We have been advised by several sources that ET Global Solutions, one of the low cost ADSL resellers has ceased trading. In a comment on the .net magazine forums, Paul Douglas (Editor, .net) says that they "have been informed by a director of ET Global Solutions that they have ceased trading and their Web site has now been closed down. Anyone who was considering taking up their ISP offerings should check with ET Global Solutions before making any payment or should make alternative arrangements. If you have already subscribed for services from ET Global Solutions, but have not received your products/services, you should contact ET Global Solutions or your credit card company."
The ET Global fiasco is one many users are aware of. In response to a request for users to come forward in our forums, we have received feedback from dozens of users with varying stories about their credit cards being charged by NetServices plc and Gio Internet. One of the common factors is their inability to get in touch with ET Global. A handful of their customer who did manage to get through to a human are still waiting for promised refunds on their credit card and are having to resort to charging back the transactions through their banks. One respondent added that he was apparently told that there was not enough money to pay suppliers on time. Our advice to users is to contact their card issuing bank--If you are having problems with your bank's handling of the situation, or if they issued a chargeback without quibbling, let us know.
Abdul Khaliq, a director of ET Global Solutions and Gio Internet has confirmed that ET Global has gone into receivership. In response to our queries regarding the rumoured relationship between the two companies and his position, he said:
"Gio had been handling the billing relationship for ET Global Solutions for the first few months for ET Global and as a result received calls from unhappy customers of ET Global Solutions. It was at this stage I went on as Director to assist ET Global, however this was in vain as ET had already amassed substantial debts.
Gio Internet is a separate company and is NOT liable or responsible for the relationship ET Global Solutions customers (though Gio's name was on the bills for ET Global Solutions customers).
Unfortunately it appears that customers were billed for their contracts, including an upfront cost for those customers setting up ADSL access. This money was collected by Gio and subsequently, according to the terms of the relationship, passed onto ETGlobal Solutions. We now know that ET Global never made any payments and therefore the customers accounts were not activated."
He also confirmed that Gio will take over ET Global's customer base and existing ET customers who have been billed but not received the service may take Gio's £17.99 (incl. vat) per month ADSL service in addition to benefiting from an additional "2 months free access (on top of the 3 month initial contract)" or choose another ISP. Customers with queries about their account with ET Global may contact the liquidator: R W Keating Ltd. 20 Winmarleigh St. Warrington. WA1 1JY, take up the Gio offer call 0870 922 4000 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or contact an alternative provider.
The demise of ET Global raises fears about the financial stability of similar low cost ISPs operating as resellers of other service providers without the appropriate financial backing, management and technical know-how to provide a good level of service in the long term. In our conversations with these providers, they insist their model is sustainable but as we have seen, taking the word of the company is questionable, particularly new companies with no track history to back up their plans. Unfortunately this reputation affects all other low cost providers who operate with a similar structure but with responsible management and well thought out business plans, but only time will tell what is sustainable and what is too good to be true. In the meantime, our advice to users is to pay by credit card as it provides a much better level of protection unlike cheques, etc. where users have little recourse.
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