Tue | Sep 26, 2017

Does Digicel have a big data switch?

Published:Friday | July 7, 2017 | 7:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I need your help to investigate a problem I had with Digicel over the course of a few weeks. I am a prepaid customer and I normally spend very little on phone credit each month - maybe $500 on average. My credit normally expires! Because I use very little credit, I don't see the need of a post-paid plan. And I have categorically refused to take out a data plan.

However, on one particular weekend, I decided to add $1,000 credit because I had a family trip to the country. With one of its recent promotions, Digicel offers you 1GB of data for free for three days with the purchase of $1,000. Since I had already purchased the credit, I took advantage of the deal.

At the end of the three days, I turned off my data from my phone settings. I noticed, though, that my phone credit was running pretty quickly, and I ran out after just a few days. I figured I had made too many phone calls. I also checked my phone settings and ensured that the data option was off.

I bought $1,000 credit again. And I took advantage of the data promotion again. It was the same experience. Again, I figured that I had made too many phone calls, or, perhaps, I had actually left my data on accidentally. Either way, I figured that I had used my credit carelessly.

It all came to a head when I tried to make a call one morning and heard that I did not have enough credit to make the call. I checked my phone log and I had made no phone calls since adding the credit. I checked my phone's settings and confirmed that the data was turned off.

I called Digicel.

The representative said that my records showed that I had made no calls in the period but that data was being accessed/taken from my phone and I was billed accordingly. I explained that the data settings on my phone were turned off. My phone would only be able to access the Internet via Wi-Fi, so how was this possible?

She repeated that the records showed that data was being accessed and perhaps I mistakenly left the data on. I was very clear that I did not.

Her response was that perhaps they would have to turn the mobile/data service off from their end. What?

So, apparently Digicel has a big switch that they turn on/off that sends data to your phone whether or not you want it. And bills you for it?

To Digicel, I must ask, if I did sign up for a data plan (and I won't), does this mean that even if I turn off the data from my device I would still be billed? And is this the case for current customers?

TRACEY TAPPER

tapjean@gmail.com