Hidden Charges – A Confession!

Guest Post by Tehreem Ahmed

Alright! I want to make a confession in front of you all. I know that I am being cheated! Yes! I am being cheated and I so hate this fact that I feel like banging the head of the culprit on the wall. If not the culprit – then I know who’d suffer with my anger against this reality I loathe – my dear cell phone!

Well! Trust me, I am not insane – but I can’t get over the fact that I am being cheated all the time by these telecoms. And believe me – I know you are also the victim!

Hidden charge in a mobile phone package is paradoxical statement as the complete information about the price plan is advertised and propagated but with little emphasis. A number of marketing schemes are employed to shroud the exact tariff plan by either printing the details too faintly on the advertisements or by writing the details on the websites and if you don’t have internet access to check the website there remains no clue of tariff plan.

In general a user may be charged with following types of so called hidden charges in the deal.

  • Activation charges
  • Subscription fee
  • Daily charges
  • Daily package fee etc.

Let me act like the offspring of Sherlock Holmes and I’ll show you the real faces of these crooks. To bring in the limelight – we have this recent example of Ufone’s Bachat Offer.

They claim to be the cheapest rate providers. Sigh! How fake they are! The package of the cheapest rates is false claim as there are hidden charges in the name of daily subscription fee, including activation charges. So, at the end when you calculate the total amount spent, you actually end up paying almost the same price or more as other operators are offering. BANG! Ouch, it hurts!

The honest Telenor, in its recent offering of ‘49 paisas per 30 second’ followed the tradition. The tagline of 49 Paisas per 30 seconds is damn catchy – but again subscription fee of Rs. 3 plus tax is mentioned no-where.

Now, talk about the King of the ring. The country’s biggest mobile phone operator has launched a youth brand ‘such Jazba’ to compete with other youth brands available in the market, djuice, glow and Uth. Again, company failed to communicate ‘such’ in their advertisements as they have not mentioned ‘Daily Charges’ of PKR 3.99+ tax & ‘Daily Package fee’ of PKR 1+tax.

It will take my whole life to quote the examples in relation to this scenario (ignore the exaggeration); almost all the telecom brands do the same except for few. This is the time for the authority and consumers to raise question on this issue and ask the trust breakers to flow the factual communication.

You think I am crazy? Or am I just paying attention? Whatever it is – I am sure of one thing – I am not ALONE!

Unfortunately, today’s business environment breeds sneakiness. To raise the bar of their profits, companies have seized on scam. I am hurt and I will hurt them in return. On their face – I would say that the most successful firms are now the ones that hide their prices best:  Under asterisks, deep inside terms and conditions, in charges they call taxes and so on…

Would you still say that I am pointless? Well, you may stand with me against them or you may not – keeping the above points in view, I firmly believe and that hidden charges are a big deal.


  • Mehfooz

    They all are same, no one is straightforward with customers. I don’t know why they create ambiguity, if they communicate clearly even then customers will buy their products or subscribe packages. Although, people are buying other expensive product too…but i guess tough competition make them to adopt this strategy but this is cheating. anyways thank you for raising the voice..

  • waqas

    it mean only warid is the best operator as such no hidden charges

  • Rocky

    Zong is the best, clealr communication, good ads and no hidden charges…

    • Ayaz

      yes your right

  • faisal

    I AM WITH YOU

  • shazmeen

    Oh hoooooo… commenters …bereham zamana agaya.. deekh tou liya karo before commenting ….

    The Mobilink youth package is by far the most economical youth package …. Daily fee for Jazba is the same as Uth & Glow which is Rs.1 but unlike Djuice Din Rat which has highest package daily of Rs 3.99/day … and btw TAX isn’t “hidden charges” they’re imposed

  • SSR

    Article is well written.. But mam its just because low ARPU… If u remember was a time when cal charges were 5rupes per min or lets take 3rupes per min til that time almst al basic service were free like Mcn,helpline,balance check n al

    nw they have lot mre burdan to carry on them so they change there strategy there prepaid packages r nt prepaid rather postprepay these daily charges are same as u pay linerent in postpay so its A customer beware before opting for any packge do inqure about in dept wel if u jst even cal helpline they wil also guide you properly

  • Unbiased

    The Fact is even the prices are on the rise every where from oil, vegitable, sugar, transport or cloths almost everything but the communication price is going down with the passage of time. this means that there is no “Hidden Policy among mobile operators” do you understand the opex of all the companies are also increasing but even then they are contineously lowering their call rates.

    can you please write an article on Oil price game which is sucking blood of poor people, sugar mafia and so many other industries.

    all the operators are honest and give you the communication services 24 hours a day with 98 percent service quality.

    please think before you wright such aritles… dont be overintellectual please.

  • Corporate Wars

    oye you said nothing about zong..:)

    where you from.. heheh.. dude this blog is mostly read by telco ppl themselves.. so dont be a loosers and make a campaign.. ;)

  • Umair

    this is damn correct of the guy … i feel like stealing the post .. every damn package is misleading

  • Tehreem Ahmed

    @ Shazmeen – Same old rhyme of “We are the best and they are the worst”… I am not here to compare which so and so company is equal to or better than Mobilink. Nor I intended to write a case study as in that case, you could have expected analysis of all the x, y, z offers from my end. These are the most recent examples that came into my mind and that’s not my bad luck of course! However, you should be happy that here’s this thing noticeable called ‘brand re-call’ ;)

    I agree that Taxes are imposed but – they are not highlighted – I hope this makes sense to my point… You can witness a number of such offers where you are influenced by the low rates and when you are all lured with the joy of getting something with “Bachat”, the taxes IMPOSED; sneak out of the corners to attack on your saved sum. Here, starts the moment of realization of “No or Less Bachat”!

