I have been a happy user of Smart’s postpaid Freedom Plan since it first came out in 2012. I didn’t have any problems with it and even convinced my immediate circle to switch to the Freedom Plan.
This was the moment when I changed how I looked at Smart. Before that, I always thought of them as the “madugas” (unscrupulous) network, but that all changed when they offered the Freedom Plan, the Mega Combo 250, and the Free Internet thing last year. They suddenly became my “hero” telco, a place in my heart they have maintained until they came up with the much hated Surfmax earlier this month, after which they have plummeted down, down, down to the level of… (let’s leave that to our imaginations).
The Freedom Plan was a great plan – the best offer on the market, that’s why I jumped in and subscribed. No lock-in period, and no set monthly fee. Too bad they discontinued this plan a few months ago.
Anyway, my problems started last year. I am registered to Mega Combo 250 – this includes 3 hours of Smart/Sun calls, unlitext to all networks, and 100MB of mobile internet, good for 30 days. It’s enough for my needs and I never go over. In spite of all the Load Protects and Safe Surfs or whatever it is they are calling it now, I am still paranoid about incurring extra charges, and I check my balance often.
FACEBOOK VAS CHARGES – SYSTEM GLITCH
Last year, I started noticing these Facebook VAS charges on my bill. I’m like, what is this? I still have data left, so I should not be charged any Facebook access charges when accessing Facebook using mobile internet.
I called the Smart hotline. At first, most of the agents weren’t familiar with the issue. But my requests for reversal would inevitably be processed because I really shouldn’t have been charged those Facebook VAS charges. After several months of this, and having to call the Smart hotline every month, I noticed that Smart finally noticed the problem and realized that it was a system glitch.
It was still a hassle to call Smart every month to have these charges reversed, but at least the agents knew what it was now and knew what to do.
During one of these calls a few months ago, one of the agents recommended “aligning” my Mega Combo 250 renewal date to my Smart billing cut off date. My cut off date is the 5th of every month. Not thinking anything more of it, I agreed. He then pro-rated my current Mega Combo 250, and then started a new Mega Combo 250 registration that would take effect concurrent with the cut-off date, and had it auto-renewed.
In theory, my Mega Combo 250 should auto-renew every month at the same time as my cut-off.
IT WAS THE WORST DECISION EVER WHEN IT COMES TO MY SMART POSTPAID!
During the next month, on the 5th, I received a text message from Smart telling me that my Mega Combo 250 had expired. I am on auto-renew, so within 1 minute, I would usually get another text telling me that my Mega Combo 250 had been registered. But that day, I waited and waited for hours and didn’t get any notification at all. I double checked by texting Status to 9990 and found that I was not registered to any promo!
I needed to be able to call and text people that day, so after a few hours of waiting, manually registered to the Mega Combo 250 by texting the code to 9990. I was now registered to Mega Combo 250 again, but I wondered why the auto renewal failed.
I thought everything was fine now, but Behold! after 1AM, on the 6th of the month, I suddenly got a text telling me that I was subscribed to Mega Combo 250! Again!
I double checked my account status and sure enough, I was registered to Mega Combo 250 twice!
I called the Smart hotline again. Apparently, in Smart’s billing system, whenever it falls on a month with 31 days, your 30 day promo ends one day earlier than you expect, and you are left with one “hanging” day when you are not registered to anything. They explained that this was to avoid being billed twice on the same billing period. They wanted to avoid the registration falling within the cut-off period twice, which would happen if the month had 31 days instead of 30. Mega Combo 250 is only good for 30 days.
I asked them, what would happen to that one day when I am not registered to the promo? Will I still be able to call and text people and will it eventually be adjusted to be included within the Mega Combo 250? Some agents told me that I could have the charges adjusted/ reversed. Some agents said no – according to them, for that day, I can still call, text and use mobile internet, but will be charged regular rates!
Well, EFFF that!!! The whole point of registering to a promo is so that I never have to pay regular rates! Not even for one effing day! You might think it’s being cheap, but I shouldn’t even be charged regular rates in the first place – AND these things can add up! A few calls, texts and Waze for one day can add up to around P300 on regular rates! Better to nip it in the bud.
What is the point of subscribing to a promo and have it auto renewed when there will be days that won’t be covered? I WAS BETTER OFF WITH MY PREVIOUS SET UP, REGISTERING TO MEGA250, AND AUTO RENEWING GO MEGA250 VIA TEXT!
Apparently, there are 2 types of auto-renewal within the Smart system – one is auto-renewing via the “system” by the Smart agent, and the other type is when the subscriber does it via text, which I did before this whole mess.
I would be perfectly fine with an additional pro-rated 1 day Mega Combo 250 charge of P8.33 (P250/30 days) to cover the extra day, but apparently they can’t do that.
I asked them if there was an option to not have the renewal pegged on the 5th, and just have it auto renew every 30 days, just as it did before when I auto renewed via text. But there was no option for that. “So,” I asked, “are you telling me that I am stuck with the limitations of your stupid, shit-for-brains system?” Yes, they tell me. I can give them a call and try to request for an adjustment if it happens again daw. I’m like, hello, you mean I have to call Smart every time the month has 31 days?
This is the stupidest workaround I have ever heard of.
And you know what, I don’t care! I don’t mind if I pay P500 this month and then zero next month, as long as all my days are covered within the promo!
Until now, I am still dealing with child problems that arose from this mother problem. Nanganganak ng nanganganak ng issue (keeps giving birth to new issues). I wasn’t planning to share this experience on the blog, but I was on the phone with Smart again today, twice! It is just too frustrating, and I hope my sharing this helps someone avoid a similar mistake.
I am close to resolving this by having them cancel the system auto renewal, among other things, but some issues are still pending, and hope that things with Smart go back to normal next month.
If you are auto-renewing a promo and you are on postpaid, just do it via text and don’t let the Smart agent convince you to have it “aligned” to your cut-off date. Spare yourself some unforeseen consequences of that action.
This was too much time wasted on what should never have been a problem in the first place.
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