Going through a rather extreme cash flow crisis meant that John (not his real name) was unable to pay his cell phone account that was already in arrears. He called the service provider.
The call centre operator told John that she could make an arrangement in exchange for a small portion of the arrears. John was impressed with the flexibility of the company and paid the agreed amount.
John's troubles were not over. Two days later, the phones were suspended again. He called - the company did not have the payment details. He sent through the proof of payment and once again the lines were reconnected.
A few days went by. Just a week after the initial call, the familiar voice was heard when John tried to make a call. "Your service has been suspended." Again!
This time a call to the call centre was not enough. Only a credit controller was able to do anything about the situation. It seems that the agreement with the call centre is only binding on the customer. Once the company has the money, it is able to change or cancel the agreement as it sees fit.
The company is MTN Service Provider. Almost four hours after the initial call, John is still awaiting a return call from the credit controller.