Empire of Ineptitude, Telkom, is facing the firing squad again. Unsurprisingly, it’s about their abysmal customer service, and customers are lining up to cancel their hopeless ADSL contracts as they move over to Fibre. The problem is; Telkom isn’t exactly making it easy for customers to do so. It’s the equivalent of trying to break up with somebody who sticks their fingers into their ears and pretends not to hear you.
Reportedly, customers are not only made to jump through hoops in order to rid their lives of Telkom, but once they finally succeed, further problems arise. Some clients have even claimed that Telkom continues to bill them for months after they have terminated their ADSL or landline, and social media in particular has been flooded with complaints.
Furthermore, customers have reported their credit records being affected due to Telkom’s incorrect billing, culminating in them owing thousands of Rands for services they didn’t use and facing constant harassment from debt collectors.
Some have reported waiting anywhere between seven months and two years for their contracts to be cancelled. Telkom, on the other hand, has put it down to their new online cancellation service and teething problems. Let’s take a look at what’s happening.
Up until somewhere between December 2017 and April 2018, Telkom’s cancellation process had been managed via email. A new online cancellation service was implemented, intended to make everything a lot easier, and as Telkom itself puts it:
How the online process is intended to work, and improve cancellations, involves the specific cancellation to be created directly on the system. This allows the customers to receive a reference number right away, as well as subsequent updates on a regular basis.
Telkom is confident that the new process will allow customers to cancel their services more efficiently, as well as create faster turnaround times.
And it does seem pretty easy. To cancel your service online, all you have to do is go to MyTelkom and select Manage Accounts, select Relevant Service / Account and select Cancel Applicable Services.
You should then receive a reference number and a case number. Simple.
But, there are a couple of things that customers aren’t all that aware of, and just to play Devil’s Advocate, here’s what Telkom has to say about it.
In order to cancel your fixed line or ADSL, Telkom requires a 30 day notice period. This is pretty much standard, and most suppliers of Fibre will require the same.
With this 30 day notice period, it means that customers may receive at least two more invoices – and debit orders – after they’ve cancelled their contract. It all depends on the billing cycle and when you submit the cancellation.
When cancelling your contract with Telkom, you should be contacted and informed of any penalties which may apply. In order for the cancellation to go ahead, you have to agree to pay these penalties.
Sometimes a request might not be clear enough, and so you may also receive a call in order to clarify exactly which service it is that you’re looking to cancel. ADSL, as we’ve reported in the past, requires a fixed line, the DSL service, etc. If the customer has an internet account with Telkom and they go ahead and cancel the service without double-checking with the client first, that person could permanently lose all the data on their email address.
According to Telkom, it will attempt to contact clients three times before the process can be completed.
If you’re only using a Telkom phone line, but using another ISP (such as MWEB, for example) then the client will have to cancel those services with the ISP before they’ll be able to cancel their contract with Telkom.
With the above in mind, it has to be said that in many cases it is the ISP that is at fault, and not Telkom. Telkom is one of South Africa’s favourite punching bags, though, and is frequently burdened with the blame.
Unfortunately for Telkom, a lot of the problems really are due to poor customer service and gross incompetence. This is evidenced all over the company’s Hello Peter page, where the telecom giant has been slated silly from beginning till end.
It’s sad and horrific and just a little bit entertaining, like watching a figure skater fall.
One account, from just a few months ago, detailed an unfortunate client’s harrowing two year battle to cancel his contract. And in this instance, Telkom only had itself to blame.
My Broadband, too, continues to receive a landslide of complaints from Telkom customers.
Based on some of the more common complaints, it seems as if Telkom attempts to persuade customers (who have submitted a cancellation of ADSL services) to migrate over to Telkom Fibre services instead. When customers refuse, they’re then bounced back and forth between Telkom staff members for months on end – being billed all the while.
The company has blamed its failure to complete these cancellations on anything from systems being offline, systems being overloaded, systems being incredibly confused and presumably, the system whose department that is being out on lunch.
While Telkom reportedly works on fixing the problems, only one thing seems certain – they really, really don’t want you to leave.