Autopage woes

I recently sent the following email to Autopage, using the contact details for their MD and customer sales representative. Since I don’t honestly believe either will ever read it, I include it here as well. It’s behind a cut though, since it’s quite long. Various names and details have been removed, to protect both the guilty and the innocent.

Good day,

This message is unfortunately a complaint about very poor service I
have received from Autopage in my attempts to sign up as a new
customer, via a port from MTN Service Provider.

I am an employee of an Altech group company, Altech UEC, and as such
Altech Autopage offers me certain benefits if I take a contract with
them. When my MTN SP contract reached its termination, I decided to
take up an Autopage contract to take advantage of these benefits.

I initially sent to an email to an address I was given for a Autopage
consultant who had dealt with UEC employees before, but I was
contacted by email by a different consultant. I expressed an
interest in porting my number to Autopage, and also mentioned that the
MTN SP contract I currently had was in my father’s name, not my own. I
asked if this would present a difficulty and I was told it would
indeed do so. I was informed that this would be a considerable
problem, and I was told (somewhat abruptly) to phone Vodacom (although
I had mentioned I was an MTN contract holder) to see if it could be
done.

Consultation with MTN SP suggested that there is a mechanism during a
port to transfer a contract to my name. I contacted my Autopage
consultant and asked her if this was possible, and I was informed she
would find out if it could be done, on 3 September. I then heard nothing for a full
week. I again contacted her on 11 September to ask if anything had been found out, but
had no reply. I sent a second follow-up query on 14 September. To this
query I received an almost immediate response that I needed to
transfer to my name before the port could be done for me, and to make
the necessary arrangements. The gist of my complaint about this first
consultant is not whether she was correct or not about whether a
transfer to my name could be done during the port. The fact that she
took 11 days to get back to a simple query, and then to simply tell me
to arrange it myself was very unsatisfactory, frankly, and it left me
with little desire to do business with Autopage.

I have attached the email trail for this issue:

