Flow facing fine after overcharging local businesses

| 21/09/2022 | 78 Comments
Cayman News Service
Flow branch at the Countryside Shopping Centre

(CNS): Hundreds of local businesses have been overcharged by telecommunications company FLOW, according to OfReg. The utilities regulator is still investigating the pricing practices of the communication service provider owned by Cable & Wireless but said in a release issued Wednesday that it has been able to confirm that Flow overcharged all its fixed-line business customers from January 2019 onwards by applying an unapproved rate increase from CI$30 to CI$35 per month.

OfReg said that restrictions in Flow’s operating licence at the time included the legal requirement to submit proposed rate increases to the regulator for review and approval, but this was not done and Flow has admitted to the infraction.

“At this point in the investigation, Flow has admitted that it failed to comply with a licence condition to
seek OfReg’s approval prior to applying the increased rate, which has resulted in its business customers being overcharged by CI$4.99 per month,” OfReg officials stated in the release.

The regulator said that to protect customers and promote competition in the marketplace, any change in rate charges, increases or decreases, must be justified to the regulator in advance. Flow should have provided evidence to OfReg to support the need for a hike in the price of this service.

“OfReg has issued Flow with an Administrative Fine Notice in relation to the contraventions, a process
which affords Flow an opportunity to provide a formal response to the allegations,” officials said, but they have not yet released the amount of the fine. Once Flow has responded to the regulator, the office will issue a decision of its ultimate findings, which will include any appropriate penalties.

“OfReg will also consider other appropriate directives to be issued to Flow. The final determination and agreed course of action will be published by OfReg, as soon as it is available,” the regulator explained.

CNS asked if that notice includes a preliminary sum and details on how customers could be compensated for the additional CI$60 they have been charged each year since Flow rolled out the unauthorised rate hike, but the regulator said they were unable to offer any more details until the review is complete.

We have also contacted Cable & Wireless for comment and we are awaiting a response.


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Category: Business, utilities

Comments (78)

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  1. Rick says:

    I had to read every post on this topic. It is hard to even start at the way I have been treated by C&W, then LIME and then FLOW. It is hands-down the worst customer service experience I have every had. And I agree with every comment here. They are simply crooks. But I moved to the other major carrier and I can say they are not much better at all. No wonder FLOW can behave that way. There is no real competition. I think FLOW and DIGICEL get together regularly to devise new ways of increasing the level of their BAD customer service.

  2. Frustrated says:

    Are they taking revenge for this article by cutting off landline service for the entire island???

    10
  3. Anonymous says:

    Digicel did the same ?
    My 30$ plan went from 30$ to 32.50 and now 35 a month.
    It makes me sick.
    We need a consumer protection organization.

    12
    • Anonymous says:

      That is part of the government’ s job, but there’s so much graft going on they just don’t have time for all of it.

      10
      • Anonymous says:

        Everybody’s doing it, doing it, doing it! Haven”t you noticed it when you buy gasoline or groceries? Or dining out. Pricey!!! If we had good government, dirty things like this woudn’t happen so often Think about it…

  4. Unhappy Caymanian says:

    OFREG proving once again too be a waste of space and time.

    Let’s kiss and make up because it’s ok in Cayman to ignore the law, rip your customers off illegally and get away with what you can because the punishment is pathetic.

    PROPER, APPROPRIATE punitive damages for customers? NOT A CHANCE

    Go first world Cayman!!!!!!! Go !!!!!

    11
    1
    • Anonymous says:

      Flow increased a fee for data sharing while I had a fixed contract with them. How could you raise an agreed fee that is set for a certain term. I was appalled. I brought it to their attention and they reconciled. They also was charging me for Superfast 50 when I was getting 15Mbp. I brought it to their attention and they disregarded it. I have evidence of this

      13
  5. Anonymous says:

    “…overcharged all its fixed-line business customers…”

    As a Residential Customer, I don’t have Residential phone services with FLOW, but FLOW charges CI$2.00 every month for a fixed phone-line.
    The understanding is the it is protocol to have a fixed phone-line to facilitate a electronic wall-jack to service the internet modem & Cable box, that a residential phone number is specifically assigned to the fixed phone-line/wall jack; thus, enabling my household to connect a fixed, land-line should my household desire residential phone services, in future; that is,a fixed phone-line is already been installed, a phone already on record for said resident service (i.e. Cable & Internet ONLY), and activation of a residential phone line can be seamlessly activated upon customer’s request, ALL FOR A MONTHLY CHARGE OF CI$2.00.

