South African Internet service provider Webafrica has been slapped with a R30,000 fine over its customer service and cancellation processes.
The Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) fined Webafrica R15,000 for failing to display its email address on its contact page and a further R15,000 for lack of transparency in its cancellation process.
An independent adjudicator found that Webafrica was in breach of clauses D and D6 of ISPA’s code of conduct.
Clause D relates to consumer protection and the provision of information to customers, while clause D6 specifies that ISPA members must display contact information, including phone numbers, email addresses, and a physical address.
“For failure to have the correct contact details the member is fined R15,000,” ISPA’s independent adjudicator report reads.
“For the failure to act in good faith towards the customer by having an easy and transparent cancellations process I fine the member R15,000.”
The report was published on 19 August 2022, and Webafrica had five days from that date to pay the fines.
The independent adjudicator said Webafrica must add its email address to the contacts page and adjust its WhatsApp menu regarding cancellations.
“The WhatsApp menu should have cancellation as an option on the first page of drop-down menu items if this is the sole process available for cancellation of a service,” the report reads.
A MyBroadband reader complained to ISPA regarding Webafrica’s cancellation procedure after they could not find an email address or phone number to help with cancellations.
Curiously, the only option they could find to cancel their Webafrica service was to go through its WhatsApp support chat.
The complainant also stated that Webafrica’s WhatsApp support chat has several long drop-down menus, none relating to cancellation until the fourth menu is reached.
Webafrica told ISPA’s independent adjudicator that not all of its staff are trained in processing cancellations, and confirmed that its WhatsApp process is the only way to do so.
A Webafrica spokesperson told MyBroadband that it had appealed ISPA’s ruling.
“We can confirm that we have been fined by ISPA for not displaying our email address on a particular part of our website as per the ISPA Code of Conduct,” they said.
“We have engaged with ISPA to amend their Code of Conduct because we feel that email is no longer a suitable, efficient way to support customers, and it should be replaced with the new technologies that are available to consumers today.”
Webafrica said the appeals process is ongoing and under review by ISPA, and that it expects a favourable outcome.
The ISP didn’t provide any feedback on the ruling about its cancellation process and WhatsApp menu.