Monday, October 19, 2009

Hello, PLDT?

I came upon a little-known fact about my PLDT subscription because of Typhoon Ondoy. The phone services in our area in Pateros/Pasig went down in the evening of 10 October 2009. When I called up PLDT's 172 hotline, I was told this was due to a major cable problem, and that they would not be able to provide an estimate on when services can be restored. In the past week or so, I have been calling their repair hotline, and in the few times I got lucky and was able to talk to a customer service representative, they still could not provide a commitment on this.

However, what really surprised me was their answer on whether we are entitled to a rebate for the disruption of service. All the customer service representatives that I was able to talk to confirmed that when services have been restored, I should call their Billing Department to apply for the rebate. Otherwise, no rebate will be made. This is even if I have already reported the problem to their call center.

Are their Technical and Billing departments separate companies that are not capable of sharing information? I am pretty sure the Technical Department is aware of the service disruptions, especially those as massive and as persistent as what happened to our service area. Can they not share this information with their Billing Department so that rebates can be automatically credited to affected subscribers? Why are they passing on this responsibility to the subscribers?

Let's do some math.

Assuming that each subscriber is paying P999 a month, and there was a 10-day service disruption. This translates to a rebate of about P333 per subscriber. Assuming again that out of 10,000 affected subscribers, 80% are not aware of this policy or do not have the patience of Job to wait to be connected to the billing department. That is a whopping P2,664,000 overpayment to PLDT! Now imagine how many household have been paying PLDT for non-existent services since they implemented this patently stupid policy.

Is this onerous policy of PLDT not covered by the Consumer Protection Law? If they can grant a rebate for service disruptions if the subscriber asks for it and their Technical Department verifies the complaint as valid, why can't they do this on their own and provide the adjustment automatically? They have the system and all information in place, why put the burden on the consumer who may not even be aware that they need to call the billing department to get the rebate that they are entitled to in the first place?

Highway robbery. Scam. Predatory trade practices. Is that how you call it?


fan said...

I have had the same problem with SMART sales not talking to the billing people and it takes a personal trip to customer service to get it ironed out.

Read the latest Philippine Telecommunication News here

nathan said...

same problem with Globe....