Last week, I got a big surprise when I checked my Smart Freedom Plan postpaid bill. My bill usually amounts to only around P250/month, so getting billed almost P500 caused me to scrutinize my bill.
The reason I never exceed P250 is because I make sure that I never exceed my Mega 250 allocations. I have a Smart prepaid SIM which I use for prolonged mobile surfing using a pocket wifi, and I have a separate Globe prepaid phone which I use to call Globe numbers. I also periodically check my balance status so I am always aware of how much data I have left. I basically use my 100 MB Mega 250 mobile data only when I use Waze.
So it was a complete surprise for me to see my bill where I was charged for data usage when I knew (with proof) that I still had data left.
THE SMART BILLING PROBLEM
As you can see from my April 2016 bill, I am being charged for data usage on April 5, starting at 9:36 am, 11:31 am, 1:49 pm, and 7:27 pm onwards.
Fortunately, I have a habit of periodically checking my balance status. If you take a look at my status on April 5, 1:17 pm (same day as the charges), I still have 68 MB of data left!
It’s the same story for May 2016. I am being charged data usage even when my I still have data. My Mega Combo 250 started on April 12 and ended on May 12, with 100 MB of data.
Take a look at my last status check: May 12, 2016 – I still have about 15 MB left!
But I am being charged for data usage dated from April 12 – 27, dates within my Mega Combo registration.
See, this is why I still maintain a prepaid internet SIM for internet. At least I never leave more than P1.00 on my prepaid load, so walang nakakain. No headache. With postpaid, getting bogus charges is a hassle pa with all the reporting I have to do. Why am I the one who has to shoulder the burden of proof? Why am I the one who has to prove that they made a mistake, and why am I the one who has to waste my time getting them to reverse the charges? Isa pa lang nga ang postpaid account ko, ganito na sakit ng ulo.
REPORTING THE BILLING PROBLEM
I called the Smart Hotline at 888-1111 to report the billing concern. The reps all insisted that according to their system, I had already used up my data. I asked them to double-check, it could be that something is wrong with their system (not the first time it’s happened), because based on my own tracking AND THE BALANCE STATUS texts that I receive from Smart, I still have data left. I asked them where I could send screenshots, the reps said that they didn’t have any facility to receive my screenshots.
In the end, all the rep could do was just file a report so that “someone will investigate”. I did not feel confident that my concern would actually be given any weight or importance, though 🙁 It was like they did not even believe me because “according to their system”, I really had no data left.
I also contacted Smart through Facebook & Twitter thru private message and DM, at least there, I could send them the screenshots. It’s been 5 days and I still have not heard back from anyone.
DID YOU ALSO ENCOUNTER THIS PROBLEM?
I just wanted to share this hoping that I could help someone who is experiencing the same issue. Last month, J also complained to me that he got charged almost P1,000 in his Smart bill because of data usage. We just thought that maybe he just used too much data to browse online. Now, after what I saw on my own bill, I’m not so sure anymore. I suspect he had the same billing issue I did.
But he just paid his bill because he didn’t have the time and patience to scrutinize his bill, and he doesn’t check his balance status as much as I do. He just trusted that Smart will bill him correctly.
Anyway, I will update this post if I hear back from Smart. I hope that this is just a system glitch and that they will reverse the charges once they realize the mistake. Smart did a good move by offering to refund a week’s worth of bills to their postpaid subscribers when they had that signal outage last May 7. Hoping they continue their good guy moves 🙂
UPDATE: May 18, 2016
Seemed like Twitter was the way to go! Got a reply today telling me that they have already reversed the incorrect charges on my April bill. Still waiting for the results of their investigation into my May bill.
UPDATE: May 21, 2016
The incorrect charges on my May 2016 bill have already been reversed! Yay!
If you encountered the same problem as I did, I suggest sending the screenshots and your proof via Twitter Direct Message to @smartcares instead. The hotline was useless and I didn’t get any response at all from Facebook. Smart’s Twitter support works 🙂
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