Econet followed MTN to enter the GSM telecoms market in Nigeria in 2001. Since then the company has passed through many hands, changing its name all the time; such that many may not even know that they are the number two GSM company in Nigeria, as per time of entry. Perhaps a tell-tale symptom of an identity crisis. From Econet to Vodacom to V-Mobile to Celtel to present Zain, and still looking to soon become Bharti Airtel. Really, one should endeavor to find out what is making these investors run away. It's not as if they are the only telecoms operator in Nigeria.
Zain Nigeria is currently running a promo which is timed to end on 24th July; by which it hands out 2 million Nigerian Naira to supposed winners and 10 million to a winner of the monthly draws, the last of which was said to have taken place in June.
I have never really won anything in my life, so I usually am not given to participating in promos. However, being a subscriber to the Zain Network even right from their days as Econet, my number was recognised by their system for prospecting. And so they bothered me with so much SMS to the effect that I should play. I dare say, some of the messages prompting my participation were rather creative and funny. And so, along the line in the month of May, I responded to one of their SMS to join in; and that was it. I soon caught on about how the game was played. It seemed all they needed you do was to respond to their SMS, which gives them a chance to make N100 from you each time you respond. However, they pay you back by assigning you some points which translate to participation allowances in the draws. Well, the rest of the details as well as terms and conditions applying are available at http://www.ng.zain.com/
Now, here is an aspect of the promo conditions which I think the staff members of the organizers are violating; and it is turning the show into another sham, or possibly the whole thing is just a gimmick by Zain Nigeria to milk Nigerians fast before they run off handing over to Bharti. They have seen the psyche of the Nigerian that he likes free things. But are these promo winnings really free? They just pool these N100 SMS takings into billions and pay paltry N2m per daily winner; and of course, smile away to the bank with the remaining billions for doing nothing.
Look at this provision in the terms and conditions.......(if you will)
"Winners of a draw are not excluded from participating in subsequent draws.
During a period of 3 days following the end of each Draw, at least three attempts will be made per day to communicate by telephone with the selected winner using the MSISDN corresponding to the SMS of the entry, in order to notify the winner of the prize awarded and of how it may be claimed. Some personal data will be required of the winner, namely: name, government issued identification document and SIM certificate, in order to verify his/her identity.
In the event that it is not possible to establish a telephone communication with the winner and when the aforementioned attempts for such purpose have been made, the Winner will be replaced with one of the Substitutes. The Organiser is only under the obligation to make reasonable efforts to establish telephone communication with the Winner and is not in a position to guarantee successful connection. The rights of the Winner at this point automatically extinguishes if the Organiser is unable to reach him/her after 72 hours, the Organiser shall not be held liable for the inability to reach any Winner or failure to present the prize to the Winner."
Wow! That's basic English, right? No Lawyer needed to interpret. Well, the most recent draw was made on Monday, 12th July. So, anybody who won has Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to be called-up by the organizers, if they were sincere. And they should attempt to contact the winner at least 3 times on each of those days.
So, what's my concern in all these details? Again, the matter of seeming lack of integrity in Nigerian companies. It seems I may have won a prize and Zain did not keep to the condition it set out to contact its winners.
In the morning of Tuesday, 13th July (following the Monday draw) I was out in my yard cleaning my car. The time was around 9:00 am. My phones were in the house. I heard my Zain phone ring twice, but before I could get to it it stopped ringing. I thought it was a flasher, so I let be. The call never came back. By the time got in and checked I saw a strangely characterized Zain number as a missed call. The number is
0808 000 0000.
The caller spent just 1 (one) minute trying to reach me, having called at 9:27 am and 9:28 am.
I tried returning the call but was told the number did not exist on Zain's Network, meaning it was insider (or official use) number.
I was distraught. I figured it could be the PROMO people making a lame attempt to contact me. So, knowing the condition quoted above, Iexpected they would call back again that day, and 2 more days to come, if they don't get me.
But, alas! Tuesday went by and no other effort was made by Zain to reach me as their 'terms and conditions' stipulated. And who is to say if they will indeed try within the remaining 2 days, Wednesday and Thursday.
Now, of course I tried chasing the prize, called 111. NO GO. I went online, searched their site for anyhow I could register my complaint. STILL NO WAY!
As a matter of fact, at 20:21 on 11/07/2010 I received an SMS offering 40000 EXTRA points to my then 3704660 points if I sent 1 SMS to 222 by 21:45 that day, WHICH I DID. However, when they responded, I saw that only 1000 points were given bringing me to 3705660 ( instead of 3744660). At that point I knew that the human element had begun to play. THEIR CORRUPT AND INSIDIOUS HUMAN ELEMENT. I had a premonition that something grave was about to happen. And when I called '111', the dedicated toll-free customer care line, to make a complain and request that my points be correctly updated, and could not get through, I knew the more that they had begun to show their true colour.
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