GTT’s two-month billing system should be discarded

Dear Editor,

It would seem that the modus operandi of living in Guyana is utterly inept public service providers. Since September 2017, I have been overcharged for my landline usage in Annandale, East Coast Demerara. And today my mom calls from the West Coast of Demerara, and informs me that her landline bills have increased overnight with no apparent justification for the increases.

My family has been receiving preposterous resident landline bills in 2017 and now in 2018 anywhere from $13,000 to about $$4000-5000 and everything in between. Our average landline charges used to amount to $2500-3500 monthly with occasional spikes during family gatherings (funerals, reunions, hospitalizations, etc), none of which can explain such a drastic increase in recent months. When the bills are compared, the total amount due is actually the charges for the current month plus the charges for the previous month that were paid. And as the consumer, you have to pay the full amount or else your service is disconnected ‒ which has happened. The physical bills will quote one amount payable, the GTT offices quote different amounts payable depending on location, and the billing app on my cellphone quotes a starkly different amount. In September 2017, my aunt paid a bill at the Beterverwagting GTT office for the sum of $2200 which the GTT rep told her was the amount due on that particular bill. This was paid before the due date. A few days later, we received a bill for $13,452 upon which we paid another $6000. What we did not expect, was our line being disconnected. When I queried this at the GTT store at Giftland Mall, the rep tried to talk me in circles instead of acknowledging the problem. And to just get it over with out of sheer frustration, I ended up paying an additional $5,290 (which still can’t be accounted for in the number and duration of calls).

I was also told that the physical bill is dated for two months prior. So in February 2018 I’m paying for December 2017. And the bill supposedly accounts for two months’ worth of use/service (so the December bill accounts for November and December, and the January bill accounts for December 2017 and January 2018). I’m not sure what is the logic behind this billing system, other than to simply overcharge and frustrate customers. The physical bill comes way past the due date, so you pay some money on the bill by the 10th to not get disconnected. This, however, is where things get fraudulent: whatever you might have paid before you get your bill to avoid disconnection, it’s not accredited or waivered on any future bills.

This is currently happening with three landlines and a postpaid cell line. And there are several persons I know of who are getting overcharged bills and GTT keeps insisting that the persons are making absurdly long calls to Siberia, Korea, and other countries (even when the customers are sleeping or not at home).

I am in no way optimistic of a viable solution being put forward by GTT because I’ve tried to explain the situation to their reps both in person and via telephone, with no resolution. And I have to keep paying the bills in order to simply maintain some semblance of civilized living.

I am trying my utmost best to not go in to the GTT head office and ‘behave bad’ as is customary to resolve situations like these, because refined problem solving and decent customer satisfaction is beyond the scope of the company.

I am not sure what plans GTT has for the future, but the current two month billing system is not practical and should be discarded.

Yours faithfully,

Ramona Chanderballi

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