Complaints Process

1. INTRODUCTION

  • Smart Data holds licenses provided by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa ("ICASA") for delivering electronic communications services to its subscribers.
  • ICASA requires all license holders to establish and publish their complaint and billing dispute handling procedures in order to meet the requirements in:
    • The 2007 ICASA Code of Conduct Guidelines, available from here; and
    • The 2016 ICASA End-User and Subscriber Charter Service Guidelines, available here.
  • In accordance with these Regulations, Smart Data has established this document and will follow the procedures set out below in dealing with Complaints and Billing Disputes with its Customers (as defined herein).

 

2. DEFINITIONS

  • "Billing dispute" means an event where, in good faith, a consumer claims that their bill includes incorrect fees, payments or changes. Billing disputes are a particular type of complaint which is only dealt with under the Billing Disputes Procedure set out herein.
  • "Billing Dispute Notice" means a formal, written notice submitted by the Customer to Smart Data under this Procedure.
  • "Billing Disputes Procedure" means the Billing Disputes Process for the initiation and settlement of billing disputes set out herein.
  • 'Billing inquiry' means the situation in which the Customer requests information or clarification relating to an invoice provided by Smart Data, including without limitation requesting clarification of charges or usage sources. A Billing Enquiry is not a Billing Dispute, to remove any uncertainty.
  • "Business Day" includes every day in the Republic of South Africa other than a Saturday or Sunday or public holiday celebrated as such.
  • 'Complaint' means a formal, written statement of a Customer's complaint or grievance with respect to the General Complaints Process but does not involve a request for clarification or a Billing Dispute or a request / ticket for assistance. Grievances shall only be dealt with under the General Complaints Process set out herein.
  • "User" means a customer to Smart Information, or a potential customer.

 

3. GENERAL COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

  • Such policy extends to all grievances other than Billing Disputes which are dealt with by referring to the Billing Dispute Policy as set out below.
  • A formal complaint must be submitted to khan@smartdata.co.za and/or support@smartdata.co.za by the Client.

 

  • The Complaint must be followed by the following:

 

  • Complete details of the Customer and contact information
  • The relationship between the consumer and Smart Data, along with any consumer reference numbers or information that may relate
  • A statement of the Complaint 's reasons, with sufficient detail to enable Smart Data to assess them;
  • An example of the support processes followed to solve this problem;
  • Any valid facts or proof in support of the Allegation that the Consumer wants to bring.
  • Smart Data must acknowledge receipt of the Complaint and assign a reference number within 3 business days.
  • With its decision on the outcome of the complaint, Smart Data must have a written response within 14 Business Days of receipt of the complaint.

4. BILLING DISPUTES PROCEDURE

  • General
    • Billing Enquiries should be directed to finance@smartdata.co.za and Complaints not related to Billing Disputes are dealt with under the General Complaints Procedure set out
    • The Customer hereby expressly understands and accepts that:
      1. Any fee reported on an invoice not submitted under this Billing Disputes Procedure shall be payable to Smart Data in full on the due date of that invoice
      2. An amount not in dispute ('Unquestioned Amount') should not be withheld for any cause, including without limitation, if that sum is on the invoice along with the amount in dispute ('Disputed Amount')
      3. The Billing Disputes Procedure is only triggered when a Billing Dispute is received by Smart Data, and it is only after this that the Customer may withhold payments of the Disputed Amount only as provided for in clause 4.3.1
      4. Billing enquiries, grievances and information requests are not considered Billing disputes and do not cause this Billing Disputes Procedure. Billing enquiries should be addressed to finance@smartdata.co.za
    • Notice that Smart Data does not entertain any Billing Dispute based on unauthorized usage of the services or unauthorized usage by a third party of the services. It is the duty of the Customer to maintain access to the services that the Customer provides and to use those services in the manner set out in the terms and conditions applicable to them.

 

  • Customer Acknowledgements
    • The Customer specifically agrees to authorize Smart Data to attempt to settle any Billing Dispute within 14 Business Days before a dispute occurs with any third party, credit card company or bank. Smart Data needs and Customer specifically acknowledges that in Billing Disputes, Smart Data should become the first choice. If Smart Data accepts, on behalf of the Client, a chargeback or other reversed charge from a third party, credit card company or bank before Smart Data has a chance to settle the Billing Conflict, then Smart Data is entitled to collect on the services provided and any fees associated with such payment.
    • Not every Billing Dispute can be settled to the satisfaction of the Customer. After completion of this Billing Disputes Procedure, a Customer may use any third party, credit card business, or bank to try to settle the dispute. Smart Data, however, also maintains the right to collect on any provided services or charges due. In the event that Smart Data is unable to reverse any disputed amounts with a third party, credit card company or bank, Smart Data will provide for collection the full delinquent amount.
  • Withholding the Disputed Amount
    • The Customer can only withhold payment of a Disputed Monto in which Smart Data receives a valid Billing Dispute Notice relating to such Disputed Monto at least 5 business days prior to the due date reported on the invoice concerned.
  • Initiating Billing Disputes
    • A Billing Dispute Report can be filed in the manner set out herein before 30 calendar days from the date of the invoice concerned have passed.
    • The Customer is obligated to give a written notice of the Billing Dispute to finace@smartdata.co.za
    • Accompanying the Billing Dispute Report shall be as follows:
      1. Full details of the Customer and contact details;
      2. the relationship between the Customer and Smart Data, along with any customer reference numbers or information that may apply;
      3. The number and the date of the invoice
      4. the amount in question ('the amount at issue');
      5. Number not in question ('Amount Undisputed');
      6. a statement of the reasons for the Billing Conflict, with sufficient detail to allow Smart Data to determine those reasons;
      7. any valid facts or documents to be provided by the Customer in support of the Billing Dispute;

