Un­called-for dis­con­nec­tion

Reader was charged for un­wanted smart­phone af­ter three years

Gulf News - - YOUR TURN -

I con­verted my con­tract with du from a pre­paid to a post­paid con­nec­tion in 2014, and as part of the deal, re­ceived a Sam­sung S5. Shortly af­ter this de­liv­ery, du shipped a sec­ond hand­set to me, which was the same model. I kept this hand­set in a sealed box in my of­fice, ex­pect­ing du to con­tact me in case this sec­ond de­liv­ery was an er­ror, but no­body con­tacted me. I even­tu­ally reached out to them my­self, ask­ing to con­firm if they wanted this hand­set to be re­turned or if they had shipped it to me as part of a pro­mo­tion or some­thing — no one from their side ever re­sponded.

In April 2017, three years later, some­one from du sud­denly called me to re­quest the re­turn of this sec­ond hand­set, in­form­ing me that, fail­ing to do so, I would have to pay for the de­vice. I couldn’t even re­call what I had done with the phone and found it pretty odd that, af­ter such a long time, the com­pany would come up with such a re­quest, and raised my con­cern about this rather, well, ques­tion­able, re­quest. The agent promised to con­nect me with a man­ager to dis­cuss it; this never hap­pened.

A few weeks later, I re­ceived an SMS from du in­form­ing me that my credit limit had been reached and they re­quested me to pay Dh3,940 im­me­di­ately, oth­er­wise they would cut off my con­nec­tion. On call­ing their call cen­tre, they even­tu­ally found out the same agent I had spo­ken to in April had ad­vised their Billing Team to charge me for the hand­set plus fees, in­stead of do­ing what we had agreed upon — es­ca­lat­ing this is­sue to the man­ager. I was now promised some­one se­nior would reach out to me and my line would not be dis­con­nected un­til this is­sue was re­solved two hours later, my line was no longer reach­able.

Af­ter com­plain­ing to a vi­cepres­i­dent of du, an­other agent called me, now promis­ing to find a mu­tu­ally ac­cept­able so­lu­tion for this is­sue. I even of­fered to buy a brand new Sam­sung S5 and re­turn this de­vice to a du store if this hand­set was so im­por­tant to them.

The agent called me back shortly af­ter­wards, telling me that, af­ter hav­ing spo­ken to the rel­e­vant ac­count man­ager, they had de­cided to waive the amount in ques­tion, as long as I would ex­tend my con­tract with du that was about to ex­pire. I specif­i­cally asked him to con­firm that they would not load the costs for this sec­ond hand­set to the new con­tract, which he con­firmed.

A few hours later, I re­ceived an email stat­ing that as soon as I choose the tar­iff for the new con­tract, they would load the costs for the hand­set to the con­tract.

I, there­fore, de­clined this of­fer and con­firmed in writ­ing that I would now buy a new Sam­sung S5, re­turn it to du, and send the re­ceipt to this same agent, al­low­ing him to set­tle the case and to clear my ac­count. I re­ceived no re­sponse. In­stead, again, con­trary to the sta­tus of the dis­cus­sion, the full amount, plus a few more dirhams, were taken off my credit card on May 8, 2017 with­out any prior cor­re­spon­dence or no­ti­fi­ca­tion.

A few emails fol­lowed af­ter­wards in which du ac­knowl­edged the fact that I had in­deed been promised a full re­fund and also even­tu­ally pro­vided me with an ex­pla­na­tion, telling me this very high amount was mainly made up from an early ter­mi­na­tion fee — for a con­tract I have not signed, a de­vice I haven’t asked for.

All at­tempts to re­solve this is­sue from my side have been ig­nored. My re­quest to send me proof that I have ac­tu­ally signed for two hand­sets have been ig­nored, my re­quest to send me a de­tailed break­down of the amount in ques­tion has been ig­nored, and so has my re­quest to ex­plain how du jus­ti­fies charg­ing an early ter­mi­na­tion fee for some­thing I have nei­ther signed nor or­dered! From Mr Arnd Her­rmann Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi

A spokesper­son from du re­sponds:

In re­sponse to Mr Her­rmann, fol­low­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the mat­ter, our team has con­firmed that the cus­tomer had mis­tak­enly re­ceived two de­vices in­stead of one from a third party provider, which he was con­tacted about. Af­ter dis­cus­sions, we have reached an am­i­ca­ble set­tle­ment with the cus­tomer. We apol­o­gise for any in­con­ve­nience he may have faced.

Mr Her­rmann re­sponds:

It is with great de­light that I would like to in­form that du has in­deed trans­ferred the re­fund to my credit card now. Thank you Gulf News, for the sup­port. With­out the news­pa­per, I wouldn’t have been able to get to a res­o­lu­tion of this in­ci­dent.

(Process ini­ti­a­tion: June 14. Re­sponse from or­gan­i­sa­tion: July 25. Reader con­fir­ma­tion: Septem­ber 5.)

Ed­i­tor’s note: Do you have sim­i­lar is­sues that you would like to raise with us? You can write to us at read­ers@gulfnews.com

Gulf News is not li­able for any of the reader-de­liv­ered con­tent on this page. It is a re­flec­tion of their in­di­vid­ual opin­ion and not that of the news­pa­per. This page will al­ways fol­low the prin­ci­ple of civil dis­course.

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