Smart Billing Issues – Being Charged Even if I Have Data Left

Last week, I got a big surprise when I checked my Smart Freedom Plan postpaid bill. My bill usually amounts to only around P250/month, so getting billed almost P500 caused me to scrutinize my bill.

The reason I never exceed P250 is because I make sure that I never exceed my Mega 250 allocations. I have a Smart prepaid SIM which I use for prolonged mobile surfing using a pocket wifi, and I have a separate Globe prepaid phone which I use to call Globe numbers. I also periodically check my balance status so I am always aware of how much data I have left. I basically use my 100 MB Mega 250 mobile data only when I use Waze.

So it was a complete surprise for me to see my bill where I was charged for data usage when I knew (with proof) that I still had data left.

THE SMART BILLING PROBLEM

As you can see from my April 2016 bill, I am being charged for data usage on April 5, starting at 9:36 am, 11:31 am, 1:49 pm, and 7:27 pm onwards.

Fortunately, I have a habit of periodically checking my balance status. If you take a look at my status on April 5, 1:17 pm (same day as the charges), I still have 68 MB of data left!

Smart Bill Complaint April 2016 With Notes 2

It’s the same story for May 2016. I am being charged data usage even when my I still have data. My Mega Combo 250 started on April 12 and ended on May 12, with 100 MB of data.

Take a look at my last status check: May 12, 2016 – I still have about 15 MB left!

But I am being charged for data usage dated from April 12 – 27, dates within my Mega Combo registration.

Smart Incorrect Data Usage on Bill Complaint 2

See, this is why I still maintain a prepaid internet SIM for internet. At least I never leave more than P1.00 on my prepaid load, so walang nakakain. No headache. With postpaid, getting bogus charges is a hassle pa with all the reporting I have to do. Why am I the one who has to shoulder the burden of proof? Why am I the one who has to prove that they made a mistake, and why am I the one who has to waste my time getting them to reverse the charges? Isa pa lang nga ang postpaid account ko, ganito na sakit ng ulo.

REPORTING THE BILLING PROBLEM

I called the Smart Hotline at 888-1111 to report the billing concern. The reps all insisted that according to their system, I had already used up my data. I asked them to double-check, it could be that something is wrong with their system (not the first time it’s happened), because based on my own tracking AND THE BALANCE STATUS texts that I receive from Smart, I still have data left. I asked them where I could send screenshots, the reps said that they didn’t have any facility to receive my screenshots.

In the end, all the rep could do was just file a report so that “someone will investigate”. I did not feel confident that my concern would actually be given any weight or importance, though 🙁 It was like they did not even believe me because “according to their system”, I really had no data left.

I also contacted Smart through Facebook & Twitter thru private message and DM, at least there, I could send them the screenshots. It’s been 5 days and I still have not heard back from anyone.

DID YOU ALSO ENCOUNTER THIS PROBLEM?

I just wanted to share this hoping that I could help someone who is experiencing the same issue. Last month, J also complained to me that he got charged almost P1,000 in his Smart bill because of data usage. We just thought that maybe he just used too much data to browse online. Now, after what I saw on my own bill, I’m not so sure anymore. I suspect he had the same billing issue I did.

But he just paid his bill because he didn’t have the time and patience to scrutinize his bill, and he doesn’t check his balance status as much as I do. He just trusted that Smart will bill him correctly.

Anyway, I will update this post if I hear back from Smart. I hope that this is just a system glitch and that they will reverse the charges once they realize the mistake. Smart did a good move by offering to refund a week’s worth of bills to their postpaid subscribers when they had that signal outage last May 7. Hoping they continue their good guy moves 🙂

UPDATE: May 18, 2016

Seemed like Twitter was the way to go! Got a reply today telling me that they have already reversed the incorrect charges on my April bill. Still waiting for the results of their investigation into my May bill.

UPDATE: May 21, 2016

The incorrect charges on my May 2016 bill have already been reversed! Yay!

If you encountered the same problem as I did, I suggest sending the screenshots and your proof via Twitter Direct Message to @smartcares instead. The hotline was useless and I didn’t get any response at all from Facebook. Smart’s Twitter support works 🙂



I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please feel free to leave a comment below, I love hearing from you!

