Exetel moves to terminate unprofitable accounts

ISP tell unprofitable customers to move on

Australian ISP Exetel has moved to terminate a number of unprofitable accounts, asking some users of its broadband service to move to another provider. In addition, according to a newsletter sent to customers yesterday, the "off-peak" period, which does not count towards an accountholder's main usage quota, will be cut from 12 hours to six for new customers and will no longer be unlimited.

The ISP will also advise "500 or so" customers that it is "unable to continue to provide internet services to them and we are asking them to move to another provider". This is due to Exetel attracting "too many customers who download very, very large amounts of data using the '12 hour period'". This has allegedly resulted in the ISP losing money on a number of accounts, including "one single user costing Exetel a loss of over $600.00 in a single month and more that 300 users costing us between $30 and well over $200.00 each in the Month of April and then repeating that sort of usage in May".

“It was entirely our choice to offer the opportunities that caused those losses which amounted to close to $A500,000 in both April and May,” the ISP revealed in its newsletter.

Last week, on the Exetel sub-forum at the Whirlpool broadband discussion site, user SAN_1980 wrote that they had received a termination e-mail from Exetel that said the ISP was terminating their account because "they are not making any profit by providing the service to me". 'SAN_1980' was on a 30GB/60GB (off-peak) Naked ADSL2+ plan and "was using almost full quota because that was what they offered me to use".

Whirlpool user 'kilotango' posted that Exetel "must be the first company that does not want my business", after receiving an e-mail from the ISP instructing kilotango to find a new service provider within 30 days.

In April Exetel said it was close to introducing unlimited broadband plans.

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Kevin Cheng

PC World
Topics: Exetel, ISP, broadband

Comments

Jaike

1

In fact SAN_1980 later admits in the thread linked in this article that in fact he had been served with a Termination email (back in January 2010) which specifically stated that if he pursued a matter over a $6 refund he would be terminated. At the end of his contract he was. ie. His case has NOTHING to do with him being unprofitable download-wise (as implied by the article above).

http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1455021&p=16#r311

neilmc

2

Glad to be away from Exetel, Australia's schizophrenic ISP.

How dare customers use a service as sold to them!

There are also numerous customers complaining that Exetel ask you to move if you make a TIO complaint. I'm not sure that higher profile ISPs like Bigpond or iiNet could ever get away with that (if true)

njc

3

Jaike looks like an ISP fanboi by reading Whirlpool. They terminate over $6.00. It looks like Dodgywatch has made a come back and is reporting on Exetel - www.dodgywatch.com

Duke

4

HAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.....................................................Linton

trk

5

I, for one, am glad they are ditching the 'unlimited' plans.

They attract entirely the wrong sort of customer, who is unprofitable and filled with an overwhelming sense of self-entitlement.

The first few weeks after Exetel unveiled its unlimited plans, off peak was basically unusable as everyone raced to take nightly mirrors of the entire internet. Exetel simply dont have the infastructure (as they are purely a reseller) to support the enormous quantities of data that the greedy unlimited leeches demand.

They were stupid to release unlimited plans, however it would be even stupider to carry on providing them at such enormous losses. The big downloaders should be shepherded off to TPG or other such carriers immediately, where the huge customer base can cover the losses on those accounts.... and the infastructure can handle the volume of data required and at a price to TPG that makes it sustainable. Give the leechers renumeration for the plan change fee, and let them out of their contract for free.

The people who are a bit sensible with their "unlimited" can then happily co-exist with us fixed limit customers who enjoy a good quality product at a great price, with features and options unmatched by any other ISP. The 50c/GB over use charge (no shaping) is absolutely fantastic, and I'd rather see the plans stick to this. If I want to mirror the entire internet, I can at the full speed of my connection... and pay a VERY reasonable rate for it.

Also, as 'Jaike' has mentioned the user 'SAN_1980' was *NOT* booted for 'using their quota'. They were booted for being petty and demanding a refund on over-usage charges for data that they DID use. It is this sort of refusal to pander to unreasonable customers that makes Exetel so great, to be honest.

Jim

6

Exetel can't even try to be a real ISP.

Gordon Farcus

7

Exetel has no one to blame for their own stupidity. They have traditionally offered terrible customer service and cheap download plans, then wonder why they attract heavy downloaders and not the "mum and dads" Linton seems to crave.

Offering unlimited plans at prices far too cheap for their network to handle was just another chronically dumb move which fell over within a month.

