Case Studies

Contract termination and final billing

Mrs C requested early termination from all her phone and internet contracts, but incurred unexpected costs in the process.

Having cancelled phone and internet contracts, early, a customer set up an instalment plan to pay the final bill and termination fees.

Mrs C requested early termination from all her phone and internet contracts for services with Provider P in January 2009. She asked for the final account to be sent and understood this would be with her shortly.

When the bill arrived it included termination fees for some of the services that had been cancelled. Mrs C contacted Provider P and came to an arrangement to pay what she understood to be her final bill by instalments.

Unfortunately (due to circumstances beyond his control) her husband’s pay was three days late and so her first payment was three days late. Provider P said they were withdrawing the offer of the payment arrangement.  Mrs C thought this was unfair and continued making weekly payments.

The customer heard nothing more for a while however some weeks later she was surprised to receive a bill for further charges, and late payment fees, together with a demand for immediate payment of the entire outstanding amount.

She logged a complaint and Provider P provided a Deadlock Number and referred the customer to TDR.

The customer then contacted TDR and the matter eventually moved to conciliation.

After hearing from both parties, the TDR Conciliator prepared an Assessment and Recommendation. It was felt that Mrs C’s final charges with Provider P were an accurate reflection of services she had used, but that the final accounts had been confusing and not properly explained. 

The Conciliator also felt that the action of terminating the instalment agreement (because payment was three days late) was punitive.

The Conciliator recommended that Customer C arrange a new monthly payment instalment arrangement, with Provider P, that met the needs of both parties (including some flexibility of payment dates). In addition the suggestion was made that Provider P remove the late payment fees.
The two parties agreed to this recommendation and the complaint was closed.