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xoxo,

Karen

28 thoughts on “Smart Billing Issues – Being Charged Even if I Have Data Left

  1. Neri Ann

    They also charged me for more than 1k eventhough I am subscribed to SURFMAX, 1gb that refreshes every 1am. Eh afternoon ko lang naman ginagamit yung data ko, kaloka! I called them for 3 months consecutively because they’ve been charging me for 3 months now. So far, I got all the refunds and advised them that they should stop charging me. The rep said that for this month, its ok na daw, hindi na daw ako machacharge ng sobra.

    Reply
    1. Barat Queen Post author

      Thanks for sharing, Nheng 🙂 Glad to know it’s not just me. Meron talagang mga system issues ang Smart. If you don’t really check your bill baka ang dami na palang wrong charges na na bill tapos bayad lang tayo ng bayad. Last time it was the Facebook charges kahit meron pang data. Now this. Good that they reversed your charges 🙂

      Sa akin din, as of today, they reversed the April wrong charges. Still waiting for an update for my May bill.

      Reply
  2. Rein

    Same! Was searching online about this problem and found your post. The exact minute I registered for bigbytes, I get charged the regular rate. Been happening for 3 months already.

    Reply
  3. rufopo

    same here

    my wife and i have been calling smart hotline everytime we cant access the internet because we exceed the credit limit..
    we’re registered to surfmax 995 and thats a month of 1 gb inet daily..
    our postpaid accnt is plan 800 consumable and our credit limit is,2500..
    we always ask for their supervisor and we dont drop the call until we get connected again.
    the hassle given by smart is now very irritating. its been 4 months already and still they havent fix the glitch in their system and to think that we are paying good money for their fck up service..
    unlike some hackers who are not paying (NO OFFENSE BROS) sometimes we are thinking of using and supporting bugsim for giving us these kind of problem.

    Reply
  4. lester

    similar issue happened to my postpaid account using Gosurf199. they charged me for the gosurf plan worth 199 pesos yet also charged me with regular data charges that ballooned to almost 1k. it took me 5 calls, 1 personal visit to Globestore, 3 live chats before it was reversed.

    I guess there is nowhere else for us to go. damn this doupoly.

    Reply
  5. lester

    similar issue happened to my postpaid account using Gosurf199. they charged me for the gosurf plan worth 199 pesos yet also charged me with regular data charges that ballooned to almost 1k. it took me 5 calls, 1 personal visit to Globestore, 3 live chats before it was reversed.

    I guess there is nowhere else for us to go. damn this duopoly.

    Reply
  6. Melissa A Munoz

    I am actually currently waiting on the hotline while writing this, for about 30 mins now. I have given them ample time to resolve this but this long wait on telephone is making me angry.

    Reply
    1. Barat Queen Post author

      If you have proof and screenshots, better report this via their Twitter @smartcares. Their hotline customer service rep was useless and just kept insisting that “according to their system, I have used up all my data” and they don’t have any way you can send them your proof. In the end, wala kang magagawa, paikot ikot lang, and they’ll just tell you they will check on it.

      Reply
  7. Chris Ramos

    There is always bullshit going on my All in plan 1500.
    For 3 consecutive months now, they always charged me web data even Im registered to a surfmax 995. The result? My bill always doubles to 3K!

    Fortunately, I always checks my bill ahead of time and rant it to their customer reps, and got bill reversals before I pay.

    Their system is fucked up.

    Reply
    1. Barat Queen Post author

      Oh, wow, that’s such a hassle 🙁

      For me, so far, things seem to be fine on the billing side right now except that my bill arrives very late! Right now, it’s almost a month late already. Then I get a text reminder to pay x amount but I don’t even know the breakdown. So I need to contact Smart again and they email me a pdf of the bill.

      They also keep suggesting that I move to eStatements but I don’t want to because it usually gets lost in spam… I also keep forgetting to get back to it when I see the email on my phone, and think to myself that I’ll do it later when I get home. Then boom, nakalimutan na. Seeing the paper bill on my desk serves as a reminder that I need to pay 🙂

      Reply
  8. Trisha Allaine

    for the 3rd month they’ve been charging me for data usage! i never opened my cellular data ever!!! we have 2 wifis at home and one mobile wifi! so it’s impossible for me to have data charges. Plan 500 lang yung sakin and pays for more than 2k !!!! last May 2016 7600 ang bill ko. wala daw silang magagawa. like wtf?

