Tuesday, May 20, 2008

sim card mutiny

Out of all the companies I've had to do admin with, surprise surprise, MTN is the one that makes me want to throw office furniture at the wall.

Shit the bed. (However unladylike that might sound. A friend gave me the ..the bed part, and frankly this calls for a special type of vulgarity.)

Who'd a thunk it. MTN the worst company over and over and over again when it comes to basic customer service and efficiency.

Ten out of ten for efficiency and service, Discovery. By the way. Different market aside, at least you treat people with basic respect.

MTN has unwittingly delivered an 'un-activatable' 3G data card to me. A dud. This could've been avoided perhaps, but I have a SIM that is worthless. The SIM card, it does not work. They're meant to, after a maximum of 48 hours.
For a week now, I've had to phone them everyday to activate it.

It goes something like this:
“Hello, I'd like to reference the last call I made, and I know you only work here and most people don't call up MTN for chat, so you're dealing with grumpy people all day long...but what, pray fuck, are you people doing?”

Lady: reference number please.
Peas: 555 555 5.

Usually I have to repeat this 3 times.

Lady: What is the problem?
Peas: I have a SIM card that hasn't been activated yet, and I got this modem 10 days ago.
Lady: Please hold...
Peas: No no wait I know what you're about to do, don't put me on hol...

[That really irritating MTN jingle ensues – you know the one, oh you know it, lots of whistling.]

And for 27 minutes – my phone tells me so - I wait. On hold. Yesterday I luckily StumbledUpon this nifty little sketch pad on my computer and made my thoughts quite clear through the medium of digital drawing tools.

Lady: Y'ello?
Peas: Dear God.
Lady: Your card isn't activated.
Peas: See, I know that you silly bitch, that's why I'm phoning you.
I COULD'VE TOLD YOU THIS BEFORE YOU PUT ME ON HOLD. What I am asking you is PLEASE could you actually activate it. I was told yesterday head office was on it.


Lady: I will get back to you.
Peas: Whatever. I'll phone you same time tomorrow and we'll have the same conversation.


The last rant I had, come to think of it, was about MTN. Oh that's right, just after my smash and grab where they also didn't activate my phone SIM card. And I needed to practically send them a pint of my own blood on a Saturday evening to get it done before the next 7 days. The fucking furore and admin over that.

Maybe this happens with all cellphone companies in the world. But I am willing to bet that somehow, anyhow, not. Stranger things have happened.

In the meantime I'm going to rant about MTN so that I don't dangle myself off the edge of the balcony.

Customer Incompetence is king. Can you whistle that?


amanzimtoti said...

I also had a bad experience with MTN when I ordered a 3G modem. I refuse to use vodacom though because telcom owns nearly half of vodacom and the goverment has a huge share in the telcom monopoly.

Discovery does have excellent customer service but they don't pay out well. If you ask any hospital, doctor, physiotherapist, etc. they'll say Discovery is one of the worst medical aids when it comes to paying out. It's all good and well to have nice fringe benefits but when you're sick and really need your medical aid, Discovery will not be there for you. And I'm speaking as a former Discovery member.

Peas on Toast said...

Toti - Yeah I've heard this about Discovery too. I wait with baited and hopeful breath, I've heard they take ages to pay out :(

c@th said...

wah! fuuuucking customer service does not exist at fuuuucking all. ARgh. sorry peas.

Peas on Toast said...

c@th - I honestly believe that MTN takes the phrase 'NO CUSTOMER SERVICE' to greater and more incompetent heights.

Gotta make the phonecall again. But going to have my coffee first. And maybe a tranquiliser.

Anonymous said...

Cellphone companies are not in the business of providing communication services to customers. They exist purely to con new subscribers to join and to keep existing subscribers from cancelling their contracts. The only way they actually manage to stay in business is because Telkom is worse.

Peas on Toast said...

Kyk - You're absolutely right. They make you sign two year contracts, and nearing the end of your contract, indulge you with a courtsey call so that you don't switch to another provider. And then they'll add more stuff to your itemised billing.

Without even asking first.

God they make me SO FUCKING ANGRY.

Billy said...

What an absolutely F*cking brilliant rant. One of your best ever.

"Can you whistle that?" - Pissed myself!!!

Peas on Toast said...

Billy - ah shot doll. Now if you could just cyber me some strong tranquilisers, I might be able to laugh as well :)

the branch manager said...

Peas, you may have read this before, but it remains the funniest letter of complaint I have ever read.


Mini said...

Sweet Pea.Havn't u heard of HELLOPETER?Mtn responds atleast.I also had a similar problem which got resolved thanx 2 HELLOPETER.On the brightside,they aint half as bad as TELKOM(HELLKOM).Havn't had a house phöne since JAN coz they say our area is a "HIGHTHEFT" spot and they currently "working" on a project for those areas.Not sure what that means.Have a fab day!

