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Opinion: Dealing with unwanted phone messages

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PHUKET: Earlier this year, after I returned to Phuket from South Africa, a friend of mine gave me a 49-baht TrueMove H SIM card package – the type you can just top up at a 7-Eleven or Family Mart without having to worry about the hassle of monthly bills.

That suited me fine. After South Africa, where you have to dive though hoops to get an ordinary SIM card – including providing proof of address – it was great to be able to open the plastic wrapping, pop out the SIM and have my new number working within minutes.

I’m a phone traditionalist: make the call, convey my message and say goodbye.

It came as a surprise when I discovered the credit on my phone was disappearing without making a single call. Within a few days, my regular 90-baht top-up was down to about 60 baht, and within a week it had almost gone.

After observing this strange phenomenon for a few days, I realized that I was losing credit to a barrage of Thai “promotional” messages that were arriving in my message box multiple times a day.

It was difficult to tell exactly how much money I was being charged for each message, but I had never requested any such service and no one from TrueMove H had ever contacted me to ask me whether I even wanted it.

After searching their website, I eventually found a TrueMove H number (tel: 1331) to ring the “Call Center”. But get this: it’s not free! They charge you 3 baht per minute to call one of their reps.

Finally, after going through umpteen recorded messages telling me to press this number, then that number “for more information”, I got through to a TrueMove representative.

To make a long story short, she told me in happy tones that the service was provided by another company and therefore TrueMove H was not responsible. When I pointed out that the “other company” must have come to an agreement with TrueMove, she offered me 20 baht compensation. I complained that the amount was feeble and she increased it to 50 and told me that was the maximum she could offer…

I just read that True Corp has plans to invest 4 billion baht (US$122.6 million) to further expand its 4G-2.1GHz network, and here they are offering me 50 baht compensation.

There’s something not quite right here.

— John Gershwin

 

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