This is not an objective article written to evaluate the services provided by a telecommunication company working in country of origin (Lebanon). This is a post to say STOP for the theft done by the two telecommunication companies running this telecom sector in the more than 50 billion in debt country. And this is to summarize a personal experience which I am sure many have experienced as well.
First allow me to quote from Wikipedia: “As of 2011, Alfa and mtc touch, the two mobile operators in Lebanon, charge to customers among the highest rates in the world”. What a shame! But expected from a company with a no slogan (not any I am familiar off). So it goes like this: On 1 PM, I wanted to call someone but a pre recorded voice announes that I am not allowed to do any calls because the line I am using is blocked. So I call the free service number (111) to see what is wrong. To admit it, a gentlemen answers my call (of course after redialing like 6 or 7 times and hearing the sentence: “Due to many calls we are receiving, we are currently sorry to take this call”. This is the case of most of the people dialing this number. What the heck?! Get some more staff you cheap ****) and the guy goes explaining to me: “Sorry Sir but you have exceeded your maximum limit for the calls’ cost”. What?! There is a limit. I thought it is there when I ask for it in order not to spend all my money calling and then get caught with the sum of the bill in the end of the month, but I certainly didn’t put any limit. I thought its an easy procedure to tell the operator that I do not want a limit on my phone and continue my calls normally. But no, you are wrong again. Elie answers that I need to go to the company and pay an extra deposit to maximize my limit. It turned out that ALFA telecommunications wants you to put in advance the amount of money you are willing to maximum spend in their hands before you use them. If I know something about banks, it is what they do, they take your money in the first place, make money out of it and give you bits and pieces. So ALFA is taking my 100$ (it turned out that sometimes even more) multiplied by thousands of users and work with it.
I had to ask if I have already exceeded my limit by calling for a 100$ cost but the answer was NO. You used 40$ (check below – I deleted my number and last bill records for obvious reasons) and here I had to blow it in the operators’ face saying that this is absurd. I am only allowed to call with 40$ (maximum 7 hours of calls) and he explains: “No, the limit is 60$ (10 hours then, ha ha ha)”. Logical Question: Why am I then blocked from using the service? Now prepare yourselves for the most absurd answer a company can provide: “Because your extra megabytes of internet usage combined with your phone calls cost exceeded the 60$ limit”. What the heck?! First you should know that the respectful company sells the 100 MB of internet usage for Blackberry users for 40$ and each extra 1 MB is for an additional 1$. Pure robbery! I quarreled with the operator that I was not informed about such a “limit” and it is “stupid, insulting and greedy” not to mention that they can’t combine the extra megabytes with the phone calls. Let us suppose I used 50 extra Megabytes, this means I can call for 100 minutes only?!
This led me to check if they ever mentioned to their costumers any of their “future seeing predictions of theft (as you are, you shall be treated)”. I checked their website and it does say (in a much hidden section up under Packages/Alfa Postpaid/Our Tariffs that a deposit of 100$ should be placed but they mention nothing about a limit and guess what BlackBerry service is NOT even mentioned on the website). When asked about whether these terms are mentioned anywhere, the operator said that if I have asked, they would have told me”. Amazing costumer service, shouldn’t the company call me in advance (2 to 3 days prior or 10$ before extra limit and explain?!). Anyhow, congratulations ALFA you just made it to my blog, and won an extra angry costumer.
PS: I will not go on Monday to your offices (I do have a life you know). You can close my line and it will be very nice to talk about my experience on a panel discussing businesses in Lebanon! 🙂