MTN R128,000 bill and how I got scammed

George A

Active Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2018
Messages
40
#1
In a nutshell I have a account with a R12,000 credit limit that is used for my daughter. Time came to upgrade the IPhone 5 to a 6. IPhone 5 had 27gb worth of apps etc on it (see pic further down) and the phone was backed up on a MAC and was transferred to the new phone via the MAC. We don't use Icloud.
In the end the music was left which I started loading whilst the phone was on the wifi (rookie mistake I didn't switch cellular data off). For good measure I had 5GB of pre paid on the phone.

Next morning the phone was locked by MTN. After the big effort trying to get through I discovered what the bill was and they asked if they should unlock the phone which I accepted as my daughter was already at a place she was to spend the next two days. I was told I should wait two more weeks till the invoice was generated to argue my case or possibly the issue will have rectified itself.
Statement time came and the full amount was billed so I started the painful task of getting through to someone.

Between the numerous calls I managed to find someone on the technical data side who sent me a breakdown of the useage. 156GB was used during the upgrade period of one day on a phone that only had 27GB of data and a bit more full capacity. Here is part of what I received below to give a idea of the charges and rate of billing it was going through for those hours:

mtn.png

IPhone 5 vs 6. Note 5 is a small capacity phone. Photo was taken just after the update.

phone capacity.jpg

Now if each of those is a session of lets say a song or something the amount of bytes does not make sense vs the charge or even if 3G has the capability of transferring that much data. What is also strange is that the byte sizes that are similar reflect a single items like a song so it seems to have caught itself in a loop of some kind billing over an dover for the same item as when I add up all the individual bytes it more or less works out to what is on the phone in total GB.

After going through a couple departments I finally got the below response:

I trust that you are well. I would like to thank you for your patience in this matter.

Please note that the matter has been investigated by our credit management team. They have concluded the below:

- The usage incurred on 28-12-2016.
- The line was suspended due to the high usage – This works in line with the credit limit.
- This happened when the usage was updated on the network.
- You contacted our Call Centre to remove the barring on 28-12-2016 at 15:50:10.

The usage is unfortunately based on this and our Credit Management Team have advised that we are unfortunately unable to refund the amount.


After receiving that I contacted the bank to block the debit order which still ended up going through.

Some time has passed since this has happened and its time to renew our company contracts so I thought I would post this up to blow out some steam. If someone can refer a attorney that is good at litigating against these giants it will be appreciated.

For guys reading this keep in mind that at MTN the credit limit means nothing and any dispute becomes very painful with hours of lost time on the phone and major frustration. I cannot imagine what this would do to someone that didn't have the financial means to cover the cost of the bill.
 

Bond

James Bond
Joined
Nov 22, 2009
Messages
17,533
#2
This s#it happens in this day and age?

So you paid R128k on data? Eina... Good luck getting that back when you were at fault.
 

Honey Badger

Honorary Master
Joined
Apr 30, 2010
Messages
16,218
#3
What if she used her phone as a Hotspot? You can't really blame MTN if you didn't teach her to do her due diligence.
 

Bewlen

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
107
#4
Vodacom took me for R50k. Same gist as this,many years ago. There is no reason to be on contract anymore, prepaid is not only logical, but the only way not to get scammed by these bastrds. Sorry to hear about your misfortune, but they will make you pay this.
 

bashan

Active Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2014
Messages
65
#5
You were supposed to be getting smses when you are eating into your contract usage limit ie when you don't have data or voice mins and getting charged to your contract
 

George A

Active Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2018
Messages
40
#6
What if she used her phone as a Hotspot? You can't really blame MTN if you didn't teach her to do her due diligence.
I did the phone update. By the time she left with it the update was all done. You can see from the records the time period it pulled all the data.
 

Neoprod

Honorary Master
Joined
May 21, 2004
Messages
15,834
#7
Goeie fok :(

What's the point of this credit limit if it doesn't do anything? Might as well be infinite if usage can go over it indefinitely.

Thank heavens I've only ever been on prepaid - ever since my first phone in 1999.
 

George A

Active Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2018
Messages
40
#8
This s#it happens in this day and age?

