The employees and managers of Starcomms are ripping the company off, right under the noses of the (mainly) Lebanese owners. This is a real pity. I have twice been a victim and it will be unfair not to let it be known.
This is my story.
Some employees make sales over and above what is reported and they pocket the money. Starcomms is one of the PTO (Private Telecoms Operators) and easily the most popular Internet Service Provider in Nigeria due to its fast CDMA based connections.
The first time I bought an Internet device from their Adetokunbo Ademola, Victoria Island, Lagos office, the chap who sold it made me pay more, did not issue me a receipt and pocketed the difference. It was when I returned, raised hell at that office that his colleagues, trying to shield him (they too are privy to the corruption), issued me a receipt (in his absence), paid me the balance and apologized.
The second time is much worse and here I go into detail.
My Starcomms Internet connection is a Corporate one, got in the name of my firm. Did you know that the corporate 24-hour connection costs twelve thousand five hundred naira only monthly (N12, 500), as against the normal N15, 950? I did not know and because of this, some Starcomms officials at Adetokunbo Ademola Street have been pocketing the difference each month I paid N15, 950, until today!
How did it break?
In fact, I think the problem began with one of the managers at that office on the day I got the line, because I remember that when he requested the package on my behalf from their store, the “Waybill” he received had N31, 500 but he made me pay N35, 950. What is more? He gave me a receipt for it!
Like I said, how did all this break that now the managers are begging me not to write an official letter of complaint to management?
Every now and then, I have been receiving telephone calls from Starcomms Customer care officials (mostly ladies), informing me that my Internet subscription was about to expire, in a matter of days. On each occasion I have expressed surprise because my account was always fully funded and paid a month or two in advance. When these officials call, the date of expiration they give me never coincides with the expected one. Another thing, though I always introduce myself with my name (and my receipt from Starcomms bears my name), whenever these people call, they always address me with the name of my firm. I slowly began to wonder if I wasn’t registered with a corporate account.
Come to think of it. Before the line was issued to me, the manager in charge requested that I send an official email from my corporate email to his, requesting a corporate Internet account for my firm, which I did. That mail of mine was a CYA (Cover ya *ss) for him. I have been a fool!
Well today, another Customer care official called to tell me my account was due to expire. I told her this could not be true as I had another two months paid for ahead of me. Luckily for me, today’s lady decided to cross check. She asked me to get my receipt for her to crosscheck things. I asked her to call back. She did and then she confirmed that as my account was a corporate one, I should have been paying less than I was doing! Bingo!!!
Luckily also, the fellow who’d been collecting the money each time I paid had his telephone number on one of the receipts and I gave it to this lady who promised to call back. Who did call back? The ‘tax-collector’ himself! And boy, he was so unpleasant that he made his case very bad with me. Of course he did not admit any wrongdoing, even asking me to come see him at his office at Adetokunbo Ademola Street. After hearing some senseless rants from him, I cut the line. He called again… same tune… I cut the line, telling him I really did not have the time to waste. I then sent him a text message to the effect I was writing officially to Corporate Customer Care. That was when his immediate boss called.
To cut a long story short, his immediate boss pleaded that I allow the fellow to pay back the balance and that I should please not make an official complaint.
I know I should have insisted on getting the fellow punished, but I agreed to accept the refund. I then requested this boss to ask his subordinate to get off his high horse, call me back and admit his errors. He did.
It looks like Starcomms is now a victim of its own success. It has grown from a milion naira to a multi-billion naira company and this has happened without due attention to the internal processes to checkmate shady employees.
Starcomms, look inside your house and clean up!