The Sweet Service Award goes to Gerry of the St George’s Mall branch of TELKOM, who helped me rectify a problem with the paid-for itemised billing on the telephone account not showing cell phone calls made, the most costly calls made on any business line. The telephone account had an (unrequested) National-call only setting, instead of an All-call setting! Gerry printed out the whole account again, and fixed the incorrect setting. This is the second time that he has been helpful in sorting out a billing query, and in general the friendliness at this Customer Service branch far exceeds that offered by the Sea Point branch.
The Sour Service Award goes to the Overstrand Municipality. Invoices for water, electricity, and rates and taxes in Hermanus are issued as late as the 28th of the month, meaning that one only receives them in Cape Town around the 10th. Payment is expected by the 20th, and a R300 penalty per invoice is levied whenever this payment date is not met. This means two trips to Pick ‘n Pay per month, to pay via their Easy Pay facility, as the other account payments cannot wait so long. None of the other three municipalities that we deal with are so late with their invoices and so punitive with their penalty charges. I called the Overstrand Municipality, requesting an earlier invoice date, but this cannot be done, as all invoices are issued on the same date! This is the e-mailed response I received to my call, from Elsabe Liebenberg, the Senior Accountant of the Overstrand Municipality: “Overstrand Municipality Customer Care, Credit Control and Debt Collection Policy stated the following: 6.4.5 (a) Accounts are delivered monthly. It is the customers responsibility to enquire from the Municipality should an account not be received in order to ensure timely payment and to obtain a duplicate account when the account is not delivered during the normal billing cycle. All our policies are available on our website www.overstrand.gov.za. See the following note on the back of Overstrand Municipality (sic). If no account has been received by the 10th of a month, a copy should be obtained from the Municipality. This month the accounts were posted late due to the knew (sic) lay out of the account and we apologise for this. From November 2011 it will be back to normal again. We calculate the accounts on the 25th of each month and send it within 4 days. Although the due date is on the 20th of the month, you are welcome to pay it on the first of the month. You are welcome to phone our offices and request your amount.” The ‘Customer Care’ wording in the Policy is a misnomer!
The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog. Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at email@example.com. Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website