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Nutshell cracked and broken

ISP shuts down over unpaid bill to Cable & Wireless

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ISP Nutshell has shut down after failing to come to agreement with supplier Cable & Wireless over a huge bill.

Last week, one of Nutshell's director Jason Moody told us: "We are locked into a contractual dispute with our supplier Cable & Wireless. We are trying to resolve the issue." Clearly neither side is happy and one of Nutshell's management has made obtuse comments about C&W's conduct and service.

In an email to several customers, one of Nutshell's senior management wrote: "I personally spent the last 2 years and many millions of pounds to build an infrastructure to support our growing customer base, and because of Cable and Wireless' actions stand to lose it all. Nutshell was gaining momentum rapidly and had contracts in place that would have brought over 1,000,000 customers online with us over the next few months."

He continues: "I know customers are upset, and so am I, but to blame Nutshell staff and management is extremely unfair. Please let customers know we are just as upset as they are! Things were just about to take off. We had no control over the situation and were given less than 2 hours notice of the suspension on the 19th. Legally I cannot say what or why it happened."

And then a small story, into which you can read what you like: "I just heard this wonderful story, and thought I would pass it along:

"A guy goes into the Local Auto dealer to buy a brand new Mercedes S500 and pays over £100,000 for it. Everything is fine when he picks it up, drives real nice on the back roads at low speeds. One day he decides to take it on the highway. He pushes the accelerator down and nothing happens.

"He pulls off the road, opens the hood only to find a Fiat engine under there. He's furious and goes back the Dealer to demand a refund. But the dealer says that's what he bought - a Mercedes. It says it right on the car. But he says he bought a Mercedes with all the parts that should be Mercedes, including the engine. They say where in his contract does it say that the engine has to be Mercedes? He pulls out all the documentation, which shows the detail specs of the car, brochures, sales peoples remarks, etcetera. But they tell him too bad, that's not what the contract says. What should he do?"

Hmmm.

The company has promised that anyone who opened an account after 11 October will get a full refund but all the others (the vast majority) are unlikely to see anything. Another email to customers stated: "Nutshell is seeking full compensation from Cable & Wireless for all customers, but is unable to refund at this time. Due to the nature of this dispute, no further details can be given."

It doesn't look good. Meanwhile competitors to Nutshell have started posting to newsgroups attempting to scoop up drifting customers. "I am so convinced that any ex-Nutshell user, or anyone else for that matter, will find our service of such a high-quality, that I will ensure that if they sign-up and are not happy with what they receive, I will refund their subscription money immediately via our secure Worldpay card solution," wrote one.

We are waiting on Cable & Wireless to get back to us to tell its side of the story. ®

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