Gio Internet upgrade results in users paying activation again!
ISPReview featured an upbeat press release from Gio Internet, promising that the ISP was to migrate its user base onto a new ADSL platform. No specific details are given, but it seems likely to be a move between Wholesale providers, and possibly from IPStream based connections to DataStream connections.
Alas the ISPReview forums are filling up with customers posting the contents of letters/e-mails they have received. It would seem that not all of Gio's customers will be able to smoothly migrate to the new platform, some users connections look like they will be ceased and the ADSL dis-connected. Oddly though the letters also indicate that users will actually need to complete the Gio sign-up process again, complete with having to pay the £59.95 activation fee and starting another new 3 or 12 month contract. There is a bit of a sweetener, in that months 10, 11 and 12 of the new service you sign-up to will be free. Unfortunately this means you would need to stay for that length of time to offset the activation fee.
It seems amazing that a service provider would do this, since once the line is ceased the customer is free to sign-up with any other provider, and given that some people originally paid Gio £99.90 for their original activation and connection many will be worried about Gio doing the same again in a year or two. Section 8.1 of the Gio T&Cs appears to cover the situation, though by making users sign-up again, Gio appear not to be following these.
There may be the best intentions behind this move by Gio, but the way it is being carried out is far from reasonable. A migration with an hour or twos downtime would be acceptable, or even if Gio still had to cease and provide they should at least reconnect users for free. This situation is another sign of the need for an active and easy to access ISP regulator for consumers. Ofcom tends to handle the disputes between providers, wholesalers and BT, rather act as a consumer watchdog.