    Next Please!

    @ SSR – Thank You, you have raised a good point – the low ARPU :)

    • Humair

      Dear Tehreem, Regarding subscription charges for Jazz Jazba, I think there has been some kind of misunderstanding. As subscription charges are clearly mentioned and communicated. Keeping in view the current state of competition no company can afford to be even vague in communicating package info. Check http://www.mobilinkgsm.com for complete info.

  • Tehreem Ahmed

    @ Unbiased: I sincerely agree with you that prices are on the rise for all the basic needs of life but in comparison you are talking about call rates.
    My point is only this – that even if you charge us one rupee, it should be communicated clearly that it will be charged on activation or on daily basis if I use any package of any network.

    If you think that I am being over-intellectual – I have actually ignored the first half of the term ;)

    @ Corporate Wars: Dude! I didn’t say anything about WARID as well except for mentioning Glow in comparison. What would you say now?

    BTW! I am from planet EARTH ;)

  • Kashif

    Very good article about true picture of deception from celcos. unBIASED is actually biased. Is price hike a license for deception? Its their responsibility to inform their DEAR customers about charges clearly n dont confuse them in calculating twofold taxes. I dont know where the hell they r giving 98 percent quality. In unBIASED’s house? Who’s begging them to further lower rates? We need quality network n fair, honest charges detail. That’s all.

  • Kashif

    Daily charges for prepaid is a curse. Celcos r competing in daily charges. F*** Ufone for bachat package. Admin! Please remind these celcos about importance of SMS delivery reports as 3 of 5 celcos r not even giving the faciliy to customers. And the 2 r grabbing money for the free service. Nowhere else charged in the world.

    [Comment Edited]

  • Jazib

    Oho, nice one, give somesuggestions also

  • Shoaib

    Telecom service specially mobile calling charges are very very low when compared with other world. Everybody knows that there is about 19% FED. So we should not blame it. Hidden charges are every where in the world. In Scandenevia which is considered as very transparent region voice mail is preactivated on every number and it is very complicated to disable it and you have to pay if the person you are calling does not attend the call after 5 rings. Telenor is generating very low ARPU from Pakistan when compared to other countries but it has a good number of users here.
    http://telenor.com/en/global-presence/pakistan/index.jsp
    I remember the time when I was in Pakistan and I called my friends just for time pass which is not easy in many countries due to heavy interconnect charges. So we should not complain loudly on it. Tax is imposed by Government and activation and daily charges are part of package plan which is written there not in bold but anyhow it is mentioned. Overall mobile usage is economical if it is used for the need and not for the enjoyment and time killing.

  • I do hate companies who gets hidden charges that consumers don’t know. Have you seen sign board advertisement saying Wonderful offer Rs. 2.95/minut on any network, this ads seems apparently like only 2/minut. But if you see it very closely then .95 is also written with a very very small font as compared to 2. This is not fair. I think its cheating. Also by Islamic Teaching such things make the business Haram. May Allah Guide us.

  • shahid jamil

    ufone ASM ka yeh tarika galit hai ky aIk admi 9 mahiny say u shop chala reha hai is ky sath wali dokan pay 9 mahiny bad dosri u shop open kr di taky dono apis main larty rehny.Jab kay dosri dokan pay jazz service point saholt ghair or easy paisa ki saholt distiab hai. meri u fone officer say guzarish hai is problem ko solve kry . umfknw0016 03366048798 03017590293

  • Rare times there are hidden charges but most of the time customers are stupid who use the services without knowing about it. They can save a lot by choosing better packages according to their needs.

  • Imran

    Agree with you

  • The writer simply is a LOW ARPU user who doesnt understand a simple concept that “EVERYTHING CANNOT BE MENTIONED IN THE AD” which is why all the call centers have their AGENTS working 24/7 for you to know. Each second on the ad live in air cost you thousands of money,not every company is wise enough to tell you all the details in the ad.Which is why you have all the helplines and agents working day and night for you,and do you even realise how tough it is to take 250 average calls in a day talking to almost every kind of person from a street hawker to a so called intellectual YOU. Before the call rates used to be Rs.3/minute,now the call rates are Rs.3.99+T/hour..if you are not bothered enough to know the complete details from the helpline,dont confuse the public by writing such posts. Invest your time in something productive rather than giving it a good color of your negligence.

  • i must say that this is a pointless article. They charge for there services. if some operator says that talk one hour for 4 rupees and there are daily charges for that and other bla bla. then the customer must know whether he likes or not. if you pay 3 rupees daily and talk for say 3 to 4 hours for say 16 rupees(per hour 4 rupess) then in the end you are the winner cause remember those days when text mesage was of rupee one and per minute call was for almost 3 to 4 rupees. if you talk for one hour and there is 3 rupees per minute call charges you will be losing 180 rupees straight away….

  • aaaaaaaaaa one thing is for sure that if these packages werent there…..there would have been no complexity in choosing best package….and even more that there would have been no late night calls…:PPPP

  • charges or no charges
    Telenor Zindabaad :D

  • srj

    yes totally agree with u.
    all have same goal. but they know many people don’t have enough time for this to consider these charges, everyone knows.

    and why are u guys talking about ur favorite service, he’s just showing us the facts, in return u say ths service is good, that service is good no hidden charges……..etc.
    u know Auther they know it doesn’t matter if they loss one customer just because of these*****packages.

  • Zeeshaan

    well.. these all companies need a big bamboo up there throats for using the word FREE,dialy subscription are applied and hence it isnt free at all.. They must be sued and banged on their bumps.