Whoops, sorry, the billing’s on the blink


Telecom Billing Issues

Telecom Billing is becoming increasingly complex

Telecom Billing is a sensitive topic for customers

Apparently BT’s Plusnet home broadband service had some funky billing issues this week with customer receiving some rather bizarre emails.  Check out this email trail one customer reported to the BBC (here):

  • “At 22 minutes past midnight this morning I received an email, and it said you are approaching your usage allowance, and once you’ve used your 40GB we’ll charge you an extra £5 for every 5GB,” Steve Rogers said.
  • “And then at 8.42am I got an email saying you’ve exceeded your usage, we’ve added some more.
  • “And then it happened again at 9.51am.
  • “I thought I haven’t been doing anything out of the ordinary… I wonder if my wife has been downloading loads of stuff.”
  • A check of Mr Rogers’ account, using Plusnet’s View My Usage tool, revealed that 28.2GB of data had been added to his tally yesterday and a further 14GB on Wednesday morning – far in excess of his actual usage

Telecom billing can sometimes be seen more as an art than a science. 

Back in 2013 Singtel’s Australian subsidiary, Optus refunded $8.8 million to about 235,000 individual and small business customers after a programming error accidentally signed them up to a special voicemail transcription service (here). Reportedly it took two years for Optus to resolve the problem, with customers first starting to complain about incorrect billing back in 2011.  TWO YEARS!!? Now tell me that’s not bad for business! 

Billing issues are typically the most common complaints to local watchdogs.  If Billing was hard for Telcos when it was just about making long-distance, off-peak, inter-state phone calls, imagine what life is like for them now.  The world of Telecom Billing has become infinitely more complex, with the industry having to deal with pre-paid, post-paid, online/off-line charging, OTT, apps, bundles, event-driven, contextual, data caps, 2G/3G/4G, etc…  and the list goes on.  Unfortunately, none of this interests the average customer.  They just expect to pay for what they purchased, nothing more.

There are plenty of areas in the Telecoms world where a shot of adrenaline and some clear thinking would go a long way, billing is definitely one of them.  After all, these stories affect the entire industry, not just the Telco at fault.

More Here [BBC]


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