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BlackBerry Torch shines a light on MTN (Miserable Telecomm Network) service

Posted by: Wolfe

Tagged in: torch , RICA , MTN , blackberry


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?

Comments (5)Add Comment
written by Charmed, January 14, 2011
Hey Wolfe. Please don't copy and paste your blog from Word as it breaks the site display on Internet Explorer 8. Rather paste into Notepad and clear formatting and then paste. Thanks!
written by Wolfe, January 14, 2011
Nice...thanks for the tip...the first comment and one that makes me feel like a school kid that did something wrong....

That sux......obviously my mail is not working.....
written by msbodetti, January 18, 2011
I don't get it... Why is everyone else having problems with MTN? I got my iPhone 4 on the day when I went for my contract...

=¡= DragonFly =¡=
written by =¡= DragonFly =¡=, January 19, 2011
I feel your pain!!! Have been a loyal MTN subscriber for over 10 yrs and have 5 contracts with them. Keep getting crappy service and eventually escalated to the Area Manager, who managed to help out. Was very excited about my Nokia Navigator, went instore, got my phone, went home and played around with it. Phone starts zooming in and out all the time in all apps, drops calls and navigation wont work. I call the store to tell them the phone is faulty. They say give it a day or two and if its still an issue bring it in. So for a few days the phone is fine, but then starts messing about again. So i go instore (as i have a 7 day exchange policy), only to be told that i'm a day late to exchange, as the day that you are instore counts as day one and not only 24 hrs later, as the rest of the world calculates. Long story short... they send the phone away for repairs, i get it back 3 weeks later, all is fine. 4 months later issues reappear and phone goes back again! No-one gets back to me and i have to constantly call them for updates. 5 weeks later i get my phone back (i have the phone for 5 months now and it has been in for repairs for 8 weeks of the 5 months!!!). Phone is fine-ish. 6 months later starts having issues again. I get told to bring it in yet again, so how long will they keep it this time? Until my contract is up for renewal again?? I'll be taking it yet again and demand a swap out, as this is just rediculous!! Also had issues with the previous Nokia navigator. Needless to say, i wont be upgrading to Nokia again and i'm seriously thinking about porting to another network.
written by redsaid, January 24, 2011
I honestly think that all the cellular "service providers" in South Africa are in cahoots with each other to keep prices grossly inflated and to treat all of their overcharged customers appallingly. Maybe Red Bull's new mobile service will be less full of bull? Although I'm too cynical to believe it...

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