MyZones founders jump overboard over board

Not directors of Wi-Fi firm

Two founders of Wi-Fi hotspot company MyZones have now come forward to confirm that they were never directors of the bankrupt firm.

The MyZones web site has shown Dr Stuart Marsden, and financier Yoram Amiga, both of Sum International, as "part of the team" - and they have now contacted NewsWireless to say that this was, indeed, simply hype.

"We would have been in touch directly, but embarrassingly for us, our email system has been broken over the weekend," said Marsden, adding that "The information on the MyZones site only appears to say I'm on the board; it's just hype."

Sources say that the support offered by Sum International was contingent on seeing MyZones reach certain financial targets, which it did not reach. Mayhew-Begg, they say, anticipated that support and posted details of Sum International involvement which could have been available if the deal had gone through. At the time it was posted, it was still conceivable, said a Sum source, and so neither Marsden nor Amiga felt it was appropriate to take action. They say they also didn't want to prevent him from finding other sources of finance, and felt that withdrawing the page might have been misconstrued as damaging.

"We didn't pull the plug," said Marsden. "We simply told Mayhew-Begg that we would not be investing the money we would have invested if he'd met his targets. We told him that some months ago, and it was up to him to find other finance."

Several creditors say that they supported the company with services. Poptel, now Real Poptel, says it is owed more than £100,000 worth of Internet services, and MyZones public relations company says it was also left with unpaid bills for several thousand pounds.

Customers of the company said that they thought the number of Internet subscribers left high and dry would, in fact, be small. One would-be Wi-Fi subscriber said: "It doesn't surprise me in the slightest about the death of the company. Bulldog advertised them as an add-on to their packages, although no-one at bulldog knew anything about the product."

This customer says he was told - "many times" - that as he was an existing customer, he was not able to join the MyZones scheme, so he tried to get in touch with MyZones directly. "No reply whatsoever from any of their contact email addresses, so finally, I thought I'd go to the board - surely they would want to know that customers weren't getting the chance to buy their product. But two of the emails bounced, and there was no reply from the other - valid - emails."

With customer service like that, said this would-be customer, "who needs competitors? As my experience went with MyZones, they were dead before they even published their homepage."

Existing MyZones customers who took out broadband contracts with the company, will be offered new contracts with Real Poptel. "Our situation is that we are providing a service, for which we haven't been paid," said a spokesman. "If customers want to continue that service, we will expect them to sign a contract with us and pay us. But we won't cut them off until they've had a chance to consider the deal. We'll keep their lines active."

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