2 June 2009

Prepaid Existence

A bit of moaning here. Or maybe it is just a lesson learned. Prepaid everything is the way to go in South Africa. I have decided to minimise the amount of signed contracts because they are hard work and in my empirical study, some would call it just life, a full hundred percent of them have caused me unnecessary bureaucracy, a lot of faxing (many companies are yet to figure out the beauty of emails) and basically just a lot of time and money wasted. I've been blamed, guilt-tripped and ignored, but most of all sent bills for services I haven't used in a flat I haven't lived in in a long while. Oh, and of course those faxes I mentioned generally get lost at the offices so they had to be re-sent.

We are still trying to address some of our past mistakes of signing the dotted line with all kinds of companies, but currently we have prepaid electricity, broadband and of course mobile phones. It has been a great relief as I haven't had to make one phone call or send one fax and everything has worked really well. Also, getting the prepaid services generally is much less stressful exercise as it doesn't require any copies of passport or an ID book, your grandmother's maiden name or a pencil test.

Now our broadband cost has gone down nearly by half and electricity by 75%! Also, I haven't yet spent any of my prepaid mobile phone airtime to plead anyone to fix their mistakes and I haven't had to fax one copy of any payment as a proof that it's been made (as if the bank wouldn't communicate this anyway). It might sound insignificant, but I used to spend few hundred rands a month to be transferred from one uncaring person on the phone to a next one. That is a lot more than we now pay for a whole month's electricity. I wish this would have happened a long time ago.

I started writing this post feeling a bit angry at a specific electricity company, but while I am still waiting for them to rectify their mistake from February and give us some money from deposit, I actually realise that our current situation is pretty cool. How nice.

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