Word to the wise Linton, the low usage Mum and Dad customers you're seeking want good customer service and a reliable reputation. Treating your own customers like gutterscum because of your own poor planning and pursuing a policy where people who request too much customer service are asked to leave...well....it's just about as far from achieving that goal as you can get.

Unless there is a sea change among Exetel management (unlikely), avoid them like the plague.

Aaron

8

LOL what a joke Exehell is, they could not organize a root in a brothel.

Peter

9

Hey.

I think if your going to advertise an unlimited service you better be prepared to honour the claim. I can only assume that the user who racked up a $600 loss was on a Telstra wholesale connection. Maybe they need to look at where they buy their connections from or invest in their own DSLAMs?

Bob

10

Unprofitable customers downloading too much on their so-called UNLIMITED plans. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.......................................................................................HA

johnny

11

If they used there heads and done something reasonable like just increased the off peak to 200 instead of unlimited they wouldnt have been this problem

as for the 6 hour offpeak it acually means that anyone on a ADSL1 plan is now on a worse deal than they were if they signed up 6 months ago as its just not achievable to download much more than the old off peak cap

But is worse because you now have to make sure that the majority of your 6 hours each night your maxing your connection

Though exetel phrase there off peak is free and not something where paying for its kinda like mcdonalds saying heres your burger but the lettuce and tomato is free and where out of money so no tomato or lettuce for you

Holly

12

Why is this even making the news? Comcen/Spin did the exact same thing last year when they decided they would release 150GB plans but found they were too taxing on their links.

Liam

13

Holly, this is news because although Linton would like to believe he is the last bastion of honest ISP operators out there he is far from it. He was a joke at Onetel and Switfdsl.

Again he continually attempts to hit above his belt weighing into matters where hes little network and collective pool of customers should barely rate a mention or even a glance.

His ISP is continually below par with capacity and performance issues. You combine this about his depictions and mis-information on topics like the NBN in Telecommunications industry we're all by far worse off the longer he remains involved.

Lone Ranger

14

This is what happens what you allow more vertical integration. That's right. I am talking about TPG/Soul & PIPE.

HalfADownload

15

I'm a current exetel customer who is on a 60/70 plan, and also received a termination notice (which has since been withdrawn) but for the last 12 months I have only gone over half of my download allowance (peak) and 1/3rd of my off peak ONCE! Always pay on time (by direct debit), so I have no idea why I'm not a profitable customer.

Camm

16

They advertise that they don't offer customer support in order to give benefits like larger download caps and stuff. All I can say is, really bad economics exetel. Not to mention your becoming increasingly irrelevent.

PW

17

I'm in full agreement with what TRK said. I have no problems with Exetel either and continue to recommend them to anyone I can. The heavy downloaders / abusers of the network we don't need. I want to continue to use Exetel into the future, and can only do this if they remain profitable. At the end of the day there will still remain a good base of mid-range users who are perfectly happy with the service and plans that Exetel provides.

Andrew McGlashan

18

There are many points I could make, but I'll limit my response:

1. Users have "terms and conditions", read them, they are fair and reasonable -- excessive downloaders even on "unlimited" plans have appropriate clauses to help protect the network by including fairness and expecting reasonable use.

2. A TIO complaint costs far more than the $6 disputed fee mentioned above, Trivializing unreasonable TIO complaints in itself is a whole different issue.

3. Exetel has compensated (somewhat at least) ordinary users whom have lost off-peak time with increased included downloads. Most reasonable users wouldn't come near to the abuse levels of those relatively "few" very costly users. Exetel's network can handle the traffic, the costs of backhaul by wholesalers to Exetel's network is the issue.

4. Anyone putting in DSLAMs over the recent years and especially now are doing so with far greater risk; if NBN is allowed to proceed as per the government's wishes (ala, not be blocked supply by the opposition), then the DSLAM network will soon become environment waste, useless equipment of no value.

5. Exetel has proven to have some amazing offers for those able to get services at Point Cook (now) on Telstra infrastructure -- where else can you get a 100mbps/5mbps plan for $80 with data being charged at a very fair rate of 50c per GB (downloads counted only)?

6. Swiftel was a far better "customer" business when John Linton was "running the show"; People Telecom didn't save Swiftel, many say they murdered them. Swiftel had an excellent performance and the lowest possible pricing in the marketplace. Once PT took over most of that value de-minished rapidly. I'm sure that many stories could be told about John Linton, some fair and some extremely exaggerated and clearly unfair or blatantly wrong.

