As reported earlier during the day, a lot of Kenyans woke up to a good a day after discovering a technical fault in Safaricom’s data billing system. The bug allowed users redeem a ton of data bundles for free using the company’s customer loyalty reward service Bonga Points. The same glitch affected Platinum services, for which customers assigned themselves a healthy amount of data and free minutes.
Of course, the telco rectified the issue by pulling down Platinum services from the *544# USSD code. However, the damage had been done: social media pages are filled with people who took advantage of the issue to award themselves of the pricey data nuggets that they think the carrier is using to enrich itself at their customers’ disadvantage.
It now appears that the mobile carrier has been busy trying to bring the culprits to book. Tens of users have reported that the data they obtained ‘illegally’ has been pulled. We have confirmed this with people around us who were ‘unlucky’ to have their lucky streak revoked.
We have also reached out to Safaricom’s customer care desk that has confirmed it is taking back what belongs to them. Those who had made a dent to their illegal allocation will have to repay the carrier the next time they purchase a data plan, so be wary of that.
— AbdulCollo (@AbdulCollo) June 28, 2019
This is the first time that the carrier has taken a drastic step to fix its mess. Previously, customers could use loopholes to do the same thing, and the carrier never took any action to punish the perpetrators – besides initiating a system-wide cap on Sambaza that limited sharing to a measly 20 megabytes.
Lastly, it should be noted that the carrier was not going to deduct any funds from M-PESA for people who had abused the software hitch. That information, which includes a number of fake screenshots that have been rounds in social media platforms, is entirely false.