After a somewhat longish absence due to several factors, including major electrical problems again, some more equipment failures, and the latest in a row of fun things happening to us, I come back tonight with a short off-topic rant.
Last week we went to a cocktail party in the Polanco area of town, and that evening Normita got her Movistar cell phone cloned. We are using prepaid plans as we do not use them enough to justify regular monthly plans, so we were somewhat lucky that it did not turn up into a major money loser. Normita had recharged the money on her phones some days before the event and she had not used it more than a few time before that evening. We made a call just before going in the restaurant where the cocktail party was held, and strangely enough when we came out she got an SMS that her balance was low and she needed to recharge again. Her phone was locked in her purse, and her purse was with here the full evening. During the entire evening she did not take the phone out ounce while we were at the party.
The next evening we checked her balance on the web it was empty and the log of the calls showed that from a few minutes after we arrived at the party to about the time we left there were a dozen calls made on her account, all to the same number, supposedly the WAP access number from Movistar.
We tried to contact customer service over the weekend and their phone systems did not have any method of dealing with any support incident, or even talking to an human being. We contacted their customer service via email twice and still are waiting to have an answer. On Monday she took some time from work to go to the Movistar office on Masaryk near her work in Polanco, and she wasted over an hour with some inefficient girl there who could not answer any of her questions on how this could have happened, and could not even give her any hints on how to prevent this in the future. After waiting for an hour for that person to do something, the only thing that was done was to fill a report as they cannot do anything at the store.
That evening she got an SMS that bluntly said that the adjustment was not accepted as the number dialed was the WAP number and that essentially they were telling here as a long time customer to just stuff it. She managed to reach on the phone somebody from sales, who assured her that she would try to find somebody to help her, but of course nobody ever contacted her. Today she finally managed to reach somebody from customer service on the phone, in a call center in Guatemala, and she explained the situation. Like in the store they cannot do anything, and they cannot answer any questions on how this happened and on how to prevent it in the future. The only thing that they can do is input the complain in their system as that kind of things is handled by another department that does not talk to customers.
Later today she got a similar SMS that the charge will not be reimbursed, and we never could talk to anybody about this complaint that actually could provide any feedback. It seems that the complaint department is behind a firewall from the people who take the calls, and that their only mean of answering is via SMS. If it had been an isolated incident I might have given them a second chance, but at the same time a coworker of hers, in an office with only 5 people, had the same problem happen to him, and he got essentially the same response from Movistar.
Since Movistar cannot or does not want to talk to its long term customers about their problem with cloning, or whatever other technical problems that get a bunch of calls billed to you when you are not even using your phone, since they are not willing to even discuss what you can do to prevent it in the future, and since they cannot even talk to you period, we definitely will not be recharging our phones just to given them more money. We can get another chip for the phone, but how do we know that it will not happen again next week or next month, if we do not know how the problem happened in the first place. We will take our business elsewhere, even though I am not crazy about losing phone numbers that we have been using for over two years, but the alternative of giving them money for bad service is worse than that. The other person at Normita’s office was not using his phone much so he will simply just stop using it.
We are looking at other cell phone companies, so if any one of you around Mexico City have any good or bad experiences with other cell providers drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comment section. I would advise anybody who has a Movistar account to check the calls placed on their phones to make sure that they are not ripped off by them. If you manage to find a way to contact somebody who can help please also let us know. We will not stay with them, but I would not mind getting the small amount that was stolen from us back, just so we know that they are not total frauds who do not care about their customers at all…