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PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 February, 2007, 12:00am

The column for anyone fed up with bureaucracy, frustrated by delays or furious about poor service. Tell us your complaint and we'll try to fix it...

Mr Shkurhan of Fanling was informed that the 'tri-band' mobile phone he bought from 3 Mobile was in fact a 'dual-band' one after he complained several times that the handset failed to have roaming service in overseas countries.

'In February of last year, I purchased a handset from 3 Mobile,' he said.

'I was adamant that I needed a tri-band unit that would work in Japan and Canada. The salesperson assured me that the LG handset I was purchasing would work in both countries.

'In June, I went to the Mong Kok service centre to get the roaming service activated.

'After I paid a HK$1,000 deposit, the staff member checked my handset and announced that the roaming service would be active within three hours.

'I went to Japan in July for three weeks and had service for only one of those weeks. In hindsight, I should have complained when I got back to Hong Kong, but decided against it as I felt sure that the only response I would get was that despite only working on one-third of the trip, it had in fact worked.

'During the Christmas holidays I returned home to Vancouver for two weeks and had no service at all.

'Within a few days of returning to Hong Kong, I went to the service centre to register a complaint. Later that day, I received a call from the service department informing me that the handset I had was actually only a dual-band handset and would not work in North America.

'Up to this point, the salesperson had made the initial mistake and two service centre staff members had missed the fact that the handset I had purchased from their company was not the one that I had thought I had purchased.

'I demanded that 3 Mobile make reparations by replacing the handset with a tri-band unit.

'After having my case eventually forwarded to the customer relations department, I was notified that the best deal I was going to get was to pay HK$1,380 for a new handset plus the HK$1,000 prepayment and sign up for a new 18-month contract.

'Having priced them, I found that a tri- or quad-band handset can be purchased on its own for HK$1,000 to HK$1,500.

'My impression of a deal and that held by 3 Mobile are quite different, evidently.

'To add insult to injury, I was made to feel that because I had the handset for almost a year, the entire situation was my fault and that 3 Mobile sales staff are so well trained that this sort of problem surely couldn't have been a mistake on the part of the salesperson.

'Was I supposed to go to Vancouver sooner in order to ensure the handset was going to work properly?'

Hutchison Global has provided a new tri-band handset for Mr Shkurhan to replace the old one and the two parties have signed another 18-month contract to cover roaming.

A company spokeswoman said they were concerned about the inconvenience Mr Shkurhan faced because of the handset.

'[The trouble] could have been avoided if our staff member had known that Mr Shkurhan would be travelling in Canada and, hence, suggested to him that he purchase an appropriate tri-band handset and subscribe to the roaming service in the first place,' the spokeswoman said.

A reader living in Wan Chai was hoping to make a special arrangement for her Citibank account so that her children in Malaysia could get access to her money in case of need. Yet she was told there was no such service at this bank.

'I have been a long-time client of Citibank. Now I would like to add the names of my children to my account to allow them access to my money in case of need, since I live alone in Hong Kong and I am worried about what would happen to them should anything untoward happen to me here.

'There would be no one who could have access to my money to pay for my medical or other needs because my children live in Malaysia.

'I would like to add them as co-signatories to my account and I have approached my account manager in Citibank regarding this. But I was told that Citibank does not provide for this, even though they have branches in Malaysia.

'I know for sure that other banks like HSBC do provide this service.

'As most of my money is in Citibank, it is important for me to have that service, otherwise I will need to move my money to HSBC.

'It is surprising that a global bank like Citibank is not forward-looking enough to provide such a service. They should not be promoting themselves as a global bank.'

A customer service officer of Citibank said the bank has offered several options to the customer to address her problem.

'When she approached us for the first time, she didn't provide enough information about her account,' the spokeswoman said. 'After examining her case in detail, we found we do have some options to offer to solve the problem.'