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Old Tuesday, August 24th, 2010, 01:14 AM
clarabell clarabell is offline
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Default arubafastphones.com bait and switch?

We are bringing a GSM Triband phone for our impending trip. On our last visit in 2003, we found www.arubafastphones.com with Charles to be good and checked out their rates for a SIMS card. Here is what was posted on the site:
Cell Phone Rental in Aruba since 2001

Best Cellular Phone Rental Rates in Aruba!

CELLPHONES
  • One week: $50.00 includes 84 minutes
  • After seventh day: $3.00 per day
  • Less than seven days: $8.00 per day (does not include air time)
SIM CARDS
  • $10 each including 24 minutes of calls to the USA
  • Extra airtime: 24 cents per minute
Aruba FastPhone is located at the airport, just outside the Arrivals Hall

I sent in a reservation for the $10 sim card. Iris answered that they no longer had a kiosk at the airport (but would bring the card to our hotel) and that the cost was $35 for 84 minutes. I responded that I wanted the $10 card advertised on their site. Again, she reiterated that they only had $35 cards and that she hasn't had time to update her site. Oh, and by the way, it is cash only when she arrives.

From searches on this site and others, I have found out that the kiosk at the airport has been closed since Feb. That is 7 months to change a website! And now arubafastphones.com won't honor their advertised price either. Frankly I feel this a highly deceptive business practice and that I am being baited and switched.

We have enjoyed Aruba several times partially because we have never felt we were getting ripped off like in Mexico or Europe. Has the Island changed that much? This is leaving a very bad taste in my mouth.

Where else can I buy a preliminary (not refill) Sim card? I appreciate in advance any direction on procuring the card and any comments about how to avoid getting ripped off on the island.
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Old Wednesday, August 25th, 2010, 03:44 PM
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Default Re: arubafastphones.com bait and switch?

Clarabell,
I read your post and several things call for me to respond. Please be patient with me.
SIM CARD DENOMINATION:
SiM cards are not a service but instead an item that we sell. Renting a phone falls directly on us as far as the absolute control on all facets of the service of renting. A SIM card is delivered to us by a phone carrier company (in this case DIGICEL) and we depend on them. In 95% of the cases, DIGICEL is able to supply us with the SIM cards we request. This works out perfectly. there were some weeks when they did not have a full assortment and we had to take what was available. The only responsible thing to do is to inform the client base.
KIOSK AT AIRPORT:
We have been out of that kiosk for some time now due to varied issues between our company and DIGICEL (nothing bad). As a result, we now do deliveries and quite honestly, it has improved business.
WHERE CAN YOU BUY A PRELIMINARY SIM CARD?:
There are two carriers on Aruba that sell SIM cards. One of them is SETAR and the other is DIGICEL. SETAR is at the airport and we deliver. By the way, it is "PRE-PAID" and not "PRELIMINARY". Many folks make the mistake.
BAIT AND SWITCH AND THE REPUTATION OF ARUBA:
I am afraid that both of these topics are sensitive to me and I shall only say that NO it is not that kind of tactic and ABSOLUTELY NO the island is is not degenerating into a state of con artists and sham specialists. Do we have problems? Sure. So does Mexico and New York and France as well as Japan. the nice thing about this small piece of stone in the ocean is that we are so good at trying 10000% percent to serve you - the traveler to our shores.
BAD TASTE IN YOUR MOUTH:
Can't help you there.

By the way, FASTPHONES doesn't belong to me anymore and I will take the time to send this off to IRIS. I am responding because several close US friends of mine brought it to my attention.

Be well
Charles
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Old Wednesday, August 25th, 2010, 05:16 PM
clarabell clarabell is offline
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Default Re: arubafastphones.com bait and switch?

Charles,

Thank you for responding and clarifying some of the issues regarding the current arubafastphones issue. We were very satified with your service on our last visit in 2003 when you owned the business.

But the core of the issue that I focused on the "bait and switch" is the escalated price change from the advertised cost for the sims card. The current website when I made my reservation offered a sims card for $10 with 24 minutes to US. Then I was informed it was $35 for 84 minutes to US. When I requested fastphones to honor the advertised offer, I was twice told it was unavailable and the representative was too busy to take it down off the website.

If one advertises one price and then upsells customers into a less advantageous package-- with no valid attempt to change the published offer, this scenario is a bona fide bait and switch. The location of the kiosk is ancillary.

