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I ran out of space on my review...

Kyle

ULTIMATE Member
As I said in my original review, I am not one for writing reviews, but felt that my experiences with Vivaciti at the beginning were good. How wrong I was!

Firstly, after switching over, it took a full month to have them activate 1471 on the line and in the end, I was so sick of asking for 1571 to be turned off, I gave up.

Next came the billing. After entering my DD details into the member's area, I found that I was billed twice. After calling them, I find that I shouldn't have entered my billing details, even though nothing was showing in my online account.

The connectivity is poor. The throttling is abysmal and doing anything after 4pm is utterly useless. I mean useless. Nothing loaded and I had to constantly reset the router due to drop-outs.

After this really poor service, I decided to switch away; an "I told you so" moment from my earlier review.

Having first requested a MAC from them on 13 November, I went ahead and requested a Return To Donor (via ICUK). This was completed on 22 December. My charges were paid up to 31 December.

On 10 January, I receive a bill for a full month's service in January. Here we go, another support query. After sending, I received a response advising me that they weren't aware that I had left and they would need to contact their supplier to have this confirmed.

I received a reply, informing me that there would be a termination charge, along with further charges as I hadn't given them notice of cancellation. Actually, I had. On the 13 November. I informed them that this is the notice of cancellation and they accepted that it would be. At this point, nothing was mentioned about refunding my charges from 22-31 December. I was quite prepared to let these go.

I then received acknowledgement that I had migrated(!) and that a charge of £44.99 +VAT would be charged. I wrote to them, confirming that as the VAT point of the charge was 22 December, then VAT would only be charged at 17.5%. Clearly, if the event took place at that time, as a consumer, I am not obliged to pay anything extra as a result of their incompetence.

Now the fun really starts. I really got to see what they are like as a company. I've never been so infuriated by 'customer support'. I got umpteen e-mails advising that they weren't going to break the law for me. Saying that if I felt it was incorrect, then I would need to reclaim VAT from HMRC. Having replied, advising them that I was not responsible for claiming VAT, I also informed them that I was now out to get the refund of my charges which were due to me after I left.

I then advised that I would contact Ofcom and I got a snotty reply giving me all their details, which I clearly didn't need. They were attempting to prove some kind of point, which didn't work.

The e-mails continued and I had to explain numerous times as per the VAT issue. Yes, it may not be much, but it has become the principle with these cowboys.

I must add that at no point have I refused to pay the termination charge. I have told them that I will be paying it as per the 17.5% VAT rate. So imagine my anger when I get a final e-mail saying that this is going around in circles(!) and that if I decide not to pay the bill then they will commence legal action and take me to court and then I will have to explain to a judge why I feel that I may be right!

This was clearly some attempt to scaremonger me into actually paying the whole amount, uncontested. As I said earlier, I did not refuse to pay the charge. I refused an extra 2.5% VAT, yet as from another review of this sham of a company, I see that I am not the only person to see these tactics in use. I have news for them, they are getting the 2.5% VAT and I am on the verge of taking them to small claims court.

They are clearly out for all they can get and believe that as I have left, I will give in to their scare tactics. I'm afraid they picked the wrong person this time. They have as since even refused to answer my question on multiple occasions about cancelling the initial invoice I received for services in January when I left on 22 December.

If you want lovely service before you join and then high charges and threats for leaving a poor service, this is most appropriate ISP for you.

--------------

I am not one for writing reviews, but I thought I owed Vivaciti justice for the fantastic service!

I have been with a large number of ISP's over the years, even having a dabble with my own dialup ISP at one point!

However, for the last year, I have been on BT BB Option 3 and whilst I have only had one problem which was rectified with a quick call, the biggest downfall was price: £45 a month for internet.

I decided that I wanted to leave, although I was nervous as generally, the service had been quite good. After much deliberation, I stumbled upon Vivaciti. Naturally, I was nervous, as the Surfwise package (LR+BB) is LLU and we all know too well what happens when the likes of TalkTalk take over your line! Coincidentally, that's why I ended up with BT as I gave TalkTalk a second chance but they put an end to my custom for referring me to a debt collections agency when I hadn't even had a bill produced. Another story, I know...!

