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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Du waives a Dh65,000 charge to cancel a three-minute phone contract

David Tobias accidentally signed up to a Dh5,000 a month plan instead of the Dh1,000 plan he wanted

David Tobias pictured at his office in Jumeirah Lakes Towers. Razan Alzayani for The National
David Tobias pictured at his office in Jumeirah Lakes Towers. Razan Alzayani for The National

A du customer who was charged Dh65,000 for cancelling a phone contract within minutes after accidentally signing up to it has had the fee waived, but was disconnected in the process.

Briton David Tobias, 48, was hoping to save money on his phone bills when he signed up to a new package in August with extra inclusive minutes.

At the time, he thought he selected a Dh1,000 per month plan, but had mistakenly signed up for what du calls the most "exclusive post-paid plan in the UAE", costing Dh5,000 a month.

On realising du's error, Mr Tobias contacted the company three minutes later, but was told amending the contract would come with a 13-month penalty.

Operator du waived the Dh65,000 charge this week, but the 5 per cent VAT fee charged on the cancellation, which equates to Dh3,450, remains on his bill.

And on Wednesday, the telecommunications company cut him off completely.

“They asked me to pay the current bill with the incorrectly charged VAT. And they said they would adjust it against my next bill. I said I couldn’t do that.”

After further discussion, he said du accepted that he should not have to pay the VAT on cancellation.

“But I’m not sure how long it will take to sort out,” said Mr Tobias.

“They took two and a half months to reverse the Dh65,000.”

He asked whether he could be reconnected while du investigates the matter, and on Thursday, after The National contacted the operator for comment, du reconnected Mr Tobias' account.

When the original complaint was made, du said the matter was investigated and it “confirmed that the customer accidentally upgraded to Smart 5,000 plan on August 22, instead of Smart 1,000 plan”.

“The team has also confirmed that this plan should not be activated online and the activation process should only be done after meeting with the customer,” said a spokesperson.

“The billing team at du is in the process of waiving the disputed amount and the customer was informed that he will be updated once the process is completed. We regret any inconvenience caused.”

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The Smart Plan Platinum includes 5,000 flexible minutes, 500GB and 5GB roaming data in addition to Etihad Guest Gold Membership, a welcome bonus of 35,000 Etihad guest miles and one Etihad Guest mile for every Dh1 spent – adding up to a minimum of 5,000 guest miles a month.

Plan holders also receive a free device of their choice worth Dh5,000 and a dedicated relationship manager.

Du did not immediately respond to a request for comment.