I am trying to put a real story that happened to me. I have been using a different calling card to make calls from US to India. In hope of getting cheaper and better service, I wanted to explore more options. Then came amantel.com in the story. I saw an advertisement in a desi tv. The advertisement appeared wonderful. Before giving a try, I tried to check on their website http://www.amantel.com . Here is the advertisement you can see for yourself
The offer says, you can make 1000 minutes calls to India for 5 dollar bucks. By no means this offers seems bad on face value. Then, I created an account and tried paying the amount hoping I cracked a best deal before thanksgiving day. But who knew that there will be hidden fraud embedded. While making online payment, the message said there is processing charge of extra 2.99 dollars. This bugged me, so I tried to cross check the offer again. On top summary the words says
Wish your family and friends, with Amantel.com’s Bumper Sale Special(Call India @ 0.5 cents/min and Call Pakistan @ 2.9 cents/min)
Some facts about our Bumper Sale:
>> No hidden fees! >> No membership fees!
>> No activation fees! >> No additional taxes!
>> No contract! >> Rechargeable!
>> Pin less Dialing! >> Speed Dialing!
Please note.. summary mentions no hidden fees. But when you go down below on page after reading hundred of words and Q&A in collapseable style, in a small line you will find there is extra processing fee of 2.99 dollar.
After calculating, I thought that the offer is ok, if not so great. So decided to go ahead with checkout. Made the payment, but I could get the service activated only after calling the service center. ffffffffeeeeeeewwwwwwww .
Well I made the first call to a mobile number (at india time night) for around half an hours . It went well. Next day I tried to call an Indian landline number, then I suddenly realized that the remaining minutes message after dialing a number says that I have around 350 minutes remaning, way below my expectation. I was expecting 960 minutes to be remaining. To understand the gap, I called amantel service center, and there come the surprise. 1000 minutes is valid only for India mobile, and is not applicable for landline. I understood the trap in my mind and laughed at own for being fooled.
Well after that I was waiting just to use all the remaining calls, before I could say bye-bye to amantel. But there was another bomb to explode. I was making calls happily, I found minutes are going down, and I found the remaining minutes to India landline is around 100+ minutes. Suddenly I got an email from credit card company that amantel had recharged my account. I hurried and checked my amantel online account and found that they have recharged account for sales price $10, and added service charge of 2.99 dollar on that. meaning grand total of 12.99 dollars. But the question was why the auto-recharge happened, when there was still a balance in account. I checked here and there to findout why it happened, thats where I found in payment mail sent from amantel stating “Anytime, PIN balance falls below a minimum balance of US $3.00, the PIN will automatically charge your Credit Card for the specified amount”. Just tried to calculate from start. I bought product for $5 (if service charge of $2.99 is excluded). Just after using $2 i.e 60% balance still in account, amantel forces for recharge. How much efficient service ? story doesn’t ends here. I tried to call service center assuming it might be error transaction, but it came as a surprise from customer executive that the payment processing is as per their expectation. shocking !!!!!!!!!! where is it written ? answers comes, it is mentioned in terms and condition that there is going to be mandatory recharge for first time. That means, the mandatory minimum cost I have to bear is $5 + $2.99 + $10 + $2.99 = total $21 dollar. The product which had face value of $5 now required me to pay extra cost upto $21.
For all those who want to go with amantel calling card, please note the another trap as they put in their own word “Rounding will be 2 minutes” unlike all other company where rounding is 1 minute.
Please suggest me what should I do next. I tried to check on their website, I don’t find a way where I can stop the auto recharge feature. :) Please help me how to come out of trap.
Please note that the minutes remaining figure quoted are approximate, as I am unable to support this with call history. The call history details couldn’t be located on http://www.amantel.com.