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SmartBro relocation

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1 SmartBro relocation on Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:07 pm


Arresto Menor
I have been a SmartBro subscriber for 1 year and 2 months, so within their "lock-in period". Since I have to move to a new apartment (landlord sold the house, new owner does not want to extend the contract), I went to the Smart office nearby and asked for them to move my installation. At first they said - no problem - they can do it and will charge 1,450 PHP for it. Not cheap, but I didn't expect them to do it for free.

Then they gave me a "Smart Bro relocation waiver", which I could not bring myself to sign.

The contents of this waiver are (among other points):

1. If the relocation is not successful (they didn't even check if my new address is in their coverage area), I have to pay only part of the 1,450P, namely 650P for pull-out and deployment. - still sounds fair -

2. If the relocation is not successful, I can choose to have it reinstalled in the old address or some other address (now, why would any sane person do this?) - the game begins -

3. If the relocation is not successful and I have no other place to install it, I have to agree to pay the "pre-termination fee", which is 10 months x 999PHP, exactly the same amount as if I would actually use it until the contract ends.
To call this a pre-termination fee is ridiculous - I'd call it extortion fee.

But wait, the real schocker is still to come...
4. In case CPE pull-out from my old service address is not possible for whatever reason, I agree to pay for the cost of a new CPE (PHP7,000.00) for reinstallation.
WTF? If Smart is too stupid -for whatever reason- to pull out my old equipment (which THEY installed in the first place), I have to pay for new equipment? That's like giving them a license to rob me.

A reasonable pre-termination fee would be
- the part of the original installation fee (1,450P) that would normaly be covered by me using + paying the contract for 24 months. So 10/24 of 1,450P = 605P.
- plus an administrative fee (maybe 200-500P max).
What they are asking for is 9,990P plus 650P for a pull-out that they would have to pay for after 24 months anyway.

By signing this waiver, I might be charged with 17,640P WORST CASE and may have nothing at all in return.
The only risk SMART covers is the 800P part (of their 1,450P) relocation fee, in case the new installation fails.

Cited from the SMART website :
Our Ethics :
In accordance with our principles of good governance and in support of PLDT’s corporate governance principles, SMART is dedicated to doing business in accordance with the highest standards of ethics.
Our company, directors, officers and employees strive to promote a culture of good corporate governance by observing and maintaining our core business principles of accountability, integrity, FAIRNESS and transparency in our relationships among ourselves and with our customers, suppliers, competitors, business partners, regulators, and the public.

Now, I don't see much of that fairness applied in their "relocation waiver".

A. Is that waiver common practice or just a shenanigan of their local office?
B. Since they won't budge with point 4. above, what are my chances to win in court if I signed this waiver and they'd mess up the CPE or installation?
C. Has anyone ever challenged this so called "pre-termination fee" in court and won?
Other internet providers have pretty much the same conditions. Isn't there anyone in this country's government who rules these providers in, so that the general conditions are actually fair instead of extortionate?

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