A Not So SMART Experience

I’ve been a Sun Cellular postpaid subscriber for more than 2 years now. I never had issues with them, except for the fact that their mobile internet on my location is poor. Something I really can’t do anything about.
I recently decided to get a Smart Gold postpaid. First, because I love their phone bundle, the moment I saw HTC ChaCha I told myself I would get one. And second, because I want a data plan. I’m a Twitter and Facebook addict. I need to go online ALWAYS!
Now, with less than 1 month subscription, I’m really getting more and more disappointed with SMART. Less than 1 month with them and I felt like I’ve been on their store far too many times. I’m getting frustrated more and more. I’m already having second thoughts and is already questioning my decision of getting a postpaid line with them.
My experiences at the Smart Store are all major-major headaches. Here are some of the most frustrating ones:
  1. I initially inquired for a postpaid plan in SM City Taytay Smart Store. Their customer service representative told me that in order to get the phone that I want, I must get their Data Plan 1000. Asking what’s in store for me if I avail of the Data Plan, she immediately told me that I’d get 100MB worth of data plus 100 SMS plus 40minutes call FREE. So I asked her if the FREEBIES she just told me is on top of the 1000 I need to pay monthly and if the 1000 is consumable, she said yes. But being the OC that I am, I checked out their flyers and re-verified her information with another CS agent who clarifies things with me. And told me that the 1K bundle includes only the above mentioned. Anything beyond it would cost extra charges. But since I lost my trust on the said agent, I went to SM Megamall to re-verify again.
  2. Subscribers are uber “lugi” on their Data Plan 1000. Imagine if we’ll compute the breakdown of their offer it’ll be: (1) 100 SMS equivalent to Php100; (2) 40min worth of calls is equivalent to Php260 [Php6.50/min] (3) 100MB worth of data is very far from the 250MB/Php300 that they offer their prepaid subscribers. While other networks offer unlimited mobile internet for Plan 1000 plus FREE SMS or call minutes. You do the math. I guess you’d all agree to what I’m saying here. Anyway, because I so love HTC ChaCha, I still avail the said offer.
  3. I got my phone in SM Megamall, I immediately verified if they have the purple one at hand coz I really want the purple phone. After they have confirmed that they have it, I immediately pay to the CS personnel and waited for my phone to arrive. But when they handed me the phone, it’s BLACK! Then they told me that the purple one is defective. When I told her that I’d be willing to wait for the purple phone, the CS agent immediately talk me out of it and told me I could no longer return the black phone. I was really pissed that time because before I sign anything, I verified if they have it in purple because that’s what I want. G.p then told me she’d have the housing replaced in HTC Service Center just so I wont feel bad. But then again if I think about it, they really should have verified it first if I’d be willing to have the black instead of the Purple. I know it’s just the color but it’s really important to me. And I already told them that I’m willing to wait for the purple one but they didn’t let me.
  4. After 2 weeks of having my phone, I noticed that my handset is defective. The front touch panel is slightly lifted. I compared it with a friend who also got a ChaCha, and I confirmed that mine really has a lifted panel. I actually noticed it the moment I got my phone but I thought it’s just part of the design. But as weeks pass, I notice that the problem is getting worst and the panel seems to stuck out more and more. So I immediately went to the Robinson’s Ermita Smart Store and asked what I need to do cause I want my phone fixed or replaced. Since I’m more than their 7-days return period, their CS agent advised me to secure a technical report from HTC so they can have it replaced. I told them if there’s anything they can do about it without me having to go to HTC since their office is open 9-6 M-F. I need to file for a leave if I want my phone replaced, something I don’t want to do. But they said they said I really need to secure the document needed if I want a replacement of my phone. So I didn’t have a choice but to take a leave and went to HTC service center to secure the Technical Report that they were asking. After HTC provided me the document, I went to Greenhills Smart Center and requested for the replacement of my phone. I told them what their Ermita branch told me. To my dismay, their CS agents are singing a different story. They told me they really don’t replace phone that’s more than their 7-days replacement period. That really pissed me off because if I was advised the same by their Ermita branch I should have asked HTC service center to fix my phone right away. Mind you, HTC service center is uber far from Greenhills shopping center. We even took a cab to reach it. Talk about major hassle! So Greenhills SMART Center just gave me the mobile certification and advised me to ask HTC to replace the unit for me. Which I really found weird.
  5. SMART CS people are giving different information. I mean, SMART should have 1 and the same rules right? But it seems like if I go to one store and try another, I’d have major headache because they’ll provide different advise. I verified it the moment I went back to SMART Robinson’s Ermita. Unlike the Greenhills branch, they told me that the report from HTC is insufficient. In Rob Ermita, they claim that it is possible for them to replace the unit if only HTC has indicated sufficient info on the report. I have checked out the report and I honestly think it’s fine. It is indicated on the report that my phone is working fine however, the device hardware is defective since my panel is lifted. I told the SMART Rob Ermita people that it is not possible for me to go back to HTC because that’ll mean another day off and I cannot afford to miss work again. I have already wasted 1 day just to have my issue fixed. Besides, if the Greenhills people told me the same thing, I should have easily called the HTC guys. Anyway, Rob Ermita photocopied my HTC report and told me that they’ll call HTC to re-verify. I told them to call me immediately once they have talked to HTC so I would know my course of action. I really want my phone fixed right away because I’m afraid that if I mishandled it the front panel would fall off. And if that happens, their warranty wont cover it anymore.
  6. SMART CS not doing as they promised. After 2days of not hearing anything from SMART, I emailed the HTC supervisor and asked if they have received a call from SMART and told them what SMART Ermita told me. They said no one from SMART called. And guess what? It was the HTC guys who were more concerned of my issue. I know you’d probably say its normal since my problem is really the handset and not SMART service but I hope you’d agree with me when I say that it’s more of SMART’s responsibility because I got the unit from them. Plus, if on the first time I went to SMART to inquire they told me to go to HTC because it is totally out of their hands, I wouldn’t have bothered them. But they PROMISED to replace my unit and they have caused major inconvenience to me, their new subscriber.
Now, I’m dealing with the HTC people and is still waiting for that promised call from SMART. I hope they’d eventually call without me having to go there first. Customer Service is a major factor in a company. I should know because I’ve been on the customer service for years before I changed gear and went to QA. However, customer satisfaction should always be prioritized to keep customers.
To SMART, please train your people well. Make sure all of them are aware of your protocols. Also, please always take into consideration the convenience of your customers. Another thing, if you say you’d call them please do call. I am saddened with the kind of service I am getting from you guys.And honestly, these headaches you’re giving me are not worth it. I hope this blog post would reach you and I hope you’d do something about it. Not just for me but for all your other subscribers.


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