So you paid R128k on data? Eina... Good luck getting that back when you were at fault.
Not sure how I am at fault when they cannot explain what the data usage was for. Only 27GB was the old phones capacity so not sure what the rest is for. A Typical song is only 4mb and 92 where downloaded.
 

joker08

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2018
Messages
224
#9
Not sure how I am at fault when they cannot explain what the data usage was for. Only 27GB was the old phones capacity so not sure what the rest is for. A Typical song is only 4mb and 92 where downloaded.
Service providers only record the amount of usage and not the "type" of usage done. One reason is privacy laws.
I used to get similar complaints when I was working for Vodafone UK.
But I agree with u on the point about credit limit. If they have promised a credit limit on your account your bill shouldn't exceed that amount. Is there no consumer protection court that u can fight this ??
 

George A

Active Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2018
Messages
40
#10
Service providers only record the amount of usage and not the "type" of usage done. One reason is privacy laws.
I used to get similar complaints when I was working for Vodafone UK.
But I agree with u on the point about credit limit. If they have promised a credit limit on your account your bill shouldn't exceed that amount. Is there no consumer protection court that u can fight this ??
I think its different here as in the same email they sent me what the usage was for and its all itunes related. You can actually see a trend through the 7 hours of download that it was looping over and over.
In terms of the credit act here they can only extend more credit with written consent.

loop.png
 

Attachments

joker08

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2018
Messages
224
#11
I think its different here as in the same email they sent me what the usage was for and its all itunes related. You can actually see a trend through the 7 hours of download that it was looping over and over.
In terms of the credit act here they can only extend more credit with written consent.

View attachment 554433
I used to work at Vodafone UK 10 years back so systems might have improved since then .
The highlighted part of the URLs are like folders and the path after the highlighted part is different so might be different files that have been downloaded. What does the phone say ? My android records the amount of data used and the app that has used, do u have something similar on your iPhone ?
 

George A

Active Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2018
Messages
40
#12
I used to work at Vodafone UK 10 years back so systems might have improved since then .
The highlighted part of the URLs are like folders and the path after the highlighted part is different so might be different files that have been downloaded. What does the phone say ? My android records the amount of data used and the app that has used, do u have something similar on your iPhone ?
At the time didnt have a logger but it was a new phone so I know in total 21GB was on the phone. Part of that is the operating system, phone contacts, photos, videos etc that moved over when doing the restore using the MAC so I know the rest was only Itunes related. When I checked at the time the itunes was only around 7GB.
 

Suspect99

Expert Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2012
Messages
4,576
#13
Wait. So that's 5 GB every 2 minutes? That's about 333mbs thats way too fast for 3g
Edit. Seems like it's 500mb
 
Last edited:

quovadis

Expert Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2004
Messages
2,092
#14
The utilization on the billing seems to be 500mb per entry - that’s basicaly every 1.5-4 minutes which isn’t a problem for modern phones. The old phone had 27GB of data storage used so it’s not unusual and the new phone was probably downloading the data from the online backup. From the log posted it doesn’t seem that “looping” is happening as the entire url needs to be considered. My advice would be to focus on the credit limit aspect in your fight.
 

supersunbird

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 1, 2005
Messages
44,644
#15
In the end the music was left which I started loading whilst the phone was on the wifi (rookie mistake I didn't switch cellular data off). For good measure I had 5GB of pre paid on the phone.
What do you mean by this? Do you mean you had a 5GB data bundle on the phone?

The MTN credit limit is unfortunately not real time, so one can go over it. That why I love Telkom on mobile, their billing is realtime and one can set your account to stop from going out of bundle.
 

RedViking

Honorary Master
Joined
Feb 23, 2012
Messages
12,481
#16
Here I'm trying to find money for my wife's 3K medical bill, this guy spends 128K on his daughters phone data. Never mind the 12K monthly allowance.
 

Leisure Larry

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2013
Messages
145
#17
Looks like they pulling a Nigerian scam on you. They got bust in Nigeria, somewhere, somebody has to pay for it.
Take the madirs to court and win it with all costs at their expense!!!
 

oliverwww

Expert Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2011
Messages
1,206
#18
Did you possibly leave the iPhone connected to the Mac via USB while downloading those songs? You could’ve been hostpotting to the Mac overnight then which may have updated or something?... I know my iPhone is setup to do this
 

Toxxyc

Expert Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
1,711
#20
As far as I know they're not allowed to charge you those kinds of rates unless you approved it in writing.
 
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