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Customers Anger @ VitalData & vISPs

Posted: 11th Jul, 2003 By: MarkJ
UK ISP group VitalData has this week come in for yet another storm of complaints, this time from its subscribers. Not content with the anger expressed toward them by many of Affinity's former vISPs (SurfAnyTime etc.), now VDs new users have a bone to pick as well.

Having handled the transfer system in a poor and overly 'automated' fashion, it appears as if VD has compounded the problem with a sudden closure of previously active support numbers and e-mails.

Those trying to cancel get no reply and those trying to contact the group for technical support get no reply. Previous vISP e-mails all return errors and about the only response you can get is automated and largely unhelpful.

On of our readers, Bryn, has explained his problem below:

I signed up for Breathe Unlimited a few weeks ago at £13.99 per month to be debited from my credit card. All ok for a few days then I was told by email to do an essential update from Vital Data Ltd.

I tried to do the update but got errors with a message to contact customer services. After this I can't use the service as all internet connections just give the update-download screen and all email (in) attempts just give a message saying that the vital data update is essential. I can't contact Breathe as all contact avenues on its website are blocked i.e (a) emails to support@breath.com, ispbilling@breathe.com and ebilling@breathe.com are all returned as undeliverable and (b) all telephone numbers give a continuous engaged tone.

In the meantime I noticed that the first payment of £13.99 from my credit card was deducted by Affinity Internet Ltd, which on enquiry I found to have ceased trading. I decided to cancel the contract with Breathe, and since I can't conatct Breathe I telephoned my credit card company (Halifax) to stop payments at source. However Halifax says it is impossible for them to stop future payments, even if I cancel the credit card, because the agreement was made with Breathe and I must get them to cancel. However I can't cantact Breathe .......

It seems I have been ensnared by a very unsavoury bunch of companies - Breathe, Vital Data Ltd and Affinity Internet Ltd.


Another reader, Colin, identifies with Bryn and had this to say, in fact every single one of the complaints we've had has said exactly the same sort of thing:

I spent 40 valuable minutes on the phone to customer services at 0800 Dial this morning. I kept ringing the line at first which had an engaged tone. After about 15 redials I got through to an answer message which said lines are busy and 'your call is important to us, please continue to hold,' and alternated with music, then after about 30 minutes a message said our agents are still busy please call back later...!

I've tried this line on many other occasions and their 50p/min tech help line with no answer. As other callers may have mentioned 0800 have lost the service from Affinity Wireless and gave a piece of software to download which was supposed to allow dialling to provide a supposed better and faster service.

For myself the software didn't work when opened and the service by 0800 and Vital Data to sort problems out is very poor and certainly insufficient. The fact I can't get through, suggests big problems and how would people be emailing you to complain unless like myself they find another way.

I've had enough, it's been two weeks now, and my credit card company has cancelled their monthly fee and raised a dispute with them.

I am not receiving a service I have paid for.


We’re still attempting to contact VD with regard to our previous news items (vISP take-overs), yet sadly keep getting the run around.

We’ve been told to expect phone, e-mail and or fax replies on several occasions and have to date not received a single thing. VD are clearly trying to avoid any contact and do not appear to have any intention of explaining their actions.

Consequently we’ve added a new VitalData Forum for all those stuck with them to express their opinions and share experiences. We would also recommend making complaints to the BBC's watchdog program and Trading Standards.
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