John

19

The Exetel ship is sinking fast all thanks to the Captain.

Evan

20

I can't believe some are defending Exetel for their shoddy business ethics.
Pay the extra money and go to an ISP that actually wants your business for now and for the future.

Exetel does not deserve peoples business when they treat their customers with contempt.

Andy

21

Pretty obvious what they are doing here. They will continue to advertise an unlimited service and just kick out anyone who uses it more than they'd like. So, they get the customers by advertising unlimited and then they just cull the ones who use it.
Sounds like an issue for the TIO

Pawz

22

I would think that when an ISP chooses to advertise an unlimited, or "free off-peak" service that they accept that they may not profit from all of their customers. Considering they admit that these are a tiny percentage of their customer base, doesn't that mean that they are offsetting this minor loss by the multitude of customers who use very little data ? It can't be news to Exetel that offering an unlimited product will cause them to make a loss on a small number of customers. If they can't absorb those loss-making customers then don't offer the damned plan in the first place ! In business there's always some customers who make you money, and some who are a liability, but it's just the cost of doing business. You shouldn't get to "pick and choose" which of your paying, contracted customers you want to keep.

Also, Exetel by their own admission offer little (or poor) customer support, yet they seem to only want mom and pop customers. Sorry Exetel but if your customer support is rubbish, you're only going to get tech-heads and leechers. The sort of high-profit, low-margin customers you seek demand real customer service. Something you're not willing to provide.

Sean

23

Can anyone else smell that?... Smell's like bankruptcy :P. Or at the very least desperation.

Exetel are never going to be a Mum and dad's ISP. The first reason for this is their name. Exetel while a nice play on Executable and Telecommunications, doesn't inspire any confidence with the other connotation being Ex as in ex-wife or former wife or in this case former ISP, which it is looking like Exetel may just become... a former ISP.

George

24

So lets see, some anonymous guy posts some unsubstantiated claims on a forum and you report this in a article for PCWorld as if it is fact!

In words of John McEnroe 'You Cannot be Serious?'

Kevin Cheng needs to learn the fundamental rules of journalism, lets start him off with rule 1.

1) Always seek independent, verifiable confirmation.

booted by exetel

25

Bwahahahahahaha I knew this would happen. They offer plans that they cannot afford typical of exetel.

Jobst

26

I can't stop thinking:

1. take 1 gun
2. point at own foot
3. pull trigger
4. blaming the person who shot into the foot

Jobst

Hiram

27

What are people complaining about? I am a new customer and if you actually read the email rather than quoting out of context it says

"The less than 500 or so customers that we will choose not to continue to provide services to when our contract to do so ends should be able to find at least one supplier that meets their needs and who will be more able to do so than Exetel can."

If you have a contract they are honouring it (as they told me when I complained when this all started). But if you are out of contract and haven't bothered to sign another tough luck you are on your own and they can terminate their offer to you at any time. ALso to those complaining about service I've found it better than Optus and TPG who were my previous 2 ISPs. Sounds like people with axes to grind to me not unbiased comment.

Liam

28

Andrew McGlashan you have to be kidding me.
Swiftdsl was financially screwed with JL left. I take it you did not see Ryan O'Hare's omission on the finances of Switfdsl and the reverse buy out that had to be done. Gave a 10 minute google search but couldn't find the blog and statement (given its 5 years old).

You may claim that PT's change direction and target markets 'ruined' swiftdsl but to be honest what did you expect of a business model that attracted IT Savvy and download heavy users mush as Exetel is now. They need to shift to more profitable markets but they didn't go about it by booting people from the market nor offering unrealistic plans and doing a backflip down the line because they didn't bother to analysis the cost to the company.

Fair use is a BS term in which companies have never had to quantify up front on acceptable usage. If the traffic is legit then its an absolute failing from Exetel and they're simply using bait and switch techniques.

I too was booted by Exetel

29

I have been a customer of Exetel since 2007. I am on an 18GB peak /58GB off peak plan. I often use my limit and often go nowhere near it. I pay my bills on time and have done so for 3 years. I have been off contract since 2008. On the 13th May I was given 30 days to get a new provider like many others, why did they decide just now to cut me off? A couple of months ago my phone went dead, it took them over a week to fix it, it wasn't until I made a complaint to the TIO that they fixed it. My complaint was not unreasonable, I gave them reasonable opportunity to rectify the problem. I had contacted them several times and each time they had no record of my reports of line troubles. It took 3 times before they believed me, after that they on four occasions said it would be fixed on a certain date, each time it wasn't. So I went to the TIO. So even if you use the service that they advertised and you purchased, pay your bills for 3 years you are fine, but if you make a complaint to the TIO they cut you off quick smart. They then make it difficult for you to switch by denying requests from other ISPs trying to get my telephone number back. I have 10 more days with them and am dowloading stuff I dont even want just so they can lose some more money.

