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Airtel - My WORST customer service experience EVER

Forums Member
#1 | Posted: 21 Jul 2012 12:45
I am deeply outraged by Airtel's service. This is the first time I ever write a
complaint post like this, but I think it is important that others know what they
are getting themselves into as they choose for Airtel as their telecom operator.

So here is my story:

About a month ago, I decided to join what I thought was Airtel's postpaid
programme. I went to their headquarters in Remera and talked to their sales
staff in the showroom (I would later come to learn that assuming that the ladies
there are part of their sales team is ridiculous... Dumb me! They clearly
couldnt be, even as they work in the showroom and sell Airtel products! It is a
bit unclear to me still what department they are part of.) They told me to leave
my e-mail adress, and a contract for the subscription would be send to me.

A week later, NOTHING! So, I went over there. I asked about the contract. If I
would just put down my e-mail adress again, it would be send shortly. Three days

I went over there again. This time, the ladies in the showroom told me I should
call the person in charge of platinum subscription myself. I was given a number.
I told them I wouldnt call that number. I mean: asking a potential customer to
call another person in your organisation to become a platinum customer seemed a
bit out there to me. I say, I want an e-mail.

I come back 4 days later. I am told that the "ladies" upstairs who subscribe
platinum customers are, given the late hour, not in the office. I was, however,
assured, that the next day in the morning, they would be there.

I come back the following day. I am told that that part of the sales team was
all out for lunch. That I should come back in the afternoon.

I come back in the afternoon. I am told that they are still inexplicably not
there, but that I should still go upstairs and see if I can find anyone (NOTE: I
had brought the required cash deposit and first monthly payment with me at this

Upstairs, I am met by the Financial Manager himself, a Mister Tadeo. An
exemplary handler of tired and frustrated customers, I must add, and even yesterday a very friendly customer orientated man! He explains to me at that point that the whole (NOTE: THE WHOLE) sales team is away on a study trip. ---- The careful reader will note how I was lied to, the day before and that entire day. I was
told that they were having lunch, remember?

He explains that he will receive the money, and make sure someone comes over to
my place (I live right across Airtel) to bring me the contract and the Galaxy
SII that comes with it. Early in the morning! He instructs one staff member to
that effect in my presence. I go home, contended with that service gesture,
given the fact that I was at that point ready to give up.

Having had no one come over to bring me the contract and the phone by six PM, I
decide to go back and ask for my money back. It is there that I first met
someone from the elusive Airtel Sales Dpt - its manager, I believe, who goes by
the name of Willy. This man had no apologies or explanations to give - in fact,
I was made to wait for him for an hour! - just the information that, in fact,
one essential document had to be produced by me for the whole deal to go on. A
permanent Order, I believe that it is called. It was explained to me that a
refund would take sooooo long that I might as well work on getting the bank
order the next day. I was, as you can imagine, absolutely fed up with this merry
go around.

Especially, since no commercial gesture was offered either at this point! I had
been told I could come a week later, YESTERDAY, to pick up my money in cash. Tadeo, the Finance Manager, was in all that an absolute darling!

Yesterday, I went back. Having had a week to cool down, I decided to stop by the
showroom first to greet the now very familiar showroom staff. There I saw the
Galaxy SIII and fell in love! After having played on it for some time, I
decided, I am going for it.

When Tadeo came down to greet me, I indicated I was willing to sign the contract
right now, if it would get me the Galaxy SIII, pay 20.000 RWF extra per month
and get them the permanent Bank order. Following that, I am invited to come
upstairs and handle the paper work with Willy, the Sales Department Head. As it
turn out, he was in a meeting yet again. And I was told to wait, as if I had
nothing to do! I could feel this would be an hour-long affair... An another hour
I was not willing to extend to my now3/4 week attempt to become an Airtel
Platinum Customer, at the price of RWF 70000 per month, to be automatically
credited from my account, and a downpayment of RWF 100.000. So I knocked on the
door in which he was having a meeting to tell him I was not in the mood for
waiting for him once again.

At that point, Tadeo tried to save the day again. In fact, he took my room with
a sales staff member called Christine. They both did a good job of explaining to
me that they would do everything in their power to make sure I would get high
priority on their new order of Samsung Galaxy SIIIs and that I would be given my
money back in the meantime. Of course, I vented out my frustration, which they
understood, apologized profusely for and assured me that they were going to do
all they could to make everything go smoother as soon as the phones were in
stock. I acquiesced and was leaving the room when I was boarded by Mr. Willy
himself, dripping of agression - and I would shortly find out of complete and
utter rudeness. Short of yelling at me, he informed me that I was a liar and
that I had not been dealing with their sales department for the last month. That
he did not like customers that LIED. That I was not say those things, etc.
etc.!!!! I could not believe this was actually happening, after all this time
trying to become a customer, I was made out to be a liar and verbally assaulted
by the HEAD OF THE SALES DEPARTMENT!!!! I walked out of their, thankfully with
my money, and the resolution that I was in no way going to become their

Airtel has good prices, great phones, good internet and loads of potential in
Rwanda, but a terrible sales department and sales department head. I will
continue using their products, but I sure as hell will not sign up to their
Platinum Subscription. Such a subscription is, to me at least, not only about
the phones or the - non-existent - discount, but mostly about service, being a
valued customer, etc. I dont see it happening anytime soon, especially with that
kind of head of sales.

