Its Theft so either PayBackTheMoney or GiveMeBackMyData

After I noticed that my Mobile Service Provider decided to help itself to a wad of cash from my bank account for alleged data I used, I decided that enough was enough so I switched over to Pre-Paid system (read about that here)

It’s been a couple of month and I can report back that the only regret I have is not having done this years ago!

Here are my findings:

Aware – I discovered that I am much more conscious about the time I spent chatting on the phone. Before making the call, I ask if this is something that could wait or do I absolutely-positively-need-to-chat-right-now? Most of the time, what seems urgent, simply isn’t. We just need to fight the “instant gratification” urge.

Effectiveness – I prefer an email or a WhatsApp. So do most people. Not only is there a clear record of the conversation, but it allows me to respond when it’s most convenient and not in between a hundred other things. We are too quick on the phone to say “yes/ no” but when it comes to putting something in writing, we tend to take an extra minute to double check what we are sending.

No worries – whenever I traveled abroad whilst on a contract, I used to worry that even though my data was technically switched off, I would return home to a thousand Rand bill. I know of too many horror stories. With Pre-Paid, I don’t worry at all. At worst-case-scenario, they can take the money that I deposited for my usage.

Simple – I bank with Standard Bank and just like most banking apps, there is a simple button that allows me to buy pre-paid airtime and pre-paid data. As soon as I see that I am running low, within minutes I am topped up. I haven’t had the need to pop into the shop to buy a voucher. Ever.

Minutes Carry Over – Here is the best part. My Voice Minutes do not expire. If I put into my pre-paid account R300, the R300 stays in my account until I use it up with voice calls. This could take a month or two or three or six. Unlike contract where your so-called “free minutes” carry over to the following month and then magically disappear if you don’t use them.

It’s Theft – Pay Back the Money

I have an issue with one thing on the cellular networks. This is the issue of Expiring Data. On pre-paid subscription, I pay R249 for 2GB of data. From the moment this is loaded onto my account, the clock starts ticking. Whatever data I don’t use in 30 days, like David Blaine, it just vanishes.  If I want more data, I have to pay for another Data Bundle which also expires 30 days later.

On contract, it seems like the data that you don’t use gets carried over for another 30 days and then vanishes. If you use more than your allocated portion, they have no issue charging you “out of bundle” rate. But if you don’t use your data it disappears and the DON’T PAY YOU BACK YOUR MONEY!

My question is why?

If I put into my car R300 worth of petrol, no one comes to siphon the unused petrol from my car 30 days later. I paid for it and so it’s for me to use.

So should we not be saying to the networks: either Pay Back The Money for the data you are effectively stealing from us or give us back my data that we paid for.

Its  theft #GiveMeBackMyData

*image from Shutterstock.com

4 comments

  1. I completely agree with the data not being used as being stolen from you. Worst is that they don’t end you a warning when your 30 days expire, so on day 31 you’re using data at out-of-bundle rates without realising it. But when you’re about to run out of data, they’re quick to send you a reminder to buy more.

    I also got cheated or if data from the wifi service provider for the building I live in. I bought 10Gb’s of data thinking that I would use all of it eventually, only to lose it 30 days later. There was no access to the duration of the voucher on purchasing it, but it was so easy to put in your credit card details!

    They are robbing us blind!

  2. Such an eye opener. Thank you so much for this article. I am shocked by how much I have been robbed by my network provider. They have guts to ask me to renew my contract! #the contract has fallen!

  3. Accounting. The thing you bought needs to be recorded in a financial month, so it has to expire sometime so that the accounts department can say something was supplied by the company for RX and was recording as such in month Y.

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