Some Cell C contract subscribers were surprised to see they were charged more than usual for their subscriptions at the beginning of March.
Cell C announced in January that it was in the process of rationalising its suite of products, which would take effect on 1 February 2015 for contracts and data services.
These changes included price increases, which caught Cell C subscribers who missed the announcement by surprise.
One MyBroadband member complained that Cell C has increased its fees for contract subscribers, even though they are signed up for 24 months.
“My two top-up contracts have always been R429 and R229 respectively. But this month Cell C took R439 and R239 from my banking account,” he said.
There were also complaints on the Cell C Facebook page from users who were billed higher than the usual amount.
“I’m really disappointed in you. I sign a contract for a fixed amount, and I was surprised when I saw you debited more than our agreement,” said Thotho Kajali.
“I was your biggest fan until now. You decided out of nowhere to increase contract pricing without notifying the people involved,” said Busi Mambane.
The new Cell C Straight Up Contact and TopUp prices are given below.
|New Cell C prices
||Straight Up 30||Straight Up Standard||Straight Up 30||Straight Up 50||Straight Up 100||Straight Up 200||Straight Up 400||Straight Up 800|
Cell C explains price hikes
Cell C explained that towards the end of 2014 its assessed its entire product offering.
“To ensure that our customers retain the benefits of the various product offerings, Cell C has realigned its pricing structures,” Cell C said.
This resulted in certain pricing and product changes which came into effect 1 January for prepaid products, and 1 February for contract, data products, and all other services.
“Despite these product and pricing changes, Cell C remains competitive in the market,” the company said.
Are pricing changes fair mid-contract?
Cell C said that in terms of the subscriber agreement with the company, as well as the Consumer Protection Act, it has the option of varying any of its charges from time to time.
These changes are done by means of publishing an amended tariff plan and submitting such a tariff plan to Icasa, and by informing customers before any of these charges are levied.
These charges include connection fees, subscription fees, usage charges, SIM card fees, goods fees, and any other charge relating to the provision of Cell C’s services to users in terms of the subscriber agreement.
Cell C said it submitted the amended tariff plan to Icasa and notified customers of the pricing and product changes via one or more of the following methods: SMS, pop up messages on data devices, monthly invoices, or on the Cell C website.
Another MyBroadband user, who is a Cell C contract subscriber, only found out about the price hike when a higher-than-usual amount was taken off his bank account by the operator.
“I did not receive an SMS or “pop up message” about the increase. My contract ends in two months, and I can guarantee that I will be moving to either Vodacom or MTN.”