    Note: OfReg need to look into this $2 charge for residential customers with NO Fixed-Line, Phone Services.

    13
    1
    • Anonymous says:

      I only have cellular service with them and they recently added this same $2 charge to my bill.

    • Anonymous says:

      Signed-up for the SuperHero (Fibre) Internet & 250-Channel Cable Bundled Promo.
      Almost 8 month into the the SH Bundle Plan, I was inadvertently informed by the Customer Care Field Tech the my neighborhood did not have fibre Cable installed, yet I was being charged a premium
      as part of plan for fibre Cable, that never existed. Sent a number of emails to FLOW to adjust the bill, only for a Supervisor/Mgr. explain why she could only credit my account for a measley sum, because without the high speed fibre I would essentially have had the Bronze Bundle?🤔 that was also priced similar to the SH Bundle Promo (WTF?). Well, after some lengthy emails the billed amounts were adjusted &, a few weeks later, FLOW Field Techs started showing up in the neighbourhood with buck trucks to work on Cable lines, claiming to be installing high speed fibre cables (Hmm?). Then, a few weeks later FLOW Techs were at my residence pulling wires allegedly for the purpose of High Speed Fibre.

      I wonder what services I have today, considering the clandestine bate-&-switch sales tactics they employed after selling me Bronze Package masked as
      SuperHero Bundle. #Jokers🥳

      15
  6. Anonymous says:

    This is not just a Commercial Business Customer problem. Residential Customers get duped EVERYDAY.

    21
  7. Anonymous says:

    ✓Closed Caption in Spanish. And, that’s one the days it does work.
    ✓Movies: Films are off-schedule; there’s a 15-20 minute delay
    ✓Movies Series can not be viewed in sequence or at a scheduled consistent time-slot.
    ✓Movie Repeats are the same across all HBO Movie Channels; HBO air the same movies, nothing different.
    ✓No ‘The Weather Channel’. This was a Channel that was suppose the be included in the Cable Suite of Channels/Package, and still not added, despite FLOW’s promotion of adding new channels – from 200 channel to 300 channels. Instead, the channel list got less as a result of discontinuations, subscription license troubles, and blackouts.

    …and, the list of issues goes on, and on, AND ON!

    11
  8. Anonymous says:

    Imagine what they actually do the the little guy….

    15
  9. Anonymous says:

    OfReg finally trying to regulate Flow!! So many customer service issues just can’t list them all:
    Online chat – asks which country you’re in AFTER you have provided 345 area code, have some scripts saved that would do well as a comedy skit.
    Roaming package – subscribed to the $80 for 4G data in Europe. Was billed thousands of dollars in error because the subscription was not recorded. Happened to several people, even businesses. After advising, the charge was reversed.
    Flow TV – closed caption service is not available on any channels and repeated requests for this service are ignored. Persons with hearing disabilities are continually disenfranchised. OfReg – why isn’t this service mandated?
    Data Breaches – text messages regarding bill payment sent to other non-affiliated persons, sometimes repeatedly

    These are just a few….

    14
    • Anonymous says:

      They also removed all premiership games, without the simple courtesy of informing their customers.
      Many signed on and were willing to pay the price, because of access to UK football games,
      Total arrogant disregard for their customers.

      9
      1
  10. Lo-cal says:

    Off Reg needs to do a deep dive on FLOW. This company is making so much profit from overcharging its customer it is criminal. here are some of the ways they are doing it:

    1. Roaming package: Flow has/had a roaming package you could buy for 3, 7, or 14 days to US and select Caribbean destinations. when you buy this package it never works and you can never get a refund.
    2. They keep charging a land line connection fee: I have not had a land line for 10 years as we all have cell phones. I only have a port to connect the modem for the internet.
    3. They sneak in phantom charges: My post paid bill always has phantom charges on it. Destinations I never called, for months I never travelled.
    4. The rates are not competitive: In Central America and other Caribbean destination’s once can get a unlimited package for USD$40.00. Cable TV for $25.00.

    We are being robbed in Cayman for the simple reason that it is Cayman and they people who can do something about it never do. (Looking at you Of Reg)

    25
  11. Anon says:

    well.. nobody has said it yet so I will.. Good job OfReg for looking into this.