Your conscientous defense of your former business, coupled with polite restraint, is admirable. But I think you missed the point. Glad to learn that lack of professional ethics is not SOP on the island.

Best regards, Clarabell

BTW, my third email to arubafastphones.com on this situation has gone unanswered. I will take this as mere unprofessionalism by the current management. With that said, I have no further interest in wasting more time over $25. Bon Bini
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Old Thursday, August 26th, 2010, 10:46 AM
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Default Re: arubafastphones.com bait and switch?

Charles, thank you also for replying. In November I got a sim card at the airport, paid $20 for 54 minutes. Had absolutely no problems.

During my visit I reloaded minutes at the Digicel office. Will I have to get a new preliminary card this year or can I just add to last years?

Linda
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Old Thursday, August 26th, 2010, 11:00 AM
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charlescroes charlescroes is offline
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Default Re: arubafastphones.com bait and switch?

Hey there Linda. I would do the following - based on the following:

So often people back home will jot down your number and keep that as "SPOOKIES" Aruba number. 80% that if you go to the DIGICEL store or to the sundry at your hotel-motel-timeshare-condo or beach hut and get some extra minutes,, that it will reactivate the old number. In the event it does re-activate, any unused time is counted back in. Neat huh?
You know what they say, "Us old SIM cards can be stuffed away but we seldom die".

Give that a shot and if it doesn't work, give Iris or a person of your choosing, a call.

be well
charles




Quote:
Originally Posted by lindaspooky View Post
Charles, thank you also for replying. In November I got a sim card at the airport, paid $20 for 54 minutes. Had absolutely no problems.

During my visit I reloaded minutes at the Digicel office. Will I have to get a new preliminary card this year or can I just add to last years?

Linda
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Old Thursday, August 26th, 2010, 11:14 AM
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Default Re: arubafastphones.com bait and switch?

Thanks Charles, I'll do that!
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Old Thursday, August 26th, 2010, 10:51 AM
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Default Re: arubafastphones.com bait and switch?

Clarabell,
I looked at your file and it was self explanatory.
I agree, no sense in beating this SIM card into a dead horse.

On a separate note; I went to a (will not mention name) restaurant two weeks ago and asked for the lobster bisque. Hope I spelled that right. They were out of lobster but offered me Grouper. Now "Grouper" is a good fish and a great alternative. Besides that, I feel that that fish died in a noble manner and deserved to be eaten by me. Anyway, I couldn't finish it all so shared it with my son, who is my shadow.

Moral of the story: Not sure.

Be well

Charles



Quote:
Originally Posted by clarabell View Post
Charles,

Thank you for responding and clarifying some of the issues regarding the current arubafastphones issue. We were very satified with your service on our last visit in 2003 when you owned the business.

But the core of the issue that I focused on the "bait and switch" is the escalated price change from the advertised cost for the sims card. The current website when I made my reservation offered a sims card for $10 with 24 minutes to US. Then I was informed it was $35 for 84 minutes to US. When I requested fastphones to honor the advertised offer, I was twice told it was unavailable and the representative was too busy to take it down off the website.

If one advertises one price and then upsells customers into a less advantageous package-- with no valid attempt to change the published offer, this scenario is a bona fide bait and switch. The location of the kiosk is ancillary.

Your conscientous defense of your former business, coupled with polite restraint, is admirable. But I think you missed the point. Glad to learn that lack of professional ethics is not SOP on the island.

Best regards, Clarabell

BTW, my third email to arubafastphones.com on this situation has gone unanswered. I will take this as mere unprofessionalism by the current management. With that said, I have no further interest in wasting more time over $25. Bon Bini
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Old Thursday, August 26th, 2010, 11:44 AM
clarabell clarabell is offline
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Default Re: arubafastphones.com bait and switch?

Charles,

With all due respect, your analogy is not on case. It is totally understandable for a restaurant to substitute grouper for lobster because it is a perishable commodity. I highly doubt that a Sim card is in short supply. Universal advertising standards dictate that any offer should be readily available at the stated price. If the offer is limited in supply, that should be duly noted such as limited time, only 5 available etc.


If arubafastphones.com is truly concerned about customer service, a more appropriate solution would be to admit their omission in not changing their website, apologize to the customer and make a concession for the inconvenience. Of course, the website offer should immediately changed. None of this happened in my case. Wondering why I wasn't offered Linda’s $20 with 54 minute deal?

In any case, this incident is a small wrinkle in what I hope is a wonderful vacation. I do appreciate your attention to the matter and suggest you recommend to the new owners to change their website to reflect their current offers.

