Mukhtar Ahmed is furious and ready to take the Jazz to High Court because he needs very clear answers. How Jazz team was able to port in his Ufone SIM without his consent.
The fact that your SIM can be misused without you knowing it is very much astonishing; however industry, regulator, and ministry either don’t want to acknowledge it or simply they are ignorant.
The other day, Chaudhary Nisar, Interior Minister of Pakistan in a media briefing confidently boasted that the government had blocked millions of SIM cards in the country and due to his stringent measures the system has eradicated the disease of unregistered cellular SIM cards.
Not everything is as smooth as it looks. Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) that works right under his thumb has dozens of reports that mobile phone SIMs are being sold on forged, duplicated and cloned thumb impressions. How they are fooling NADRA and PTA, we have reported here.
Only a low-cost biometric device doesn’t fail the whole process; the customer services department also plays a significant role in manipulating customer’s identity and its data. At least, it proved right in the case of Jazz for these two customers.
Atta Ullah and Mukhtar were pulling their hair out because no one at Jazz had attended them nicely in past few months. They have been running from pillar to post, but no customer representative or any in charge helped them out. One is apparently facing the issue of a cloned SIM, and other’s mobile SIM was ported in and activated in his absence and without consent.
The misery of two Jazz customers
Attaullah whose SIM card was hacked some nine months ago in Quetta is afraid of getting framed into some money laundering case or a fraud as some Kamal Udin Achakzai opened a Jazz Cash account on the mobile number which is in use and owned by Atta Ullah.
Atta Ullah says that he does not know Kamal while the guy is consistently making transactions in his name and Atta keeps receiving their notifications on his phone.
“It dawned on me that someone had opened a mobile banking account on my SIM when I received the first payment alert. I went to the point of payment, and I was told that there was a Rs. 20,000 payment on my SIM number. I refused to take the cash and contacted Jazz’s (then Mobilink) franchise at Global Center in Quetta for registering the complaint to close that anonymous bank account, but they never acted upon my request, and it kept going on for several months”, said Atta Ullah.
He further said; “The transactions are still being conducted, and I am afraid of getting involved in something illegal that I never did,”
The poor customer tried to reach the culprit (Kamal) who threatened Atta Ullah of dire consequences.
Discouraged by the poor customer care experience and in an effort to avoid any criminal charges, he was able to publish a story in a local newspaper in which he appealed to the Jazz and the PTA, however, it also could not bring him the desired fruits. Maybe the PR departments of both the organizations are too big to notice smaller clips.
During all these months Atta has been facing embarrassment, helplessness, and rejection from those who charge him for every single second.
He thinks that the situation is dangerous and wouldn’t like to keep it happening. Therefore, he has once again registered a complaint with PTA and Waseela Bank to cancel the bank account which has become a pain in the neck.
Interestingly PTA and Jazz deny the possibility of a cloned SIM as well as the compromised biometric procedure.
A spokesperson of PTA reverted to our query that it is not possible for anyone to dodge the biometric verification system and there are no reports of cloning as of yet.
“No report of cloning appeared so far, and it is not possible to activate a SIM without getting biometrics,” the spokesperson responded.
“Every customer’s data is sacred, and we protect it in accordance with our policies and the law, with due checks and verifications in place for its access,” Jazz’s PR department responded to email.
And about the responsiveness of customer care, the spokesperson replied, “Our system is extremely comprehensive. Every complaint created within the system has a pre-defined SLA. It is centralized for visibility across all touchpoints (Call Center, Business Center, Monobrands & Franchises) with an in-built escalation mechanism that resolves the queries promptly.”
However, Mukhtar Ahmed is furious and ready to take the company to High Court because he needs very clear answers. He says Jazz team was able to port in his Ufone number without his consent.
Mukhtar bought a Ufone SIM on his CNIC some 12 years ago which he deactivated later. A few months back he visited a Jazz franchise to know the number of SIMs in his name where he came to know that the old deactivated SIM of Ufone had been successfully ported in on Jazz network and the company had converted it into a postpaid number without his consent. Surprisingly there was an outstanding bill he had to pay.
“There was a bill worth Rs. 2000 pending on this number. I was just speechless at the whole exercise that how some company can port in and activate a SIM in my name without getting my consent and thumb impression” Mukhtar stated in frustration.
“The customer representative at Shahrah Quaid-e-Azam Road, Chiniot franchise told me that I could use the SIM again if I paid the outstanding bill which I did. However, after 40 days of futile exercise, the SIM never got activated. So I asked them to remove it from my CNIC which they did”, Mukhtar continued.
In his latest application to Incharge Customer Care of Jazz, Mukhtar has asked the company to answer some very valid questions which are;
- How did Jazz port in this SIM without my consent and verification since PTA has already ensured all the customers that no verification can be done without person’s physical appearance and a genuine thumb impression
- Who has been using this SIM for so many years which was always registered in his name?
On May 11th, 2017, Jazz management showed off their love for their customers by observing a customer obsession day which was first of its kind activity from any telecom operator in Pakistan. It was seemingly a gesture that how much company cared about its consumers. On their Facebook page, they interacted three live sessions with the Jazz customers, but it was certainly impossible to engage with even 1 percent of 52 million user base. CEO of the company Aamir Ibrahim is a fan of digitization, and it must have been his idea to go digital this way. Of course, this would help him to set some fine examples in the industry.
To me, Customer Obsession day and live Facebook sessions seemed more like a “Khuli Katcheri,” which our politicians often conduct in front of pre-invited media and selected people to redress their problems. Millions of their actual customers weren’t logged-in as we are not yet much “digital.”
Among them, Attaullah from Quetta and Mukhtar Ahmed from Chiniot kept crying over unresponsive and deaf eared customer support people of the company who lingered on their problems for months and never tried to resolve them.
Looking at the current hopeless situation, maybe someone in the government would suggest implementing iris technology this time, and another round of billion rupees technology change would start. This chain would never break until the telecom companies themselves ensure that their highly paid department heads are doing their jobs right and the watchdog Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), whose ability to take some stringent actions has diminished over the years, is actually watching over the affairs.
These two cases shouldn’t be taken as mere two complaints. They rather indicate, if not the failure, but unwillingness of those company officials who are part of the system but eating it from within. These people either are not loyal to their own country, or they are goof enough who don’t realize the gravity of the situation. Whichever the situation is, head of the companies and watchdog must devise ways to hunt those and kick them out of the system. Only then, we have the right to make a big claim about the cleansing of the database.
Mukhtar’s SIM could have been used for any terrorist activity, or Atta Ullah could spend years behind the bar for involving in a fraud that he may have never even thought about.
We can’t afford another attack like APS as mere a thought sends a shiver down our spines.