Andrew McGlashan

30

Liam, okay some facts from what I understand.... in relation to your post.

1. Chris Gale was CEO of Swiftel [data comms company] and Ryan O'Hare was co-founder of PTL (People Telecom Limited) -- [former Voice company]. Whether or not Swiftel was itself in financial troubles is debatable, the apparent reason for the merger was to bring together the synergies of data and voice, not to save Swiftel which didn't need saving from my understanding.

2. Exetel is building very strong business customers too, but is doing so successfully as a fully private company on it's own bat leveraging relationships it has forged with a number of suppliers over the years.

3. Exetel is a very innovative service provider, they have a number of key products in the market at the "right" price where others either have no option or options at much inflated pricing to do similar.

As an innovative company that pushes for customer value and not huge profits, Exetel is more at risk than some other entities and they have at times reacted promptly and rashly to rectify an unforeseen circumstance; however, they continue to endeavor to offer the consumer an excellent range of value options with [on the whole] exceptional customer support. Exetel prides itself on it's lower staffing levels, but makes up for this with highly automated systems and very efficient use of their own technology based products and services.

No doubt Exetel, like any other organization, will make further good and bad decisions -- however they take full care and concern over them accepting responsibility for having made mistakes and fixing them as best they can given their available resources.

Brian

31

Why offer a product, and then terminate accounts when people make full and rightful use of the service that is provided.

If I buy a V8 Powered Motorvehicle, I wont go pulling the injectors and spark plugs out of 4 cylinders and run the car as a 4 cylinder, only occassionally fitting everything thing back to run it as a V8, I will drive the car to it's full and offered capacity.

Likewise, if I buy a BMW 745iL, I wont put my shopping in the front seat next to me when I have the capacity of the boot available to me, it simply doesn't make logical sense.

I am astonished that a company can offer a service, only to pull it back when people actually do use what they have been offered, and what they are rightfully paying for.

No doubt this wont hurt John Linton and his business, as he lives with the prophecy of "any media is good media", so PCWorld has basically provided the businessman with free advertising as far as he is concerned.

John has an interesting history, but he seems to be surviving with his own business somehow, but all I can say is if you want to use your survice to it's fullest, dont go to a small ISP like Exetel, because they cant afford for their customers to use the service to the complete extent, they bank on the mum/dad users only using a small amount for email/research and critical usage.

Tom

32

If Exetel cannot handle their customers and their business at the same time then they shouldn't be in the ISP market.

Maybe Jims mowing franchise suits them better or something similar.

Blake

33

This ISP is a joke, I would go Telstra before this corrupt mob.

Anand Kumria

34

@ Andrew McGlashan

Neither 2, nor, 3 is not a "fact" but merely your opinion.

The fundamental points are:
- customers who signed a contract for services (unlimited usage during a 12 hour period) are now being punished with a termination notice.

Various people are, rightly, querying why any company can offer a service and, then, when people make use of the service they paid for, find they are summarily disconnected.

- customers who discover issues with Exetel or experience loss of service
find that if the report this to the 'umpire' (the TIO) they are disconnected.

Those kind of actions are the ones of a company which despises its customers.

Those kind of actions are the actions of a failing company.

Those kind of actions are the actions of a company which lies.

Brian

35

@ Anand Kumria,

Exetel is not failing, they wont fail while they run the way they are.

Basically they offer all this service, this gets the name out there, and gets the company known for their product.

They sign everyone and anyone hoping that the users are only small users. Mum's and Dads that only check email, or post on ebay every now and then.

When a larger user such as a Linux ISO leacher, or an intense Gamer gets on the network, they terminate the account due to "non-profit".

The results in the mums and dads loving the service because they are being "looked after". It results in massive amounts of people kicking up a stink, and the 'Exetel name' beign spread across the media yet again.

My question is, if your terminated after lodging disputes with the TIO, the company as a whole should be investigated for their corrupt actions.

