A long time customer wrote on the Facebook page of Singapore Telecommunications Limited (Singtel) to express his disappointment as to how the largest mobile network operators in Singapore handled a dispute caused by a hidden charge not revealed by a sales person who had persuaded him to subscribe to a 'free' MIO TV.
Sogon Leong, the customer, had been told by the Singtel sales person that he got a 3 months free MIO TV with no charges at all even though he had insisted that he did not want it. The sales person had said that it was part of the promotion package for the Fibre Broadband. If he returned the box before the 3 months he would not need to pay a single cent.
However, later he found out that the MIO TV is a 3 months contract with 3 months box rental free, but the subscription is only 2 months free. He then reported into Singtel hotline and more than a week after, the company staff called him on 13 June and told him because he had signed the agreement they could not do anything about it.
Sogon Leong also called the sales personnel who had come to his house; he picked up the call and after knowing who was calling, the sales person hanged up on him and then blocked his number.
This is the full public letter from Sogon Leong to Singtel:
“I am utterly disappointed with Singtel. I have lost all my trust in you. You disgust me with your fraudulent misrepresentation. Your sales personnel has verbally promised me that I will be given 3 months free MIO TV with no charges at all even though I insisted that I do not want it at all. I don't even need MIO TV and he said that it was part of the promotion package for the Fibre Broadband. He said that I just need to return the box before the 3 months and I will not pay a single cent. So naturally, I just agree even though it's a hassle for me to spend the time to return the box. Later I found out that this was not the case, the MIO TV is a 3 months contract with 3 months box rental free BUT the subscription is only 2 months free. What the fuck is this? Intentionally hidden charges to cheat people of their money for that 1 month? I have been a loyal customer for more than a decade and have always recommended friends and relatives to Singtel. This is what I get? I reported into your call hotline and more than a week after, your staff called me today and told me I signed the agreement and they cannot do anything about it?! They even demand evidence when this is a home visit from your company and everything is done digitally on the tablet so how can I have any evidence on my end.
I even called your sales personnel who came to my house, he picked up the call and after knowing who I was, he hanged me up and now I believed he has blocked my number because all I get is "Line Busy". What nonsense is this? I cannot comprehend how such a big company like yours has to succumb to such petty fraudulent thefts. I only know the sales personnel as Han and his phone number is 90852762. I DEMAND A PROPER EXPLANATION! Otherwise, you have just lost one of your loyal customers and I will just have to spread this to the world.”
Netizens commented on Sogon Leong’s post:
Kelvin Koh Tong Weng wrote: “I think they just lost one customer 😕 and perhaps many more following up.”
Keverne Tee wrote: “The sales personnel you encountered are most likely outsource by Singtel to a 3rd party company. They usually don’t have control. When such incident happen, Singtel will just say they are only a service provider, and will based on the agreement you have sign. Already gave up on them long time ago. Hopeless,”
Jeremy Lim wrote: “Don't bother replying them here. They will just ask you this and that, in the end matter wont be resolved. Its like talking to an A.I. and they will just restart the conversation back to square one again. I am now waiting for my last line to end contract and break off from them after 20years with them. Good Riddance i should say! Lousy service.”
Then Singtel wrote to Sogon Leong’s on the post, which shows the lack of attention:
Singtel wrote: “Hi Sogon, we are sorry to learn about what happen. ;( Able to share with us which outlet you had signed up the package ?- Zack.”
And Sogon Leong replied:
Sogon Leong wrote: “If you read what I wrote above carefully, you would know it was a house visit. Argh.”
About two hours later another Singtel personnel replied to the post:
Singtel wrote: “Hi Sogon, upon completing your transaction, could I clarify if you've received a Service Agreement via email? Was the said promotion indicated on your Service Agreement as well? – Priscilla;”
Sogon Leong replied:
“Singtel that's another issue. Your sales personnel gave me his number and said I can message or call him if any problems. I did not receive the contract until much later which is why I tried calling him and he didn't answer so I sent him a message. Let me show the screenshot.”
“Singtel Argh, I can't post a picture here. Anyway, why you guys keep trying to push the blame away and ask about the Service Agreement? Even the person who did the installation told me the same thing that I don't need to pay anything as long as I cancel the MIO TV because I asked him as well just to double check. I don't even need MIO TV at all, you can even check our usage. We tried to use it but we just don't have the time for it.”
“So you are saying that I shouldn't trust the words of your salesperson and should check through every single detail in your service agreement before signing? In that case, what are your salesmen for? Aren't they supposed to provide professional services to ease customers through the paperwork and sign up for your services easily?”
Since then, there has been no response from Singtel on that post. However, when Sogon Leong received his monthly bill just a few days later, he saw that Singtel had deducted the unwanted one month MIO TV subscription fee from his monthly total.
So it seems the matter is now settled, but the entire incident leaves a lot to be desired in the way Singtel handled the inquiry and complaint. After what seems like a half-hearted attempt to resolve the issue without accepting blame on an online public forum, Singtel then decided to just write-off the mis-charged subscription fee quietly and without any form of apology or acknowledgement either in private or public.