Hawaiian Telcom catching up on bills
I've been trying for past three days to get through to customer service at Hawaiian Telcom. I called 643-3456 and 643-3343 to find out when the May statements were mailed, because I haven't received mine yet. I have not been able to get through. I need to find out also if I need to get a duplicate statement mailed to me. What alternate number can I call so I can pay my bill before the due date? Their Web site was no help either.
Answer:There is no alternate number to call.
But in response to the long hold times, Hawaiian Telcom is adding a message to its interactive voice response system, so customers can find out immediately that bills have been delayed and that there will be no late-payment fees for April or May bills, said spokesman Dan Smith.
The message also will tell customers that if they have automatic bill payment, withdrawal will take place the standard 20 days after their bill is mailed.
Meanwhile, as early as this weekend, the company will add an option for customers to leave a message. The goal is to return a call within 24 hours, Smith said.
"These changes should reduce the number of calls waiting on hold," he said.
As of Friday, about half of Hawaiian Telcom's customers -- previously estimated to be around 500,000 -- had received their bills.
"Our goal is to have the rest mailed out by May 15," Smith said. "After that, we'll be working to make up time, though we probably will not be fully caught up with the billing cycles until mid-June."
Hawaiian Telcom "apologizes to customers for the delay and any inconvenience it has caused," he said.
Asked why the bills have been delayed, Smith said April marked the first month that billing statements were processed by Hawaiian Telcom, after it took over from Verizon.
"We pulled the plug on Verizon's business support and network services systems on the evening of March 31," he said. "Billing is one of about 80 new systems Hawaiian Telcom deployed all at once after the 'cutover.' The process of transferring, validating and processing all the billing data took about 15 days."
The process has not gone without problems, including "a few errors in particular areas."
Hawaiian Telcom chose to correct the errors as they've been found, in contrast to what Smith says is the typical industry practice to send out bills then make fixes later.
"We chose to make the fix even if it meant the bill would be further delayed," he said.
Smith acknowledged that April was "a rough month," because of the number of calls and long hold times.
Even with extra temporary help, "we're still overloaded."
On top of the normal volume of calls, more calls are coming in about the new bill format, an item on the bill or about the status of a previous order, Smith said.
"A backlog of orders developed while we were transferring customer data to our new systems," he said. "We have made progress working through the backlog, but we have not yet cleared the entire workload."
Smith said Hawaiian Telcom's Web site was to be updated Friday to include this and other information.
Q:I am a blood donor and allergic to the iodine scrub that is normally used to clean your arm before a donation, so an alternate scrub was used each time I went to donate. About a year ago, I was notified by the Blood Bank of Hawaii that they were trying to find a different supplier for that alternate scrub and that I was being put on permanent deferral until one could be found. A letter was sent to me saying that I would be notified when I could donate again. It has now been nearly a year and I have yet to receive a notice. What is the status of the Blood Bank's search for a supplier? When I was first put on hold, the person who called me said about 300 regular donors had to be deferred because of this. I find it very surprising that the search is taking so long, given how many donors had to be put off and how much blood is needed every day.
A:The Blood Bank is still searching for an iodine-free alternative for donors allergic to iodine, said Stephanie Rosso, the organization's director of communications.
"To date, we have not found one that is compatible with our regulated storage capabilities," she said.
From an active donor base of more than 26,000 donors, Rosso said, about 170 are sensitive to iodine.
"Their donations are important," she said, "however, we have asked them to refrain from donating until a compatible substitute is found."
It's not known when that will happen, but Rosso said the organization is "anxious to resolve the issue."
She said she will update Kokua Line readers in a month or so.
To the persons who painted over the graffiti that was an eyesore over the entrance to the Kaneohe-bound Likelike Tunnel. -- Janet
Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
. See also: Useful phone numbers