Digicel Jamaica and Erroneous AppWorld Charges

Let me first start out by saying, I am unsure of the entire workings of the Blackberry AppWorld back end, I have tried to get feedback from Research In Motion (RIM – the makers of BlackBerry phones) and developers alike and no one seems sure whether all apps are stored on RIM’s servers or some are on third party developers’ servers.

Recently RIM updated BlackBerry AppWorld to version 2.x. This update came with a lot of welcome changes which I won’t go into detail here. However, with this update also came a very unwelcome one. I continued to used my Digicel BlackBerry plan on my phone as usual, and I started noticing my Prepaid account at the time started losing credit with no transaction on my part. I contacted customer care, and upon them being unable to see why I was billed (J$72.25), I was refunded after three days and numerous calls. This behaviour continued consistently for weeks, to the point I was afraid to used my phone. One day while using AppWorld without any phone credit, I received the insufficient funds for data SMS warning. This is when I realised it may have been AppWorld causing the issue. I contacted Digicel’s direct BlackBerry helpline, the gentleman I spoke with was fully aware of the issue and I was told they were trying to rectify it, and I should refrain from using AppWorld until it had been so done.

A few weeks after, I converted my account to Post Paid and before I tried to use AppWorld, I called Tech Support to see if the issue had been rectified. The young lady I spoke to was way less knowledgeable on the issue and was more on the defensive. Both reps had kept saying to me that Digicel had no control over AppWorld (agreed) and hence they couldn’t help me with RIM charging me (BS). Secondly, the female kept telling me I’m being charged WAP data charges, and I kept telling her AppWorld connects using the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) data gateway and not WAP. She however proceeded to say maybe some of these apps are redirecting to third party sites. I told her I never leave the AppWorld app, so unless the back-end download is being routed then that’s highly unlikely. My take on all of this is:

  • Its HIGHLY unlikely RIM would make an app that doesn’t fully leverage their BIS framework and instead rely on providers’ WAP gateway
  • My account was being deducted (Prepaid) on Digicel’s billing terms or billed (PostPaid) likewise. Even if RIM was or is benefiting from my moneys lost, there had to be an accounting system in place (authorised and maintained my Digicel’s accounting department) that allows these moneys to be remitted to RIM, i.e. when my account is debited, it doesn’t go directly to RIM per se, without prior aggrement with Digicel, and also, I have NO billing agreement with RIM, and I cannot submit any form of rebate claim forthwith

Work around for this I have found, is to only use AppWorld when I’m connected to a wifi hotspot (not a feature available to all BlackBerry users).

I can understand that we are all in the tech world, and these things happen. What I am ultimately displeased with is the tedious process of getting a rebate when this happens, or Digicel trying to pawn this off as a RIM only billing issue and its just my bad luck on the loss ( according to one customer service rep).

Man up Digicel. 🙂


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