    14
    1
  12. Anonymous says:

    Ever since switching to Flow for my personal and home services I’ve dealt with nothing but problems. Billing being one of the bigger ones, customer service is the worst I’ve ever experienced. I’ve literally spent days trying to resolve mistakes they have made – it’s as if the customer service is designed to frustrate you to the point of not calling.
    Flow is the worst company I’ve dealt with in my life.

    27
  13. Anonymous says:

    Switch to Logic – never had a problem with them and their customer service is top notch.

    22
    5
    • Anonymous says:

      Ah yes. Good old Logic. Who shut you off when their staff forget to process direct debits. Hell no.

      6
      3
    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, yes, yes,….

      …and, refusing to adjust customer for the channels that are discountinued e.g. Disney (Children’s Channels) & Stars (Movie Channels). CNN Channel is blocked almost every night after 10pm [Cayman Island]. Instead, of discounting the base rate on customer billing account (for Cable Services), FLOW Customer Service respond with an empathetic email for Customer to be “understanding” as they is nothing that can be done to adjust the monthly charges, despite having at least 10 fewer channels in your Customer Cable Plan. The audacity of FLOW Customer Service!
      ***IMAGINE THAT BULLSH!T***

    • Anonymous says:

      wholeheartedly disagree.

      Logic’s issues are many.
      -from a former long, loyal Logic Customer who had had enough before switching to FLOW.

      Telecommunication Services in the Cayman Islands is atrocious.

      7
      2
  14. Flaw says:

    FLOW is an adject failure of a company. Their internet service is not as reliable as competitors, and they seem to have a constant issue with billing the wrong amount, which is weird since my monthly bill should have just been the same each month. Also worst customer service experience of my life.

    31
    1
  15. Irate Cayman Customers says:

    I want my money FLOW! This shit has to stop ripping people off and this Jamaican foolishness got to stop ! We paying the bills that count they ain’t paying squat. return our call center to Cayman to deal with cayman issues please .What kind of foolishness this is Mr Connolly you suppose to be standing up for Cayman Bro.

    28
    3
  16. Anonymous says:

    It’s not just Businesses that they are over charginging! They over charge everyone that has a phone plan with them!!

    23
  17. Anonymous says:

    This must be the most profitable business in Cayman. My Vodaphone UK sim costs £6 a month for the same data and more free minutes than my $80 “Flow” sim. Total rip off. Given they all cost exactly the same the cartel pricing couldn’t be more obvious. Offreg? Hello?

    24
    1
    • Buck Dangle says:

      While I agree that Flow is crap and possibly a rip off, you cannot compare prices here and in the UK where the economies of scale are completely different and the cost to provide telecommunications to the island (undersea cable) is probably 5 – 10 fold higher than the U.K.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Signed up for roaming via website. There are several packages to choose from. I received a huge bill. I went in to ask for an explanation and was told, one has to come into the store to request roaming!

    13
  19. Anonymous says:

    Clearly lots of very happy Flow customers

  20. Say it like it is says:

    Flow’s “customer service” is all outsourced to Jamaica where they don’t have a clue about any problems existing with service in Cayman. They have erected a firewall around all senior personnel in Cayman so it is impossible to complain to anyone here about a local problem. For example who is in charge of Flow TV locally as it has many problems, but they cannot be addressed as there’s nobody to complain to. This company has an appalling record of arrogance and has no respect for it’s customers.

    69
  21. Anonymous says:

    Even as low as you think FLOW is still 100x better than Dutty Cell who never pay people they so low they got to use a ladder to kiss a snake @$$ just like the logistics provider all crooked bast@#$%

    17
    5
  22. Anonymous says:

    Not only business customers. This happened to me to and they refused to explain why.

    40
    • Anonymous says:

      I saw a $10 increase in my bill.. and I’m like wth.

    • Anonymous says:

      I even reported this OfReg but nothing came of it. I was paying for a higher internet plan but received the lower plan’s speed for over a year. I just ended up leaving the bill and moved to Logic. They are strategic crooks.

      16
  23. Anonymous says:

    I always said the name should change from Flow to Drip!! Grateful for the service but needs to improve.

    18
  24. Anonymous says:

    Can’t wait to be done with them!

    21
    • G says:

      I ceased any service I had with them at least 6/7 years ago and haven’t looked back since. Big up Logic and Digicel!

      4
      2
  25. Anonymous says:

    Can they also refund us, as well as paying a fine to ofreg?

