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Uninformed upgrade

I would like to draw the attention of readers about an unethical step recently taken by Du. My friends and I discovered on our September, 2013 bills that the price had risen dramatically, in my case from Dh350 to Dh400 with no explanation. Upon contacting Du, I was informed that my account had been automatically ‘upgraded’ - without my permission or even knowledge - to include more international minutes on a landline, which I don’t use.

I, then, sent two emails to Du requesting that this unsolicited ‘upgrade’ be reversed and that they re-issue my bill for the correct amount. Eventually, a staff member of Du called me in October and spent 20 minutes trying to persuade me to ‘just try out’ this new package, and cancel before the end of November for a full refund (no doubt hoping that I would forget to do so and become trapped in a more expensive package).

When I persistently refused, he was unable to reset my account and had to refer the matter to a senior colleague. Further, he claimed that Du had notified its customers of this measure; but neither my friends nor I had received any such notification.

When the senior colleague called me, he, too, tried to sell me the unwanted ‘upgrade’ despite my complaints. When I insisted on reverting straight away, he demanded several personal details of me because ‘we require your personal details to make changes to your account’! Naturally, he did not have an answer when I pointed out that they had not required any details to automatically increase my bill. I finally got him to verbally agree to undo this ‘upgrade’.

However, he was unable to re-issue the last bill. The next day, I received the October bill, also for Dh400. I am refusing to pay these bills and now fear having my service cut off.

It has so far taken me two emails and two phone calls simply trying to get Du to give me what I signed up for in the first place. Meanwhile, they were content to increase my bill without my consent or even permission. Despite Du’s assurances that this is an ‘opportunity’ for its customers, the manner in which Du has gone about this change - upgrade by stealth, and hassle in reverting - makes it seem more like an underhand attempt to extract more money for unwanted services, hoping that customers will either not notice the changes or not be bothered to undo them.

I would urge readers to carefully check their Du bills for any similar raises, and to be aware that they have the right to refuse these changes. I hope that Du in future will seek the permission of its customers before making unsolicited changes to their accounts.

From Mr Sam Wilkin

Dubai

The management of Du responds:

We would like to apologise to Mr Wilkin for the inconvenience faced, and are pleased to hear that his situation has now been resolved.

Focusing on the needs of customers and dealing with them transparently are our top priorities, and we can confirm that our customers were informed of the upgrade through email, in early August. Additional information regarding the upgrade was provided on our website, among others.

Mr Wilkin responds:

I did not receive an email, but the issue has now been resolved. Many thanks to Gulf News for investigating, and I hope that Du, in future, will seek its customers’ permission before altering their subscriptions.

New charges

I received the bill for the month of November and normal charges are Dh189.00 and this was a monthly bill. For eLife extra, etisalat charged an additional Dh100.80 in account known as a service rental charge. I have sent repeated emails and reminders to them, but I have not received any reply. I need to know about the new charges and why it was processed without any prior notice. If this was wrong, then I am asking for the credit.

From Mr Majid Kaleem Quraishi

Dubai

The management of etisalat responded:

Kindly note that the customer’s issue with etisalat was solved.

Mr Quraishi responded:

The matter has been resolved with etisalat. I was confused as I was not getting any replies from them despite having sent three emails. Thank you for your co-operation.

Editor’s note: If you wish to raise similar consumer complaints with us, contact us by email at readers@gulfnews.com