Buy the Chip and Rent the Number
EDITOR: Someone accosted me in the street and demanded to know why I wouldn’t fix my phone. She said she had been trying to call me for a while but the deadline had since passed. I found it odd, because my phone was still working. I had been receiving text messages, calling persons, transferring credit and contacting persons via WhatsApp etc. The person insisted that my phone was not working, so I used her phone to dial my number and heard a message saying “We’re sorry but incoming calls to this number have been restricted. Id 16”. I then used my phone to dial her number and heard “We’re sorry, you’re not allowed to make this call. Id 6”. So off to Digicel I went to get my phone rectified.
You could have knocked me over with a feather when the customer service representative told me that my phone number was no longer ‘in the system’. The computer had decided that I wasn’t topping up the phone often enough so it labelled me idle and took my number out of the system to be recycled and given to someone else.
I would have thought that since I had bought the chip (for $10 at the time) the number was mine, but apparently not. It would appear that customers buy the chip, but rent the number. The rent is the money you top up with. So I no longer had the number that persons would have contacted me by for the last eight years. It also meant that I lost my Whatsapp contacts as well.
The representative told me that I could get back my number if I paid $30 and had my request approved by the home office, or I could buy another chip for $15 and get a new number. Whichever method I chose, I would lose the money that had still been on my phone, but if I paid the $30 I would at least recover my list of contact numbers that had been saved to my chip.
I have decided not to do either one because the same thing will most likely happen again. Among all the messages and survey requests that Digicel sent me, they never once warned me that they were about to take away my number. That lack of simple courtesy has left a sour taste in me towards a company I have done business with since its inception here some15-plus years ago. I know I will not reconnect with all my people, but I will be making my contacts via the internet (Google, Skype, etc.) from now on