Thursday, September 28, 2006

NIGERIA TEL - Rip Off..........

I was at my friends place in South London over the weekend. She was having a small party for her husband so I went over to help her prepare some of those delicacies that we Calabar ladies are notoriously known for. Yes, you got it right - Afang Soup, loads of Edikang Ikong as well as other essential party ‘mede medes’. She lives on the other side of town so I took the Victoria line accross Zone 1 down to Brixton which was the nearest tube station to her home from where I would take a bus down to her crib.

Down in Brixton, I decided to buy some fonecards so I could call my folks back home. There was this guy who has a small stall 3 or 4 shops away from the station in front of a mobile fone shop from where he sells different varieties of Cards. Those of you in the UK know that the fonecard market is quite diverse – African Fonecards, European Fonecards, Asian Fonecards amongst others. The African ones are numerous and include amongst others: Nigeria Tel, Call Mama, Home Talk, Planet Talk, African Talk, Easy Talk Africa, Uni Talk amongst others and new ones keep popping up daily!! A £5 card should give you about 30 minutes airtime to any Nigerian mobile and about 60 minutes to a Nigerian landline. Anyway, I bought ‘Nigeria Tel’ - 3 for £9 which was a good bargain, paid for the cards and stuffed them in my bag. The bus came along and I jumped on it. I have heard so many notorious and unpalatable stories about Brixton (Drugs, Stealing, Mugging, selling fake or stolen things at ridiculously cheap prices on the streets and all what not) and treated each male with suspicion just in case they decided to make me a ‘victim’. (My apologies to those of you who live or hang out in Brixton but they say anything is possible in Brixton and certainly there is no smoke without fire?)

We prepared all the ‘orishirishi’ for the ‘DO’ and received nice compliments from their guests who said our food was scrumptious. It was just this evening that I whipped out my cards as it was time to call the folks back home. Ok, I brought out my fonecards, scratched it and proceeded to dial the Access Numbers at the back of the card. Infact, the speed & furore I used to scratch that card, if it had been an MTN card, the pin number would have been erased completely. LOL!! those of u who have at one time or the other bought and scratched MTN cards know what I'm talking about! If you dont scratch MTN cards delicately, you will scratch out the pin numbers as well and the visibility of the pin numbers will be seriously impaired!!
Back to my story........ Card scratched successfully, I can see the 12 digit pin number clearly.

The voice on the card prompts: ‘Please enter your 12 digit pin number’. I key in the pin number. Pin number entered and the next prompt I expected to hear was ‘You have £5 on your card, please enter the destination number you wish to dial’ .....

What I heard next baffled me. Infact, If I had not bought the card myself – brand new, unused or if I had not scratched it myself, I would have said maybe someone was playing tricks on me. But alas I bought the cards myself and today’s date isn’t April 1st either!!!

The voice prompt at the other end actually said:

“This card has been blocked due to non payment of monies due to Global Services Ltd. Please Contact Mr Kiniko kiniko of No. soso and so Street, Lewisham or call him on 0207******* or 077******** ”

I was shocked beyond words. Maybe I had not heard correctly or maybe I had even done something wrong and either dialled a wrong access number or entered a wrong pin. I tried again. Same Story!! YEAH!! Scratched the 2nd and 3rd cards furiously!! Or rather with amazement and wonder!! Situation still remains the same! This kind of situation has passed "The more U look the less U see!" Aaaaaaahh all the stories I have been hearing about Brixton!! Now it was my turn!! How can people be so dishonest? Even in London? Were the cards stolen or what? Did the service provider not pay the required fees before he obtained the cards and started selling them? I am marching back to Brixton tomorrow to harass the life out of that man!! Its been some days since I bought those cards and I’m not really expecting him to admit that he sold them to me cos I am not even his regular customer and have no business with the place at all - it was merely a point of exit on that occassion!! These people cannot rip off honest & hard working customers off in broad daylight selling DUD fone cards and go scot free!!

Apart from that, I have sworn never to purchase anything in Brixton again.
Once bitten ...................


  1. OMG! This is just typical of anything to do with naija! even phonecards, ke. thanks for sharing this story; I will definitely NOT be buying naigeria tel cards anymore(I currently use Talk Home; I just pray the same thing doesnt extend to them too)
    But I dont think the fact that you bought the cards in Brixton was the problem, though; it would still be the same issue, regardless of where you purchased them; it sounds like its the service provider thats the problem, abi?

