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Demon 'forgets' to bill customer for four years

Admits cock-up, then sends in debt collectors

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Demon Internet has launched an urgent investigation into how it failed to charge one of its customers a single penny for their broadband service for four years.

Even though Colin Walls from Cheshire gave all the necessary credit card details to Demon, the ISP failed to activate the billing for his account.

Four years on, the ISP, which is owned by Scottish telco Thus, finally twigged its mistake and sent Mr Walls a bill for £1,200. When he called customer service, he was told the debt would be cancelled. Then he began receiving letters from Demon's debt collectors demanding the cash.

Mr Walls told El Reg: "About four years ago I moved to broadband with Demon after being on dial-up with them almost since they started. I set up a direct debit mandate and thought no more about it.

"I then get a bill for £1,200 - seems Demon suddenly realised they never put the mandate in place. Rather than try and resolve the situation they put the debt collectors into play immediately."

Following the intervention of The Register, Demon has been in contact with Mr Walls to try and resolve the issue. Demon has agreed to cut the sum owed by half and Walls has agreed to repay £600 on "favourable terms".

A spokeswoman for Demon coughed to the billing cock-up telling us: "Unfortunately, due to human error, Mr Walls' credit card was not charged for the service he received and when this became apparent, we wrote to Mr Walls to notify him of the situation. We understand that Mr Walls then encountered a number of problems whilst trying to resolve this issue.

"We have now agreed compensation terms with Mr Walls and regret any inconvenience this has caused.

"This is not typical of our usual high level of customer service and, as a result, a full internal investigation is now underway to establish the root cause and ensure that this does not happen again."

Asked whether there were any other customers not paying for services they were receiving, the spokeswoman said it was "unlikely".

However, Mr Walls isn't convinced his is an isolated case, and reckons Demon's newsgroups have two dozen or so other punters in similar situations. ®

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