    Reply
  9. jeck

    I have registered twice earlier since I did not received any response on my first attempt when I registered in BIG50 and so I tried again and registered to GIGA50 AND NOW Smart just took MY 100 PESOS LOAD ???? I am requesting Smart to RETURN MY OTHER 50 PESOS LOAD and JUST CANCEL MY OTHER REGISTRATION TO BIG50 AND RETURN TO ME MY MONEY Smart network should be fair to all costumers . .

    Reply
  10. Toni Santos

    Hi there! Searching for “Smart data charges complaints” I came across your blog. This system of Smart cheating their customers is still ongoing. Since May of this year, they have been charging me data usage while I never use my data since there is wifi at the office and at home. And most of the usage based on my billing was during the wee hours. I told Smart that I slept at 9pm and wakes up at 5am so how come there are data usage at 12 midnight, 3 am, 1 am, etc.

    I am so furious with Smart I don’t know how or where to bring this Smart cheating issue. No use calling their customer service cause they will only tell you that they will file a report and then after some time when you do a follow up, the result would be – they telling you that you really used the data.

    Reply
  11. Annoyed

    The same issue sa akin baka mas marami pa ang ganitong problema hindi lang lumalabas. No used of calling their custoner service, so incompetent.

    Reply
  12. jnkn

    Very True! They Cheated Me Twice both Postpaid and Prepaid at the very Onset!

    For Postpaid:

    Under this P500 Consumable Plan with 50% monthly rebate that can be availed by purchasing a smartphone at Fonestyle store. You will soon find out that you have no control of your ‘Data Usage’ unless you keep on registering to Gigasurf again and again before it expired or you will be charged P4.46 every 15 minutes called G3G19 despite you knew and swear you did switch off your ‘Mobile Data’ during those hours you were charge. They doctored your usage records in a way resulting to your billing bloated to P800-P900 or several times more than your chosen plan. Unfortunately you have no proof to disprove you didn’t use your data in those said periods because it’s impossible to show that ‘Mobile Data’ was switch to ‘Off’! Similarly how can you tell your Bluetooth setting was On or Off at the said times of day for a month! They even threaten to sue you using JNL Asst Recovery & Management Corp. if you don’t own up and pay. Additionally I was even forced to pay the P800 disconnection fee to avoid the monthly charges from building up! This was no system glitch it’s deliberate act to falsify your usage records!

    For the Prepaid:

    I loaded today my new prepaid sim card with 300MB free data and was duped that I will get additional 700MB free data if load up P100 within 3 days. When that system discovered that I’m updating some office PCs virus scanners and then downloading a big file from wetransfer server. It abruptly stop and suddenly I said I run out of data allocations resulting my downloading to be only around 8MB short of completing a 226 MB file. I check my mobile phone data usage record and it’s only 402MB which is 598MB short of 1GB! I bet you can now guess why they suddenly cheat you on this!

    I’m very interested in making this known to the public especially to the media e.g. Bitag. I’m felt very very angry and disgusted especially how my case was handled and their collaboration to cheat and harass you knowingly you were powerless!

    Reply
  13. Mae

    How’s Smart billing system on data usage nowadays?
    Any improvements or do they still cheat on data charges?

    We have a Plan250 and thinking of upgrading to Plan500 and avail of a discounted handset since we don’t get to consume the allotted minutes for calls and mostly use about 6 to 8gb on Globe prepaid anyway. But after reading posts here, I’m now having second thoughts on whether the 5000 discount on the phone will be worth it. I have no problems with Globe so far since I have their surf alert notification and I constantly monitor my data via status balance.

    I wonder if it would be a good idea to proceed with the upgrade or better stick to our current plan and just get a handset separately?

    Reply
    1. Barat Queen Post author

      It really depends on your actual usage. For me, the Plan 250 inclusions are just right for my needs, sometimes even too much, but since it is not available for Freedom Plan anymore, I was forced to use Trinet399, which is too much for my use. I feel like I am wasting 400 a month and only using 30-60 minutes a month out of 500 minutes.

      So what I am doing right now is just subscribing to the All Net Talk 149 (40 mins all networks, no text, no data). I use this to call Smart & Sun numbers. I have a Globe prepaid which I spend around P260/month on and get 510 mins Globe calls, 1,000 texts to all networks and 1GB data using the latest Gosakto combos.

