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Tiscali calls in debt collectors over ‘unpaid’ bills

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Tiscali UK customers are up in arms after some received letters from debt collectors demanding they pay-up - or else.

Said one hacked-off Tiscali customer, who's received a demand even though she downgraded to a pay as you go service a year ago: "It would appear that Tiscali has a billing fiasco on their hands and are now erroneously threatening members with a debt collection agency."

Another punter who aired the matter on one of the ISP's bulletin boards said: "Tiscali informed me recently that they had finally sorted out my account and would be taking out the due money by direct debit. I pay all my bills and have never had bad credit.

"Today I received, without any notification, a demand for payment of £73 from a debt collection agency. I have no idea who this agency is...could be a spoof for all I know. I have had no demands for payment or "final demands" from Tiscali. It is worrying the way Tiscali go about business."

To make matters worse, when Tiscali customers try and contact the ISP to sort out the matter they are being given the brush-off with no one prepared to investigate individual complaints.

The ISP insists that it is not unusual for companies to use "late payment agencies". Of course, not every company has such a shocking track record of billing cock-ups as Tiscali.

Only last October the company was grilled on BBC TV's Working Lunch over outstanding billing issues.

At the time, Tiscali UK ISP director Steve Horle acknowledged that some customers had suffered problems at the hands of the company's billing process but pledged that the problems would be resolved within the month.

Now, unconfirmed reports suggest that as many as 2,000 people could face the unwanted attention of debt collectors.

No one at Tiscali was available to comment on the matter. But in a statement handed to The Register it says a mailing cock-up is to blame for the upset faced by some of its punters.

"Tiscali has taken on NCO - a leading and respected UK financial services support company - to manage late payment collections. Tiscali drafted late payment reminder letters for the company to use in customer communications. Unfortunately in some cases NCO did not use the Tiscali letter but one of its own. We would like to apologise to this customer on behalf of NCO - we will ensure this does not happen again." ®

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