US telco Verizon has reportedly taken up to USD400 excess in payment from more than 200 of its customers. The payments were taken automatically from customer bank accounts… even though the customers had already paid in full. You can read more about the story here.
Verizon blamed the problem on a ‘system glitch’. Once again, a telco is guilty of trying to blame systems, when the problem is with people and how they work. All systems are designed, built and operated by human beings with a real responsibility to get things right. And then there are people employed to check the systems work right, which is where the Revenue Assurance function comes in. Talking about systems is a way of hiding from the fundamental truth that people are responsible for the decisions they make – both good and bad – and that people working at Verizon have let their customers down.
Verizon seems to have a deplorable attitude to its customers. In another recent story, they billed a dead woman USD110 for an internet service they never supplied (see here). In this latest excess payments episode, Verizon allegedly accused a complaining customer of being ‘rude’. What a surprise! A telco helps themselves to money they do not deserve, fails to take the customer’s complaint as seriously as they should, and then has the cheek to lecture customers about being polite. This is the kind of behaviour that gives all telcos a bad name. Meanwhile, in a comic twist that can only make people wonder about the real worth of revenue assurance, the TM Forum has just published an overview of Verizon’s Revenue Assurance program (see here). What is the objective of Verizon’s RA program?
To prevent customers from ever seeing an incorrect bill.
I could comment on their success and whether they should be telling others how to do revenue assurance… but my comment would be rude.