Business

Credit U fee increased to $5 on bad economy

Tell Claudienne

With Claudienne Edwards

Sunday, December 08, 2013    

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Dear Claudienne

Yesterday morning, Thanksgiving Day (November 28), I sent my daughter $100 credit from my Digicel phone and was notified that $5 was deducted from my balance.

At first, I thought it was a mistake. I sent another credit for $30 and the $5 was again deducted. I decided to text 128 to 137 and was incensed to see it in print. Effective November 28, 2013, the charge for crediting a Digicel prepaid cell would be increased to $5.

Now, it was only last year that the charge was $1. Then it was increased to $3 and now to $5. That's a 400 per cent increase in less than two years.

To be fair, perhaps my indignation should be directed at the government. You see, maybe this increase is due to an additional tax. On the other hand, the 137 text did not state that.

I am positive that over 90 per cent of such "Credit U" transfers are for under $50, which means that Digicel deducts a minimum of 10 per cent for each such transfer. That's almost usury. In truth, it is past usury. It is mercenary.

And what if the "Credit U" was for the minimum allowed of $15, which I am sure that a siginificant portion are? That means that the charge would be 1/3 or 33.3 per cent. That's bordering on criminal.

If you form the impression that I am incensed, I am.

And while I am at it, what's with the double credit and triple credit that cannot be used off? I challenge anyone to show me in what practical way they could be used.

JC

Dear JC,

Tell Claudienne conveyed your concerns to Digicel and they responded with the following statement:

"Thank you for contacting us regarding the query from one of our valued customers.

"We have since made contact with JC to discuss his concerns and to explain that due to the current economic factors facing the country, such as the sliding value of the Jamaican dollar, Digicel is unable to continue to provide the Credit U transfer service at the previous rates. As such, effective Thursday, November 28, a charge of $5 will be applied for post-paid and prepaid customers who opt to utilise the Credit U service.

"In relation to JC's query about bonus credit from our Double Bubble and Triple Bubble Diaspora promotions, allow us to explain that when a customer places a call to a Digicel number, talk time is first deducted from their bonus credit to ensure that they can enjoy the benefit of this value offer. Note that when customers top up online with, for example, $1,000 during these promotions, they stand to receive an additional $1,000 or $2,000 in bonus credit that they can use to make local calls to other Digicel numbers and international calls to select locations. So for example, a customer can use that bonus credit to speak for approximately one hour to a family member or friend overseas. We know that Jamaicans like to stay in touch, and that's what informs all of the value-added initiatives that Digicel offers.

"Digicel remains committed to providing the best service, the best value and the best network to its valued customers.

"For more information customers can visit us on Facebook and Twitter or call 100 to speak directly with an operator."

Good luck.

Dear Claudienne

I live in St Ann and I would like to know my rights. My children's father and I jointly own a small plot of land. When we bought the land we did not get a title, but the names of both of us are on the diagram paper, and the transaction and agreement were done by a lawyer. There is a house on the land and the children and I live in it. I lived with him for about 15 years, but we parted 12 years ago. Recently I saw a lady constructing a house on the land, and learnt that he had sold a piece of it to her without consulting me.

I think this is unfair. Please let me know what can be done about this injustice.

CB

Dear CB

An attorney-at-law told Tell Claudienne that the actions you can take to get redress are hampered by the fact that there is no title for the plot of land that you and your former common-law husband jointly acquired. The attorney said that if there was a title and you both owned the land under a joint tenancy arrangement, you could report the sale to the police and have the fraud squad do an investigation.

The attorney said that you should try to get redress through a civil suit and recommended that you consult a lawyer. She said that if both of your names are listed on the tax roll as the owners, this would strengthen your case, so she suggests that you check the tax roll.

Good luck.

Have a problem with a store, utility, a company: telephone 936-9436 or write to: Tell Claudienne c/o Sunday Finance, Jamaica Observer, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5; or e-mail: edwardsc@jamaicaobserver.com. Please include a contact phone number.

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