 

  • Response to Billing Dispute Notice
    • Smart Data must accept receipt of the Billing Dispute Notice and will assign a reference number within 3 business days.
    • Smart Data that ask the customer to send the Billing Dispute Notice for additional information or documentation which information or documentation is reasonably needed to assist Smart Data in deciding on the matter. The Customer shall provide such information or documentation as soon as possible and shall suspend the operation of the 14 Business Day period until Smart Data receives the requested information or documentation.
    • With its decision on the outcome of the Billing Dispute Notice, Smart Data must have a written response within 14 Business Days of obtaining the Billing Dispute Notice.
    • With its decision on the outcome of the Billing Dispute Notice, Smart Data must have a written response within 14 Business Days of obtaining the Billing Dispute Notice:
      1. a confirmation of the validity of the Billing Dispute, and a statement indicating the necessary adjustments;
      2. Refusal of a Billing Dispute Request on the grounds of:
        1. Smart Data did not submit the Billing Dispute Notice within 30 calendar days of the date of the invoice concerned, as specified by clause 4.3.1;
        2. The Billing Dispute Notice does not include all of the relevant details as provided for in clause 4.4.3 or has not been submitted in the manner needed, as provided for in clause 4.4.2;
  • The Customer has not made payment of any undisputed sums and has no right to deny payment under section 4.3.1 of any Disputed Moneys.
  1. Smart Data has indicated to the Consumer that the Billing Conflict to which the Billing Dispute Notice relates has been resolved;
  2. The Consumer opposes any payments arising out of improper use of the services; or
  3. Smart Data is fairly of the opinion that the Consumer does not have a bona fide grievance over the requested Billing Conflict

 

  • Response Implications
    • If stipulated in Smart Data's reply under clause 4.5.4 that the customer is required to make payment of the contested sum or a portion thereof, the customer shall pay the contested sum or a portion thereof within 5 business days from the date of the reply of Smart Data.
    • If, under Clause 4.5.4, Smart Data stipulates that Smart Data must remove the amount contested or refund a fee already charged, Smart Data must, as soon as possible:
      1. Include a message to the Customer indicating a change to his account. This change is expected to be included on the next invoice sent to the Customer, but the parties agree that this could be delayed due to scheduling issues with the response and the normal billing requirements for Smart Data; or
      2. Credit any payment already charged by the Consumer in dispute.
    • Continued Service Provision
      • Smart Data does not interrupt a service given to the Customer due to a Billing Dispute Request, nor will it take adverse collection steps when trying to settle a Billing Dispute until Smart Data has made a decision and has communicated this to the Customer, ensuring that undisputed sums are paid out on time.
      • Nevertheless, Smart Data reserves the right to immediately take such action as those set out in clause 4.7.1:
        1. Where a Billing Issue has been decided and reported to the Customer; or
        2. Where the Customer has stated that he is unable to pay the invoice or payment or has lodged an application for sequestration or liquidation with a judge, or otherwise attempts to reach a formal arrangement with its creditors.
      • Subject only to the foregoing, each party's rights and responsibilities under the Billing Disputes Procedure shall continue pending resolution of a Billing Dispute resolved under this Billing Disputes Procedure. It requires, for the avoidance of doubt, the right of Smart Data to terminate or suspend the service under the rights of Smart Data under the agreement with Smart Data that the Customer has.

5. CONFIDENTIALITY

Neither party shall use any information collected from the other party during any procedure exercised under the Billing Disputes Procedure for any reason other than to settle the Billing Dispute in question.

6. REFERRAL OF COMPLAINTS TO ICASA

  • If the Consumer is not happy with the result of a Complaint or Billing Dispute, the Consumer shall be entitled to escalate it to ISPA at https:/ispa.org.za/code of conduct / complaint form / or to ICASA (but only one of these).
  • If ICASA is chosen by the Customer and they cannot resolve the matter, it may be referred for adjudication to the ICASA Complaints and Compliance Committee.
  • Please note that, in respect of the 2007 ICASA Code of Conduct Regulations, the Customer must allow Smart Data to resolve the matter within the time limit defined in this Complaints Procedure before the Customer can escalate the Complaint or Billing Dispute to ICASA.
  • You can contact ICASA by e-mail at consumer@icasa.org.za.