While we’ve logged and blogged Telkom Speedy as slower than Fastnet here and even whined about Telkom customer service in general, it’s fair to add that over the many years we did the Speedy thing, Telkom rarely overcharged. Like anyone, they would raise the rates. But if you complained, you could even get a “waiver.” There was never any need to save the bank transfer carbon copy or the wispy ATM records. (In fact, every month you’d receive a proper bill printed on normal paper in color. Telkom Plasa customer service reps recently told me that was service was no longer available.)
It was always enough to simply pay the bill. If you failed to pay, they would shut down the Internet. Almost immediately after paying, they’d flip the switch. Telkom does the same with it’s fixed line customers and — in our experience — paying the Telkom bill is always relatively easy and hassle free.
First Media is pretty much the opposite. They’ll bill you just as many times as they possibly can — and apparently let you pay, too. For good measure, they’ll even send you bills for the folks who used to live at your address, even though they know those folks have gone. Unlike Telkom, most of the time you can’t really figure if you’ve paid your bill or not.
When in doubt, the customer is always wrong and they’ll ask you over the phone to read out the details printed on the ATM receipt you (should have) received when you paid your Internet bill via the ATM (on time). In our experience over the first year of service it has been very much necessary to track and document our payments each month. But it’s not sufficient. We still receive a steady steam of E-mails saying “You haven’t paid your Internet bill; and if you have, please ignore this E-mail.” But that’s not an easy E-mail to ignore. No one wants to wake up to a broadband blackout.
Call customer service? OK, on the good side, you’ll be able to get through easily. On the bad, much of the time the rep will be not particularly polite and in fact a bit manipulative (forcing you to “prove” you’ve paid the bill before providing any encouraging words.