Monday, December 15, 2008

The open deceit called “MTN treasure hunt”

The Nigeria customer protection agency once clamped a beverage drink firm in Nigeria this year for a promo that it was organizing and hosting and said the promo was characterized by fraud and ordinances it discontinue from the promo. But no one was sure if that firm paid heed to the ordinance of the agency because a lot of things happen in Nigeria without strict checks.

Last night 3/12/08 I checked my cellphone account balance which was using MTN network and I saw the following write-up on it by MTN: “Your Xtracool Bal is Main:…Ur Bank balance could be N1m by tonight! Play MTN Treasure Hunt – N1m daily Prize. Text TREASURE to 77777. Each SMS costs N10”. And I text.

I was aware that the N10 in the text message by MTN was not originally N10, it was supposed to be N100, because N100 was the normal amount MTN has been collecting for this programme per each SMS, as prior told me by people who have entered for the promo. But what battled me was why N10 in the message? Was it to lure people to text and MTN would cut N100 instead of the N10 the texter might be carrying in mind for? Notwithstanding, the amount was not my problem, even that MTN cut N100 from my account balance when I sent SMS for the ‘show’ instead of N10 that the message on my phone was reading for their “MTN Treasure Hunt”.

When I joyously sent the message to 77777 and was expecting when MTN would inform me that I have won or havelost as they had instructed in the SMS, “Ur Bank balance could be N1m by tonight! Play MTN Treasure Hunt – N1m daily Prize”, I only got a rude shock from the subsequent messages MTN sent me, and those who are very knack in unmasking ‘fraud letters’ would see reason that I was not just an alarmist.

Read the first message from MTN after I had contested: “MTN Treasure Hunt: WELCOME! Daily prize: N1 million. Weekly prize: N2 million. Jackpot: N10 million! Plus BONUS PRIZES. Reply with your name (6 letters max)”. When I saw this message, I know that MTN was up to something and I refused to reply for the fear of not losing another N100 from my account balance.
When I did not reply, another message came in from MTN just few minutes after the former, and it reads: “MTN Treasure Hunt Terms and Conditions: tonight! Play MTN Treasure Hunt – N1m daily Prize”?
When I did not reply, I got another message from MTN on 4/12/ 08, 08:42:27am, thus: “MTN Treasure Hunt: IT’S HAPPY HOUR! Between 10am and 11am replying to this message will win double reward points! (Did you here “replying to this message will win double reward points!”?) N1 million must be won tonight!”