Peas on Toast said...

branch manager - Oh yes, this letter is a classic! 'Cretins' may be a bit soft for the y'ello cock knockers though :)

Mini - oh yes, I've heard of hello peter, I've considered it and then I thought 'shit, they must have 768 complaints to go through daily on hellopeter, so I'll just make it easier for the fuckers and stick it up here.' Whether they see it or not, or whether they even care - it was an opportunity to vent my SHEER HOT BALLS OF FIRE RAGE.

Charmskool said...

My 2 year contract with MTN just came to an end and they phoned me EVERY day to remind me to go and get my new phone which was all ready for me after a single phone call. NOW if I can just get them to cancel the itemised billing I never asked for! As for Discovery, we are forced to be members of this med aid by our company - their service is very fast - unless you actually need real medical treatment. My friend and colleague almost died recently, from an undiagnosed brain tumour. The doctor had told her she needed a brain scan, but Discovery would not pay for such a scandalous waste of money unless she was already in hospital. They paid for it when she was hospitalised due to seizures, blindness, excruciating pain etc. I am NOT impressed with them at all!

Peas on Toast said...

Charmskool - that's terrible! And not a good indication of Discovery at all. I'm also on it because I need to be, and although they've been friendly and efficient on the phone, I'm not looking forward to claiming back.

And yes, MTN will phone you everyday for your upgrade, but try and take off the stupid shit they add to your billing every month and you'll be on the phone for years to come.

Arrrrgh, all of this makes me want to be caveman.

Kel said...

Vodacom suck just as much.
Hope you get it sorted.
Fuck you can just see the c/s lady paging through her manual and not finding an answer for ya.USELESS!!!.

happy snapper said...

I have recently come to the conclusion, that people are morons. Especially people who sit with a phone attached to their ear all day in a customer relations office.

What the hell can you do though to get them off their asses? You could threaten to cancel your contract? Or sue them? Or, I dunno, stand outside their head office with plaquards announcing their incompetence to the world!!! Im sure you'd get a few hundred ppl to join you. Maybe Vernon could get involved?

Legend Lives On said...

Recent survey says SAB Miller has the best customer service around..

My question is.. Which drunk person is gonna call to complain..

On a serious note.. And as a MTN employee.. I am very brand loyal.. Therefore i highly recommedn Vodacom to anyone out there..

Ad dont worry.. Those 3G cards just look the part.. They seldom play it..


Jam said...

MTN. Mmmmm.
They did the same thing to me with a Sim card when my phone got stolen. I decided to actually go to the shop to get the Sim since it would take less time. Got the sim. 48 hours passed, no activation. Got another sim and then had to wait forever for that to be activated. I am so bored of service standards in this country. While sites like hello peter work, why does it take us all yelling and performing to get a response???

Peas on Toast said...

Kel - now that Vodacom has taken away that psychotic meercat, I'm less inclined to hate them as much as MTN. :)

Snapper - oh yes. It drives me fucking insane, I mean why should they bovver? And getting Vern involved, well he is already - being the new face of Vodacom, tee hee :)

Legend - On a serious note.. And as a MTN employee.. I am very brand loyal.. Therefore i highly recommedn Vodacom to anyone out there.., well you live up to your name, china ha ha ha ha!

So I can use my modem as an ornament hanging from my front rearview mirror right?

Peas on Toast said...

Jam - oh yes I remember that. Irt sounds pretty darn similar to my experiences as well, and yet they do nothing, ever, to change people's expectations.

I've been mentally preparing for the last two hours to do my MTN Call Of The Day.

It's coming and I'm putting them on speaker so that the office can hear for themselves.

Jam said...

Maybe you should record the message and post it here?

leez said...

People who know me will laugh and snort their coffees hen they read this. I've been having problems with CELL C for the past few months. Sorry to burst your buble but MTN is king when comapred to those third rate idiots. I don't even use Cell c. havent since last year March and yet they were billing me for a contract ever since. its a long story and maybe I'll write about it sometime soon but the reality is that all service providers that I've dealt with in this country are useless. thats a huge generalisation I know but its the truth.

Oh... by the way I use Vodacom. Much less hassles and their adverts are nicer.


happy snapper said...

I have been a loyal customer of Vodacom since 2001. Never changed.
But Leez, when you say their adverts are nicer, PLEASE tell me you're not referring to the ones with that STUPID MEERKAT!! :)
I like MTN's ads...the ones with the stop frame motion...pity their service providing isnt as good as their ads. Guess that's where all their money went...advertising.

Peas on Toast said...

Jam - I should podcast the whole fucken thing. Gaurenteed today's call will be exactly like yesterday's. And the day before yesterday's.

Leez - oh Cell C, so I've heard. Their signal is also pretty useless. Thing is I'm entrapped to MTN, there's no pulling out now. I have too much going on with them. And sadly, it's giving me grey hairs....

Peas on Toast said...

Snapper - I know the person who made the MTN ad. Ooh ooh :)

Nessers said...

Young Peas - get the name of the MD off their website and go directly to him - stop wasting time with the brain-dead call centre people as they are not paid enough to care and bitch on Hello Peter also - they will have a watchdog monitoring that for complaints about the company - maybe that will get you some action

happy snapper said...

