The Not-So-Early Smart Retention Handset Scam on Retention Hotline *887

I’ve been a long time subscriber of Smart Communications Inc.’s post-paid plan. A little over a month before I can claim my retention handset,  I received a text message from Smart starting that I can claim for early retention.  Since the Samsung Galaxy S5 was available on my plan,  I opted to take it. I was instructed by SMS to call *887 for their phone sales channel / retention hotline. I thought I was getting a good deal since I was getting the Smart retention handset earlier. I thought wrong.

When I called *887 for the first time, I was answered by a very welcoming voice of a female customer service representative. I was told that the process would take around 2 weeks. I still proceeded with the application, two weeks is still earlier than a month right? Besides, they assured me that they would SMS me when the handset and my new SIM was ready for delivery.

After 2 weeks there was still no update from them. I called their *887 hotline again. I was advised that my application was approved and that my order was already forwarded to their warehouse  for allocation of a handset and then scheduled for delivery. I was a bit annoyed. I told them to just cancel my application and I would just wait for my retention date, two weeks from that time. They asked if I could wait another week for my order to be delivered. I again agreed because I believed they can fulfill their promise.

A week passed and no Smart retention handset and new SIM. I called them again and followed up. They said that the handset was due for delivery, and again requested that I wait another week. They promised that they will give me a tracking number for the delivery and an SMS update when the handset is about to be delivered. Feeling frustrated and helpless I again agreed.

Exactly one month from my application, and three days before my retention date, the handset is delivered. Since I was not informed that they were about to deliver it, I was not at home. During my application, I elected my mom as second recipient. The delivery guy demanded an authorization letter even when my mom was presenting her valid IDs. When she couldn’t produce the letter,  the delivery guy just told her that he would return the next day and quickly left.

When I learned about what happened, I was fuming mad.

Why?

  • First, the mere fact that I elected my mother as second recipient means that I already gave her authority to receive the handset in my behalf.  The first representative I talked to didn’t mention the need for an authorization letter for the second recipient. She said that the authorization letter was needed only when both me and my mom was not avaliable to receive the item.
  • Second, they did not SMS me or call me when they were about to delivery the handset. I couldn’t stay at home the whole week just to wait for them to deliver the item. Also,  how hard was it for them to just verify with me by telephone?  They have my phone number on record anyway.
  • Third, when I called their customer service hotline again to complain about the misdelivery, the representative was insisting that it was my fault for not preparing the authorization letter. When I explained that I was advised that it want necessary,  she insisted that it was their policy. If that’s the case, their policy is flawed.

Adding insult to injury, when I asked them to activate the new SIM card, they told me that it would be activated within 24 hours. After 36 hours and 5 calls to their Retention hotline *887, the SIM card is still not active.

It seems there are two systems that are working here: the Smart Sales Channel / Retention Hotline *887 and the regular customer service *888. The sales channel works so slow and inefficient that if ever you get trapped in their system, Smart’s regular customer service cannot do anything. Even if you go to their Smart wireless centers, they would just tell you to call *887.

I hope my experience is an isolated one and that this is not the normal process of claiming your Smart retention handset through their Retention hotline *887.

My suggestion, if you want to get your Smart Retention handset, just wait for your retention date and go to a Smart Wireless Center of your preference. Stay away from Smart Sales Channel / Retention Channel *887.

Forgive But Don’t Forget

Forgive But Don’t Forget

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I often take some time off from my busy schedule to just sit down and do some idle thinking. One particular afternoon, my mind wandered off to the topic of forgiveness.

Here’s how the ideas played in my mind:

If you forgive it means you understand and accept the act and you are willing to move on beyond that act. But, to forget means to be vulnerable to the same act all over again. My suggestion: Forgive and Learn.

Learn to know who you can trust. Learn to know who you should not trust. Learn to avoid the same mistakes.

As one of Albert Einstein’s quotes goes,

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

To apply that quote to an example: You are insane if you keep letting a person or group of persons hurt you again and again because you forgive and forget them every single time they hurt you.

The prevalence and wide acceptance of forgive and forget mentality has damage and corrupted our culture to a terrifying extent. We have convicted criminals in government, elected again and again.

