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NMa Asks UPC for Clarification

The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has asked UPC to provide clarification on its debt collection policy, following letters and complaints from consumers regarding invoices for incorrect amounts and disconnections. NMa demands that UPC refrain from suspending its services to customers until it has been ascertained that the amount of the invoice is correct. This does not detract from the fact that customers are required to pay correct invoices for services provided by UPC.

During a meeting with NMa, UPC indicated that a new invoicing system, introduced in the autumn of 2002, resulted in problems with invoicing and debt collection. In February 2003, UPC introduced a new debt collection policy which, if applied correctly, provides sufficient guarantees, according to UPC, that incorrect invoicing will be avoided. Finally, the cable company has set out its plans, for instance, with regard to service points, online invoicing, online support and the improvement of call centres.

NMa assumes that the measures presented by UPC will result in the short-term in UPC's refraining from suspending its services to customers until it has ascertained that the amounts charged are correct. If not, NMa will commence an investigation into the possible abuse of a dominant position by UPC.