We are almost one month into the new year, and MyBroadband’s inbox continues to be inundated with complaints from readers who are unable to cancel their Telkom accounts.
This problem made headlines in the second half of 2018 and has remained. The basic story behind every one of these cases goes something like this.
A customer cancels their Telkom package and receives confirmation. Their service stops working soon after and they continue with their lives.
However, they soon begin receiving invoices from Telkom as if their service was never cancelled – and find themselves unable to resolve the issue through any standard form of customer support.
In extreme cases, this is not where the problems stop.
The nightmare of cancelling a Telkom package
Near the end of 2018, MyBroadband reported that many customers who experienced this problem had refused to pay the outstanding invoices from Telkom.
This is because their services were disconnected and they had proof they had cancelled their packages.
Telkom continued billing users, and even went as far as to blacklist non-paying “customers” with credit bureaus.
Ex-Telkom customers found out about the blacklistings when they tried to apply for home loans and other credit-dependent contracts.
At this stage, they are still unable to cancel their account through in-store, telephonic, or online support – and Telkom’s errors have directly affected their financial options.
Many customers subsequently reached out to MyBroadband for help and while cases were resolved after our intervention, many more complaints continue to flood in.
It does not seem to matter whether you are on a fibre, DSL, or LTE package for this cancellation issue to arise, as Telkom uses a unified cancellation system for all products.
Telkom previously described its online cancellation process as “very robust”, although it admitted that it has experienced some “internal system issues”.
It has also stated that it migrated its systems in April 2018, and that this change may have been a contributing factor towards the prevalence of cancellation errors.
“Customers whose accounts have been suspended due to arrears will not be able to use our online cancellation system,” added Telkom.
“We are working to resolve these issues and apologise to any customers who may have been affected.”
This means that while Telkom recommends customers use its online cancellation platform to resolve their problem, customers who have not paid their bills after cancelling will not be able to do so.
Instead, they are forced to try and cancel their packages through the company’s national customer care centre.
In addition to getting their cancellation processed, they may have to request for Telkom to remove their listing from a credit bureau.
MyBroadband reached out to Telkom regarding the issues with its cancellation systems to find out what is happening at the company.
Telkom explained that the primary cause of these cancellation issues is the previous manual process used by the company, and that most users who are encountering problems attempted to cancel prior to the system change in April 2018.
“Our investigations show that the majority of cancellation enquiries are for cases logged prior to April 2018 and/or during the transition period to online,” Telkom said.
“This was one of the reasons we switched to an online system which generates a reference number that can be tracked across all channels and by the customer directly through our portal.”
Telkom said its current process requires all cancellations to processed through its online portal, with supporting documentation being uploaded for authentication.
“In some exceptional cases such as customers with disabilities or pensioners, we are able to accommodate them through the stores and call centre channels.”
Telkom said the number of cancellation-related escalations has decreased since the launch of the online cancellation platform, and its turnaround time for escalation processing has also decreased considerably.