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SMART, in my opinion, is a network bully!!! This is probably because they almost have total monopoly of the telecommunications system. I mean, c’mon Manny Pangilinan is now the Chairman of both PLDT and SMART, and then of course, we all know that SMART took over SUN cellular as well. Heck, if it wasn’t for the last player in the telecom field, SMART would have monopolized everything by now. This is probably why they think they could get away with anything.

Yes, I am not happy at all with SMART, and this is my way of letting them know that. I also believe that I should blog about this because I think I am not alone here, and that probably a lot of SMART postpaid subscribers have gone through (or are going through) with the same blood pressure raising experience that I’m going through now.

Let me give you guys the facts first: I have a plan 800 from SMART, and no, I never got a phone from them. All I did get from SMART is a measly SIM card because I’m quite happy with my iPhone 4S and I didn’t want to change my phone. Anyway, last March 16, 2013, I paid the full amount that SMART was asking from me, which was P3,835.00 (and the payment was given to a SMART center because I wanted it to be credited at once). This is why it came as a surprise yesterday (April 16, 2013) that my phone call to my husband was being redirected already. I was wondering what the heck happened, because the only regular phone calls that I made were to my husband, and they never lasted for more than 3 minutes unless there’s some emergency that we needed to talk about. So this morning, my husband called SMART’s customer service to verify everything and we got the shock of our lives with what their CSR told us.

The CSR said that their records show that I exceeded my credit limit, and I needed to pay P5,052.07. What the heck??? P5,052.07, are they serious??? I never made any overseas call and my phone doesn’t even have an internet service. The CSR my husband was talking to couldn’t even tell us the breakdown of the freaking bill and so I have to check online for it. I was so upset already while listening to my husband and the CSR’s conversation that, I told my husband to tell them that I want to terminate the line already. This is when SMART dropped the A-bomb. The CSR said that I needed to pay a pre-termination fee worth P1,600.00. Oh good Lord, I nearly fell off my seat when I heard that, so at this point I took the phone from my husband.

“What pre-termination fee???” I asked and I could feel the blood rising to my head.

The CSR automatically replied, “It’s stated in the contract you signed with SMART ma’m.”

Son-of-a-gun!!! It felt surreal and it felt like I was starring in Twilight Zone. “How much is this again — P1,600.00??? So are you telling me that aside from the P5,000.00 bucks that I need to pay, I also have to pay an additional P1,600.00???” I was screaming bloody hell through the receiver by this time.

To which of course the CSR replied yes, before telling me again that it was stated in my contract. And at which point I reminded her that all I got from them was a stupid SIM card, and to which again she replied, I still needed to pay because it’s in my contract.

“What??? …Why???” I sputtered in anger.

Again she merely replied because it was in my contract. Go figure.

I went ballistic, and God knows, I turn into a nightmare when I lose control of myself which is why I don’t like getting mad, but I think this case merits an exemption. “Contract??? Contract??? Have you seen your freaking contract??? It’s sooooooo long!!! My God and there were so many fine prints!!! No Customer Service attendant pointed that out to me when I inquired in your bloody Center!!! Someone should have told me about that, because if I’ve known then I wouldn’t have signed it!!!”

Again I was calmly told that it WAS in my contract.

Damn, I was seeing red already (and it’s not because of the red pants I was wearing). “Fine, P1,600.00 is a pre-termination fee. Okay, I understand that, but tell me the breakdown. I want to know the breakdown of that freaking P1,600.00!!!”

The CSR told me that she doesn’t really know, because they’re not the ones handling that. What a wonderful brilliant answer!!! Yehey, I smacked my head with my hand when I heard it and I thought steam would come out of my ears due to sheer frustration.

“You do realize that this is like a highway robbery, don’t you??? I am so not happy with this!!! ” And with that parting shot, I ended the conversation, because I swear, if she tells me one more time that it’s in my contract, I’m going to explode and start swearing like a person who ate a red hot chili pepper.

So the minute I got to work, I logged online and checked my balance, but guess what I saw onscreen:

Request Failed

Balance inquiry service is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later or text ?1515 to 214 (Free) or dial 1515 (Php1.00 per transaction) for Smart Buddy subscribers. Text ?15001 to 214 (Free) or dial 15001 (Php1.00 per transaction) for Talk and Text subscribers.

I thought I was going to have a heart attack when I saw this. Damn, it would really seem that SMART always has a way of outSMARTing its subscribers!!!