Most of us will have experienced it at some point – you receive your phone bill and it’s significantly higher than you expected. Or you get that dreadful SMS notifying you that your data bundle has run out but you have no clue where it all went.
In telecoms, bill shock describes the negative reaction a subscriber or enterprise experiences when their phone bill has unexpected charges. As we all know, service providers give their post-paid or contract customers a line of credit to use each month. At the end of the month, they then work out how much credit each customer has used and send them a bill.
Bill shock most commonly occurs because users have no idea how much they’ve used until they actually receive a bill. While this situation may be costly for an individual, imagine just how expensive it could be for an enterprise in the event that multiple employees overspend.
Earlier this year, MTN explained that many customers fall victim to bill shock when they make the transition from simpler feature phones to more advanced smart devices. This occurs because they fail to understand how much data social networks and media downloads use.
While a lack of insight may be the issue in some cases, there are customers who receive an outrageous bill at the end of the month and are convinced that they’ve been charged incorrectly. If this is the case, we’d advise that individuals follow these four steps:
Step 1: Is it bill shock or is it a scam?
First things first, make sure that your bill is legitimate and not a scam. One of the ways phishing scammers trick people into giving them money is to send out fraudulent accounts that look like they’re from a reputable source. Before you pay anything, double check that the bill is from your service provider, and not someone else.
Step 2: Contact your service provider
Once you’re sure the account is legitimate, contact your service provider and follow the necessary complaints procedure. You can contact your service providers using the following information:
- Vodacom Customer Care:
- Cell C
Step 3: Escalate the complaint
Much like you’d want to talk to the manager in a restaurant when your meal wasn’t to your liking, there are various commissions, councils and ombudsman who you can turn to if your service provider isn’t taking your complaint seriously.
The Consumer Protection Act is a great place to start in terms of knowing your rights. Similarly, the Consumer Goods and Services Ombud’s website has a handy “Before you complain to us” section that people can browse through to check the validity of their complaint.
Step 4: Contact a lawyer
If none of these steps are fruitful, it’s time to get the professionals involved. A lawyer will be able to advise you about the validity of your dispute and explain how best to handle the situation. But before you go this route, take some time to compare your legal costs with the costs you’re looking to recover from your service provider. Also consider how much time you’ll have to invest in taking legal action.
Bill shock and the enterprise
In the same way that an individual can experience bill shock, it also happens to enterprises. This is where Nebula comes in. We make sure that you are paying the best rates, that your invoicing is audited on a monthly basis and that you recover any irregular costs that appear on your bill.
Want to stop bill shock before it affects your enterprise? Our telecoms lifecycle and expense management platform is designed to help enterprises access real time insights so they’re never caught off guard. To find out more about our offerings, complete the form below and we’ll get back to you.