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Safaricom, Impunitive Or Incompetent
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Safaricom, Impunitive Or Incompetent

I don’t know about you, but personally I’m not comfortable with these corporate heavyweights taking my hard earned money without earning it and getting away with it. This is not an unsubstantiated claim. I’ve always had this feeling that my airtime runs out too fast. Recently I had an experience that proved that it was more than just a gut feeling.

On Friday the 6th of April 2012 I ran out of airtime. At some point during the same day my daily data bundle expired and failed to renew due to a lack of funds. From experience I learn to always switch the data access on my phone off. If you don’t do this, the next time you top up airtime any data transfer on your phone will be charged at KShs. 2/= per minute, which is pretty expensive for mobile data. So from then on I don’t use my phone for anything but receiving calls and texts, which is free. Considering that it was Easter weekend and was planning on spending it with my new born son, that task was relatively easy.

I receive airtime from my girlfriend on the Sunday the 8th of April worth KShs. 50/=. Now I have airtime. The entire weekend goes by without me using the airtime. I don’t use my phone to make the first call on Monday morning on my way to work. I make a 40 second call to a 0751****** number. After the call I check my airtime balance and it was down to KShs. 16/=. I was shocked. Considering that the most expensive call I could make locally (within the country) should cost me KShs. 6/=, there is no way the call would have cost me KShs. 34/=.

I thought that maybe I was still paying the KShs. 8/= a day for internet. There was a simple way to find out. I would apply for a daily data bundle and if it refused to register it would tell me if I’m already registered for a daily data bundle (since you can’t register twice for a daily data bundle). But if it registered it would mean that since it expired it never renewed and I shouldn’t have been charged for the daily bundles. So, using the *544# code I registered for the bundle. Surprisingly it went through, meaning that I wasn’t registered for the data bundle over the long weekend.

This leaves me wondering where my airtime went. Even more surprising is the number of people who complain of the same sort of issues. I told my roommate of the incident and he told me of his. So did a number of others.

So, this has happened to more than half a dozen people that I know, all losing money to the same corporate company, how many more cases could be out there that I don’t know about? How much money is being lost in this way? Is Safaricom doing this on purpose? Is it a glitch in their systems? Are they trying to fix this? Will people be refunded for money lost in this way? And if the largest mobile service network in Kenya can do this to its clients who will hold them accountable? These are just a few questions that were left bouncing around in my head.

Apart from that there is also the issue of a daily text I receive telling me that I have insufficient funds to register for a certain service that I have no idea about. Apart from the daily internet bundles, I have not registered for any other service that I know of. And apparently I’m not the only one having the same experience. So, is Safaricom impunitive or incompetent? Either way, it doesn’t look good.

As the saying goes, “If you’re not a part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” So I’m doing my small part in writing about it and creating awareness within my circle. If you have a similar experience, post yours in a comment under this article and maybe if we create a big enough following, a solution might arise.

Let us collectively make a difference. Merv The Gardener.

Street Talk

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