As we have reported in a brief update on our previous article regarding the Gio Internet debt collection notices, the debt collection agency Wescot Credit Services Ltd. has returned all the accounts they were acting for to Gio.
We have heard from at least one user who has already paid because they were intimidated by the demand who dispute the amounts in question and we would like to hear from anyone else who has done this. Debt collection agencies are not usually known for letting a matter go but we are very pleased Wescot has ceased chasing accounts which have so many question marks over them.
If you have received a Wescot debt collection notice and have not received one of the above letters informing you that the amounts are no longer being pursued by Wescot, we would advise you to contact them to confirm to ensure that it is not regarding a different matter as Wescot do act for other companies including NTL.
One interesting development was that in the Wescot letters, the text reads "Wescot was acting under instruction from its client, ntl who provided on a wholesale basis, internet ports to Gio Internet". This has lead to many former customers querying NTL's involvement in the Gio matter. NTL have confirmed that they use Wescot for debt recovery services and they were assisting a partner (Gio Internet). TheRegister reports in more detail stating that NTL confirmed that the company was owed money by Gio. It is therefore likely NTL's involvement is to an extent an interest in recovering debts owed to it.
Several users have expressed concerns about their credit ratings and how these events could affect them. We spoke to Wescot who confirmed that they have not made any entries on any credit histories with respect to these Gio Internet accounts so receiving a debt collection notice form Wescot should not have any adverse effect on your ability to get credit in the future.
A few users who have received the debt collection notice but who are still active using Gio (or have ADSL orders on the line without service) have asked us about how they can leave the service. As with other providers, you should request the MAC code, which any reputable ISP should be able to provide. If all attempts to get this from Gio fail, you may be able to get it from the wholesaler (which may vary), although this cannot be certain. A BT Wholesale spokesperson said: "Whilst we fully sympathise with Gio Internet/Netservices customers, it must be clearly recognised that this is an exceptionally regulated market, with roles and responsibilities quite clearly laid out. Gio Internet are a Visp, who take their Broadband from Netservices [..] it appears that Gio Internet and Netservices are now in a financial dispute, as a result, Netservices have suspended service. [..] Unfortunately BT can bring no influence to bear on other SP's, for the reasons mentioned above, as I am sure you can appreciate, we cannot intervene with their issues, as we have a relationship only with Netservices, and not their resellers, or customers."
Alternative Dispute Resolution
"The Communications Act 2003 requires Ofcom to ensure that every public communications provider in the UK provides access to a dispute procedure to their domestic and small business customers (where a small business is one with 10 or less employees/volunteers)" (Source: Ofcom)
We asked Gio/Hauka which Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme they were members of to which they replied that they are members of ISPA which gives them access to the CISAS.
We did ask Gio to confirm under which company name they were members of ISPA but despite several requests we have not received an answer to this question. ISPA confirmed that Gio/Hauka were members of ISPA but due to non payment, their membership was cancelled. CISAS also confirmed that Hauka was no longer a member of the scheme and have removed Hauka from their website.
Interestingly, Hauka UK Limited was incorporated on 14 December 2004, only days before the debt collection notices were sent out. The company's officers are also company secretary and director of Hauka Corporation plc.
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