Customer Services is a Joke with Mobilink & Standard Chartered Bank

After the Marriott bomb blast where my office was severely affected. I decided to call some of my oldest service providers to update the contact details and get a copy of the duplicate bill so that I could make payments before the due date. Therefore, I decided to call up Mobilink, which I have been using as a post paid mobile customer since October 1998 and Standard Chartered Bank whose credit card I have with me since 1997. To my utter surprise, both of them were oblivious to my plight and gave me, what I could term as one of the worst customer service in the world!

Mobilink which prides itself of being Pakistan’s leading mobile operator actually does not understand the importance of old customers. When I requested a change of address, they told me to send them the details on letterhead via mail. Now, in today’s day and age, I have not heard of anyone talk about mail. I would assume email would work as good as letterhead. Further, when an office gets blown away by a bomb how do you find a letterhead in the mess to send out! This is not the first time Mobilink has disappointed me. I use auto payment through credit card to pay my bills. Last year, they somehow screwed up and entered the wrong address into their system. Instead of verifying the address with me, they went ahead and blacklisted my phone number and blocked it from usage without informing me. I was forced to visit their office premises and stand in line to get my issue resolved. They acknowledged their mistake but never apologized to me or gave me any compenation for the inconvinience that they caused me.

Standard Chartered were even worse. They told me to go to their branch on a weekend! I reminded them that it was a weekend right before Eid holidays, therefore, I would request a phone banking support. So they verified my name, ID card number, mother’s name, address and what not…. But still in the end told me that it cannot be done and I have to walk to a branch nearby. Their supervisor was some dude called Fahad Qureshi based out of Lahore who was more interested to get me off the call than to assist me.

These companies and others like them are here to mint money. Customer services is not one of their priorities. I am, like the other 5,000 individuals directly affected by the Marriott blast are seeking help and assistance from all. Our aim is to assist banks, mobile operators and others find out the latest addresses so that they could mail us the duplicate bill so that payments could be made in time. However, they are all oblivious to this fact and have virtually no plans for assistance to the folks directly affected by the disaster.

What is really disappointing and disheaterning for me is that I am using Mobilink mobile phone for over 10 years and have paid them millions of rupees in bills over this period. Standard Chartered has been my default credit card for the past 11 years and therefore, to see them act so cold and be no help is really a shame.

I am no longer going to update my contact details with each. Instead, when I do visit their offices, it will be for the cancellation of the services. If they are not interested in my business, why should I show interest in using their services.

Enough is enough!


Marriott Blast & Failing War on Terror

Bomb Blast at Marriott

Bomb Blast at Marriott

Make no mistake, the war on terror is a humongous failure. Those who continue to deny it are living in a fools paradise. Those who still believe that they can “smoke the enemy out” and “bomb them to stone ages” are nothing but disconnected from ground reality. This Saturday, the 1000 tonne bomb blast at Marriott Hotel Islamabad has once again proven that we are no safer today than we were in 2001. In fact, today, we are in a much worse condition than we were eight years ago.

The enemy is still out there and is far more stronger than it was at the beginning of the millennium. The irony of the situation is that it is the direct result of our failed policies on “war on terror” that has led to the strengthening of Al-Qaeda and the spread of Talibanism the world over. No place in the world is safe today from their reach.

Atrocities committed in Bagram and Guantanamo base have further worsened the situation. We call Alqaeda the bad guys. But if we begin to act like the enemy and commit atrocities at our own makeshift jails, we are no different from them. This unfortunate message has reached the wider audience diminishing our credibility to police the world.

On September 11, 2001, over three thousand innocent lives were lost. Today, the war on terror has caused disruption in the innocent lives of millions spread over various countries. Over 1.5 million Iraqis have emigrated out of the country since 2003. Over 200,000 Pakistanis have been forced out of their homes and made refugees in their own country by incessant Allied bombing on civilians. These people never supported AlQaeda, yet they are bearing the brunt of the war with little or no support from the rest of the world. These forgotten victims of war on terror are beginning to see the Allies as yet another untrustworthy tyrannical partner.

If we want to win the war on terror, we need to build bridges and not blow them away with so called “smart bombs”. We need to take steps to engage them into meaningful dialog and not beat the crap out of them in secret prisons spread all over the world. We need to make extra effort to understand the root cause of the problems and not just try to carpet bomb the whole Middle East.

Remember, everyone out there wants peace. No one wants war. But if we thrust it upon them, then we must be ready to face the consequences. The retaliations will be swift and brutal. And with each passing day when we fail to win the hearts and minds of the impoverished people of the region, we create new enemies and recruits for our enemies. Each day, our failed policies are breeding new Al-Qaeda members. And each day, the world is becoming more unsafe for us to live in.