Service switch and debt collectors
Provider transfer, communication issues and a bad credit rating.
Larry* decided he wanted a change in telecommunications provider. He did some investigation and decided to go with TelcoB. He let his current provider know that he was switching to TelcoB.
Larry switched his service to TelcoB. As part of the process, he changed his email address but kept his original mobile number. Larry did not advise his original provider of the email change, in part because from his perspective, there was no reason for them to contact him. He believed that his account with his original provider was fully paid.
A telecommunications provider losing a customer is limited in the contact that it can have with that customer. However, it can contact customers who owe outstanding debt. In this case, the original telecommunications provider had a legitimate reason to contact Larry, because it turned out that his account was not fully paid.
Larry’s original provider began sending emails to Larry’s old email address, not realising that it had changed. The provider also had a normal practice to send automated texts, which Larry should have received, as his mobile number had not changed.
After not receiving a reply for several months, Larry’s original provider placed his debt with a credit collections agency. The agency was eventually able to contact Larry. By this time an ‘adverse credit rating notice’ had been placed on his record and late payment charges were due.
Larry complained to TDR. When he and his original provider were not able to come to agreement themselves, a TDR mediator stepped in to assist. Through the process, Larry’s original provider recognised that emails were not being monitored for ‘bounce back’ and that it appeared Larry had never received any automated texts. Larry acknowledged that he did owe the outstanding amount (and had already paid it by the time TDR was able to be involved), but requested that the late payment fee be reversed and the adverse credit rating be removed.
The parties reached agreement with Larry paying the late payment fee and his original provider agreed to refund the collection fee directly to Larry as well as instructing the credit agency to remove the adverse credit rating notice.
*Names have been changed to protect our customers’ identities.