>>  RE: new contract
>> 
>>  TelesalesKZN2 [TelesalesKZN2@Autopage.Altech.co.za]
>> 
>>  I did find out you need to do a transfer to your name before we port and we cannot do the transfer for you. Sp please make the
>> 
>>  Necessary arrangements!!!
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  Kind Regards
>> 
>>  XXX
>> 
>>  Telesales Consultant KZN
>> 
>>  Altech Autopage Cellular
>> 
>>  P.O.Box 1488, Umhlanga Rocks, 4320, South Africa
>> 
>>  No 8 Pencarrow Park, La Lucia Ridge Office Estate, La Lucia, 4022
>>  Tel: (031) 560-5046 (Int. +27 31 560 5046)
>> 
>>  Fax: (031) 560-5087 / 5004
>> 
>> 
>>  ——————————————————————————–
>> 
>>  From: Kim Van Wyk [mailto:Kim.VanWyk@uec.co.za]
>>  Sent: 14 09 2007 02:54
>>  To: ‘TelesalesKZN2’
>>  Subject: FW: new contract
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  XX,
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  I haven’t heard anything about the transfer of the contract to my name yet – have you managed to establish any info?
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  Thanks
>> 
>>  Kim
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  ——————————————————————————–
>> 
>>  From: Kim Van Wyk
>>  Sent: 11 September 2007 15:57
>>  To: ‘TelesalesKZN2’
>>  Subject: RE: new contract
>> 
>>  Good day XX,
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  have you managed to find out anything about the below situation?
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  Thanks
>> 
>>  Kim
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  ——————————————————————————–
>> 
>>  From: TelesalesKZN2 [mailto:TelesalesKZN2@Autopage.Altech.co.za]
>>  Sent: 03 September 2007 15:32
>>  To: Kim Van Wyk
>>  Subject: FW: new contract
>> 
>>  Hi kim
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  Let me find out if it can bed transferred to your name 1st , then I will send you all the paperwork.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  thanks
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  Kind Regards
>> 
>>  XXX
>> 
>>  Telesales Consultant KZN
>> 
>>  Altech Autopage Cellular
>> 
>>  P.O.Box 1488, Umhlanga Rocks, 4320, South Africa
>> 
>>  No 8 Pencarrow Park, La Lucia Ridge Office Estate, La Lucia, 4022
>>  Tel: (031) 560-5046 (Int. +27 31 560 5046)
>> 
>>  Fax: (031) 560-5087 / 5004
>> 
>> 
>>  ——————————————————————————–
>> 
>>  From: Kim Van Wyk [mailto:Kim.VanWyk@uec.co.za]
>>  Sent: 03 09 2007 03:25
>>  To: ‘TelesalesKZN2’
>>  Subject: RE: new contract
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  Good day,
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  Sorry to take so long to get back to you.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  My current service provider informs me that the contract in my father’s name can be ported into one in my name during the porting process. Apparently there is a section on one of the relevant forms to do so. Is this perhaps a possibility?
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  I can also confirm that my current contract has terminated, and is now on a month-to-month basis – so I simply need to give my current provider a months notice before moving to Autopage.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  Thanks
>> 
>>  Kim van Wyk
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  ——————————————————————————–
>> 
>>  From: TelesalesKZN2 [mailto:TelesalesKZN2@Autopage.Altech.co.za]
>>  Sent: 15 August 2007 12:56
>>  To: Kim Van Wyk
>>  Subject: RE: new contract
>>  Importance: High
>> 
>>  Yes it will pose a problem, you need to do a name change 1st  over to your name. then only can I port you. Phone Vodacom and find out if it is possible.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  Kind Regards
>> 
>>  XXX
>> 
>>  Telesales Consultant KZN
>> 
>>  Altech Autopage Cellular
>> 
>>  P.O.Box 1488, Umhlanga Rocks, 4320, South Africa
>> 
>>  No 8 Pencarrow Park, La Lucia Ridge Office Estate, La Lucia, 4022
>>  Tel: (031) 560-5046 (Int. +27 31 560 5046)
>> 
>>  Fax: (031) 560-5087 / 5004
>> 
>> 
>>  ——————————————————————————–
>> 
>>  From: Kim Van Wyk [mailto:Kim.VanWyk@uec.co.za]
>>  Sent: 15 08 2007 12:29
>>  To: ‘TelesalesKZN2’
>>  Subject: RE: new contract
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  XX,
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  I can make these details available, no problem. The only possible consideration is that my current contraction is in my father’s name, not mine, but this new one will need to be in my name. Will that present an issue?
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  Do I need to be on month 24 only to port, or simply a month after 24?
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  ——————————————————————————–
>> 
>>  From: TelesalesKZN2 [mailto:TelesalesKZN2@Autopage.Altech.co.za]
>>  Sent: 15 August 2007 12:26
>>  To: Kim Van Wyk
>>  Subject: new contract
>>  Importance: High
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  Hi  kim
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  To qualify for a new contract I need the following from you.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  3 months bank statement
>> 
>>  Copy of i.d
>> 
>>  Payslip
>> 
>>  Proof of address
>> 
>>  And a copy of an invoice from your current service provider.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  I need to fax you the relevant forms, you need to fill it out and include the above documents, when faxing back. You need to also tell me what month you are currently on with mtn because you have to be on month 24 to port. I have attached our new prices for august for you to view and decide what phone you would like to take, please not that as a Altech employee you only pay subscription as cli and itemized billing is not compulsory for you.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  Kind Regards
>> 
>>  XXX
>> 
>>  Telesales Consultant KZN
>> 
>>  Altech Autopage Cellular
>> 
>>  P.O.Box 1488, Umhlanga Rocks, 4320, South Africa
>> 
>>  No 8 Pencarrow Park, La Lucia Ridge Office Estate, La Lucia, 4022
>>  Tel: (031) 560-5046 (Int. +27 31 560 5046)
>> 
>>  Fax: (031) 560-5087 / 5004
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  ——————————————————————————–
>> 
>>  E-Mail Disclaimer : http://www.altron.co.za/email.asp
>>  Should you have any questions regarding this e-mail legal notice please contact us on
>>  1. Telephone number : +27116453600
>>  2. Fax number : +27117263009
>>  3. E-mail address : info@altron.co.za
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  ——————————————————————————–
>> 
>>  E-Mail Disclaimer : http://www.altron.co.za/email.asp
>>  Should you have any questions regarding this e-mail legal notice please contact us on
>>  1. Telephone number : +27116453600
>>  2. Fax number : +27117263009
>>  3. E-mail address : info@altron.co.za
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  ——————————————————————————–
>> 
>>  E-Mail Disclaimer : http://www.altron.co.za/email.asp
>>  Should you have any questions regarding this e-mail legal notice please contact us on
>>  1. Telephone number : +27116453600
>>  2. Fax number : +27117263009
>>  3. E-mail address : info
>> 

