I got a Landline Plus telephone for Minimal Government Thinkers. Before it was post-paid, then I shifted to pre-paid after a year. They gave me a new number, 701-6558.
Around July 19 or 20, I received a text from PLDT saying that the service under the P300/month plan will expire in 2 days. July 21, I went to PLDT office in Ayala, Makati. It was loaded P300, around 12noon. I was able to make 1 landline call that day, about 2 minutes. No call the next day.
July 23, around 5pm, I received a call in my cell phone from a friend saying that she could not reach me at my landline. I checked -- made an outgoing call, nothing. I called up the landline myself, it's dead. No outgoing, no incoming calls, the phone is useless.
I called PLDT's landline plus hotline, 101-328, past 5pm, pushed 0 to talk to a customer service representative. No one answered the phone. Another call before 7pm, no one picked up the phone again.
July 24 Friday, another call in that hotline, the same zero response from the customer care. The same on Saturday, no one picks up the phone among the customer care people. I did not call Sunday.
July 27 I was out of town. Today, July 28 Tuesday morning, I made 2 calls, still no one answers. I was terribly disappointed already. So I wrote a complaint letter detailing the above to PLDT in their Ayala office through my sister's staff. The messenger went there in the afternoon. A staff at the customer care did not even bother to read my letter and told the messenger that I should call 101-328. In effect I was told that I should call the number that is the subject of my complaint itself!
So that's triple inefficiency on the part of PLDT.
One, disconnecting my landline plus even after I have loaded the required P300 before the scheduled disconnection date.
Two, having a hotline number that no one answers.
And three, having a customer care staff at PLDT office in Ayala saying that I should call the number that I indicated in my letter, is the source of my frustration. Since they are customer service staff, they should have read entirely my letter and did any remedial measure why my Landline Plus phone is still useless even if I already paid them several days ago.
I thought that PLDT is no longer a monopoly. Because only monopolists are arrogant and inefficient, and customers have no other option but bear their laziness and stupidity.
But PLDT is indeed no longer a monopoly. So there must be some sense of professionalism left. I made another call this afternoon, around 2:30pm. To my surprise, a staff picked up the phone, introduced herself as Michelle. I immediately told the lady of my frustration that my PLDT tel. is still useless for 6 days now.
Her explanation? I loaded P300 two days before the scheduled expiration of my previous P300. Since I made one call, the remaining balance is only P296. Since it is below P300, they have to disconnect my tel. -- no outgoing, no incoming calls either.
Wow! Ok, since P296 is not the same as P300, I accepted the explanation. But my 2nd question, why was it so hard to call that hotline number so that one staff could have explained to me as early as last July 24 that I needed at least P4 of additional load so that my telephone will become useful again?
Her answer, they entertain so many callers and they could not answer all calls.
Ok, damage has been done, my phone was useless for 6 days now, for a crime of lacking P4 in the load that nobody in PLDT was able to explain to me earlier.
To my friends -- don't believe those cute promos and sweet talks by PLDT about their Landline Plus. There are hidden inefficiencies somewhere that can cause you some stress, if not anger.
After posting this blog entry here, I will email PLDT and see if they will make any response or explanation. If I don't hear anything from them, that means they are indeed callous. I will make another blog entry and spread to my various yahoogroups or googlegroups.
Meanwhile, I reiterate my position that further government regulations of telecom companies is not the answer to some of their unfair promos. As customers, we need more options, more choices, so it will be to our interest if there will be 5 or more players in the telecom sector, and not just the current 3 players. If one promo or one player is lousy, like the PLDT Landline Plus program, we can dump them and move to the other competitors.
More government regulations to a certain extent is favorable to the existing players. The latter may feel the pain of more government intervention, but such increased intervention also discourages other players and potential competitors from entering the sector. Thus the incumbent's oligopolistic control of the industry is retained and cemented.