Paris, 25 January 2007
ARCEP has recently observed an increase in the number of consumer complaints regarding the "erroneous cancellation" of their telephone services and/or high-speed Internet, rendering their telephone or Internet inoperable.
ARCEP is working with the incumbent and unbundling operators to improve operating procedures.
ARCEP reminds operators that when they erroneously cancel services to one of their customers, they are required to restore these services as quickly as possible and at no charge to the customer.
ARCEP has asked all operators to implement these principles in order to minimise the inconvenience to consumers who are victims of "erroneous cancellations".
In order to better inform consumers on what do to in case of an erroneous cancellation, ARCEP is adding a new item to its Frequently Asked Questions area (called "What to do in case of an erroneous cancellation?".
The FAQ updated
What is a "cancellation"?
When a customer who already subscribes to one or more fixed services (telephone, DSL Internet access, etc.), subscribes to a new service with another operator, a previous service may be cancelled when the new service is activated.
For example, when a residential customer subscribes to a full unbundling offer, he or she authorises his or her new operator to cancel all existing fixed services, in particular the telephone subscription and high-speed access: the implementation of full unbundling "cancels" these services.
What is an "erroneous cancellation"?
An "erroneous" cancellation is when a service is cancelled without the customer having subscribed to another operator. This situation can be very damaging, especially when the customer loses all of his or her fixed services.
How do I know if I’m the victim of an erroneous cancellation?
An erroneous cancellation can cause you to lose one or all of your fixed services (telephone, DSL Internet access, etc.). However, service interruption does not necessarily mean you are a victim of a erroneous cancellation. Only your operator can tell you why a service has been interrupted.
When you realise that one of your fixed services does not work, contact your operator’s technical assistance department directly. They will inform you if the service has been lost due to cancellation by a new service.
If you have not subscribed to the new service, you are the victim of an erroneous cancellation.
Why do erroneous cancellations happen?
There are many reasons for erroneous cancellations, both commercial and operational. We should emphasize that the operator of the new services is not always at fault.
For example a customer might enter the wrong telephone number when registering for a new service. If the error is not detected in time, the order is placed and enacted automatically, causing your services to be cancelled in error.
ARCEP is working actively with all operators to improve the operational ordering processes in order to reduce the number of erroneous cancellations.
What do I do if I am the victim of an erroneous cancellation?
ARCEP has asked all operators to do their utmost to minimise the inconvenience of erroneous cancellations to customers. ARCEP considers that cases of erroneous cancellation must be repaired as quickly as possible and at no cost to the customer.
I you believe you are the victim of an erroneous cancellation, contact your operator’s technical assistance department directly to request that your service be restored as quickly as possible. Your service MUST be restored at no charge to you.
However, your operator may charge you to restore service if it can be shown that the cancellation was caused by a new service to which you did indeed subscribe.
How do I seek damages?
If you believe you have suffered as a result of an erroneous cancellation, you may seek damages by contacting the offending operator directly or the telephony mediator.
You will need to obtain the identity of the offending operator from your current operator.