The tor­ture of can­celling Telkom

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - THIS WEEK YOU’RE SAYING ... - WENDY KNOWLER CON­TACT WENDY: Email: con­ Twit­ter: @wendy­knowler

WANT to can­cel your Telkom ser­vice? Ex­pect a game of “bro­ken tele­phone”.

I get that com­pa­nies aren’t in­clined to in­vest in re­sources to en­sure that cus­tomers who choose to can­cel some or all of their ser­vices can do so as quickly and eas­ily as pos­si­ble, but they re­ally, re­ally should. Telkom es­pe­cially. In re­cent months my in-box has been flooded with e-mails from peo­ple who’ve ex­pe­ri­enced red tape tor­ture of the worst kind when try­ing to can­cel their Telkom ac­counts.

And while Telkom in­sists that its new on­line can­cel­la­tion fa­cil­ity – re­plac­ing the “fill in form, scan, then e-mail back to us” method – is fully func­tional, con­sumers are equally adamant that it isn’t.

“It’s a joke, Wendy, I have been try­ing to do it on­line for seven days at home and at my lo­cal Telkom shop and it doesn’t work,” said Dale Grob­ler.

For Alex Parkin­son of Pi­eter­mar­itzburg, KZN’s Telkom ac­count can­cel­la­tion prob­lem was even more bizarre in that he never had a Telkom ser­vice in the first place.

And yet he was black­listed for non-pay­ment and that made him des­per­ate, as his home loan ap­pli­ca­tion was be­ing de­nied be­cause of it.

When Parkin­son and his fam­ily moved to Pi­eter­mar­itzburg last June, he vis­ited a Telkom shop in a nearby mall, and ap­plied for an ADSL line in­stal­la­tion.

He was told he’d be con­tacted within 10 days, but by Au­gust, there’d been no call and no in­ter­net in­stal­la­tion. Back to the Telkom shop he went, and pre­sented his ref­er­ence num­ber.

“I was ad­vised very nicely that I was not reg­is­tered on the sys­tem and there was no ac­count, but that they could as­sist me in ap­ply­ing again,” he said. Again, noth­ing hap­pened, so Parkin­son was amazed to dis­cover re­cently that he had an out­stand­ing ac­count with Telkom.

Nat­u­rally, he raised a dis­pute at the Telkom shop, and got an­other ref­er­ence num­ber.

He was later told the ac­count had been closed, charges re­versed, and the case handed to the de-list­ing depart­ment to pro­vide him with a let­ter for the credit bu­reaus to re­move the black­list­ing. But that never hap­pened. “I have made 15 phone calls to 10210, spo­ken to three team lead­ers, got two case num­bers and wasted five hours of my valu­able time,” he said. “I have begged and pleaded with ev­ery­one I have spo­ken to sim­ply give me the let­ter I need and I will give it to the credit bu­reaus my­self.” Still noth­ing.

“Sadly, I have lost my tem­per, lost my sense of humour;

I can­not sleep at night, and no one at Telkom gives a damn,” he said.

Luck­ily Telkom’s me­dia li­ai­son di­vi­sion is not dys­func­tional, and within a day of my e-mail I had a re­sponse: “Telkom apol­o­gises for the in­con­ve­nience and has re­solved this mat­ter with Mr Parkin­son, with his ac­count be­ing cred­ited.

“We have re­quested his

record to be cleared with the rel­e­vant credit bu­reaus.”

As for why he was put through so much mis­ery: “Our in­ves­ti­ga­tion found that al­though an or­der was placed against this ac­count and a tech­ni­cian was as­signed to in­stall the ser­vice, the even­tual can­cel­la­tion was not ef­fected.

“We apol­o­gise for the con­fu­sion and frus­tra­tion creat-

ed by this sit­u­a­tion and have re-looked our pro­cesses to pre­vent it hap­pen­ing again.”

A day after that, an ec­static Parkin­son wrote to tell me that a bank had ap­proved his home loan. PRINTED AND DIS­TRIB­UTED BY PRESSREADER +1 604 278 4604 ORIG­I­NAL COPY . ORIG­I­NAL COPY . ORIG­I­NAL COPY . ORIG­I­NAL COPY . ORIG­I­NAL COPY . ORIG­I­NAL COPY

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