Thursday, April 17


'All outgoing calls are blocked as you hv utilised r credit limit. Pls make pymt immediately to hv yr line released. Disregard this msg if pymt has been made. TQ.'

Sunday April 13.
I started to receive this SMS on Sunday morning.
"Well, I've paid on the 5th of April, so I can't have exceeded my credit limit of RM100 yet," I told myself, so I relaxed.
Then on Sunday night, after all the shops are closed and the Celcom telecommunication officers have gone home, the SMS above appeared again in my handphone.
Then ringggg!!!
"Dear valued customer, your outgoing call have been blocked bla-bla-bla... Please make your payment bla-bla-bla....."
There was no warning informing me that I've reached 70% of my credit limit or whatever that they used to send via SMS before they block my outgoing calls. None at all.
I was furious.
Nursing a sprained and bandaged ankle, and staying alone in my high-rise nest (husband was away on business) didn't make me a cheerful person that fateful night.
I dialed the Celcom Careline number and reached the customer service officer.
I was told that I owed them RM105. Ok, fine..

"Where's the bill? "
It's on the way if you haven't received it."
"Why wasn't I given any warning?"
"Oh, you didn't receive any? "
"No I didn't (you potato-head) other wise I won't waste my breath asking you this question."
"And why the heck is my outgoing calls blocked when I haven't received the bill?"
"Oh, our computer system automatically blocks the calls once you exceed your limit. "
"Well, on the 3rd I was told that I only owe RM30.36 through your Customer Service SMS. So now you're telling me that I owe Celcom RM105. My call to your computer stated that I only owe you about RM63. So how's that?"

Monday April 14.
The next morning, I paid the bill of RM105 so that I could call out and reply SMSes again. I seldom make calls and SMSes so my normal bill was usually less than RM70.
The same afternoon, the same SMS appeared on my phone. My outgoing calls were blocked again.
Idiots! Just when I was going to make an important outstation call.
I dailed the Customer service line again.
Ok, they'd check.
Seconds later.
"You have exceeded your credit limit, Puan."
"But I've just paid the bill of RM105 this morning."
"Sorry Puan but it usually takes 3 days for the system to unblock the calls again."
"What?! 3 days??? Who in the world wants a telecommunacation company that unblocks its customers outgoing calls 3 days after they've made their payment? The officer at the counter that I paid said that I can use the service again 2 hours after payment."
"Look, I've paid my bills and I want you to unblock my calls now. My outgoing calls have been unblocked 30 minutes after I've paid my bills so I see no reason why you people in KL have to block my outgoing calls again 3 hours later. If your computer system is faulty then get it repaired. Don't shift the blame to your customers especially when they've settled their bills with your company."
The guy at the other end kept mumbling something in Malay. Fed-up, I hung up and dailed again. This time I got another guy.
"Your outgoing calls aren't blocked, Madam. You can call out."
Good. Somebody must have been smart and press the release button. I let the matter rest.

Tuesday April 15.
The next morning. The same SMS appeared.
I was getting P.O.
I dailed Customer Service again.
"Miss, there's nothing wrong with your bill and your outgoing calls. Your calls haven't been blocked."
Fine. Apparently the computer system is faulty.

Tuesday evening
I needed to make a few important calls.
""Dear valued customer, your outgoing call have been blocked bla-bla-bla... Please make your payment bla-bla-bla....."
I almost flung the handphone at the wall.
I pressed the keys quickly. Ok, one more false call. I could still call out. No more I told myself.

Wednesday April 16.
Tonight 7.30 pm.
I was getting ready for maghrib prayer when the hated SMS appeared again. I checked. Couldn't call out again.
Taking care not to swear like I used to, I called Customer Service again.
And what excuse did they give me this time?
"Your current bill is RM163."
"I've just paid RM105 on Monday."
"Oh, that's the bill before April 8. Between April 9 till today, you have exceeded your credit limit."
"Why haven't I received any warning? Why was it that when I paid my bill on Monday, there's no mention about this outstanding bill?"
"Oh, that's because the computer system tracked down that you have reached the limit. "
"And may I know how much was my outgoing calls since 9 April?"
"Let me check.. er, it's RM1.80."
"Less than RM2.. so what are the other charges?"
"You have used GPRS that costs RM161."
"But I'm using an old handphone without 3G to make calls and SMS. How can I use GPRS service using a non-3G handphone?"
"May I know your model?"
"No, I don't know what model. It's old, but I'm still using it due to its sentimental value.
"I will complain at the Celcom office tomorrow. Right now, can you unblock my calls since there's doubt as to whether I actually use the GPRS as you claim or somebody has been using my number and charging me for the GPRS usages? It's very unfair to block outgoing calls without prior warnings. Besides it's very dangerous to block outgoing calls after office hours because there might be customers who can't call out due during real emergencies. We can't pay at the automatic tellers and have the calls unblocked immediately, can we? I want to see my all my bills in written form before I pay each time. You can't simply charge me some amount and expect me to pay up promptly without allowing me the chance to check and clarify. It's very unfair to the customer."
"All right. Please give me your name and your identification number so that I can make a report on your behalf. I'll unblock your outgoing calls in 30 minutes."
"Fine, thank you."

10pm same day.
I tried to answer an SMS. Fail
Again can't call out.
I have a lot of free time. I called the guy again.
This time another man answered.
"Look, I've already lodged a complaint, and your colleague have agreed to allow me to have access to outgoing calls using this number. Why is my calls blocked again?"
"Let me check."
"What should I do to be able to call out again?
"Well you'd have to pay the outstanding bill of RM163 first in order to have your outgoing calls activated again. Then you'll need to file a report at the nearest Celcom office. If out technician discover that you didn't use the GPRS service then we will give you rebate in the coming months."
Hell. I still have to pay first.

The self-help customer careline computerized system stated that my current total bill is RM62.86, and my bill due date is March 2nd 2008. What a joke. I have paid for that bill with an amount of RM65 on February 26, another RM30 on April 5 and another RM105 on April 14. Today is April 16th. Are they going to block my calls again on April 20 and demand another RM100?

If it were not for the fact that I have been using this current rather easy- to-remember phone number for several months since my husband went for haj, and have distributed it as my contact number to hundreds of friends, relatives and government departments, I would have cancelled the service. I'd rather donate the money to charity than to pay to a company that appears to bully its postpaid customers into paying up, no matter whether they have actually used the claimed service or not. It's grossly unfair and seemingly unethical to demand prompt payment when the official bill has yet to reach the customer. Being busy people we seldom check our phone bills and merely pay up.

I'm weighing my options. Common sense tells me that I can wait and not pay up until the coming May 8, the date the monthly bill will be issued (usually arrives a week later on the 15th or 16th). RM163? Heck, for RM160, I can a prepaid card and use it for RM30 per month, buy two thick bestseller novels, go for a movie, and dine at my favourite restaurant. Maybe it'd be good to have a prepaid number for outgoing calls and a postpaid number for receiving calls. Hahahaahaaahaaaa... looks like I'd have to carry two handphones with me wherever I go. It's time to reactivate my prepaid number again.


  1. Salam ~ Lodge a complain to MCMC. It always works wonders on the telco.