  2. When I was out shopping in SLough last weekend, I heard someone talking about exactly the same problem with some cards they had bought. If you take the cards back to the person you bought them from, you should be able to get a refund. It's because the wholesalers buy the cards, and don't pay for them, and as a result, the cards are cancelled. The best thing is to buy your cards from one reputable source, and STICK TO THAT PERSON and that particular card only.

  3. I have a Nigeria Tel phone card I used yesterday, I just called now and it is still working ok.

    I think you were swavved!!! Brixton is another level oh. Pele!

    @Beautifully Human My Nigeria Tel phone card is fine so I am guessing it's the seller that was the 419er.

    I agree with Boso, they are supposed to pay for the cards. Good Luck, hope you find him.

  4. u don dey make me hungry mentioning afang and edikang ikong soup

    shuoo.. the fonecard shit is just an HONEST TO GOD RIPOFF n u should def give the man as much shit as u possibly can.. wtf.. u work hard 2 earn ur money and u get swavved just like dat? Thank God i dont call naija sha cos me i would've caused world war 3 up in thurr... but chances r u might even go there and he's "RELOCATED"... criminal fool

    my dear.. take heart jare and listen to IMOGEN HEAP & the SCISSOR SISTERS in the meantime.. they rock!!!

  5. Wow, I've been buying loads of NigeriaTel cards and never had that issue at all. People have tried to sell me pre-scratched cards (especially in Woking but I catch the lady every time!) but I've never had my cards refused when I dial in. Nigeria Tel are normally one of the better ones as AfricaTel gives you way fewer minutes than published whereas NigeriaTel isn't far off on their marketing materials as I chceked them. I completely agree you should give that guy a shouting to or more interesting would be to slap a big poster on his shop telling everyone!!

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  7. "I am marching back to Brixton tomorrow to harass the life out of that man!!" - Keep us posted...

  8. At last Calabar Gurl got her blog back ...

    Men all those delicacies u just mentioned dan start one hunger riot for my belle now.. Damn I miss my days in Port Harcourt scather.

    Na wah for ppl o.Try go harass the man and see if u will get ya money back sha.

    Take care

  9. Hahaha...sorry, I can't help to laugh at this. I haven't had the misfortune of being a victim to such but I know it is almost inevitable since I buy callcards almost every weekend. However, £9 no be akara money so you better go back to the metuseller and get your dole back.

    Nice blog by the way. I see South East is now on your list of favourite places ahn? lol...just messing wif ya.

  10. Thank U everyone for ur kind words.

    @beautifully human - a friend of mine said the same thing dat its the providers who havent paid d necessary monies

    @ boso - point noted!!

    @ London buki - thanks girl for the coverage.

    @ OWNB & culturalmiscellany - Thanks didnt bother to go and find out if he's relocated or not.

    @ABA BOY & Naija Bloke - LOL!! didnt go!!

    @ desola - yeah South East is definetely in my BLACK BOOK right now!

  11. Nice blog you got here. I also use NigeriaTel to call home and don't usually encounter problems. This must have to do with the person you bought the cards from. There are other decent phonecard dealers out there. I'm sure you should be able to get your money back. Pele, don't blacklist South London..... I used to live in Clapham....

  12. Shori darling, i use Nigeria Tel and i have not had any issues with the card yet. DOnt hate South London o. Or else, i will send Peckham(init) boys after you. LOL.

    And eh, i dont live in south london cos i am sure that will be your next question.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your comments made me laugh.

  13. Sorry about your bad experience. I lived in Brixton for the past three years and from your description, I think I buy my phone cards from the same stall though I never had problems with mine b4.

    I totally agree that Brixton has a bed history and people seem to be scared stiff of the area but there are also thousands of people who live legitimately and are not trouble seekers.

    I remember my first weekend in Brixton and walking down Acre Lane( the road beside KFC) I was scared stiff of all the jamo boys on the road. B4 living in Brixton, i had the misconception that Jamos dont like Naija pple, I never had any problem with Jamaicans or other pple from the carribean.

    Brixton is a multi pot of different enthnicities and cultures and it is just alive. 2 am, 5am, 12 in the afternoon, it doesnt matter, you will see pple all around you. Most of my old friends I saw last in Nigeria, I jammed on the streets of Brixton.

    Bottom line is if your going to be swerved, you will be swerved any where.Probably, the guy selling the cards might not even know about the condition of the cards.

  14. @TP & Temmy: Thanks dearies. I wont blacklist South London used to live there in my early days in london.

    @Anonymous: You're right. If you're going to be swerved, it can happen anywhere. Thanks for stopping by my page!!


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