We have political dynasties whose criminal track records go as far as the American occupation but are still in power.

If we take a look at current events, the show of arrogance by the Mayor of Makati and his family is an example. As everyone on the Internet knows by now, the Binays blatantly and shamelessly forced their way into a closed entrance gate of a private and exclusive subdivision in Makati. Their reason for doing so: according to them it’s their privilege because they are in power.

Now, this type of arrogance is being discussed online and a lot of people are expressing disgust. But the sad truth is, after a while, the masses, the urban poor majority, and the uninformed and uneducated people will forget this incident. A lot of these people will just forgive the act because the Binays will give them dole outs — or false hopes. Binays are notorious for doing that. I can predict that when the 2016 elections come, the dark forces (pun intended) of the Binays will win. Why? Because a lot of people have forgiven and forgotten. (If you want to sign a petition condemning the arrogance of the Binays, please go here).

Now, this is my plea to every Internet user in the Philippines: Forgive but don’t forget. Help others not forget, too. Keep the discussion alive on the issues that have been exposed. Keep asking questions on official government social media channels. Keep resharing the (horror) stories of these criminals in the government or anywhere.

We, the people who are privileged enough to access the Internet, have the responsibility to know, inquire, verify and share information that will expose the criminals and wrong doers.

To save our future, we must all forgive but don’t forget.

Local Online Shopping: When Buying Local is Cheaper

Local Online Shopping: When Buying Local is Cheaper

I’ve often recommended to people that before they purchase any gadget or electronics from local stores they should check out Amazon.com or Ebay.ph. Lately, I’ve been doing a bigger part of my online shopping from the local online shopping site Lazada.com.ph. This time around, buying local was much cheaper and faster and generally better than buying abroad.

When I needed to replace my 2 year old Aqua Sphere Kayenne Goggle With Smoke Lens, I decided to check Lazada.com.ph for possible replacements. I saw one made by Zoggs, the Zoggs Phantom Tinted Soft Seal Clear Black Goggles that sold for Php 532.00. I know Zoggs was a good enough brand after reading several reviews of their products.

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I went to Amazon.com (where I bought my Aqua Sphere Kayenne Goggle With Smoke Lens) to compare the price and found that they were selling the same model I found in Lazada.com.ph at a much more expensive price of USD 29.40 or roughly Php 1,274.00. I was a bit surprised because my previous goggles were cheaper in Amazon than those sold in retail stores locally.

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So I ordered the Zoggs along with a digital weighing scale (for my fitness challenge) from Lazada Online Shopping Mall and had them paid on delivery (or COD). The items arrived the next day, similar to my last purchase from Lazada.com.ph.

So far, the Zoggs goggles are working great, and I’ve logged more than 20 kilometers of swimming with them.

zoggs-pool

I’ll do a formal review of the goggles on my other blog, Life.Change.Challenge. But for now, to compare it with my Aqua Sphere Kayenne Goggle With Smoke Lens‘, the fit and comfort of the Zoggs Phantom is not at far with the Aqua Sphere Kayenne. But it terms of lens clarity, the Zoggs is clearly the winner. 🙂

4 Things I Learned from Sun Cellular Customer Service

4 Things I Learned from Sun Cellular Customer Service

Last March 20, 2013 I signed up for Sun Cellular’s Plan 1699 that included unlimited Sun Text and Calls, Unlimited Internet and Unlimited landline calls. I believed it was a perfect plan for me since I will be going into several endeavors that required me to be constantly connected, offline and online.

But in my short time with Sun Cellular, I have called and engaged with their Customer Service more than a dozen of times. In doing so, I learned some hard lessons. I’m listing them below for your guidance and reference.

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Business and Patience

In business you need a lot of patience.
I’ve seen a lot of people get frustrated with their clients for taking to much time to comprehend what they are presenting or proposing.
Rather than getting angry with your clients for not understanding you, I suggest you make every effort to simplify your presentation to fit your client’s level of understanding.
One thing I’ve learned from 10 years of technical writing is that you should know the level of understanding of your target audience for your documentation.
So the next time you create a proposal or a presentation for a client make sure to take the time to know and understand them.
The easier they understand you, the easier for them to hire you.