Reader was charged for unwanted smartphone after three years
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
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.)
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