July 22, 2009

Star Hub Goes NUTS

Today's lunch was also late (cough syrup = get up late :P). In fact, it was really late (at 16:00). I take the same food as my breakfast and it was western partly to kill the pack of bread, which is going to expire. I had sausages, egg, vegetables (for the sake of tomorrow's morning) and many slices of bread.
It was not supposed to be that late to have lunch. However, one of my Onee Chans (elder sisters), M, rang and told me that her cousin couldn't get a mobile phone from Star Hub's Vivo City branch just because she didn't have any proof of billing address associated with her name. I was sending a complaint (via their web system) for this matter. They are really, in Creative's CEO Sim Wong Huu's words, NUTS (No-U-Turn-Syndrome).
I also had a similar experience when I changed my billing address for my home broadband line. When I was moving home, I visited Star Hub's Vivo City branch and asked them. They simply refused to do so because I didn't bring any documents that relate my name with my new address.
Old student passes beared school's address (in my case, that of NUS registrar's office) but didn't have any photo while new ones bear no address whatsoever (they have photos though). Bank statements only come at the end of the month. Unfortunately, my land lady and I (also my roommate) was so friendly that we didn't sign the contract months after moving in :P.
One awkward and amazing thing is that, when I rang Star Hub's hot line 1633, they promptly changed the address - no question asked - for me. This shows inconsistency in Star Hub. For a large well-known brand like Star Hub, it is a shame and shouldn't occur, I think.
Let's get back to the poor foriegn student, who couldn't get a hand-phone. Their policy is un-earthly (unrealistic). Just arrived from a economic-sanctioned country like Burma (aka Myanmar), she surely doesn't have any bank account. (Even for students from other countries, they won't have a local account immediately. Banks need student pass to open account and student pass can only be obtained after school registration etc.) Even if she has (say she opened one after arriving Singapore), she'll get her bank statement only at the end of the month. Being just arrived may mean staying in a hotel or a temporary hostel or at a friend's place - ruling out the possibility of holding a rental agreement. In short, their policy is almost the same as "No mobile contract with foreign students whatsoever" or "I dont' want any business with foriegn students."
In fact, the purpose of affirming the billing address is that the customer won't run away (or cheat the service provider). However, that is already breached by accepting bank's statements. A cunning customer would just produce the bank statement of his/her old home to apply a new mobile line then fly out of Singapore. In this way, he/she can enjoy a free (or cheap) hand-set plus hours of free oversea calls.
Consider my case (This is other way round). If that girl never changes my address, I may not receive the bills. Not receiving the bills often leads to forgetting to pay (here, we can pay the bill using old bills or by visiting the branch personally). Late payments means extra transactions (cutting the line, late fees, filing at the court etc). If I run away, like in the above example of cunning customer, the service provider can never collect my bill. In the end, both the customer and the service provider lost. It's a lost-lost situation.
They really should reconsider their procedures (taking account of the fact that new student passes issued have photos). Banking industry also have this kind of problem - even when I need to deposit money to my own account. What a NUTS !

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Since August 1st, 2009, Law Shay had enjoyed his lunch together with friends.