However, I am seriously pleased with Vivaciti. Given, their website is not flash and fancy and they don't do jingles but that's what I enjoy about them. It's a bit like many moons ago, when you used to find a well-hidden ISP on dialup that you could always connect to after every 2 hour session! ;)

I award full marks for support, speed and value. Although I don't have any problems with not getting webspace or e-mail as I have my own, they are not offered. More of an observation, rather than a critique.

Seriously, my speed has gone from 5.33 Meg with BT to 10.26 Meg with Vivaciti and in return, I am paying £15 per month less! I really can't complain and I hope I don't have to!

Signup was painless, it switched on the agreed date and all was completed by 9AM.

Well done Vivaciti! If you are on one of their exchanges, I would highly recommend them! You can't go wrong!
 

Captain_Cretin

ULTIMATE Member
This why you should always wait a few weeks to see how it all works after the settling in period BEFORE posting a glowing review.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
Yes it's definitely best to give an ISP a month before reviewing them, although having said that you can always come back and edit the review to change your opinion. In fact the before and after context you offer is quite useful too.
 

Vivaciti

ISP Rep
Hi,
As a reply to this post, we had received a ticket on the 5th Nov @ 13:20
----quote----
Having moved over to your Surfwise Complete package today, I notice that 1571 is active on my phone service. However, I use an answering machine. Could you please arrange to have this removed from the line?

Also, whenever I try and dial 1471, it tells me that I am not subscribed to this service. Could this be because I only migrated today? I have called my landline, to verify that it had a number to recall to me on 1471 but this does not seem to have resolved the issue.
----quote----
We responded @ 18:06 Saying this would be comnpleted on Monday.
Monday 08/11/10 @ 14:04 we came back saying the carriers had informed us this had all bee completed.
We the receive a further ticket on the 10/11/10 @ 20:27 (after we have finished for the day): I note that the 1571 service has been removed from the line but I am still unable to dial 1471 as it continues to inform me that I am not subscribed.
11/11/10 @ 10:36 we respond with: I'll look into this for you now.

Now here IS were I think the service dropped a bit as we had not received anything back from the carriers and the customer was not kept informed.
The customer again chased us up on Sat 27/11/10 (we do not work at on the ticket system) with This service is extremely poor. I still can't even dial 1471 on my line. I shall be seeking out an alternative ISP
On Monday 29/11/10 @ 10:48 our response was:
Hi.
We have received confirmation that this was completed, I had chased this up with the carriers after you said it hadn't completed properly and was awaiting a response from them. Since my last update I am sorry to say that I have overlooked this ticket and neglected to chase this up with the carriers.
I have called the carriers again today and requested information on why it has not completed correctly and requested that they complete the order ASAP. I'll give it until this afternoon and call them back and if necessary escalate it.
Again I am sorry for overlooking this ticket and not providing an update for you, it was not intentional

As you can see the engineer dealing with this held his hands up saying he was at fault and overlooked the ticket, not good but at least he did not try to make excuses.
On the same day @ 16:00: I have confirmation from the carriers that the order was replaced today and is now showing as completed. Please retest and advise us if this has indeed completed.
---Ticket closed----
We received a request for a MAC on the 13th November, reason was
----quote----
"Unfortunately to say, my partner has now started working for BT and all our services will become free of charge for us, so naturally, we will need to switch back to them."
----quote----

We explained that the service was full LLU, they had been informed incorrectly from someone at bt they can get an llu mac, we explained how mpf works and they would need to do a RTD.
We then received a ticket on the 10/01/11 @ 18:54:
I migrated away from you on 22 December 2010 and yet I have just received a further invoice with charges for the period 1-31 January, which should not be charged.

Please advise.

Our response was: We have not received any notice to cease the service, and as such is still being billed by us.
Can you please send us information on who you have moved your service to so we can go to Opal and ask them to run some line checks.

If the line has moved back as part of an RTD then there will be some further charges that will need to be raised.
Their response:
All services were transferred to ICUK on 22 December.

I do not agree to any further charges as I was advised this was a 30-day rolling contract

We responded with:
You are required to give 30 days notice, if the service was transfered out as part of a cease (as would seem to be in your case) then there is a termination charge, this charge can be located on our price list and also notice of the charge in our terms and conditions.
Once we get the termination notice back we will advise you on what if any charges are due.

