(You can read updates to this report at the end of this post.)

My kumare, officemate and good friend, Marichu (who we all lovingly call “Chu”) has been a subscriber of Sun Cellular for almost two years–her contract ends on the 31st of January 2007. She has maintained her Plan 600 throughout these two years, very occassionally missing a payment by a few days, but often making payments long before their due date.

Her latest bill had a due date 02 January 2007. Yet, for some unfathomable reason, Sun Cellular decides to cut her line on the 2nd week of December 2006, with no explanations. On December 19, 2006, Marichu makes a full payment of PHP1,600.92 via Unionteller, but no restoration of her line is made by Suncellular, either 24 hours after or even until December 29 2006.

Marichu calls Sun Cellular on 29th December to ask why her line had not been restored despite her having made full payment 10 days prior and well ahead of the due date. Sun Cellular Customer Care tells her that her line was cut because she had gone over 50% of her credit limit.

KainiiiisThis is where it gets interesting. It is written on every bill that Marichu receives that her credit limit is P2,000. Her latest bill was only for P1,600.92 and she had paid it well in advance of the due date. Does Sun Cellular Customer Care really care why Chu’s line was cut or is this Strike One for Sun Cellular?

To add insult to injury, Sun Cellular Customer Care also tells Chu that her payment had not been received by Sun Cellular Accounting Department, and that because of this, her line was automatically cut. Apparently in place at Sun Cellular is a system that checks the current billing and disconnects delinquent accounts automatically when they are found. Is Sun Cellular’s system reliable or is this Strike Two?

While Chu was speaking with Sun Cellular Customer Care on 29th December, they ask her to fax proof of payment, which she she could not as we were on holiday from work. But she did have the ATM receipt from the Unionteller where she had made payment, and she gave Sun Cellular Customer Care the transaction reference number for the payment as well as the amount she had paid. She also promises to fax proof of payment on the very first day that we return to work, which is on the 3rd of January 2007.

It would be interesting to note that Chu had also made payment to her Citibank Credit Card immediately after paying Sun Cellular on the same Unionteller ATM Machine. Even more interesting is that Unionbank verified that both payments had been made successfully, and that Citibank had acknowledged receipt of payment on the 26th of December 2006, a fact which is reflected on Chu’s latest Citibank bill.

Just for the record, Chu and her husband Allan, and almost everyone else who knows about this issue have checked, double-checked and triple-checked all the numbers involved. There were no mistakes in the keying-in of the account numbers and amounts.

Back to Sun Cellular Customer Care. Having received Chu’s transaction number as proof of payment, Sun Cellular claims they restored her connection after she had made the call on the 29th. But since their system again did the sweep for delinquent accounts again, her line was cut AGAIN. During this time Chu saw no sign that her account was active – she could not call from her Sun Cell phone nor could she send any text messages.

So. Chu calls them again on the 30th. Again Customer Care tells her that her payment still has not been received, and could she fax proof of payment. Again Chu tells them that she will not have access to a fax machine until the 3rd of January, and that she had given them the transaction number when she first called to report the problem. Sun Cellular Customer Care says they will reinstate her connection pending receipt of the fax. A few hours later she is reconnected, and not two hours after that, disconnected again. Yes, you guessed it, it was the system sweep for delinquent accounts.

Now, repeat the previous paragraph, only change the date from the 30th to the 31st of December. Repeat chorus.

Finally, on January 3 2007, Chu is back in the office and faxing proofs of payment with a vengeance. A call to Sun Cellular Customer Care confirms that indeed her fax was received. Her connection was restored at 2pm and then cut again at 4pm. Good old system sweep.

Later in the day, Blessie of Sun Cellular Collection department calls Chu, saying that she–Blessie–would like to help Chu. She requests that Chu fax her proof of payment to yet another number, this time directly to the billing department.

Chu is flabbergasted. And probably, at this point, so are you, dear reader.

Is Sun Cellular’s Customer Care system so detached from their other departments that a fax sent to Customer Care cannot be forwarded to billing for confirmation? Isn’t that what they supposed to have done after Chu sumbitted the fax that they requested? Chu refused to send another fax as the matter was already eating too much of her time and emotion. She told Blessie in very strong tones to coordinate with their Customer Care system as they well should.

On January 4, Blessie calls Chu again, asking her to fax the proof of payment. Chu, calmer today, conceded and sent her documents again. Connection was restored, and was cut, as we have learned to expect from this exposition.

