By Trevor Jones, Vice President of Sales, Marketing & Customer Service
“We recently learned that a group of OTELCO customers in Alabama have not received their billing statements in the mail for the past two billing cycles. Approximately 700 of them received disconnection notices on October 8th indicating that their service would be disconnected on the 15th for nonpayment. Upon investigating with our billing department, we learned that these customers were impacted by a coding error by our third-party software provider when we converted to a new billing system on August 1. As a result of this error, customers whose invoices had previously been sent to the Oneonta office for review before being mailed were not printed and sent to either the Oneonta office or the customer. This error has been corrected and we expect the processing of the November 1st bills to complete normally.
We also learned that a human error in processing monthly non-payment disconnection orders resulted in a small number of customers being disconnected, despite the fact they paid their bill sometime between closing time on Friday night, October 12, and 10:00 AM on Monday, October 15. Normally, any customer who pays prior to the issuance of disconnect orders is removed from the disconnect list. We are researching the exact number of customers affected, but believe it to be limited to these hours, when our office was closed. Customers who have traditionally used the automated bill payment options were not impacted by these challenges.
We are extremely sorry for the frustration these billing errors have caused our customers and we’re actively exploring a variety of ways to improve our service, billing processes and overall customer experience.”