Line Registration Woes at Econet Wireless

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We received this from a disgruntled Farai, who was home in Harare for Christmas.

Below is an account of my experience with Econet “Customer Care” over the Christmas holiday period.

14 December: I arrived in Zim and bought a line at the Econet airport kiosk. As usual, the kiosk attendant took a copy of my ID and attached it to my application form.

16 December: I received a text message informing me that my line wasn’t registered (??) and that I had to proceed to an Econet Shop by Thursday 17 December or my line would be disconnected. This seemed very strange to me as I’d seen the man take a copy of my ID a couple of days before and so I ignored the message. My mother, who has had her line for over 6 years also received the same message (in English, Shona and Ndebele) and I told her to ignore it.

26 December: the messages were still coming in fast and thick on my mother’s phone (I’d only received that first one) so I tweeted Econet and they responded asking me to send them a DM with the numbers affected.

28 December: I received a call from a lovely Econet staff member named Collin. He advised that the problem wasn’t that the lines weren’t registered, it was that when the ID numbers submitted were compared to those held by government (no details of where but I assume the Registrar General’s office) there was a mismatch so they had to resubmit “new” IDs to the government for confirmation. Collin offered to fill in the required paperwork for me if I scanned and emailed him copies of both my and my mother’s ID. He then sent me his personal email address via DM which I saw the next day.

30 December: I emailed Collin and he replied acknowledging receiving it.

1 January: my mother’s line was disconnected.

2 January: I called the Econet helpdesk and after 13 minutes I was put through to a “Caroline” who advised that she was unable to help me as Collin had received the email at his personal address and had the day off. I asked her if I could send it to her instead for assistance and she refused. I explicitly asked her if Collin had done the wrong thing by helping me and she said no but continued to offer the same service offered by Collin. We went round in circles a couple of times before Caroline told me that Collin had “done me a favour” with the assistance he’d provided and she was not going to do the same. I’d have to go in to an Econet shop for assistance.

My mom and I went to the Econet Shop in Chisipite where we were helped by a gentleman who was very professional and friendly. While in the queue I asked the cashier if the Econet Wifi was down as I was failing to log onto Twitter (to keep questioning Econet customer care) and she advised that although the “ECONET WI-FI ZONE” network was unlocked, it wasn’t free. Customers who used that wi-fi connection would be using their own data “subsidised by Econet”, whatever that means.

Mom’s line reconnection was processed around 10 am and we were advised that we’d have to wait until after 2 pm for her line to be active again as it was a weekend (?).

Overall I was disappointed not only with the failure of Econet to explain clearly what the problem was with the ID details they had on file (it doesn’t make sense that a second photocopy of the same document magically fixes a data mismatch), but also Caroline’s
rudeness. On what planet does a customer service representative use the phrase “They were doing you a favour” when speaking to a customer?

I left written feedback at the Chisipite Econet shop and did not hear back from them.

This post has been forwarded to Econet Customer Care for comment.

As always, we wait with bated breath for a response.


Update 31/1/15 – We have received a response from Econet Wireless.

Good Day. In reference to the feedback on the Consumer Zim website, we apologize for this experience and thank you for the valued feedback. Your feedback as our valued customer is cherished, and this helps us in meeting and surpassing our customers’ expectations.

We will certainly improve our line registration process so that it is efficient and painless for all our valued customers.

Kindly note all SIM cards are required to be properly registered in accordance with Statutory Instrument 95 of 2014. It is a regulatory requirement under Section 4(2) of SI 95/2014, that all service providers verify the full name, surnames, ID numbers, address and identity of each customer. Customers are therefore required to produce copies of their national ID and complete registration forms giving their correct details.

Once again, sincere apologies for the tumultuous manner in which SIM card registration for you and your mother was handled by our customer services team.

We are committed to delivering an exceptional customer experience for all our valued customers, and as such, we shall engage our customer services representatives to address the shortcomings in their conduct that you have highlighted.