Daylight Robbery – Softbank

Who needs robbers when you have corporations that technically tries to wipe out your whole bank account (legally)?

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(For those who do not know, Softbank is not actually a bank. It’s a fucked up telecom company that tried to overcharge its users time and again.)

52,923yen in phone bills. That’s like, 534.045 USD or 674.349 SGD! And it isn’t even the bill for the whole month, it was just two weeks!!! Can you imagine any telecom company having even the NERVE to charge this much for just TWO freaking WEEKS?! Fucking ridiculous!

…Ok, I’ve gotta admit, it was partly my fault. I thought I could circumvent the system by inserting my Softbank SIM card into my unlocked iPhone, which I did not buy from Softbank. I mean, people (all over the world, except for Japan) do this all the time, inserting SIM cards into other phones. It’s perfectly legal since most contracts will not bind the user to just one phone. Telecom companies already have the business of customers who sign SIM card contracts with them anyway, so does it really matter which phone they use? In fact, it is an infringe in one’s personal rights if they even try to restrict their customers’ choices of phones.

BUT Softbank gets away with this. This is because they have stated in all their contracts that customers are NOT allowed to insert SIM cards into any other phones other than the ones that they have signed up for, otherwise they will not be responsible for excessive charges. Fair enough, they have written down in black and white in their contract, so yes it will be the user’s fault if they fail to comply with this. So the user deserved to be charged with sky high bills right?

…but wait. How dare they even put this kind of ridiculously stupid thing down on a contract? Which conscientious, decent telecom company would even set up this kind of contract? This is a blatant infringement of rights on one’s personal freedom to choose what kind of devices one wishes to use.

Moreover, most decent telecmos would warn their customers BEFORE the charges skyrocket, for eg if the user has carelessly forgotten to turn off roaming services when he is travelling. The telecom company would usually have a limit and once the bills hit that limit the teleco will send a warning to the user and remind him to fucking turn off the roaming services.

Yes, I did get a notification from Softbank, WAY AFTER the charges have hit the ceiling and broke through it and launched straight into space. That’s when I logged into my Softbank page and had the shock of my life.

I am not the only one who had been charged this much. Just Google ‘$1000 Softbank phone bill’.

And the stupid thing is that it is blatantly obvious that Softbank is just trying to profit more from overcharging the hell out of people. Telecom companies already profit more than enough from contracts alone. The unnecessary charges just go into pockets of greedy bastards.

Let me tell you why Japanese teleco companies are fucking greedy. Well, on those fancy adverts they tell people that their data packages are cheap and all, but underneath those deceiving adverts are all other unnecessary charges like paying for the fucking phone. Yes, they break up the cost of the phone itself into monthly installments. Doesn’t that totally defeat the purpose of signing a contract? People get contracts because they don’t want to pay for the phone in full. If you sign contracts, you usually get a phone for free or at a discounted price, right? Nope, doesn’t happen in Japan. You still have to pay in full whack, either up front or over 26 months. Confusing payment methods and differential treatment also happens. See here: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2012/12/04/how-tos/softbanks-policies-on-foreign-customers-hard-to-pin-down/

I should have scrutinized my contract more, but I think I’m not exactly paying for the phone, but rather paying for having the phone – which means that I’m renting the phone! It doesn’t make any fucking sense to pay 1500yen (about 15USD) every month for 26 months for a fucking cheap-looking flip phone.  That’s 390USD for a freaking lousy phone!

Yes, the colours are cute, but it’ not even a fucking smartphone. It’s hard to type on these things and the things you can do on it are pretty much limited to mainly calling and sending messages only. Can you imagine paying 390USD for a Nokia 112?

Heck, for 390USD and a 2 year contract I could have gotten a brand new 16GB iPhone 5 in US.

Ok, I want out. I fucking hate Softbank, I don’t want to keep paying them ridiculous amounts of money anymore. But guess what? Softbank just wants to make its users hate it even more by slapping all sorts of penalty on breaking the contract:

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If I were to break the contract, not only do I have to pay for the penalty (which is just about 10000yen or 100USD), but also I have to pay the full cost of the fucking phone (even though I had already been paying for it up till now), and every month until the end of the contract I have to pay them an additional 8000 plus yen. AND petty-minded Softbank wants me to pay their inefficient employees their administration fees, which is about 2100yen (21USD). Ok, Softbank, YOU WIN.

To begin with, Japan’s telecom services are fucked up. It’s overpriced and users are always at the corporations’ mercy. But it is overpriced because the average Japanese people don’t give a fucking damn. They don’t doubt any fucking thing. And if they are overcharged or taken advantage of and they know it, they will just shrug it off and say ‘shouganai’ (what else can we do?). The fuck?! Now this is where the Japanese should learn a thing or two from Singaporeans. Complain a lot and raise a lot of hell until the corporation’s reputation is completely tarnished. If even then the corporation doesn’t even offer a single apology, then there’s the power of the internet that will make the corporation look so bad that they will need A LOT of PR to get back up on its feet again.

Ordinary folks need to regulate the market or else these greedy corporations just get away with anything and everything!!

Oh by the way, if you want to know what happened to that 52000yen phone bill, thankfully Softbank had agreed to lower the bills for me, because I had received inadequate information from the Softbank shop staff (which is totally true, I had inquired before I inserted the SIM into my unlocked iPhone. The guy didn’t explain adequately). But this incident gave me a mini heart attack and I will never ever renew my contract with them again. Not over my dead body!

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About Kimono Party Girl

I was born and bred in Singapore for the first 20 years of my life, and then I decided that even after flying all over the world as a flight attendant, life is still too boring. So, in search of more adventure and add spice to my life, I quit my job, packed up, and left for Japan - which is, to me, the promised land. I've always been fascinated with Japan ever since I was 8, thanks to Ayumi Hamasaki, aka the Britney Spears of Japan. She's the first J-pop singer that I have been obsessed with, and my first contact with the Japanese language was through her lyrics. Yup, I first learned my Hiragana from her song 'I am'. But what really sealed the deal was my first trip to Japan in 2010. The fresh air, the beautiful cherry blossoms, the endless fast fashion trends and the awesome food was what made Japan the land of my dreams, and it had since become my goal to one day live, work and party in Japan. So after working like a horse as a flight attendant for 2 years and saving up a decent amount, I made a big leap of faith and moved to the land of the rising sun. I have studied one year of Japanese and two years of graphic design. Currently, I'm in the midst of shukatsu (就活 - job hunting). Wish me luck!
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