Like many service providers which rely on monthly revenue from customers in return for providing a service, Telkom has measures in place to deal with non-payment.
One of these steps is to blacklist a customer with the credit bureaux if they have not paid their monthly instalment for a certain period of time.
This is a reasonable measure to have in place, and can help other institutions from suffering the same fate as the service provider who listed the customer.
However, Telkom has experienced a number of issues with its cancellation systems since the second half of 2018, and this has resulted in many customers being incorrectly blacklisted.
One customer cancelled his Telkom account in June 2018 but was blocked from taking out a home loan in October that year due to being blacklisted with the credit bureaux.
Another customer found out that Telkom had blacklisted them when applying for a new credit card, despite cancelling their account months earlier.
These customers had already processed their cancellations with Telkom, but were still being billed by the service provider.
This meant that if they stopped paying, they would automatically be blacklisted by Telkom’s system. However, they could not properly cancel their accounts either.
Because they had already filed cancellations, these customers were unable to log in to Telkom’s website to process a new online cancellation.
Contacting the national call centre and emailing customer support also did not prove fruitful in many cases.
However, Telkom has now launched a more robust online cancellation system on its website along with an escalation request form specifically for these customers.
In addition to making it easier for these embattled customers to cancel their accounts, Telkom has also improved its blacklisting process to prevent customers from being unfairly blacklisted by the credit bureaux.
Telkom told MyBroadband that since implementing its new cancellation platform, it has seen a drop in the number of cancellation issues.
“The new and easy-to-use platform gives customers the ability to cancel a service without the need to create an online profile or perform steps like requesting an OTP and linking accounts, which were creating difficulties for some customers.”
Telkom added that its average turnaround time for new cancellation requests has decreased to around five days.
MyBroadband also asked if Telkom had refined its blacklisting process to prevent inadvertently blacklisting customers who had already cancelled their accounts.
Telkom confirmed that this system has been improved and is now designed to give customers the benefit of the doubt.
“We added extra checks in the process to remove customers that potentially requested a cancellation from the list,” Telkom said.
“If we are not sure, customers receive the benefit of the doubt and are excluded.”