After being a Telenet customer for more than 25 years, Filip noticed this fall that overnight he no longer had access to his old, trusted mailbox. “Since September 5, I can no longer send emails and, even worse, cannot read received emails,” he says. The West Flemish man only wants to testify with his first name, because he fears that Telenet will otherwise not solve his problem at all.
“All my contacts with the government, energy suppliers and private contacts went through that one email address,” he says. “The mailbox has been full since the beginning of September, but I have no way of seeing which emails have arrived and which may require action.”
In recent months, Filip exchanged 200 messages with Telenet. He sent a notice of default in mid-November. All this time, a solution has not been found. After repeated requests for compensation, he was first told that this was “not possible for an inaccessible mailbox”. Then Telenet sent him a bottle of champagne. “To ease the suffering.”
Filip is not the only Telenet customer with problems. The number of complaints about the provider that reach the federal telecommunications ombudsman service has been sky-high for months. In November there were 500, more than three times as many as normal. This is still the result of the switch – about a year ago – to a new digital management system. This means that Telenet not only keeps track of the entire administration, but also, for example, the stock inventories. But its implementation turned out to be a nightmare. In May, Telenet acknowledged to our sister newspaper De Standaard that the situation was alarming. The ombudsman for the telecom sector received a total of 860 complaints about Telenet that month alone.
Six months later, the problems continue to plague Telenet. “Since September, we have received around 500 complaints from Telenet customers every month. And that number has not decreased in recent months,” says ombudsman Luc Tuerlinckx now. “Even though there has been a certain stabilization, that is not good news. The figures are still very high, which shows that Telenet cannot get certain problems under control.”
At Telenet they recognize that it remains a long-term job. “We continue to work hard and are hopeful that improvement is on the way, but unfortunately I still cannot say when that will be,” says spokesperson Bart Boone.
The company admits that complaints still come in all directions, from incorrect invoices to technical problems with modems. Specific complaints about mailboxes are said to occur “not very frequently”. “We are committed to solving every customer’s problem, but unfortunately that takes time,” says Boone. Telenet emphasizes that it is in “constant dialogue” with the ombudsman about this. Customer service has been strengthened in recent months, which means that waiting times there have been “normalized”.
Tuerlinckx remains critical. “Only a fraction of customers with problems ultimately submit a complaint to us. The fact that the numbers remain so high shows that many victims do not achieve a solution through Telenet itself.”