I’ve been and continue to be a loyal Airtel Kenya subscriber since three years ago. Before that I was on Telkom (then Orange Kenya) but somewhere along the line I had to jump ship owing to Airtel’s cheaper bundle rates.
They’re still by large the kings in that regard but not for long now that Faiba 4G has out of nowhere disrupted the industry with their unbeatable packages. Still, their choice of 4G/LTE band remains a huge stumbling block to their success. It will take time to say the least.
Now back onto Airtel’s case. For me it all started late last year when I noticed I was being silently deducted ten shillings of my airtime every time I topped up. This would happen a few days later, though it’s hard to tell exactly when it did since I was not getting any SMS alerts regarding any subscriptions or premium content.
It’s here where I have to admit were it not for my frugal nature, a modus operandi that the unforgiving Kenyan job market has dutifully heartened in me, I would never have noticed these deductions.
As expected I wasted no time calling the always reliable Airtel customer care (safaricom ought to borrow a leaf from whatever book they’re reading). After venting my frustrations on one of them, I was informed that apparently I, that is broke I, had somehow miraculously subscribed to a premium service.
I don’t recall the service’s name but their short code which I still have in my inbox was 70123. The nice gent I was talking to apparently couldn’t unsubscribe me from his end but thankfully gave me instructions on how to do it: send STOP EF2 to 70123.
|Stopping a Premium Service|
So that worked and for months my airtime was secure behind a safe not unlike one inside a KCB Bank strongroom. If at all it felt compelled to disappear into the thin air, then that could have only happened out of my own willing. And no, I don’t mean through betting.
Fast-forward to the year of our Lord 2018, in the epoch of a month that is “Njanuary”, and the worst that could happen in this unfruitful period reared it ugly head one more time.
My hard earned ten shillings was being siphoned in the dead of the hustle through what I can only imagine is an elaborate system of tunnel vision laid for the prize of gold coins shining bright at the end of my punctured pockets. And perhaps due to the devastating effects of this cursed month, it was happening much regularly this time – taking a piece of chapati from my plate as I subsisted on a battalion of killer KDFs.
Quite distraught as well by these events coinciding in this drought period, I wasted no time getting into contact with the customer care. This time a nice lady came through (they’re all nice, they have to) and did away with all her niceness by informing that I was subscribed to Airtel Games.
I wasn’t expecting that. Not only was I not getting games from this “game company”, I was guilty of ritually buying scratch cards from one of its “subsidiaries”. Talk about being gamed!
Nevertheless, I kept my cool seeing little need to spoil a blameless youth’s day as they slaved on the poverty line. I however insisted on getting back a refund of my 20 shillings since I had effectively traded 2 chapatis for games whose gameplay revolved around not being playable.
The only response I got to this regard, and I quote, “… escalate to the technical…” That’s the best I can recall on short notice since I’m not in the habit of doing impromptu call recordings like our honourable governor. What I can tell you however is that one weak later as I re-edit this with pangs of hunger, I’ve lost all hope on redeeming my chapatis.
Thankfully, that is, before she thanked me for calling her, oh I mean Airtel, and gladly offered me instructions on how to bankrupt the company she works for so that they couldn’t keep stealing from poor me anymore.
The instruction manual she read: send UNSUB to 31313. That worked like a charm but at the cost of Airtel’s striking red colours losing their charm on me. Suffice to say, my account’s lifeblood is from now henceforth on high alert for such internal donation drives.
|Unsubscribing from Airtel Games|
Still I can’t help being “worried sick” that I might have cost some poor girl her job. They do get around to listening those recordings don’t they?