Disconnection and debt collection
The customer took out a 24-month contract with a telecommunications provider. After 18 months of the 24-month contract, the customer stopped making payments.
The provider made requests for payment on the overdue amount for three months by texting the mobile phone associated with the contract and by email to the email address provided by the customer.
After no response, the provider disconnected the service and passed the debt to a debt collection agency. When the customer was contacted by the debt collection agency, she contacted her telecommunications provider and tried to sort the problem. She explained that the phone was a backup for her children and that it was rarely used, which was why she had not received the texts about the overdue amounts. The customer then made some payment towards the outstanding amount. However, the provider advised that the payment was below the minimum payment requirement and her service continued to be disconnected.
The customer contacted TDR complaining about the disconnection and the debt collection charges being added to the unpaid monthly account. She requested an account credit. The provider did not agree and the complaint was assigned to one of TDR’s mediators.
The mediator worked with both parties and an agreement was eventually reached. Following reality testing and extensive discussion about the contract obligations with the customer, she agreed to make full payment within seven days provided that the debt collection charges were credited to her account. The provider agreed and the complaint was resolved.