Georgie: I’ve received a number of similar complaints about consumers being unable to cancel their contracts and receiving bills months after their accounts should have been closed.
Telkom responds: “We would really like to assist the customers referred to in your query.
“To date, Telkom’s cancellation process has been managed via email. To improve this process, Telkom launched an online cancellation service in December 2017 which came into full effect by the end of April 2018.
During the transition period there may have been some oversights on some of the cancellation requests.
The online process has improved the cancellation process in the following ways:
The specific cancellation is created directly on the system once submitted.
Customers receive an immediate reference number which provides internal visibility to all channels, as all agents can look up the case on the system.
The online process allows for faster turnaround times.
Each service chosen to cancel receives a case number, eliminating incomplete submissions or inaccurate processing and the customer is kept updated via the system on case progress.
We are confident that this digital online process will allow customers to cancel their services more efficiently than in the past.
However, it must be noted that the request for cancellation is only the start of the process.
There are various factors which impact the cancellation process:
In instances when the contract period is still active we are obligated to contact our customer to inform them of any penalties that may apply. To this end, our customer must agree to these charges before we process the cancellation.
If the request is in any way unclear, we must confirm with the customer before any services are ceased.
As an example, if a customer completes the form requesting that their ADSL service be cancelled we need to confirm if that includes the fixed voice line, the DSL service and / or the internet account.
If we process the internet account without our customer’s consent the customer is at risk of losing all data on the email address/es that is not recoverable.
We advise our customers to back up data beforehand and to understand the impact of also losing any value-added bundles on the account.
In these instances, Telkom attempts to contact our customer three times before we process the cancellations. We also attempt to contact the customer via email for the relevant information.
If there are no penalties we will then proceed with the cancellation, otherwise we email the customer to provide the relevant information.
Our 30 days’ notice period means that customers who cancel their services usually receive at least two more invoices (and debit orders) before the account is closed. This is dependent on the bill cycle and sometimes customers do not realise the service is cancelled as the final bill is yet to be generated.
If for some reason we are unable to process a request on time we always backdate the order and ensure the relevant credits are issued on the account.
A customer with services at other ISPs must cancel those services before we can cease their Telkom services.
At the end of April 2018, Telkom phased out the email cancellation request mailboxes and online consumer cancellation has now come into full effect.
We are confident that the new process will assist us in eliminating unnecessary delays with our customers receiving a response within seven working days.”
* Georgina Crouth is a consumer watchdog with serious bite. Write to her at [email protected] Follow Ask Georgie on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ConsumerAgonyAunt/ and on Twitter @georginacrouth