XiS says bank to blame for refund delays

Problems with Westpac's Merchant Gateway facility are to blame for delays in processing ADSL and dial-up customer refunds, XiS managing director Shane Craig claims.

According to an official document sent to XiS by Westpac on 16 May and passed on to PC World, problems with the bank's gateway system has prevented XiS from receiving its payments, or "settlements", into its account. The letter concludes the problem will be rectified "soon".

Craig says that while he has been accused of "passing the buck" previously, "the problem at hand is a genuine problem, which is well out of my control".

"We have not been able to process customer payments, both dial-up and ADSL, and we have not been able to process refunds for customers," he said.

Craig's latest announcement follows the Internet reseller's decision last week to temporarily withdraw its ADSL services from the market. The decision to pull the product was a result of service and payment disputes between the company and its ADSL supplier DataFast, Craig said.

It also follows an increasing number of complaints from XiS ADSL customers who have requested refunds after waiting for up to four months to receive the high-speed service. Several XiS ADSL customers say they are yet to receive acknowledgment of their requests for refunds, while others say they have been charged an installation fee for ADSL after cancelling their service.

Craig says XiS will continue to support ADSL customers with existing connections to the DataFast and Fleet Broadband network, but will not take on any additional ADSL customers at this time. Despite this, the reseller is negotiating with several providers to offer alternative ADSL services across other networks, he said.

Craig also addressed the recent four-hour session limit imposed on its dial-up customers, saying problems with the dial-up service had been exacerbated by the reseller's dial-up provider Free2Air going into receivership.

According to an official post by the Telecommunication Industry Ombudsmen (TIO) on its Web site, Internet TV Australia, trading as Free2Air, went into receivership on 15 April. Netgains Internet Services Pty Ltd (trading as ITConnect) said it would continue to provide Internet access services to Free2Air customers at no charge until it could contact all customers to explain the situation and to offer its services. All plans offered by ITConnect have a four-hour session limit.

Craig said XiS is currently in negotiations with ITConnect to confirm the on-going service to its customers and hopes to have the session limit problem resolved "within the next seven days". XiS will be giving its 2000-odd dial-up customers a $5.00 rebate for their troubles, he said.

In response to the increasing amount of complaints against the company, Craig urged customers to contact XiS first and not take complaints to the Queensland Department of Fair Trading.

"We have found most customers are going to them before speaking to us," he stated.

"Making a complaint will not speed up the refund process for your account, it may actually slow it down, as it means more paperwork which staff have to complete, and the refund has to be cleared through the DOFT before we can pass it on to the customer."

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Nadia Cameron

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