Best regards,

Clarabell
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Old Thursday, August 26th, 2010, 12:41 PM
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Default Re: arubafastphones.com bait and switch?

Clarabell.

When I went on the website they did not show a $20 card. I only knew about it from these boards. I had emailed and asked about it and Iris said she would reserve one for me. The amount of time you get on a card will vary based on the time you place your calls. I think the rates range from .38 to .43 a minute, not sure of the text rate. I believe they actually told me I would get about 48 minutes for the $20 card. Also, with digicel I don't think they round up to full minutes. So if your call is 30 seconds that's all you pay for.

I just checked my cell from last year. I put in $40, total minutes used was 134. Now I don't know if the call timers include me calling to checking my balances or not. But I do know I used got more than 48 minutes on each card.

Linda
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Old Thursday, August 26th, 2010, 01:22 PM
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Default Re: arubafastphones.com bait and switch?

WOW - Thanks Spooky.
be well
charles



Quote:
Originally Posted by lindaspooky View Post
Clarabell.

When I went on the website they did not show a $20 card. I only knew about it from these boards. I had emailed and asked about it and Iris said she would reserve one for me. The amount of time you get on a card will vary based on the time you place your calls. I think the rates range from .38 to .43 a minute, not sure of the text rate. I believe they actually told me I would get about 48 minutes for the $20 card. Also, with digicel I don't think they round up to full minutes. So if your call is 30 seconds that's all you pay for.

I just checked my cell from last year. I put in $40, total minutes used was 134. Now I don't know if the call timers include me calling to checking my balances or not. But I do know I used got more than 48 minutes on each card.

Linda
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Old Thursday, August 26th, 2010, 01:21 PM
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charlescroes charlescroes is offline
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Default Re: arubafastphones.com bait and switch?

I just like fish.

I cannot imagine why you feel there is a parallel between there not being sufficient product in the freezer and why there isn't a promised SIM allotment from the source to us.

HMMMM somethings fishy here.

Let me ask you something. Would a refund make all this go away or are you driven on the principal of the thing. And if the money isn't the issue (as you earlier stated, then how can we fix this issue so that we are faultless in these deliveries to us by a third party.
I am interested in your response.

The following is a REAL STORY : NOT EXAMPLE:
My son loves Ben Ten toys. We were in Atlanta on Vacation and I saw an add at TOYS R US that they had the "New Ben Ten VIDEO GAME I went there with him (he is eight) and took him to the Ben Ten section. - there actually is one. Anyway, you guessed it. None in stock because headquarters placed the corporate ad in a week early and they did not have any. I explained this to Junior and he decided that we would get one next year on our next vacation. Luckily, I was able to find one on the way back in Miami.

I should also ad that my "devil may care attitude" is not really so. I care a great deal, however something magical happened when I became 65. I decided that with the little time I have left, that my dedication will be to priorities and to trying to understand others a bit better. So actually, what I am doing is just trying to figure out what will make you happy.

be well
charles


Quote:
Originally Posted by clarabell View Post
Charles,

With all due respect, your analogy is not on case. It is totally understandable for a restaurant to substitute grouper for lobster because it is a perishable commodity. I highly doubt that a Sim card is in short supply. Universal advertising standards dictate that any offer should be readily available at the stated price. If the offer is limited in supply, that should be duly noted such as limited time, only 5 available etc.


If arubafastphones.com is truly concerned about customer service, a more appropriate solution would be to admit their omission in not changing their website, apologize to the customer and make a concession for the inconvenience. Of course, the website offer should immediately changed. None of this happened in my case. Wondering why I wasn't offered Linda’s $20 with 54 minute deal?

In any case, this incident is a small wrinkle in what I hope is a wonderful vacation. I do appreciate your attention to the matter and suggest you recommend to the new owners to change their website to reflect their current offers.

Best regards,

Clarabell
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Old Thursday, August 26th, 2010, 01:20 PM
clarabell clarabell is offline
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Default Re: arubafastphones.com bait and switch?

Linda,

Well, there is a practical solution! I have been waiting for a response from fastphones for 3-4 days now. Maybe they will send me that offer now that Charles has been kind enough to intervene as he stated earlier today. At this point, I don't think it is incumbent upon me to contact them with this offer.

Thanks for taking you time to dig out your old invoices!

