Mobile first: universal phone charges are not universal

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My phone bill is a post-paid model paid by the group. The monthly group payment limit is 120 yuan. Except for changing the package in May and paying an additional broadband account opening fee that exceeds the limit, the payment limit is basically not exceeded at other times.

At the end of last month, I planned to use the “Gold Member 50% Off Purchase” privilege on the China Mobile APP to order a 15-yuan coupon package for Meituan Takeout, and the actual payment was 7.5 yuan. However, the page prompted “Order exception, please try again later (code: 3999). In order to find out the reason why I could not order, I tried to order another value-added service. The page displayed “Insufficient phone balance, please recharge and try again.”

I checked the call charges on the China Mobile APP. The total call balance was about 50 yuan. The details showed that the general call charge was 4.8 and the dedicated call charge was 45.7. Click the “question mark” icon next to the dedicated balance and note that the dedicated phone fee refers to the phone fee received as a gift from participating in promotional activities, etc., and can only be used to pay for the designated product within the validity period . It is also mentioned in the details of handling value-added services such as Meituan takeaway vouchers that special phone bills cannot be used for payment.

Unable to handle screenshots. The definition of dedicated phone charges has been moved.

So I recharged 10 yuan myself. At this time, the total phone bill balance queried on the China Mobile APP was about 60 yuan, and the general phone bill was 14.8. It stands to reason that with the money I charge myself, I can handle the value-added business of 7.5 yuan, right? However, I still can’t handle the same prompt as before.

The complaint was sent to 10086. They responded the next day and said that they found that my cash balance (universal phone bill) was only more than 7 yuan (at this time, the APP still showed that the universal balance was more than 14 yuan). They said that it might be some value-added business I had handled in the past that caused the universal phone bill. The phone bill was in arrears, so it was deducted after recharging. However, it can be seen from past bills that the charges for similar value-added services were paid by the group, which did not affect my own recharge charges at all .

One of the bills for January shows that similar value-added business expenses were paid by the group.

Later, the mobile company called me again and explained to me: There are more than 14 yuan of universal phone bills left, but more than seven of them are free phone bills through mobile activities and cannot be used to pay for value-added services. Among them, my “principal balance” (new vocabulary) has been deducted by more than two yuan due to previous business, so the actual unlimited amount available is only more than seven yuan, which is only a few cents away from the business I want to order.

Hearing these words, I had indescribable feelings in my heart. Why is the universal phone fee displayed on the official APP 14.8 after I recharged 10 yuan, but it is only 7 yuan for unlimited use? Why do I get less money when I add it to my own money?

My communication with China Mobile failed, so I submitted my complaint to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology Telecom. The points and appeals I don’t understand are as follows:

1. China Mobile Chongqing Company does not have any written regulations indicating that postpaid users paid by the group cannot activate value-added services;

2. I cannot accept the statement that the official APP shows that my universal balance is more than 14 yuan, but the customer service replied that it is only more than 7 yuan. The information in different channels in the same system is different;

3. Since there is no agreement or written explanation, China Mobile seems to be able to set restrictions arbitrarily. What users see is not consistent with the actual situation. Customer service can say whatever they want, and users have no way to verify it.

After waiting for more than ten long days, the mobile company called me back and explained the composition of my phone bill to me in detail. It was almost the same as the previous reply, but it still could not answer my questions above. What is different from the previous telecom complaint experience with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is that the call from the mobile company was not to solve the problem, but to inform or notify me of their verification status. The other party’s attitude was very tough and said, “I don’t think we can solve anything if we continue to communicate. I will truthfully respond to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology about the results of the user’s dissatisfaction.”

The next day, I received a call from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (probably Chongqing Municipal Communications Administration Bureau), who asked me what I wanted to ask for.

At that moment, I suddenly couldn’t tell what my appeal was. Do you want to get back the few dollars you recharged, or are you dissatisfied that the response from the mobile company staff is inconsistent with the official APP? It’s just a fight for one breath.

I said: “I hope the mobile company can standardize the fee issue. The free phone calls should be in the ‘dedicated balance’ instead of mixed in the ‘general balance’, making the general balance not ‘universal’.” At this time, it seemed that I had no choice but to I didn’t accept the mobile company’s rhetoric and accepted that part of my universal balance was indeed donated by them. It was also reasonable to assume that I could only use more than seven yuan when I recharged ten yuan.

Today, the mobile company called again and said that they had received feedback from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and had reported my appeal record, but he could not tell the specific adjustment time. I didn’t want to talk to him anymore, so I said “ok” a few times and then hung up the phone.

A few dollars is indeed not much, but when the rules are unclear, the final power of interpretation really lies in their hands.

Programmers who have been fined and confiscated their “illegal gains” must also hope that the rules are clear.

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