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Finweek English Edition - - Letters - SI­MON DIN­GLE si­mond@fin­

OVER THE PAST MONTH has re­ceived sev­eral let­ters from read­ers claim­ing to have been over­charged by MTN for data (In­ter­net) ser­vices on their ac­counts. We took your let­ters to the net­work provider and re­ceived the fol­low­ing re­sponse from Brid­get Bhengu, se­nior man­ager for PR and com­mu­ni­ca­tions at MTN South Africa.

“MTN would like to con­firm the data charges that have been billed are valid. How­ever, we would also like to in­form our cus­tomers that we view this mat­ter in a se­ri­ous light. We prom­ise to in­ves­ti­gate th­ese bills in­di­vid­u­ally and feed­back to them when the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is fi­nalised. We would also like to as­sure our cus­tomers who have queried their bills that we will not ex­e­cute debit or­ders other than the nor­mal monthly av­er­age pend­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion out­come. Fur­ther­more, MTN would like to give as­sur­ance to th­ese cus­tomers that their ac­counts will not be sus­pended dur­ing the pe­riod of in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

Read­ers also com­plained of MTN be­ing un­re­spon­sive and not re­turn­ing their com­mu­ni­ca­tions, par­tic­u­larly af­ter con­tact­ing MTN’s call cen­tre. MTN has ap­pointed John Kon­dowe to take care of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions and con­tact sub­scribers. He echoes the mes­sage put for­ward by Bhengu. He says MTN is thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gat­ing the on­line ac­tiv­ity of cus­tomers who claim to have been over­charged. “We’re in the process of com­pil­ing such de­tails for each case and pro­vid­ing them to the clients,” says Kon­dowe.

“It would be pleas­ant to pro­vide time­lines to all con­cerned, but know­ing the size and ex­tent of the web­sites and the In­ter­net the per­mu­ta­tions of which sites were vis­ited and for how long, what data or im­ages or other me­dia was down­loaded and in the in­ter­est of ac­cu­racy we can­not do so at this time. We hope to do so in the very near fu­ture. We’re do­ing ev­ery­thing in our power to pro­vide clar­ity on this is­sue to all con­cerned in a trans­par­ent man­ner.”

Kon­dowe in­sists there were no er­rors in MTN’s billing and that the re­ports be­ing com­piled will prove that. MTN de­clined to com­ment on the re­sponse cus­tomers re­ceived from its call cen­tre.

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