My Horrible Experience at SMART, SM North Edsa
I have always been a loyal subscriber of Globe telecom for 14 years ever since I started using mobile phones back in high school and having continued being subscribed to a postpaid line. Last October 2014 my latest 2-year lock-in period with Globe Telecom ended and decided to terminate my line because the offers for their supposedly "loyal" subscribers were quite unappealing and mediocre. When I inquired about purchasing a new phone for a certain corresponding monthly subscription, I was surprised that they only offer Huawei or Cloudfone for my plan as free phone, but when you apply a new plan with the same monthly as I have, you can avail a Samsung or Sony Experia mobile phone. All agents that I was able to talk to stated that the phones offered to "loyal" subscribers as compared to applying for a new line is different. I then decided to have my postpaid line cut after I get a new one, either from Globe Telecom or from another service provider.
I researched both Smart and Suncellular but as per advise by some of my friends I wanted to try having a Smart postpaid line. I looked at their website for the necessary requirements so I can come prepared once I have the time to finally apply for a line. The nearest branch of Smart from my house is in SM North Edsa, Annex.
SMART requirements as stated in their website:
Photo image screenshot from Smart website
Last March 16, 2015, knowing that my boyfriend and I had all the documents needed, we were excited to apply for a Smart postpaid line. We had our company ID and PRC licenses as extras even though the requirements only asked for one valid ID. For the proof of address, I brought two months Globe postpaid bill statement as well as my credit card bills. I only brought one copy of each credit card statement of account that I have, because it only said at least one of the following. For the proof of income, I included my one month payslip as well as the original copy of my latest income tax return.
Unfortunately, when my boyfriend and I was assigned to Ms. Faye, an agent at the SM North Edsa branch, our application was readily denied just by looking at our payslips.
Just like that, denied, rejected, declined, turned down, repudiated.
I was really shocked and disappointed. I asked her outright why the sudden decision, but Ms. Faye simply answered that the postpaid plan that I was applying for is 999php/month and my salary is JUST 16,000php and that they only approve the plan 999php if one's salary is at least 20,000php. Now I am more dismayed. First, I am just applying only for a thousand worth of postpaid line. I would understand if my application would be declined if I am applying for a line more than the budget of my salary. Second, I had more than enough of the documents stated in their website.
I told her that I have all the requirements they asked and that I have a job and that it is not my fault if a nurse's salary is below 20,000php but it does not mean that I cannot pay for it. Much more so that my salary from being a nurse is not the sole financial source of this nurse's life. I even asked her if my postpaid line from Globe Telecom is not enough as proof that I am a responsible subscriber. She even dare say that Globe only approved 599php per month for me. That was the time that I told her that, that was the plan that I wanted from Globe and not because I cannot afford higher plans.
She then asked about my credit card limit and that if I have at least 50,000php then she can approve it. I tried handing her my three (3) separate credit card statements, one which has a 100,000php limit, one which has 50,000php credit limit, and another one which also has 50,000php credit limit. She did not even glance to look at my credit card bills. She said that I should have brought at least two to three month billing statement per credit card. I told her that in their list of requirements, it specifically said to at least bring one. She said that they only accept one bill if it is Citibank - now that is not stated on their requirements list.
She then dismissed me and was told that I can just come back any other day to bring more statement of accounts. I told her that they should specifically post their list of requirements including the rule that you can only apply for a plan 999php monthly only if your salary is only 20,000php and above. She was even arrogant enough to tell me that it is in their policy to deny my application because I do not meet their criteria. She even dismissed me in a very haughty manner.
I left the branch baffled and found her judgment very incredulous and ironic that I was denied a mobile plan in the amount of 999php yet I just spent more than 5,000php on one shop alone without batting an eye. I really felt discriminated because having a salary less than 20,000php could mean I could not pay for a monthly bill of 999php. I really feel that she simply did not want to entertain us. Period.
The next day, someone at work suggested that I should try applying in other branches because sometimes there are better agents who can assist me more. With that in mind, I set out a goal to discover if their so-called policy and treatment with customers are one and the same. That same week, my boyfriend and I went to Sta. Lucia Branch in Cainta to apply for a Smart postpaid plan. Yes, this girl went from North Edsa to Cainta just to seek a certain kind of confirmation. Upon arriving in the Smart center, Ms. Carissa, the agent there, just photocopied all the requirements we brought and was readily told that the applications are still up for approval from the main office. We just needed to wait for a call if our applications are approved. Now that is more professional, right? A simple spiel of "I'll accept your applications and submit these in our main office since the approvals are done by the said department." Wouldn't that have been better? Instead, Faye just took it upon herself to stand as the "main office" and decided right then and there that our applications does not suffice, and whose applications she out-rightly denied. I digress, back to the Cainta branch, that same day of applying, a SMART representative from the main office called my workplace and home to verify my application. Three days later, we were informed that our application was approved and that we just have to wait for the phone units to be available for pick-up.
After receiving the news, I realized that the problem is not SMART Telecom but the agent at SM North - Ms. Faye. Due to how we were treated by the agent, I was left to assume that agents have that much power hiding behind "policies" that are not even clear-cut. She failed in many ways as an agent whose job is to gather and encourage more subscribers to shift to their company. If that is how she presents herself to people, then it is no longer surprising why the feedback from SM North branch is mostly negative. Can you imagine how many customers she faces per day, per week, per month, per year? How unfortunate for those people to try to transact with her.
If one's salary is the major component for the sure approval of an application, then a nurse who earns less than 20,000php would clearly never be granted a postpaid line by Smart Telecom. I wonder, was I penalized by Ms. Faye for a measly 16,000php salary or was it really a Smart policy?
Now, if it is really Smart's policy then may I suggest that you specify and be concise in your published advertisements and requirements, to save yourselves, and your clientele, the hassle of applying. I think DTI should also be aware of this because it means they are not following what they are releasing as statements of policies and requirements. A false advertisement. After all, consumers are protected by the Republic Act No. 7394 THE CONSUMER ACT OF THE PHILIPPINES.
My blog is mainly focused on beauty, fashion and health, but I needed to know if I am the only one who suffered from discrimination. I really feel sad and disappointed about this because I know that I can more than pay for it and I know that I have all the documents needed, but Ms. Faye just based it on our salary and decided upon herself to dismiss us nonchalantly, not considering that I was so ready to switch from Globe to Smart!
In the end, we still got our new lines from the Cainta branch because Ms. Carissa did not choose to be a bigot.
How about you my readers, any bad experiences from Smart or other Telecommunications company?
If you have anything to share, you can comment below.