March 4, 2024

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Telecoms watchdog issues biggest ever fine to Telenet for making it difficult for customers to switch operators: ‘number of complaints doubled’ |  money

Telecoms watchdog issues biggest ever fine to Telenet for making it difficult for customers to switch operators: ‘number of complaints doubled’ | money

Telecom regulator BIPT has imposed a €1 million fine on Telenet because it is not properly complying with the legislation surrounding Easy Switch – which is supposed to allow you to change operators easily. Research conducted by HLN consumer expert Safiya Yacho revealed that Telenet is actually making things difficult for customers. “The number of complaints has doubled”: But where exactly went wrong? Can the operator now also be fined for ongoing IT issues?

A year later, Telenet is still busy trying to get its software issues under control, or else new headaches will arise: Sample is fine From BIPT because the company is not applying the Easy Switch procedure correctly. With Easy Switch, you give your new operator permission to arrange the operator change on your behalf. This is done via the code that appears at the top of your bill. Then the new operator takes care of everything.

Telenet must then disseminate the information, but it does not always do so, says telecommunications regulator BIPT. “Our inspectors identified violations at nearly ninety Telenet points of sale. By a clear majority, vendors did not offer Easy Switch as a standard procedure, which means Telenet is not operating according to the rules. We have seen this among people who want to switch to Telenet and among customers who want to leave.

BIPT is penalizing Telenet because they are not presenting the Easy Switch code correctly on your bill © HLN Editorial

Telenet response

BIPT informed the operator via letter. According to our information, it was sent to Telenet headquarters in Mechelen last weekend. The €1 million fine is the highest ever imposed by BIPT.

In its initial response to HLN, Telenet said it had also conducted an internal examination following the BIPT investigation. “Our search results were better than those of BIPT,” says Bart Boone, a spokesman for Telenet.

This is the first time that the TRA has imposed a fine on an operator for not following easy switching procedures. Telenet can still appeal against the fine.

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The number of complaints is piling up

The government launched the Easy Switch program in 2017. By 2022, more than 105,000 Belgian households had already used it (see chart). Since the operator arranges everything for you, you avoid long interruptions and double bills. This only applies to landline and internet, and to packages that include landline, internet and TV.

But HLN consumer expert Safiya Yacho also learned from Luc Tuerlinckx, the Communications Ombudsman, that quite a few people are having problems making the Easy Switch. According to figures requested by HLN, the Ombudsman has already received 550 complaints about the system this year (end of November, ed.), compared to 300 complaints last year. That is, the increase is not less than 83 percent.

“One in two of those complaints are about Telenet. If we zoom in even further, we see more than double the complaints about Telenet alone. This is about people who switched via Easy Switch, but are still receiving bills,” Tuerlinckx explains. “A small portion is about customers who They want to switch to Telenet from another operator. Some complaints also involve multiple operators, because it is simply not clear where the problem lies.

“We also see that leaving Telenet has become more complex,” the Ombudsman continues. “People with a full package, which includes a landline, internet and mobile subscription, are particularly affected.”

“For example, those who only want to cancel their Internet subscription via Easy Switch, but want to keep other services, often end up with a cumbersome procedure. If the transition does not go smoothly, fingers are often pointed at each other. Operators must – even if they are competitors – to communicate with each other, but in practice this is sometimes difficult,” says Tuerlinckx.

Outstanding IT issues

BIPT stresses that the default notice is separate from the IT problems that Telenet has been experiencing for some time, but there is indeed a connection. Because many customers who are tired of problems want to change providers. HLN consumer expert Safiya Yasho previously revealed that this does not always go smoothly through the various testimonials she has collected on the subject.

These certificates have been presented to politicians and to Telenet itself, but both the State Secretary for Consumer Protection Alexia Bertrand (Open Vld) and the Minister of Communications and Posts Petra De Sutter (Green) cannot and should not intervene in the IT problem file at Telenet, which continues to slow down. on me.

And so our consumer expert went to BIPT, which is the only independent body in our country that can impose sanctions on operators. BIPT confirms that it has investigated the legal basis on which it can take action against Telenet for ongoing IT issues. For example, this led to a new compensation system. But declaring operator error due to software problems is not possible under current legislation.

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“Legal regulations stipulate that a consumer should be able to easily switch to another operator in the context of Easy Switch. A Telenet customer experiencing IT problems should be able to take advantage of this legal arrangement,” BIPT concludes.

Have you encountered problems on Telenet with the Easy Switch procedure and would you like to testify? This can be done via the link below:

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look. At the end of May, technician David resigned due to ongoing problems with Telenet