(There were some more tickets were the customer correctly pointed out they had been notice given as part of the initial request for their MAC, we agreed with the customer on this point and accepted they had already given a notice to quit.)

The next response from the customer was on 11/01/11 @ 14:20
Thank you for replying.

OK, so can I confirm that the latest bill raised against my account will be cancelled and a new one will be raised for the termination charge minus the 22-31 December service charge paid in advance?

How much is the termination charge? I take it that this will incorporate 17.5% VAT as it was 22 December.

Our response at 16:22:
Hi,
What will happen is on the next billing run there will be a credit for the period 22-31 December, and this invoice will also include the termination charge, I am afraid the VAT will be charged at 20%, customs and excise rules do not allow for anyone to charge an old rate of VAT because the item being invoiced happened in the past, all companies without exception have to raise a VAT invoice with VAT at the current rate.
A full list of all prices can be found at http://www.vivaciti.net/prices.php

Customer response at 19:11
Firstly, I wish to confirm that the invoice raised this month has been cancelled. The next and final invoice will include a termination charge minus my credit from 22-31 December.

With regard to VAT, it is your/Opal's error that this did not have a bill point date of 22 December. I am therefore not liable for any charges at 20% due to a billing error out of my control. I suggest you claim the charges for the error from them as I will only be paying VAT at 17.5%.

As per my previous e-mail, please confirm what the termination charge is.

Now the next replies to the customer are all about the invoice and VAT rate, the customers claim is that the VAT should be at the old rate and we have informed the customer that VAT has to be charged at the current rate as defined by HMRC at invoice date, we can not change this VAT rate and if the customer needed clarification that we are not "Trying it on" she could contact HMRC to confirm (they have a consumer helpline)
We pointed out that the customer only informed us that she had moved away on the 10th Jan 2011

Customer responded that she was not interested in contacting HMRC but was more interested in contacting ofcom

The customer has also now informed us they have cancelled their direct debit as they do not trust us and will only pay the termination charge at the VAT rate of 17.5. (this ticket only came in over the weekend so has not yest been replied to.

We do not set the VAT rate and we can not change the rate we charge VAT at.

There are no tickets about throttling or anything else like that from the customer.

We are not out to get all we can, we had told the customer there is a 30 day notice period (as almost all ISP's will have) and even though the notice period they gave back at the beginning of November had expired, we were not prepared to argue this and accepted this as their notice period.
We told the customer they would receive a credit for the billed service between 22/12/10 - 31/12/10 so not sure where it is we are trying to rip the customer off. Termination charges are clear on our website on the full price list.

But we are not responsible for the VAT rate change, we have to charge VAT at the prevailing rate at the date of invoice these are not things we set, and to be honest we would rather the VAT rate had not gone up!
 

MrJ

Pro Member
Is it legal to post messages betweena customer and an ISP, where the ISP has posted them? I don't think it is, it would probably either be against the Data Protection Act in some way or form, or the ISP's terms and conditions should state that "we may post messages that you send to us in the public domain".

If the customer posted them, then they lose their DPA cover as they thus reveal information, however, if they signed an NDA then that would be different (though I doubt the terms of the ISP service would state this).

If this is legal, one could only imagine what some of these banks want to tell the world about our dealings with them.

... probably unprofessional too...
 

Vivaciti

ISP Rep
MrJ,
We have had a bad service report made by a customer and I beleive we have a right of reply to defend ourselves, the issue was posted above by the customer themselves.
 

EntityOnline

Top Member
MrJ,
We have had a bad service report made by a customer and I beleive we have a right of reply to defend ourselves, the issue was posted above by the customer themselves.
Just a thought. (not on anyone's side here)

I don't think MrJ would have objected if you quoted directly from Kyle's post and gave your side of things.

Personally I agree with you that you should be able to defend yourselves but I do think that quoting direct from customer emails and posting them on a public forum without their explicit consent is stepping somewhat over the line.
 

MrJ

Pro Member
I don't think MrJ would have objected if you quoted directly from Kyle's post and gave your side of things.

