Beware those ‘roaming’ deals

 i would like to warn people who are travelling overseas to beware of certain local cellular companies that offer various roaming packages. One particular experience I had was one company that offers a TT$99 (plus VAT) fee for a “One Rate Roaming Plan”: you would be able to make calls to any international destination (except a few) on your cell phone for TT$1. Receiving calls are supposed to be free.

I tried this package and on the first day, it worked fine, since I was checking my balance after every call. The second day, I made no calls and received no calls. After the third day, however, I made four one-minute calls to Trinidad and received a few calls, and from a balance of $255, I went down to $50-plus. 

I called the Trinidad number the company has for trouble-shooting this problem. I had to use somebody’s phone and I was billed US$12.46. Of course, there is no direct number to this telephone company in Trinidad, so I had to wait about five minutes to actually speak to a live person. 

He checked everything and said that the problem was rectified, and I would get a rebate in 24-48 hours. Just after I made another international call to Trinidad, and a call that was for a duration of 53 seconds, I was charged TT$15. 

The problem wasn’t fixed, and a rebate wouldn’t do me any good because in 24 hours I would be home in Trinidad. So what happened to the original TT$99 (plus VAT) I paid for a roaming service? Well that was not refundable the agent said. That, my friends, is robbery with a capital “R’’. So when you speak about crime in Trinidad, it’s not only the guy with a gun.

Aleema Mohammed


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