How to han­dle billing en­quiries

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - ANNA COX @an­na­cox

ANEW es­ca­la­tion of billing prob­lems has been in­tro­duced to ex­pe­dite queries.

Res­i­dents and coun­cil­lors were told a cou­ple of weeks ago that the Rev­enue Depart­ment now re­quires res­i­dents to do the fol­low­ing if they want to es­ca­late a billing is­sue (also see graphic).

How­ever, some res­i­dents who have tried it are scep­ti­cal, say­ing it is not work­ing for the fol­low­ing rea­sons:

The mail­box for back-of­fice was full for over a week last and this week.

There has been no feed­back, or no ac­knowl­edge­ment is ever pro­vided by the per­son open­ing the mail.

It is dif­fi­cult to know where you are on the es­ca­la­tion process.

Of­ten e-mails are sent through with large at­tach­ments that are of­ten lost or do not make it through the city.

Of­fi­cials usu­ally have to wade through mas­sive e-mail chains and long, con­vo­luted de­scrip­tions of the prob­lem.

There is no ad­vice as to what to do next if the “Group Head: Fi­nance” can­not help you?

There is no time limit pro­vided in steps 3 and 4.

Coun­cil­lor Tim Tru­luck said he ad­vises res­i­dents to use the sys­tem in the next sec­tion to log and es­ca­late billing prob­lems, but they are most wel­come to try out the first one.

Tru­luck says re­gard­ing the es­ca­la­tion process, res­i­dents should log their billing queries via the call cen­tre on 011 375 5555 or 086 056 2874 or go to the near­est walk-in cen­tre and get a ref­er­ence num­ber.

Queries should be re­solved within 30 days.

He ad­vises: “If you have not re­ceived any res­o­lu­tion af­ter 30 days or when you re­ceive your next bill, please fol­low the next steps in the es­ca­la­tion process. Please do not skip steps and make sure you are given a ref­er­ence num­ber when you ini­tially log your dis­pute.” 1. Step one This will be the e-mail in which a cus­tomer will be able to es­ca­late his/her query if, af­ter 30 days, the query is not re­solved. Feed­back should be given to the cus­tomer within seven days. E-mail: back­of­fice@joburg.org.za 2. Step two At this phase of es­ca­la­tion, should the query still be un­re­solved af­ter the first es­ca­la­tion, the cus­tomer will be able to es­ca­late to the next level of the deputy di­rec­tor for in­ter­ven­tion. Feed­back should be given within three days.

E-mail: back­of­fice­queries@joburg.org.za 3. Step three Should the mat­ter still be un­re­solved at the pre­vi­ous stage, then the cus­tomer should es­ca­late to the level of the Di­rec­tor: Billing.

E-mail: back­of­fice­queries1@joburg.org.za 4. Step four Lastly, should the mat­ter still be un­re­solved, the cus­tomer can es­ca­late to the Group Head: Fi­nance. E-mail: Es­ca­la­tions@joburg.org.za

What do I sug­gest you do if you have a billing prob­lem?

Tru­luck ad­vises peo­ple to go to their near­est walk-in cen­tre and log it with the con­sul­tant and note the ref­er­ence num­ber and date logged. Make sure you go through the ac­count with the con­sul­tant and that he/she un­der­stands the prob­lem. He said: “You can try and log it via the call cen­tre, but it is of­ten off­line and you can­not re­ally go through your ac­count with them. It is likely that your prob­lem will not be re­solved at all and all you are re­ally do­ing is get­ting a ref­er­ence num­ber so that in 30 days you can es­ca­late the prob­lem.”

If it wasn’t re­solved one month later (or if you al­ready logged it over a month ago), then send your coun­cil­lor the fol­low­ing in an e-mail: name, cell, e-mail, ac­count num­ber, the ref­er­ence num­ber which is older than one month, the me­ter num­ber and a short de­scrip­tion of the prob­lem.

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