How to handle billing enquiries
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.