Maxis, Malaysia’s largest telecoms company, has found itself in the middle of a fierce row with consumers over its offering of significantly cheaper mobile price plans to certain users but not others.
The incident began after one customer wrote a detailed post on a forum alleging that their friend was offered a far cheaper mobile plan by Maxis than they were, despite being a loyal customer for 10 years.
After trying to get the same deal, the poster, named jackson5759, decided to switch to a competitor, at which point Maxis allegedly allowed him to have the cheaper deal.
Moreover, further ire was drawn after jackson5759 revealed that Maxis has cheaper 4G price plans for Sabah and Sarawak in east Malaysia than the rest of the country.
The post was written last week and has gone viral across Malaysia, with numerous users expressing their outrage over Maxis’ seemingly poor treatment of loyal customers.
The huge differences between price plans that only certain customers can access has caused particular anger, as users do not understand how these particular loyal customers are chosen for the cheaper plans.
As a result, dozens of customers have written of their intention to leave Maxis and switch to rivals Celcom or Digi, which have more competitive price plans.
In an attempt to manage the issue, Maxis released a statement calling jackson5759’s post "exaggerated" and saying the price plan talked about in the post "does not exist in the way it was described".
"As with any company that has good data on customers, we often design and run targeted campaigns based on factors such as tenure, types of services used, payment history and many more," the statement reads.
"These targeted campaigns are to ensure that customers get to try out the varied services and plans that Maxis offers."
The company also explains its special 4G offer for Sabah and Sarawak, saying it was an introductory promotion for the region.
However, several respondents remained unimpressed and posted comments on Facebook slamming Maxis’ statement, which to many confirmed that the company discriminates between customers with little transparency.
The telco’s senior vice president of marketing, Sulin Lau, is also responding to user’s criticisms personally on Facebook to try and handle the issue.
"Yes we give out different offers to existing customers," Lau wrote. "All banks, telcos and some airlines do this BECAUSE existing customers are more valuable to new ones.
"That’s why we don’t advertise these. Not because they are ‘secret’, but because they are not offered to a new joiner with no history."