Sure urged to change billing process

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A Channel Islands telecom firm has been urged to change its billing and payment processes after "an unprecedented number of complaints".

The regulator said fixed line customers in Guernsey had raised the most issues with charges introduced for paper bills and some payment methods.

Sure offers landline, broadband, mobile and television services in Guernsey and Jersey.

The regulator raised concerns after comparing the company with other firms.

It commissioned a survey of other utility companies, both in the Channel Islands and elsewhere, to come up with general good practice.

In an open letter CICRA (Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authorities) chief executive, Andrew Riseley, raised four main issues; the £1 charge for paper bills, the £1 monthly charge for any payment other than direct debit, not allowing customers to use internet banking and continuing to charge customers for two exchange lines.

'Historic issues'

He said the final one was a legacy of internet dial-up when customers needed separate lines for internet and a phone line, which was not the case with broadband.

Eddie Saints, chief executive of Sure, responded: "We are disappointed that this letter and comment has been released prior to Sure having a right to respond.

"Several of the issues contained within CICRA's letter are historic dating back some five years, and have already been addressed to the regulator's satisfaction.

"Other items have been brought to our attention for the first time which we will address with them directly in the correct forum to ensure their clear understanding. "

He added: "Interestingly, we have received only a few responses from customers about the issues CICRA refers to, so it is surprising to hear the regulators description of a 'large number'.

"We will be working with CICRA to ascertain the true scale of the issue."

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