A LIME Blunder

WE are pleased to see that LIME has demonstrated some good sense and withdrawn its letter to subscribers announcing its intention to institute a charge for billing them, come January.

It was also a welcome sign that St Lucians voiced their disapproval of this proposal in such strong terms.

This was no doubt a major public relations error by LIME, from which it will take many lessons. It seemed almost a catastrophic blunder on the company’s part coming only weeks after it announced a virtual “second coming” into the market, first with an announcement of a massive new investment in the country, and then with its takeover of Columbus’ operations.

Both announcements were accompanied by promises of its intention to deliver “the best customer service” experience to its subscribers. Indeed, the LIME bandwagon was beginning to look exciting once again as it announced its “upgrade” plans. Then, seemingly out of the blue, it dropped this plan to begin charging its customers for sending them its monthly bills.

Ironic isn’t it, that all those years LIME has been billing its customers without charge –well, no charge that we can see, anyway—but now, because it wants to introduce ebilling it decides that those who do not want to move in that direction, should pay for having their bills sent to them, the normal way.

While we welcome the ebilling idea, especially for its environmental considerations, there are other factors that LIME ought to have considered in its plans.

St Lucia is currently going through a serious economic crisis, even though some will tell you otherwise, and people have been taken to the cleaners with increased prices. Every penny we can retain in our pockets is important. With LIME charging its consumers $6.18 a head (how was that figure arrived at anyway), wouldn’t LUCELEC and WASCO feel they had a right to do the same? Wouldn’t other business places that send bills to their customers?

Imagine having to pay business houses a fee just so that they can tell us how much we owe them? Already, some banks have been poking us where it hurts with all kinds of charges, even charges to withdraw our own money. It’s no wonder that people are now saying that enough is enough.

LIME really need not have damaged its image that way. This is a company that St Lucia has been good to, as well as a company that has been good to St Lucia, given its level of sponsorships and support of other local causes over so many years. In the past St Lucians paid a heap of money for telecommunications services. That has now changed. From the howls of protest over the $6.18 it is clear they are not going back there.

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