MAGANES: How telcos and banks are duping us
With the popularity of cellphones and tablets in today’s communication technology, many consumers subscribe to the services of telecommunications companies (telcos) by either using postpaid or prepaid services. There are three major telcos operating in the country- Globe Telecom that also operates TM, Smart Communications that also operates Talk and Text and Sun Cellular, and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT). All these major players sell services for internet use of Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity), SIM cards, etc. They compete with each other by providing promotional services to their subscribers.
However, have you ever wondered how your bills bloat or your prepaid loads get lost?
I have a very sad experience with Globe Telecommunications services. In 2015, I subscribed to the use of Wi-fi from Globe. Part of that subscription was a free phone (old Huawei with keypad) with a pre-loaded SIM card. Since I am already a prepaid user of Globe, (I also use a prepaid Smart SIM card), I did not use the free phone to avoid additional charges to my subscribed Wi-Fi services. From 2015 up to January 2017, I was religiously paying my Wi-Fi services. For the free phone not being used, I was billed more or less P4.00 monthly. However, surprise of all surprises, last November and December 2016, that free phone yielded bills of P694.20 and P689.72, respectively. I called the attention of Globe Telecommunications through its Twitter account “talk2Globe” and complained of the said billings. I told them that I was not using the free phone given to me besides the phone is obsolete, not a touch screen or smartphone.
Now, here’s the rub.
In our exchanges of messages, I told the Globe personnel that I will not pay the said billings because I haven’t used the services. They told me that the complaint was already forwarded to the consumers’ division of Globe for proper action.
Do you know the contents of my billings? I was billed for ringing tones and games that I have not subscribed. Globe Telecom informed me that it was due to value added services (VAS) coming from these numbers: 2151, 2363, 2474,2864, 2600,2624, 2630, 2662, 2684, 2898, 2332, 2333 and 2910. These are the 13 numbers that have been duping us for many years. Once these numbers have been sent to you, you are already billed for postpaid and corresponding deductions of your load if you are availing the prepaid services. That’s why we always wonder when our new loads are easily consumed. As an advice, don’t ignore these numbers. Once you receive text messages from these numbers, reply “STOP” in order that you will no longer receive messages from them.
Well, I stood firm of not paying my bills on those shenanigan service charges. Look at your bills, you might be duped just like me.
Let’s go to banking institutions.
Like telcos, banking institutions provide services to the people. They are the companies where your hard earned money are deposited, if you have opened an account, or where you can avail loans for emergency purposes. On the latter, banking institutions are competing with each other by providing the best possible loan packages to their clients.
Lately, many teachers approached me and complained about the services of City Savings Bank, Inc. located in Urdaneta City. They alleged that a certain Eleanor G. Cielo, branch operation head, has not acted promptly on their requests for the release of their loan balances or Statement of Account. The worst, according to them, was that the said bank does not release a Certificate of Full Payment or stoppage order when their loans have already been paid.
I found their complaint valid. Withholding the release of those stated above is a violation of Republic Act No. 3765 or the Truth and Transparency in Lending Act. City Savings Bank should have acted on their requests immediately and let the teachers decide whether they will still continue to avail of their loan services.
We are all aware that teachers are the usual preys of loaning institutions like banks, credit financing and even loan sharks. They are availing loans for their family needs because of their small salary pay in the government. In fact, they are often chided as from LONDON, “loan dito, loan doon.” Because of dire financial need, they often approach banking institutions that are open for loan services to them regardless of interest rates.
In the case of City Savings Bank , I was told that it offers 12% interest per annum with an effective rate of 7.5%. However, there are banking institutions that offer 6% interest rate. This is the reason why teachers want to transfer to other banking institutions from City Savings Bank on a “buy out scheme.”
What is “buy out scheme”? When a teacher has availed a loan from say, City Savings Bank in the amount of P300,000 payable in three years, after a year payment of loan including principal, the teacher will request for a loan balance or statement of account. This statement could be used by other banks that offer lesser interest rate to “buy out the loan”. The teacher could now avail of the remaining loans from the bank offering lesser interest, after which they pay the loan balance to the City Savings Bank.
If I were a teacher, I will do the same. I have to look for other ways to lessen the burden of paying interest rates. Why will I continue to avail of the services of a bank offering higher interest rate?
This is a call to the management of City Savings Bank. Please release the teachers’ statements of account (loan balances) and allow them to transfer to other banks that offer lower interest rates. You are there to provide services to the teachers and not to burden them with heavy interest rates and other charges.
(For comments and suggestions, email me at email@example.com. Visit my blog “The Roving Pen” at http://www.virgilmaganes.wordpress.com.)
Entry filed under: News.