Invomo Customer Support Staff Gave Me A Headache!

Invomo’s ‘customer support’ staff have given me a headache!

It’s a long story, has very little to do with electrosmog, but should at least land this cautionary tale near the front page of a well known search engine.

If you don’t know, Invomo supply 0844 & 0870 telephone numbers to businesses. The idea being that you can divert this number to another landline, and your customers only see a non-geographic. I used to work from two sites and used to use it to divert my calls from one landline to another. I’d not used it for a while and decided i’d remove the 0870 number from my websites & invoices and cancel next time the renewal came up.

My invoice from them arrived on the 19th of September and I called them the following week to tell them I may cancel the direct debit and stop using the number. At this stage nobody gave me an indication I couldn’t do that.

Their invoice gives you 7 days notice that they will take the direct debit from your account, so I simply cancelled the direct debit before they got chance to take it – remember, I’m paying for this service in advance – at this point they’re sending me a bill for something I won’t start using until the 26th of September, and which will last a year.

Call me old-fashioned if you will. I run my own web-hosting company, and if someone wants to leave my service for another provider they can at any time (no charge). If they pay a little late or want to cancel I don’t penalise them. If they want to cancel their relationship with me and forget to tell me straight away, I don’t hold them to ‘contractual ransom’ for 12 months. I like to think I’m a gentleman, and many customers tell me I am. The customer is always king.

So, with my over-developed sense of right & wrong you can imagine how I feel when Invomo tell me I have to pay another whole years charges because they didn’t get my cancellation email until the 28th. I initially believe that I missed the date by two days, both of which were the weekend days – so they probably wouldn’t have opened a cancellation letter until the Monday anyway.

Anyway, after a few more emails it becomes clear that they actually wanted me to cancel my agreement with them a month BEFORE the renewal. Let’s be honest, most businessmen are busy making money and decide to continue or cancel a service when they receive the bill. With Invomo you can’t work like this, you have to remember to cancel your agreement before the bill arrives, otherwise you’re in for another 12 months. And you know you’ll only forget next time too. They will of course keep your cancellation request on file for 12 months, if you request it – but by that time you’d have forgot and might have started re-using the number. If they cared about customer satisfaction they’d send a letter six weeks before the 12 months contract is up, stating that you have two weeks to cancel. I guess that’s not going to happen though…

My real bugbear is that I’ve had this number since 2002, and when I took the contract out they weren’t even called Invomo – they were PNC Telecom. My question to any lawyers reading this is how can you be held to such an agreement when the company has been sold and changed names? (I bet any staff they retained had to sign new employment contracts!) I never signed a new contract. They only thing they have my signature on is a piece of paper from 2002, for a one year contract with PNC Telecom.

Contrast this treatment with what an average non-business consumer could expect. You have distance selling regulations, 7 day cooling off periods. Does any of that apply to me? It seems not. How about decent honest behaviour, do you think that’s what I’ve received from Invomo? I’m struggling to see how they’ve ‘put the customer first’.

The website’s FAQ section states that ‘all contracts are for a minimum of 12 months, after this we require a months notice to cancel a number’. Note their use of the term ‘after this’ and not ‘before this’. I had an email yesterday (30/09/09) from them signed ‘On behalf of Nick Wiley, CEO’ telling me they still want £184.69 for 4 days service that I don’t want or need. That email started ‘Without Prejudice’, but surely charging me more for less is prejudice!

Everything above is fact. I’m very disappointed!

(sorry this piece had nothing to do with electrosmog)

Update: In the end Invomo agreed that I only owed them one months cancellation fee, which amounted to about £15. It seems that they – in my case at least – try to make it seem like it’s as costly to cancel as it is to continue your contract. If they did this to every customer wishing to cancel it might make a big difference to their bottom-line. I thought about taking this page down now the issue got resolved. But stuff them! The Internet is forever: not like an article in a newspaper, which is just tomorrow’s chip-paper… If they’d treated me (a customer) better this rant wouldn’t be here.

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