Forum: Singtel downplaying system error and erroneous charge

The Singtel building.
The Singtel building.PHOTO: ST FILE

I frequently travel to other parts of Asia and have been using Singtel's services for years.

In my bill for the last two months, I was erroneously charged $100 for data roaming. I called to ask why I was charged despite having subscribed to a roaming package before I travelled. The Singtel customer service officer told me the company was aware of the issue, that it had received a lot of customer feedback on this, and that the problem was caused by a system error that day.

I was told to pay $100 less and the correction would appear in the next bill. Shortly afterwards, I received a Singtel message that said my request for a fee waiver had been approved.

This incident raises several questions.

First, if Singtel was aware of the system error, why did it not message affected customers to notify them, instead of waiting for them to discover it on their own?

Second, what happened to the customers who did not pay attention to their bill and did not dispute the charge? If they were charged, that would mean Singtel wrongly charged its customers.

Third, the Singtel message referred to a waiver granted at my request, as if Singtel was the one doing me a favour. Why didn't Singtel admit its mistake and send a message reflecting this?

Fourth, is the Infocomm Media Development Authority watching over the business practices of telcos?

The impression I got is of Singtel trying to downplay its system error and sweep it under the carpet. Singtel should adopt a business culture of openness, honesty and willingness to admit mistakes.

Alex Kot Yiu Kuen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 04, 2019, with the headline 'Singtel downplaying system error and erroneous charge'. Print Edition | Subscribe