Despite having been reminded several times to cut down on his handphone bill, his behaviour persisted for several months. Finally, I decided that enough was enough. It was time to switch to a prepaid line. I would pay any monthly amount up to the minimum postpaid subscription of $21 while he would use his savings to pay whatever amount that was in excess of that. I figured that this measure could teach him a thing or two about spending money responsibly, especially since he didn't know how to earn any yet. So I subscribed a "Starhub Green Card" line for him.
It was indeed a correct decision - his monthly handphone bill amount never exceeded $10 since then. In fact, I only needed to top up his account once every few months. Just in case his account ran low, I bought a top-up card several months ago. The $18 card was bought from a shop in Marine Parade Central which sold it for only $15. Good deal, I thought.
(For those who don't know how topping-up works, the top-up card has 2 secret numbers hidden by a black coating - one is a top-up card number while the other is a PIN number. When you buy the card, make sure that 2 numbers are not visible, otherwise the card may have already been used by someone else and you won't be able use the card again. When you want to top-up your account using the card, you use a coin to scratch away the black coating to reveal the 2 secret numbers. You call 98500000 on the handphone that you want to top-up and follow the voice prompts to key in your top-up card number and PIN number.)
Two weeks ago, I tried topping-up several times but the voice prompts kept saying "Your top-up card number is invalid". My suspicion was aroused, especially since I bought the card at a $3 discount. I immediately called the Customer Care Officer (CSO) at 1633 and asked if there were fake top-up cards being sold in the market. The CSO said that no fake cards had been detected so far. He requested me to bring the card down to any Starhub outlet for further investigation.
As instructed, I went to the Starhub outlet at Tampines Mall. The CSO at the counter took a close look at the card and scratched it again to reveal the mystery of the invalid top-up card number.
Alamak! I was so embarrassed that I didn't know where to hide my face.