Chu endures not having an active Sun Cellular connection until the evening of the 9th of January, when she makes another call to Sun Cellular Customer Care. Chu talks to Candy Jimeno, repeating her ordeal. She is again asked to fax proof of payment to yet another number. Chu is furious. She asks Candy if there is a log in the Sun Cell system of her having faxed proof of payment. Candy acknowledges that there is a note that yes indeed, Chu had faxed proof of payment, but Candy still wants Chu to send another fax. Chu rages on — what is this request for another fax? Can you not find the fax I had already sent several times? Why can you not look for the fax that I have already sent?

Chu insists that she talk to Candy’s manager. Candy transfers Chu to their supervisor, Joey Ratuita, to whom Chu repeats her ordeal for the nth time. Joey Ratuita is apologetic, and promises to put Chu’s account on an exclusion list, which would mean that her line will not be cut by the automated system sweep.

Chu promises Joey Ratuita and Candy that if her line were not restored within the next 5 minutes, she would send an email to her entire mailing list recounting her horrible experience with Sun Cellular Customer Care. She also demands a return call to inform her once the line is restored. Ten minutes later, Joey Ratuita calls, informing Chu that her line has indeed been restored, and that she was already in the exclusion list. Her line stays active until the next day, the 10th of Jan, where it was cut again at 6pm. You probably know by now why.

Chu calls Sun Cellular Customer care at 8pm of the same day, looking for Joey Ratuita. Customer care tells Chu that Mr. Ratuita is

    1. engaged in another call – Chu waits on hold.
    2. on break – Chu demands a return call asap.

No return call is made, but her line is reconnected until the 12th of January. Her line was cut again at 3pm, and it has not been restored since.

Somewhere during the litany above some of you may have already cried Strike Three. Chu sure has.

One of the most important insights I have about products and commerce is from my college economics professor. People would like all services to be

    1. Good
    2. Cheap
    and
    3. Fast

but you can’t have all three. Not in the real world.

    You can get service that is Good and Cheap – but it will not be Fast.
    You can get service that is Good and Fast – but it will not be Cheap.
    You can get service that is Cheap and Fast – but it will not be Good.

Sun Cellular, based on Chu’s experience, strikes out on all three.


Update: 17 January, 3:05pm – Chu receives new bill from Sun Cellular, for the same P1,600.92 that she had already paid for, plus a new amount of P715.94 which covers usage up to December 13, 2006, for a total of PHP 2,316, due on Feb 02, 2007.

Galing ng Sun Cellular mag bill ano?

Update 21 January, a full month after her line was first cut, Chu receives a free ringtone on her Sun Cellular phone.

    This means her line is active again.

    There are no explanations to why this “miracle” has occurred.

    As of this writing, the line is still active, but no apologies or explanations from Sun Cellular have been forwarded to Chu.

    All she has is her new bill.

Update Jan 23 – Amor Gapas of Sun Cellular head office Customer Care calls Chu to (politely) tell her that:

    she, Amor Gapas, did not receive report of Chu’s ordeal with Sun Cellular until the 19th of January, which was only last week.

    she had requested the reconnection of Chu’s line pending re-verification with Megalink (of which Unionbank is member)

    Megalink reports that there are no transactions for Chu’s account on the date that Chu made the deposit.

    she will follow up some more and will call Chu again by Friday regarding the matter.

    she hopes Chu will retain her Sun Cellular account despite this inconvenience.

Chu tells Amor:

    so what do you want me to do?
    I have made payment, you have evidence, the burden is on you and Megalink to find my payment
    Have you read the blog that details my horrible experience with you? (Amor says yes, they have.)
    Effective February 1, 2006 I will have my Sun Cellular line cut.
Strike Three – You’re Out!

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6 thoughts on “Strike Three – You’re Out!

  1. what inefficiency! good thing i had decided to cut my sun cel line. i am not satisfied with the service anyway. your friend is really patient to do those irksome procedures. i will not probably restore my line. goodbye sun cel na lang.

    i like the maxim. 🙂

  2. Sobrang sakit sa ulo yun ah.. I’m using PrePaid Sun Cellular that’s why this post interests me. Although I have a Pre-paid Globe to come to my rescue when Sun sucks, I was still thinking of getting a Sun plan. After reading this, you bet I won’t bother. Sun Cell service was really sloppy and poor right from the start. But just because they’re the cheapest, tinatangkilik pa rin.

    Thanks for sharing this. Big help. Poor Sun.

  3. bingskee, Ann, Noel and Xpac, kung ganito ang service level nila magiging vampire nalang ako — matatakot na ako sa Sun! 😀

  4. kung sa akin nila ginawa yan, maghalf day ako at sugurin ko talaga sila.

    pasaway na Sun, tamaan sana sila ng kidlat. please tell your friend to switch to another provider pronto.

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