So to all those who are thinking of signing up to Airtel Platinum Plan,
Forums Member
#2 | Posted: 21 Jul 2012 17:17
Dear All,

Since this morning, I have been receiving various messages of people responding to my story below. I have been sending them through to the Airtel Customer Care e-mail address, just so that they may feel the true power of consumers, and perhaps TRULY learn from it. I ask you all to keep sending in your observations and comments to Airtel. Perhaps it will shake them up and bring true and lasting change to their organisations.

I feel like a new operator like Airtel should be aware of the consequences of bad customer care might have for them as they venture out onto the Rwandese Market. Let us shape them to our needs as customers, instead of them shaping us as mere victims of whatever arrogance and deceit they may consider unleashing on us, as so many have done for so many years on the Rwandese market.

So please, speak out, through me, and let us get the service we truly deserve!!!

#3 | Posted: 22 Jul 2012 15:20
I was just considering subscribing to Airtel's internet offer. But thanks for sharing your experiences. I live much further away that you from Airtel's office, and have now been spared lots of time and frustration.
#4 | Posted: 25 Jul 2012 07:41
I am not surprised by your story. I have seen plenty of people walkin around in Airtel gilets but not once has any of them approached me and tried to sell me an airtel sim card. I don't know what they are doing. When Tigo came here the sales drive was very good and they have many customers now.

#5 | Posted: 7 Aug 2012 21:31
i am a film maker and i have faced exactly the same problems.felt as if to make an actual movie with hidden cameras/poket camera and mail it to airtel mail id.. at least they should know how badly their cce behaves, whether it is personally or on phone calls.. i am having airtel number from last 13 years.about this time any one can develop an attachment to even a hard brick wall..but look at airtel.. they call us as dear(lunatic) customer and we will assist(make you feel fool ) to our best.
Forums Member
#6 | Posted: 13 Nov 2014 19:19
This company is a joke.. They advertise plans on their website which they change without notice and then fail to update their website. Bait and switch tactics are common. Staff have no idea what they are selling and rarely have the ability to problem solve or sort issues.. In one instance the entire network was down for a day, however, they allowed you to add credit using ussd and then subscribe to a daily usage plan. The catch being , the network wasn't functional. When questioned at the Remera office about the waste of money for subscribing to a daily plan they said there was nothing they could do. I currently have 5GB of data purchased of which I have used 800mb.. Allows me to connect but doesn't access my data .. off for another merry go round! YAY!
Forums Member
#7 | Posted: 14 Nov 2014 06:52
Did you smack Willy in the face? If not, you should have...
Forums Member
#8 | Posted: 14 Nov 2014 10:11
I agree Airtel's sales and marketing is a joke. I went with them specifically because their website and advertising stated plans of 1.5 GB/day of data transfer, however I noticed that I was being cut off after exactly 1GB each day. After making contact via email they told me that it was indeed only 1GB and that they were "in the process of updating their website." That's one-third less than what's advertised. Their website and fliers still advertise 1.5GB xfer/day, which is a lie.

With that being said I do believe that, at least technically speaking, they provide the most reliable product on the market.
Forums Member
#9 | Posted: 14 Nov 2014 15:59
I have promised heaven to never deal with airtel anymore.... I dont believe their internet connection is better... May be bitter, i agree.....
Forums Member
#10 | Posted: 15 Nov 2014 08:13
I am sure Raza Khan at Airtel´s owner would love to hear from you, they are not very happy with Rwanda country office performance anyway. corporate.communication@bharti.in
Forums Member
#11 | Posted: 16 Nov 2014 11:45
Airtel is the worst. I still use them, but the majority of the time (especially mornings and evenings), the connection is so poor, I can hardly get any work done. MTN is likewise slow and I haven't even messed with Tigo. But, I guess with only three options, and a cornered market, no amount of complaining will change things...
Forums Member
#12 | Posted: 16 Nov 2014 15:16
I feel your pain.

I was sick of MTN's very slow internet connection so I went to the Airtel office in UTC and tried to buy a dongle (USB modem) and sign up for a monthly package. They initial said that it wasn't working because they were 'testing a 4G modem' and could I wait 5 minutes. I sat there for 15 minutes and they never updated me so I asked what was happening and they said 'nothing yet' and could I wait for another 5 minutes. 15 minutes later and the same thing. I told them I was going to Nakumatt and would be back in 15 to 20 minutes.

I returned after 15 minutes and it still wouldn't work so I left and I have no intention of every returning.
Forums Member
#13 | Posted: 24 Nov 2014 09:56
I agree with Tomb. That idiot of a sales mgr needed a good smacking
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