However, I decided to try again and contacted the Durban branch of
Autopage, where I was finally put through to someone who appeared to
know what they were talking about. I was informed that I had two
options: I could either arrange through MTN SP to transfer the
contract to my name and then do a port, or I could have my father do a
port to Autopage, and once the contract was with Autopage I could
transfer the account to my name. I was told by the consultant I spoke
to that doing a transfer to my name via MTN SP would be quite
difficult, as it is not a simple matter. I have subsequently been told
that this is in fact not true, as the experience of various people of
my acquaintance indicates that the transfer of an MTN SP account from
one holder to another is in fact a simple matter. I do not blame the
consultant for not knowing this, as it was MTN SP’s place to make
this clear, but I do feel aggrieved that I was effectively lied to
when I was told that it was difficult to do.

I opted to do a port in my father’s name and then transfer to my name
thereafter. That porting process was successfully completed on 4
October. I have collected my new chosen handset and all is
well. However, I was informed when I went to collect the handset that
the transfer to my name would only be possible after a six month
period. This had never been mentioned to me at all before I signed all
the needed documents, and I do not recall seeing it in the terms and
conditions either. The entire purpose of porting in my father’s name
was to do a transfer into my name swiftly thereafter – indeed I was
informed by the consultant who advised a port before the transfer that
I would be able to transfer to my name after a month. The six month
period has invalidated the entire purpose of moving to Autopage at all
– I only chose to do so as the benefits offered to UEC employees,
while not earth-shattering by any degree, were better than MTN SP
could offer me. Autopage has an unsavory reputation for having
appalling customer service, and if there were no benefits available to
me for transferring, I would never have considered doing so. Since I do not receive those on my father’s name, and
I have now had to wait six months before I do, I would have
been better off simply staying with MTN SP, whose offering was
comparable to Autopage’s without the UEC benefits.

It was my hope that the six month period arose as confusion on the
behalf of the consultant I dealt with and she was in fact referring to
the mandatory period between ports. I contacted Autopage by email at
the end of January to request a transfer of account form, and again
received no reply at all (which is sadly becoming almost expected). I
followed that email up on 17 March and finally received a reply, which
contained the necessary form and confirmed the 6 month waiting period,
which has already elapsed due to the incredibly slow and/or
non-existent responses I have received from dealing with Autopage
customer service.

I attach that email trail below:

