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Debt Collectors Pursue Non-Gio Users

Posted: 23rd Dec, 2004 By: MarkJ
Ex-customers of UK ISP Gio Internet, including a great deal of people that only ever requested information and never actually joined the provider, have been sent a "Notice of Debt Collection" and threatened with the use of Balif’s.

The rather un-Christmassy letter has both alarmed and shocked many people, confusing them at a time of the year when they should be allowed to relax. The company sending the messages is named as: Westcot Credit Services Ltd..

One reader, Greg, explains it best on our forum (HERE):
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Guys, after a catalogue of awful service, absolutely NO way to contact Gio, ignoring of letters/emails/unable to EVER get through on the phone I managed through Hauka (parent company) to get my sub cancelled and line released, moved to NDO and never had an issue.

HOWEVER, now a YEAR on they are sending me balif letters for £300! I almost fell over with amazement! Seems they have let go of the line but thought it fit to keep charging me! Not only can I not get in touch with Gio OR Hauka now (phone always engaged, don't even make it to the long queue) but the Balifs took ALL morning to get through to their QUEUE! Unreal! Balif company are Wescot credit services ltd. Finally got through to them and they have placed a hold and referred it back to Gio, I have mailed every contact email on the web for Gio and Hauka including those on other threads in this forum and sent faxes of my unanswered complaint letters from Jan and my current letter regarding the debt collection. If they don't answer and Wescot persue I'll have to take them to court.

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Yet another, the second of many, echo’s Greg's difficulty:
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I to got a notice of debt collection today but for £498.75 .I HAVE NEVER MISSED A PAYMENT IN ALL THE YEARS I HAVE BEEN WITH THEM.

Never thought of leaving them either because the service was good for the money. But now they are going to take legal action or send someone to visit to collect.

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Clearly it's not just ex-users, but also those that have used or simply registered an interest with the ISP. It's presently unclear how the debt collector can even remotely justify some of the many claims.

Typically almost everybody is having difficulty contacting Gio, with similar problems hampering attempts to communicate with Westcot. One reader suggests contacting Gio's local Trading Standards office to complain, which is always a wise first move:
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I suggest you all write or phone Ayrshire Trading Standrads because they are collecting informatiion about these companies, so the more info they have the better chance we have of solving all our problems. They currently only have five compliants against them so its no use just writing on here, tell the people that can do something about it.

[North] Ayrshire Trading Standards
Bridgegate House,
Irvine KA12 8BD
Tel 01294 324900

E-Mail: tradingstandards@north-ayrshire.gov.uk

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So, having suffered all this, how do you solve it? Firstly you should request proof of debt from Gio, contacting Westcot directly may also help in this matter - IF YOU CAN GET THROUGH! Balifs can not be sent without first proving the case against you.

Typically documentation is what you need, which is why you should always request printed proof of a cancellation when leaving a service. Sadly many are unlikely to have this.

Gio has posted a response under the same forum topic:
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I would urge everyone effected by this to please be patient, as many indicate that this is the "Great rip off" I can assure you this could not be further from the truth. We have a substantial number of customers who whilst continuing to use our service did not pay any money and in some cases this has gone on in excess of 18 months. You will all be aware of the difficult split from Netservices and it is here that our problems continue. The fact of the matter is that some customers were being billed by netservices and netservices were not keeping us upto date. So whilst it looks like some of our customers have not paid at all, in reality the multi-billing platform that was endorsed and the root cause of so many issues are still effecting us. If we as a company have not been informed as to who has paid through netservices or otherwise, then it must be understandable how this occured, though it is with much regret that it has occured and another reason why we have moved on from netservices. Since we can operate 100% in-house billing.

I will make an anouncement tomorrow once I get some confirmations as to how the company will handle this issue, but please do not worry as we can resolve on an individual basis.

I am sorry I cannot be more specific at this time

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It's a mystery why a provider would leave unpaid accounts active for so long (18 months?), whilst still allowing them to be used. Most halt access after non-payment, usually following a warning. Never the less Gio’s NetServices past clearly still haunts both it and its customers.

Clearly Gio's statement does not apply to the majority of complaints from ex-customers and those that have never even used the service. We’d suggest reading right through the forum topic (linked near the top) for some good advice and similar complaints.

Whatever the outcome, we’d suggest that those with a legitimate reason to oppose payment (i.e. you never used them, have no debt etc.) do not pay simply out of fear. Sadly, for Gio, this latest round of problems will ultimately be blamed on all those involved including them, ultimately killing off any reputation they may have had left.

NOTE: CustomNET is a different ISP and nothing to do with either Gio or Westcot, they will be unable to help with this issue.
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