a weekend and the store I visited is a WALK IN store only, so they cannot put me through. On Monday I find a number for the store 021 527 2000). A lady answers and tells me that it is a remote switchboard and they take messages for the store as it is a Walk-In store and someone will phone me back.
I hear nothing for the rest of the day.
Monday after work I drive through and stand in the queue for about 20mins and I end up at a lady sitting next to the consultant that assisted me. He doesn’t remember me, then again given the effort he seemed to exude keeping his bloodshot eyes open, I cannot blame him. The lady advises me that my application is still in “referral status” and her supervisor will phone me the following day.
I leave the store and visit every single provider in Canal Walk and they all tell me the BBT is on backorder.
Yesterday morning (11 January 2011) I phone the remote switchboard again…….let me fast forward……..I phoned MTN (remote switchboard and call centre) about 4 times and once I got transferred 4 times during one call only to end up with a number that goes to voice mail?!
At just after 3pm a lady by the name of Simone phones me from the store. She is the supervisor and promised to follow up before the end of the day.
I heard nothing for the rest of the day.
Today is Wednesday the 12th of January 2011, 5 days later and still no news.
Last year I applied for a Vodacom contract at the Nashua Mobile store and I walked in as a brand new customer. Almost 25 min later I walked out with a new contract and phone, they did the credit check right there in the store.
Here is the summary of my complaint and why I advise EVERYONE to stay away from MTN, regardless of their coverage:
- You are unable to contact their stores directly. You have to visit the store or leave a message. When you leave a message, be sure to buy a Lotto ticket at the same time….your odds of winning the Lotto seems greater than having your message attended to. Given the Consumer Rights notice in their store and the foundation of the Consumer Protection Act, one would assume that you have a right to be able to contact the store directly, a right to receive service?
- Their call centre (808) is unfamiliar with the brick and mortar processes and when you speak to them, they are so used to being shouted at, they almost instantly start to tell you how it’s not their fault and that they cannot do anything about it (before you even told them what the query is)
- To apply for a new contract, Credit Checks can take 24-48hours (or 5 days) and apparently MTN is in a financial predicament as the Credit Check department does not have phones…….
I always liked BlackBerry, but thanks to the Torch for shining a light on the lack of service and customer centricity that the MTN ethos reflects.
At 1pm, a short while after writing this post, I received 2 phone calls by staff having the “pleasure” to advise me that my phone is ready for collection and contract approved. I arrived at the store at 3pm. I walked out of the store at 4:40pm….1hour and 40min standing. They even had a chair for a pregnant lady waiting for us….at least they did that.
RICA: Just a note on this….it’s supposed to be this big deal. They typed in my number, my name and my address (on an invoice from my levies)….and that’s IT! Yes, great that it’s so quick to RICA, but I could have brought in any address, they do not even keep a copy of the proof of address….kind of beats the point, doesn’t it?