Personally I agree with you that you should be able to defend yourselves but I do think that quoting direct from customer emails and posting them on a public forum without their explicit consent is stepping somewhat over the line.
Indeed - quoting and commenting is different from quoting directly from cusomer emails/support tickets without their consent
 

Captain_Cretin

ULTIMATE Member
Sorry Vivacity, but unless you have the customers permission I suspect you have just breached the Data Protection Act.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
Technically there could be a catch 22 to that. It's true that the DPA is fairly universal, however I cannot find anything to say that Vivacity is a registered company and may instead be a sole trader / self-employed organisation (could be wrong, just nothing on their website). I also don't see a privacy policy on the ISP's website, so it's unclear whether they even make an aspiration to protect such information.

As a result he could claim to be an "individual" whom was merely holding personal information for his own domestic use, which isn't protected by the DPA; complicated. However most would still agree that posting the content of private communications, particularly so if you're intending to do any kind of business with consumers, is unwise. A simple defence of the key points would suffice.

Most people probably won't read what has been posted anyway, it's too long :) .
 

onephat

ULTIMATE Member
i also couldn't see a contact address on their website. I thought it was a legal requirement to publish a contact address (normal snail mail) ??
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
It is a legal requirement and also a requirement of ISPreview since the last couple of years that a proper postal address be used, although I have allowed existing ISPs like Vivacity some grace on that point since a proper address is mentioned on their domain whois (149 Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff on Sea, Essex SS0 7EW).

Right now we're only enforcing the rule against providers have no legit postal address (PO BOX isn't acceptable), not even on their whois info. For example, Naims could be removed if they don't resolve this.
 

Captain_Cretin

ULTIMATE Member
I noticed that, it is tucked away under "Terms and Conditions", bottom right of the page.
I think the law says it should be under "Contact Us" or displayed on the home page.

For all the BS about how they are the "Home of 24MB (ha! got that wrong), unlimited broadband", it all looks a bit amateurish; and the contact details make it plain to anyone with any knowledge of business, that it is a one man band (Sole trader), not a company.
BUT I believe that the DPA still applies, because of the use of the "company" name.
 

EntityOnline

Top Member
BUT I believe that the DPA still applies, because of the use of the "company" name.
Just because I have done this before...

The word company has no bearing. Could be Joe Bloggs for all that it matters. What matters is how the information is used.

(Very roughly)

If personal information is used for core business purposes such as their own marketing, staff administration and accounting then everything is fine. If however it falls outside this area then the DPA does indeed apply and said company or individual should appear on the Information Commissioner's register.

As I read it the DPA should apply here.

The thing I did notice after you mentioned about sole trader is a possible breach of requirements.

From their T&C: ADSL For You is a trading name of Vivaciti. "Vivaciti" means Vivaciti Broadband and Vivaciti Hosting

If Vivaciti is not a Limited company it should state the name of the person trading as Vivaciti unless Vivaciti is the person's name. However as it goes on to say Vivaciti Broadband and Vivacity Hosting then if it's a sole trader the individual's name should be shown.

Did look on Companies house and can't find a limited company registered.

If I was "Vivaciti" then I'd be thinking of getting this stuff clarified and sorted out. Note I may be a bit out as it's been a few years since I looked all this stuff up but don't think things have changed that much.

Personally I've nothing against sole traders. You often get much more of a personal service. Also Sole traders are personally liable for what they do. (OK a decent one will be insured but just making general point)

Regardless... didn't mean this to be a Witch-hunt.

To Vivaciti... would very much suggest that your website reflects legislation and you cover yourself. If you are limited then the Website should certainly point to the limited company. I still think you have every right to defend yourself but really do think that the method you used wasn't advisable.
 

Kyle

ULTIMATE Member
Fantastic, more fuel to ignite this battle with these fools.

I will be approaching my solicitor as this is a breach of DPA. I do not express any wish for my private communications to be posted on a public forum.

I have gathered screenshots of the offending posts and will be reporting this.

Regardless of whether Vivaciti "wish to defend themselves", then they can surmise what the situation entailed, NOT post my conversations with them.

I will now commence legal proceedings against them.
 
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