Clarabell
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Old Thursday, August 26th, 2010, 02:42 PM
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Default Re: arubafastphones.com bait and switch?

clarabell, i can tell you similar stories from many things. less than three weeks ago when i arrived in aruba for 2 weeks i wanted to get a setar card from the gift shop at costa linda. they were out of every one but the 20 afl card. i bought two although i had really been wanting a different denomination. i then went to the front desk and tried to buy 3 one week wifi cards for the 3 computers that would be in our timeshare that week. i knew that the next week we would need two one week cards. they only had one month cards. ironically, we were able to use them for two weeks. so in a 10 minute span of time two requests from two different sources were not possible.

it is a small island. things change by the minute. resources dry up and resources open up. if any of these people changed their websites to accommodate the changes they would have to hire an extra person to program. the fact that the price hasn't changed, it is still the same cost per minute as the original card and the same price per minute as 2003, shows there is no bait and switch intended. i am assuming it is the principle and not the cost. understand that island time is happening for both the website and the initial distributor of the card.

some things aren't worth the time or energy. next week, those cards may be available again. remember, it is a small island. setar is in control. what they offer is what they feel like and arubafastphones is as susceptible to the frustrations as the tourists.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clarabell View Post
Linda,

Well, there is a practical solution! I have been waiting for a response from fastphones for 3-4 days now. Maybe they will send me that offer now that Charles has been kind enough to intervene as he stated earlier today. At this point, I don't think it is incumbent upon me to contact them with this offer.

Thanks for taking you time to dig out your old invoices!

Clarabell
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Old Thursday, August 26th, 2010, 03:16 PM
clarabell clarabell is offline
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Default Re: arubafastphones.com bait and switch?

Sherry--

Thank you for your explanation. It would have been nice if I have received this kind of reasonable response during any of my 4 emails to the vendor. In fact, the one I sent three or four days ago has still not been answered by them.

I do have one question for you. Charles mentioned that he investigated my reservation requests with arubafastphones.com. I appreciate his doing this for me, but I wonder how he got my contact information since I use a pseudonym here. Does this board share personal contact information with other board members?

Thanks, Clarabell
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Old Thursday, August 26th, 2010, 03:23 PM
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Default Re: arubafastphones.com bait and switch?

the answer is easy... no we do not do any sharing of information. we never have and never will. however, how charles would get any info is easy though. if he is in contact with afp, which he says he is, then he knows exactly who has sent them 4 emails and asked the questions you have. once he has that information (email or name), he can easily check back to his files as the previous owner.


Quote:
Originally Posted by clarabell View Post
Sherry--

Thank you for your explanation. It would have been nice if I have received this kind of reasonable response during any of my 4 emails to the vendor. In fact, the one I sent three or four days ago has still not been answered by them.

I do have one question for you. Charles mentioned that he investigated my reservation requests with arubafastphones.com. I appreciate his doing this for me, but I wonder how he got my contact information since I use a pseudonym here. Does this board share personal contact information with other board members?

Thanks, Clarabell
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Old Thursday, August 26th, 2010, 04:13 PM
clarabell clarabell is offline
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Default Re: arubafastphones.com bait and switch?

Sherry--

Please check the thread. Charles wrote that he investigated my claim before I said I had contacted arubafastphones.com 4 times. Additionally, it would be impossible for him to figure out who I was with his old records. All my contact info has changed.

I am more than a little uncomfortable that this company chooses to share my information with their former owner without my permission. They have access to about my identity and my travel plans. Charles seemed like a nice guy when I met him. But it more than creeps me out that they willy nilly share my personal information without my permission. But I do appreciate your effort in trying to explain the situation.

Clarabell
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Old Thursday, August 26th, 2010, 02:28 PM
clarabell clarabell is offline
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Default Re: arubafastphones.com bait and switch?

Charles,

Nothing fishy here. I am just a consumer wanting to buy a sim card in Aruba.

Would you please clarify if the $10/24 minute is not available any more or not available during my stay? As of 1 minute ago, the original offer is posted on arubafastphones.com.

Let me clarify that I did not say that the money didn't mean anything. I did say the drama of the situation was not worth $25. In part this is principal and another part is financial.

No need for a refund. I never gave cc information. I appreciate the offer to try to make me happy. I merely ask as a consumer to be treated in good faith. If you can't live up to your ad, I only expect a reasonable explanation and a substitution which is not a 350% increase.

May I cordially suggest that if the new owners would like my business, please send me a pm. Again, I thank you for your intervention and guidance.

Clarabell
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