The telecommunications ombudsman received more complaints about the Scarlet in 2021 than in the previous year, according to its annual report. On an annual basis we are talking about an increase of at least 122%.
The top 5 operators with the most complaints are always the same year-to-year, with Proximus at the top (4,930 complaints, compared to 5,358 in 2020), followed by Telenet (2,510 vs 2,513), Orange (1,583 in 2021, up from 2,146 a year ago), Scarlet and VOO (418 complaints, down from 564 in 2020).
But if, according to broker statistics, four of these five companies make progress, then Scarlet will be strongly distinguished. The low-cost subsidiary of Proximus has already been the subject of 1,541 written complaints, nearly double the 828 registered the previous year. The latter notes that “in addition to the large number of complaints registered, the diversity and persistence of problems and imbalances observed constitute a phenomenon rarely encountered before the mediation service”.
The marked increase in the number of complaints about Scarlet prompted the Ombudsman Service to dedicate a separate chapter to his problems in its annual report. The broker concludes that “the structural problems and persistent malfunctions attributable to Scarlet significantly impair the rights and interests of end users.”
The most common complaints about this operator relate to termination of subscriptions, the EasySwitch procedure for changing operators, billing of package subscriptions, and portability of mobile numbers. According to the broker, Scarlet often claims that problems are under control, but the final months of 2021 show that many aspects are still relevant and far from resolved. “As a service provider, it is Scarlet’s responsibility to fulfill its contractual obligations and be professional and diligent,” he asserts.
More generally, the mediation service registered 13,355 written requests for intervention last year. Consequently, the number of complaints decreased by 4.87% compared to 14,039 complaints in 2020.
In 2021, 14,049 files were analyzed, processed, and closed, which is an increase compared to 13,676 files a year earlier. In approximately 97% of complaints, an acceptable solution to the user was obtained by an amicable agreement.
The majority of complaints were about bills, followed by those related to contractual issues and disturbances.
Just like last year, changing operators via the EasySwitch procedure, created in 2017 to quickly switch from one service provider to another, has given many users gray hair, and the service notes more mediation. There is an increase in the number of complaints – several hundreds each year – in this area. This procedure is still not used as often as a standard procedure for changing operators. Too many subscribers still face double bills and operators are blaming each other. »
Another sore point from last year – users’ structural problems around the social tariff – has also not been resolved. However, according to the ombudsman, many of these complaints could be avoided if all rights holders were automatically allocated to rights holders. This will not only reduce red tape for users and operators, but also lead to a higher level of fairness. »
Finally, the annual report also draws attention to the difficulties that electronic billing can cause for a part of the population. While electronic billing has many financial, economic and environmental benefits, operators need to take a phased approach and provide guidance for some vulnerable users, such as the elderly, the report says.