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.