>>  RE: Change of account holders details.XX
>> 
>>  Service [Service@Autopage.Altech.co.za]
>> 
>>  Dear Kim
>> 
>>  Thank you for contacting us at Altech Autopage Cellular.
>> 
>>  With regards to your query, Enclosed herewith is the transfer of ownership form.
>> 
>>  Kindly read, as all the information is you need to know is in there, fill in, sign and send back together with a copy of ID and relevant Documents to 0116501936.
>> 
>>  Should you require any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Care Service on 0860232424 or via e-mail at service@autopage.co.za
>> 
>>  Kind Regards
>> 
>> 
>>  Marvis Hadebe
>> 
>>  E- Desk Administrator
>> 
>>  CRM Department-Altech Autopage Cellular (Pty) Ltd Private Bag X82, Halfway House, 1685, South Africa
>>  2 Augrabies Rd, Waterfall Park, Bekker Rd, Midrand
>>  Tel: (011) 6506655 (Int. +27116505204)
>>  Fax: (011) 6501925 (Int.+27116501925)
>>  Web: www.autopage.co.za
>>  E-mail: mailto:service@autopage.altech.co.za This e-mail is sent on the Terms and Conditions that can be accessed by Clicking on this link http://www.autopage.co.za/home/email.as
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  —–Original Message—–
>>  From: Kim Van Wyk [mailto:Kim.VanWyk@uec.co.za]
>>  Sent: 17 March 2008 03:22 PM
>>  To: ‘accounts@Autopage.Altech.co.za’
>>  Subject: FW: Change of account holders details.XX
>> 
>>  Good day,
>> 
>>  I never received any form of reply or acknowledgment to the below message.
>>  Please do me the courtesy of at least replying to it.
>> 
>>  —–Original Message—–
>>  From: Kim Van Wyk
>>  Sent: 29 January 2008 13:24
>>  To: ‘accounts@Autopage.Altech.co.za’
>>  Subject: Change of account holders details
>> 
>>  Good day,
>> 
>>  In October my father ported the cellphone contract which he pays for me to Autopage. It was our intention to change the account to be in my name a month afterwords, and I would like to do so now. Could you provide me with the relevant forms to change the account of XX, number XX to a different name?
>> 
>>  I am an employee of Altech UEC< and would thus like to take advantage of the benefits that having the account in my name would provide me, that having it in my father's currently does not. >> 
>>  Thank you
>> 
>>  Kim van Wyk
>>  Engineer
>>  UEC Technologies 1988/001568/07
>>  PO Box 54, Mount Edgecombe 4300, Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa
>>  1 Montgomery Drive, Mount Edgecombe, Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa Tel # +27
>>  31 508 2800 Fax # +27 31 539 5255 Web www.uec.co.za
>> 
>>  E-Mail Disclaimer : http://www.altron.co.za/email.asp Should you have any questions regarding this e-mail legal notice please contact us on 1.
>>  Telephone number : +27116453600 2. Fax number : +27117263009 3. E-mail address : info@altron.co.za
>> 
>> 
>>  Information contained in any e-mail or attachment from Altech Autopage Cellular (Pty) Ltd (“AAPC”) is confidential and may also be privileged or protected by other legal rules or law. You should not disseminate, distribute or copy this e-mail. Any views or opinions presented in this email are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of AAPC. Employees of AAPC are expressly required not to make defamatory statements and not to infringe or authorise any infringement of copyright or any other legal right by email communications. Any such communication is contrary to AAPC’s policy and outside the scope of the employment of the individual concerned. AAPC will not accept any liability in respect of such communication, and the employee responsible will be personally liable for any damages or other liability arising from such communication.
>> 
>> 
>>  #####################################################################################
>>  This e-mail message has been scanned for Viruses and Content and cleared by MailMarshal #####################################################################################
>> 

While there are several issues that irk me about the whole business,
most notably the poor customer response I’ve received at every step of
the way, I feel most strongly about the 6 month waiting period before
moving the account to my name. I was never informed of it, and in fact
the only reason (as explained above) that I went the route I did was
to have the account put into my name as swiftly as possible. I
consider it frankly fraudulent that Autopage representatives led me to
believe the port and transfer could follow each other by a month, only
to find out after the papers were signed that this was not so.

The whole experience of dealing with Autopage has left me very
dissatisfied and I would hesitate to recommend the companies offerings
to friends as I wouldn’t wish this kind of bad service on them. Please
consider investigating these kinds of issues, as anecdotal evidence
assures me I’m not the only person this kind of thing happens to, and
it must be hurting Autopage, and by extension the entire group.

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