      Since you already have a Globe prepaid, I’m guessing you’re only using your Smart Plan 250 to call Smart numbers. If your usage is so low that you don’t even consume the 180 mins in your Plan 250, there really is no reason to upgrade to Plan 500. Is the P5,000 discount on a new phone worth having to pay an extra P250 per month AND a lock-in period? Do you get tired of your phone easily? You might want to change your new phone already but you’re still paying for it pa rin (lock-in period).

      Anyway, P5000 is P250 x 20 months, but you’ll end up paying P500 forever after as long as you’re on that plan. It’s not that easy to downgrade your plan, and they usually don’t let you do it. So you’ll be stuck paying P500/month even after you’ve paid off the P5,000 after 20 months. It’s totally your call if it’s worth it to you. But in my humble opinion, if you are not in a hurry, maybe wait a few months for the price of the phone to drop instead and buy it yourself. Of course, this depends on what kind of phone model you are considering and how in demand it is, and how much you want it.

      I hope that helps 🙂

      Reply
  14. Mae

    Haha I did the same calculations as you did and just like you, we also thought that we were wasting the P250 since we only use around 60mins calls. I also thought of having to give up our current plan which is no longer offered in postpaid if we upgrade. I had even thought of switching to Smart prepaid and just use their Sakto data 99 for 70mins calls which would already be enough. Except that our smart postpaid number is sort of a unique combination that we really like haha

    The reasons why we thought of upgrading and getting a device was because we consume only about 60mins at most and so we could use the rest of the amount for Smart data instead of Globe which amount to almost the same (Globe 1gb currently at P37 x 10gb plus P108 for 30days =P478). If we upgrade to Plan500 we can then use All Net Talk P149 for calls and the rest will be for data, GIGA 99 x 3 only plus one GiGA50.

    As for being stuck with Plan500, I was thinking that at the end of contract we could then avail of rebate which will be at 30% already based on our no. of months, if I’m not mistaken. (I will have to confirm that first haha). So our plan will only cost P350, just P100 more with data that we actually use 😀

    Of course this will all depend on Smarts offers when that time comes. What I’m more worried about is the erroneous charges that may occur resulting to data usage as experienced by others. And having to pay for something I know I didn’t use or having to repeatedly call an agent to report the error is really one of my pet peeves.

    Reply
    1. Barat Queen Post author

      I get it! 🙂 What you’re planning will really save you money in the long run, especially when you take advantage of the rebate.

      As for the erroneous charging, unfortunately that has happened to me at least twice that I can remember, and another friend also experienced the same issue but just didn’t have the time nor patience to call Smart Customer Service to complain so he just let it go. I don’t think it was intentional on Smart’s part to charge these wrong data charges. I really think it was a system glitch.

      However, I wasn’t happy that I had to call Smart to complain and have the charges reversed. I also was not happy that Smart did not proactively look for all these “mistakes” and reverse all of them, but just for the accounts who complained. That “system error” went on for several months, and I’m sure it was reported by irate customers asap. I think that was enough time for Smart to go in and fix it, but they let it go on for some time. In essence, they took advantage of people like my friend who just blindly pay their bill every month, or who don’t have proof (did not make a lot of status balance inquiry).

      Just look at your bill closely before paying, check your balance status often (how much data left) and don’t delete your balance inquiry messages, at least until the bill is settled. 🙂

      Reply
  15. Mae

    That’s exactly what I was thinking! 😊 I think eventually we will get to save with the rebates. And if for some reason this perk will be discontinued then we will have to let go of our postpaid number and just shift back to Globe.

    At least twice in erroneous charging is not so bad.. although I can understand what a hassle it is to report such errors. And yeah I agree, if it was indeed a glitch on their part then they should have fixed the charge errors on their own without the customers even needing to report it. *sigh* Anyway I will be sure to check my billing and keep my balance inquiry messages at all times 🙂

    Reply
  16. Mae

    So I tried to use up the 100mb allotted on my plan until there was just 11mb left…

    Question: Isnt there supposed to be a text that will notify me that I have only little data left?? Doesn’t Smart do that anymore on all data subscriptions?

    I remember using Smart data waay back and there was an SMS notification when data is almost used up.. I just can’t remember whether it was for postpaid or prepaid.

    Reply

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