READING blogs about the saga involving Telkom’s insistance that Internet dialup during callmore time’s “FREE local and long distance calls of up to an hour per call” is not included in the “terms and conditions” of the ordinary landline contract, is like watching roadkill on the information highway as consumers get run-down by multinational corporate communications staff who think a R900pm phone bill is par for the course.
As an ordinary consumer, just wanting to experience a little bit of the net, in my own time, on a budget and on my own terms, I’m flabbergasted at this blatant denial of consumer rights.
Fortunately this country has some progressive legislation when it comes to telecommunications, and I would be extremely interested in seeing how Telkom manages to explain all this away with regards to contract:
a) They are not providing me with Internet Service, which I have purchased from a third party.
b) There is no connection between the contract I signed and the terms and conditions as they are being applied. Hell, there is no definition of modem or data, and absolutely no mention of the word “internet”.
Okay, okay, this isn’t bank robbery as we know it, and I have as much chance as an ant tackling a gorilla by going up against the Big Daddy of Service Providers in South Africa, but take into consideration the fact that my statement does not even reflect my usage. FRAUD? Dailing an ISP for an hour then hanging up and redialing, not a chance.
In the supreme hellishness of Grampy Telkom, calls to ISPs are “cumulative per 24 hours” i.e charged at normal rates. So despite the callmore bonus and niceness about getting connected, you still end up having to explain to the forces that be, why you spend at least 5 hours a day on the line to a particular number which everyone knows is a service provider. As far as I am concerned, this kills dialup and I might as well throw my modem away. Period.
Considering, a dedicated DSL line at 199pm is far more value and faster to boot, excuse the pun. WIth none of the hidden costs of dailup. Would I have willingly committed myself to this kind of punishment?
Either way I am stuffed, since this writer cannot afford to spend R900pm plus on slow-as-a-bat telecommunications that exclude the mobile phone and other nicknaks and what have you. Time for Telkom to meet the consumer protector? Time to sue for denial of service? More later
UPDATE: DRL has now submitted a complaint to the Public Protector calling for an order restraining Telkom from conducting fraudulent activities and forcing it to cough up a monthly telecommunications rebate.