In summary: I don't have any service (not even voice or SMS). I'm stuck in a contract, and Virgin won't provide service or cancel the contract without me having to pay a fee. Is this legal? The contract I signed said my phone and SIM have a warranty of the same duration as the contract (24 months), but the people at the VM store say Virgin "changed their policy" w.r.t. replacing SIMs (I suspect they finally realized that their inferior quality SIMs are useless). I did not sign any new document nor was I even notified of this policy change.
My Virgin SIM stops working about once every 3-6 months. Even when it is working, my crappy phone (Samsung STAR which I got as a last minute downgrade from an old HTC TyTN II) often says "Limited Service" in areas where there should be service (Stellenbosch, Somerset West, Cape Town). For the first year of my 24 month contract, Virgin replaced my SIM for free. Now, all of a sudden, they want to charge me R50 to replace the SIM or to repair my phone and say they can't give me a replacement handset while my phone is in for repairs (even though they admit it would take at least a month to repair). I told them I view this as a breach of contract as they are not providing me with any service. Apparently, if I want to terminate my contract, I would have to pay an R800 fine.
What are my rights regarding this issue? Can they simply "change their policy" in a manner which contradicts my original contract without my consent? Should I contact head office to complain or should I go to a higher authority (ICASA)? Excuse my ignorance regarding this matter, but I've never had such a big issue with any of the other networks.
On a different notice: why R50 for a SIM when VM is giving away SIMs for free at Somerset Mall?