    23
    1
  26. Anonymous says:

    Dreadful company. Through and through. Absolute clown show.

    59
    1
    • Anonymous says:

      They had their PR lady one the radio saying they were all about Customer Service..!
      Well lady, first you have to answer your effing phone, and if that ever happens,…
      Then when your girls , in Jamaica, have finished reading from their silly script, they pass you to someone else…
      If someone else answers the phone, you have to listen to them reading from their sill script, before passing you on and so on…
      FFS get your act together…IN CAYMAN.

      43
  27. Anonymous says:

    Flow needs to be placed under close and long term supervision by the regulator. Their billing and customer service practices leave a lot to be desired. They billed me for services that I never had and simply did not respond to repeated emails requesting that the amounts be reversed. They also started to charge a ADSL modem rental fee when the modem was purchased at full price. They also lie about service availability and have people waiting for over a year for services that they never provide. Also, when you call their service dispatch centre to find out why it is taking so long to provision a service that has been paid for the Flow agent will forget to put the call on hold and you can hear them in the background laughing amongst themselves that you are calling and calling again and not getting any actual service. They will also go on their laptop and show you that services is available in your area only to have an actual technician show up to install the service and say that the service is not available. There needs to be some accountability but it looks like all of the executives are busy patting themselves on the back and putting out misleading marketing campaigns.

    73
  28. Anonymous says:

    Possibly one of the worst companies on Island, with the most useless staff and poor customer service anywhere on the planet.

    85
    2
    • Anonymous says:

      How could this happen in the private sector.

      15
      5
      • Anonymous says:

        same as it happens in the public but on a smaller scale

      • Anonymous says:

        Because they hire only former Civil Servants.

        6
        3
      • Neverwannabeacivilservant says:

        7.53pm Might I suggest that the competent few transfer to the Civil Service where they can sit back and relax as nobody bothers to call any more for lack of response, where perks are in stark contrast to performance, and accountability is a myth. Welcome to Mr Manderson’s Magic Kingdom which manages to outperform Flow!.

        4
        1
        • Merith says:

          Never 12:09 do you live in a cave?

          Clearly you are out of touch with reality. Remind us who you are relying on to navigate Cayman through the impending strom. While you are hiding under your bed civil servants will be working. Shame on you.

          4
          2
  29. Anonymous says:

    Flow is awful. Get a starlink. worst customer service ever.

    52
    3
    • Anonymous says:

      Starlink is available in Cayman?!

      11
    • Rick says:

      I signed up for Starlink years ago. Still not available/have not heard from them.

      Oh! I am having w&+ dreams for Starlink. Can you imagine not having to depend on these local services!!! They all suck.

  30. Anonymous says:

    My personal phone bill has gone up by $30 dollars. When I asked I was told that I went over my data useage, HOWEVER, I signed up for the unlimited data package…how is that possible??

    74
  31. Anonymous says:

    They’ve been robbing me for years

    59
    • Anonymous says:

      I just had my credit stolen again day before yesterday and it’s a waste of time contacting them as they don’t do anything about it! I have had numerous times where my funds or data has been removed and is told that I used it! Worst part of all of this they don’t reimburse you at all!!! The bigger this company has grown the worst customer service and care is given to their customers.

      • Anonymous says:

        Internet Data (“Top-Up”)

        &

        Phone Credit (“Top-Up”)

        Loooooord Have MERCY⛪🧘 Take that scam to the Lord, in prayer🙏.

    • Anonymous says:

      They’ve been robbing Cayman for decades. Remember when internet was 25 cents a minute for dialup?

      15
  32. Anonymous says:

    The telecoms businesses here suck. I’m not talking about prices, or even the service itself, but the customer service experience is TERRIBLE.

    FFS, can one of these businesses understand how good customer service works? if so, they’d mop up all the business.

    57
  33. Anonymous says:

    I can’t say just how much HATE I have for Flow. They are crooks through and through and the level of customer service is SO BAD it can’t even be measured. I would be embarrassed to work for such a bad company. I haven’t moved all of my services away from them just yet, but I have made some moves and will move the rest by year end.
    Flow, DO better for the sake of the few customers you still have!

    61
    2
  34. Anonymous says:

    Now I know why FLOW called me about new plans available.

    27
  35. Anonymous says:

    I want to see the flow-internal signoff on the price hike!

    21
  36. Anonymous says:

    this is not news. we knew this for years

    38
    1

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