Basically what Exetel wants is for you to sign up, give them your money, but not use the service, this way they pocket your money for nothing (this is ultimately what they want right?)

tim

36

hahaha. i have to comment here.
Andrew McGlashan - are you the same Andrew McGlashan that is the CEO for Affinity Vision Australia? The same Affinity Vision Australia that is an agent for Exetel? Maybe you should have made that clear hey?

Chris

37

Haha, Andrew McGlashan just got owned! No seriously, they suck, hope they go bust. It amazes me to see how much crap we put up with here is Australia. I lived in Japan for 5 years, if a company even thought of doing something like this they would be gone in a month. Time we stopped messing around, and send these crappy company's a message.

Andrew McGlashan

38

@tim and @chris -- yes I am the Director of Affinity Vision Australia and I am proudly an Exetel agent. Making it clear that I am an Exetel Agent doesn't change my comments at all; they would be exactly the same if I was not an agent!

I stand by my analysis, knowledge and views about Exetel.

Oh and I also have a customer named "Kevin Cheng", not sure if he is the same one that wrote this article which doesn't give a fair account of the facts.

Jarrard

39

Exetel should just have a data limit if they can't afford lets say downloads over 300gb or something. They should have a high end plan or just any plan like the same but remove unlimited and just say 300gb limit on off peak.. They kinda set them selves up for this cost..

Andrew McGlashan

40

@Jarrod, yes EXACTLY and they've taken the self-blame over it and moved to fix the situation rapidly and fairly.

Brian

41

@Jarrod, if they implemented a data limit, then by definition they would not be truly "unlimited",and would be shot down for this, wouldn't they?

Other providers where shot down when they advertised "unlimited" accounts, but them implemented shaping at a certain level, and I believe Exetel wanted to avoid that.

@Andrew, the fact you are an Exetel agent makes you bias towards Exetel.

If the article writer is actually the one and the same customer using Exetel, then I would take their word over anything else so-far, as they are using the service, and making comment on the service.

Look, at the end of the day, Exetel is a no-frills ISP, they offer a cheap service, it's evident that they offer next to no customer service, and if they have to perform any work on someone's account, chances are they will terminate the account for non-profit.

Ford

42

Would anyone accept if they bought a Ford Falcon (or whatever) drive it on the h/way at 130kph then FORD say if they continue to drive they will not service the car because it's being used out of specifications. (well something like that)

Exetel

43

Customers = Money
If u don't make us profit then we cut you off, nice and simple

Frogman

44

The one good thing about Australia is that it is a FREE country and as such all of you moaners and whingers should really go to Ripoff Telstra or some other ISP's.
Don't like it? Just move on man!
How hard can it be?
I have been with Exetel for 6 years and have never had any problems, I have 2 kids and they're on it all day downloading stuff, they're not complaining .
See how long you last with Telstra when you get a $1000 bill for over quota download !
Cheers!

booted by exetel

45

Yeah what ever Frogman just wait til you get your marching orders from Exetel.

And FYI there are more ISP's around that is better than Exesmell or Crapstra.

ShannonBarbara

46

@Andrew McGlashan I think drawing ungrounded links between the journalist of this article and your client base is a tad far-fetched. A bit hypocritical is it not, to slam the journalist for not checking facts when you are implying, unresearched, that the journalist "Kevin Cheng" is one of your clients. As an agent of Exetel your comments are biased too, obviously, and on top of that, insinuating the journalist is merely a disgruntled down-loader trying to get his own back borders on the lines of defamation.

I am a journalist also and must remind you that at the end of the day the final content is at the discretion of the editor. Let's not make personal attacks at someone who may not be entirely at fault. It's like yelling at the sales assistant because they won't return your shoes when they are merely obeying their company's policy.

booted by exetel

47

How funny is Exetel they just re released unlimited plans again.
They complain about users being unprofitable and then they release unlimited plans again.

Exetel has to be the most stupid ISP in this country.

Sealion

48

Whats the go with this ISP? You get massive emails full of erroneous information but I think I am noticing a pattern. They get customers in with deals that seem to good to be true. When u sign up the plan soon changes. You get little if any customer service if you have problems. If u complain too much u get the boot. I find the speeds slow. The costs slowly rise and what initially was a good deal now isnt. You get heaps of convoluted emails from them whinging about customers actually using the services they were sold and that this will now lead to increased costs and further plan changes. Im now so bloody confused I dont know what I have a d how much I will end up paying!

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