Queensland-based Internet connectivity reseller XiS has become uncontactable in the wake of customer and supplier criticism.
Multiple attempts by PC World to contact the company via email on Friday have gone unanswered, and both the direct phone line and the technical support 1300 number have been engaged all day. The company's Web site (www.xis.com.au) went offline at 5pm and was still not live 6 hours later.
The reason the Web site is offline remains unclear. Further attempts by PC World to contact XiS after the Web site went offline were unsuccessful.
PC World was initially trying to contact XiS for a response to a range of customer complaints about XiS voiced both directly to PC World and on Internet forums.
Complaints from customers experiencing constantly engaged signals on dial-up services and difficulty contacting the company via telephone were present on the Whirlpool and Austech telecommunications forums.
Another customer who spoke to PC World claimed XiS had supplied a local call POP number to him which was actually an STD number. The customer only discovered the problem when he received a $2000 phone bill.
Not a member of the TIO scheme
A spokesperson for the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsmen (TIO) (http://www.tio.com.au/) said XiS is currently not a member of its scheme, meaning XiS customers have no official way to lay complaints against the company with the TIO.
The spokesperson said the ISP has been contacted "recently" and advised of its obligations to join the TIO scheme. If XiS fail to join the TIO scheme, the TIO will refer the matter to the ACA, which could then take legal action against the company.
"We're at the first stage of notifying them," the spokesperson said. "Issuing a direction is way down the line." Usually ISPs join the scheme way before that happens, the spokesperson added.
Launched in September last year by 20 year-old Shane Craig, XiS resells connectivity from a variety of service providers and packages its services for customers on a pay-per-customer basis. The company does not own Internet delivery hardware, or maintain an Internet delivery network.
Problems have also arisen with at least one of the XiS's suppliers. DataFast, an ADSL and dial-up provider to XiS announced it has ceased in its dealings with the Internet reseller, citing unpaid bills as the primary cause for its decision to end the relationship.
The wholesaler's managing director Frank Romanin says XiS has "repeatedly failed to honour its financial obligations to DataFast, despite the indulgences granted".
The decision is the latest in a series of challenges XiS has faced with its ADSL service and follows months of difficulty between the company and DataFast. Earlier this month, XiS announced via its Web site ADSL installations booked for customers in Queensland, South Australia, Northern Territory and the ACT would be delayed until mid-June. This followed the company's announcement in March that its ADSL roll-out would be delayed because of "contractual" problems with the wholesaler.
Romanin says the problems are squarely in the hands of XiS.
"At all times XiS was kept fully informed of the position and the associated risks. The commitments as to delivery dates made by XiS as to its products in the past were done without our authority and against our express wishes. XiS must bear the full responsibility for its actions," Romanin said.
"DataFast has fulfilled all its contractual obligations to XiS and has provided XiS [for the benefit of XiS's clients] significant indulgences and deferments."
Romanin says DataFast will be launching its own ADSL product across Australia shortly. The company currently provides dial-up, telephony, wireless services to retail ISPs nationally.
He added DataFast would also be assisting existing XiS customers who are having trouble with their service.
Fleet Broadband, a newly signed up wholesale supplier of ADSL connections to XiS customers in Western Australia, claimed in a posting to the Whirlpool forum that "Indications that XIS may be experiencing difficulties are cause for concern for both Fleet Broadband and for XIS customers".
John Lane, National Sales Manager for Fleet Broadband, told PC World that while the situation was unclear, Fleet Broadband would continue to provide service to those Western Australian customers of XiS currently connected to Fleet.
Lane had last spoken to XiS a week ago and had not had cause to attempt to contact them until today. At the time of posting this story Lane had not yet been able to contact XiS.
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