Gio Internet sends in the debt collectors

Confusion reigns at troubled ISP

Gio Internet, the low-cost Internet access provider that pledged to "take the UK by storm", may have blown itself out.

Several readers have contacted us to say that Gio is asking them to sign up immediately with Customnet because their Gio broadband connections were due for disconnection yesterday. The Customnet website landing page does indeed have an invitation for Gio customers to migrate. "To continue using your service after the 22nd of December you must forward your name, address and current connection details to dslmigrations@customnet.co.uk," it states.

The Gio Internet site is all "business as usual" with no indication of imminent termination of broadband services.

However, one correspondent said he had not received the Gio email notification and when he contacted Customnet, he was informed that the company did not have his details and that his conection would be unaffected.

The semi-anarchy comes after months of woe for the ISP. In late November, we reported on a spat between Gio and and Manchester-based wholesale broadband operator NetServices Plc. NetServices threatened to pull the plug on Gio and around 3000 broadband customers over an alleged unpaid bill for £220,000. In the event, NetServices denied it had issued a winding-up order against Gio, but insisted that it had handed the debt to its "insolvency agency". Gio Internet's press release on the matter can be found here.

But it is not just NetServices which is getting litigious over unpaid bills. Gio Internet has employed the services of Wescot Credit Services Limited to collect amounts it reckons are outstanding from customers. One reader explains:

I received a notice today dated the 20th of December 2004 for £15.98 to be paid by the 3rd of january 2005 without any prior notification, no invoice, nothing to say what the amount due was for or the period it covers. I cancelled my dialup service with Gio sometime in 2002 and have been with Plusnet since then.

I have sent an email and letters to both Gio and Wescot asking for the breakup of the amount.

I have since found out from adslguide and plusnet forum that ther are several ex-Gio customers who received similar demands, some for as much as £400 and more.

We attempted to contact Gio Internet to seek some clarification, but were unable to get a response, with its site-listed phone numbers either unanswered or permanently engaged - possible there are a fair few subscribers trying to get in touch too. Alternative numbers were not available through Directory Enquiries. CustomNet was also unavailable when we contacted its head office.

As we learn more, we'll let you know. ®

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