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Beware of mobile prepaid simcard price scams

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Beware of mobile prepaid simcard price scams

Whenever I travel, I would always try to get a local prepaid simcard for my mobile phone for 3G internet access and to avoid costly roaming rates. 3G access in Malaysia is especially cheap; why pay RM25 (about USD8) for 24hrs wifi access in your hotel when prepaid 3G will only set you back by about RM3 (about USD1) per day and you can have it with you at all times. Using a local line to call overseas is relatively inexpensive too, if you do not use Skype or other similar services.

I recently visited Kuala Lumpur and was staying in the Bukit Bintang area so I looked around for a local prepaid simcard. For the record, this is my first time buying a mobile prepaid simcard in the area as I previously stayed elsewhere. Having used Digi previously, I found their prices transparent and easy to understand compared to the other mobile providers. However, it has been a while since I last came to Malaysia and I am not clear on the latest plans, pricings etc.

I visited the famous (or infamous I should say) Sungei Wang Plaza nearby as my hotel concierge advised that they have a plethora of mobile phone and related vendors and he did not exaggerate. I located a Digi Specialised Store on the Lower Ground (LG) floor of the building. I understand a Specialised Store to be an authorised dealer of sorts and so felt reassured to be dealing with them rather than a reseller.

Long story short, I bought a Digi Best Prepaid starter pack for RM25 with RM5 credit preloaded. This is not uncommon as my previous simcard purchases were similar i.e. preloaded credit is lesser than the face value of the package. I recalled paying a similar price the last time (about RM20) so did not question the vendor closely.

After paying and activating the service, I left and later visited the Digi website to understand more about my package. I discovered to my horrror, the Best starter pack was being sold on Digi's online store at only RM8.50. I had paid almost three times the price!!

I went back to ask the vendor if he had overcharged me and he claimed innocence and said the RM8.50 packs are sold out. He also insisted that the original recommended retail price is RM25. I did not want to start my holiday by marring it with a confrontation over a mere USD5 and so dropped the matter.

When I looked a bit more online, I came across a forum frequented by local Malaysians and a post by one of the users caught my eye:

forum.lowyat.net/index.php…

The poster has an experience similar to mine earlier this year and I also read of other allegations of deceiteful methods used by mobile phone vendors in Sungei Wang Plaza to sell their wares on the same forum.

Although I am not local Malaysian, I am ethnic Chinese but the vendor did not bat an eye about doing this to me. For all other visitors who are obviously not local, do beware of such tactics. I was careless, thinking it was safe to deal with an authorised reseller (can you imagine Walmart doing a bait-and-switch?) but such is not the case. Caveat Emptor!

Norfolk, United...
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for Chaweng, Ko Samui
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1. Re: Beware of mobile prepaid simcard price scams

Thanks for the heads up, as you say US5 is not much of a scam, but worth knowing!

Kuala Lumpur...
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for Malaysia
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2. Re: Beware of mobile prepaid simcard price scams

Try to lodge a complain using the digi web site, don't think you would be able to get your money back but its better than not doing anything.

ipoh
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3. Re: Beware of mobile prepaid simcard price scams

I would not recommend buying phones or prepaid sim cards from sungai wang plaza or lowyat for that matter. The reason is most of the stalls/shops have very high rental costs and they would try their best to skim every cent out of every customer regardless whether you are a local or a tourist. It is much safer and cheaper to just buy it at main resellers in KLCC or Pavilion for that matter.

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Beware of mobile prepaid simcard price scams

It could have been the number. The chinese love their numbers and if you want a sim card with these numbers the chinese love it will cost you more money. I am guessing that is why this cost you more money because the phone number you bought had some "lucky" chinese numbers in it.

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5. Re: Beware of mobile prepaid simcard price scams

MK K - Thanks for the advice, I have dropped a note to Digi but it being the holidays and all, I have not received a reply.

jeremy0 - Yes, I have indeed learnt my lesson :D I had the good fortune of having an official reseller shop near the hotel I previously stayed in. Too bad for me the nearest simcard reseller I could find this time round turned out to be the one I dealt with.

Smashedbunny - The past few times I bought prepaid simcards, I was asked to choose the phone number I wanted, from the available packs the vendor had. This time round, I was asked if I intended to call overseas and when I said yes, the vendor told me I could not choose one of the starter packs as they could not be used to call abroad. My number would be randomised but I was fine with that since its only going to be used for a couple of days. I found this abit strange since on my previous simcards, I could call overseas with no problems but like I said, I am fine with a random phone number.

So no, the 3x price I paid could not have been because of some 'auspicious' phone number.