Ah, no ways, Peas!!! Seeriyus?!?
I love those stop frame ads. My bro is studying 3D Animation, so they do that aswell, fascinates me! Which ad did your friend do? Or did he do all of them?!?! (except for the tony vs paul one...)

Peas on Toast said...

Nessers - you're right. Perhaps I'll cut and paste this rant into hellopeter along with my sketch. Maybe then they'll realise how FUCKED OFF I am right now...

Snapper - seeeriyus, and it's a SHE :) Long live girl power and all that :) She did the latest one you see on the tube all the time, with the people floating off the ground a bit. It was filmed in Nigel :)

leez said...

Happysnapper: No. That animated dancing thingy doesn't do it for me. I was talking about the ones with george. Plus they had Vernon Koekemoer. How could they not be cool?

Peas: Contact the national consumers forum. Just a bit of background, the government is at the moment reviewing the Consumer Protection Bill which is supposed to very consumer friendly and hopefully it will be passed by the end of the year. Until then just keep hanging on. No pun intended. ;)

happy snapper said...

Frikkin AWESOME!!
Please give her a super huge *HIGH 5* from me! Really good work!

Ches said...

Why does MTN always send double text messages? Do there subscribers know about this??

happy snapper said...

Leez - PHEW!!! Ok, Im so glad its not the meerkat. Whoever came up with that thing should be shot. Aswell as the person from Vodacom who actually liked it and signed it off.
Yeah, the George ones do make me giggle. And Vernon, well he's Vernon. Enough said.

Peas on Toast said...

OK chaop,s I hellopetered MTN. I wanted to whack this whole post up there, but it had a severe lack of character space and I had to do some frugal editing.

This is my hello peter post:
MTN the worst company over and over and over again when it comes to customer service and efficiency. MTN has unwittingly delivered an 'un-activatable' 3G modem to me. The SIM card, it does not work. They're meant to, after a maximum of 48 hours. For a week, I've had to phone them everyday to activate it. It goes:
“Hello, my reference is XXX.'
Lady: reference number please.
Usually I have to repeat it 3 times
Peas: I have a SIM card that hasn't been activated yet, and I got this modem 10 days ago.
Lady: Please hold...
Peas: No no wait I know what you're about to do, don't put me on hol...
And for 27 minutes I wait. On hold.
Lady: Y'ello?
Peas: Dear God.
Lady: Your card isn't activated.
Peas: See, I know that, that's why I'm phoning you. I COULD'VE TOLD YOU THIS BEFORE YOU PUT ME ON HOLD. What I am asking is PLEASE could you activate it. I was told yesterday head office IS ON IT. And the day before that, and the day before.
Lady: I will phone you.

the branch manager said...

Colleague of mine had a similar experience with Vodacom a few months back, same issue, same sort of response. The problem is, there's no real competition in the market, the three operators are basically in a price-fixing cartel. All more or less equally shit, because there's too much regulation and government vested interest in the industry.

Peas on Toast said...

branch manager - true words of sense, and for sure - there isn't enough competition and because everyone needs a cellphone from the fruit vendor in Hillbrow to the CEO of a multi-national, end of the day, they can all do what they want. It stinks.

Jam said...

sooo...have you braved the call centre again?

Peas on Toast said...

Jam - I did and put it on speaker. And true to my word, it was exactly the same as yesterday right down to the little things:
1) She asked me for my reference number 3 times
2) She put me on hold with the bad whistling jingle, this time a record time of 19 minutes, not 27
3) She promised to call me back

etc etc

And interestingly, according to hellopeter, MTN seems to have the most complaints out of any company listed.

Darkchocolate said...

sheesh what a sucky experience. i could feel mounting reams of fristration coming over me on your behalf. i have had a similar experience with a bank customer care line. i finally snapped and asked, extremely quitely for the so called helper's physical address upon which she got freaked and dropped the phone

bangersandnash said...

There is NO. SUCH. THING. as customer service in South Africa. Well with the exception of Vida, maybe. Unless the shop/company/whatever is run and manned by the owner, don't expect much.

Went to Hilton Weiner in Canal Walk last week, to do some late night shopping, and I am not talking shit when I say there were NO sales assistants in the store at 8:30 (30 min before they close). NONE. They were in the two neighbouring stores talking shit to the other useless sales assistants.

General employees couldn't give a continental about anything except using their cells to Mxit and FaceFuck each other.

And yes I have just experienced shocking service.

Aunty Helpful Dictator said...

here's something I've done in the past when repeatedly being ignored. Write a letter to them outlining your complaint, contact details etc, then photocopy the letter 10 times and fax all the copies to them at once. Do this several times a day... if no response make even more copies. The hope is that you completely clog up their fax machine and eventually they will sort out your problem to get you to go away.

It has worked for me in the past. And on the plus it requires a minimal amount of effort on your side. Better than waiting by the phone for half an hour

leez said...

AHD: Faxing them would work if their fax numbers actually worked!!!

Cell C's one does not. I had to email them repeatedly and still conatc ncf and ICASA to get them to acknowledge receipt.