I am writing about my dealings with Megaserve/Netcontacts over the past few months. I am highly dissatisfied with their customer service and their wireless internet service. Megaserve/Netcontacts are run by the same people since the phone number on the contacts page of www.netcontacts.biz is in fact the Megaserve tech support line (555-3168) and the number I subsequently phoned to enquire about the wireless internet service.
Before I had the service installed at my residence I was actually very impressed at this company. Firstly, they were the only WISP that could provide to my area (Somerset West) that I knew of at the time and they seemed to be very competent. I dealt with a person named Carey at first and he told me about the service. I asked him many questions (to make sure that they were a good company, should have rather found out from their customers) to which he always seemed to have the right answer.
I would like to highlight that he said the Wireless 128k service is uncapped, that P2P WORKS even though only from 7:00pm to 7:00am (P2P worked on 4 occasions in the first 2 months and for about 2 weeks at night in the last month I was with them) and that they would buy back my hardware if I cancelled my service to them. I was also told the service is 100% legal, which I’m not going to press because it’s a grey area. Carey seemed to know exactly what was going on and impressed me by being able to answer all my questions satisfactorily.
So, I ordered the service with a huge grin on my face thinking that I would be able to finally get rid of 56k, at last! The tech guys came to do a site survey and confirmed that my location could receive adequate signal and that I would be able to utilize their service. The installer came roughly a week later, but came at night, so he couldn’t install it then. He said he would the next day, but didn’t. He came some days later, and even after seeing our house he brought a bracket that was too short to mount to our wall properly and he decided to bend the aluminium mast on which the grid antennae is mounted instead. I probably shouldn’t have let it go further than that since these people already showed me how unprofessional they can be. I mean, the installer didn’t even bring his own ladder. But I chose to give them the benefit of the doubt and the installer came back a few days later with the proper bracket and then my 128k wireless was installed!
At this stage I was still happy with these people. I could browse the net at reasonable speeds and all was good. In the first month they had a minor amount of downtime which I was told was because Eskom was doing something with the power in the area or something like that, and that they had now put everything on battery back-up in case it happened again. Now I was still happy till I tried to use P2P like LimeWire, BitTorrent, etc. I was trying after 7:00pm (the Netcontacts site said that you can only use P2P from 7:00pm to 7:00am). So I phoned to find out why my P2P wasn’t working as I was told it should. Carey told me the scripts were probably just “misbehaving”. My problem was not sorted out until I phoned him a few times and he offered to connect to the high-site from his house and after 7 and check what was happening. He managed to sort out the problem from his house and I now thought, lekker, it’s sorted! But, it seemed that only through manual activation could they enable P2P (I think they run Mikrotik to manage their operation). So in that whole month I probably managed to use P2P about 4 times and I couldn’t have downloaded more than 500mb.
I had other problems in the following months. Firstly my Senao router that they supplied me with blew and my reseller had to come and replace it (under guarantee). And of course P2P wasn’t working still. I was told that “the scripts were fine and that the problem was not on their side” – this after trying on three different PC’s with WinXP SP2 and all, one being freshly formatted. After a while I couldn’t get hold of Carey on his cell and when I sent this via sms:
“hi carey. If you value me as a customer please phone me back. I tried to fone u 3 times today. I shouldn’t have to go through all this **** to get p2p to work. I would rather be on capped ADSL”
He replied with:
“Please take your business elsewhere, As we will no longer support p2p as the content is illegal.”
I then followed up with:
“how can you change your policy like that? You cannot assume that all applications of p2p r necessarily illegal.”
To which I got the priceless response of:
“I am a lawyer, don’t get smart with me!”
So I decided to cancel. I spoke to the tech guy and about this. But unfortunately my mom had already paid for the following month, July so I carried on using their service for another month.
During this time the tech guy was very helpful and managed to get P2P to work for ± 2 weeks and I was happier than I had been but still wanted to cancel because I found out that even if P2P does work, if the people at Megaserve/Netcontacts think you are downloading too much you get put in a heavy users pool with all other people that they think download too much (something that they neglected to mention to me when I signed on for this service). I was also told that everyone else could use P2P fine.
After all this, my Senao bridge broke yet again! That’s two bust wireless bridges in 3 months! I was told the equipment that they use is top notch and everything. I was trying to phone Carey to organize getting a refund on my equipment and Carey starts outright rejecting calls from my home number (just rang a few times and then went dead). I by chance managed to get hold of him when I phoned Megaserve support one day.
I spoke to him at approx 5:10PM on 1 August. I talked to him for roughly 5 minutes about wanting a refund because they were not making good on their promises. Carey now says it’s not their problem and says I have to take it up with the reseller. The reseller that he told me he fired! He was trying to shift the blame saying that they (Megaserve) had nothing to do with what was going wrong with my service and that I didn’t understand how they work.
Carey says they are getting irritated with me. Started to tell Carey that I wanted the full amount for the equipment because they didn’t make good on their promises . He asks me where I learnt business because he thinks I am insane for making this request. He then continued to explain why this is stupid by using an analogy, heh.
Carey: “If I sold you a car …(pause)… you understand analogies don’t you? Should I get out my crayons?
Me: muttered “f*** it” (up till this point in the conversation I refrained from swearing but he was just being plain and downright condescending)
Carey: “Don’t swear now. Go do your homework schoolboy!”
Me: at a loss for words, cannot believe a person like this can even be involved with clients in a business. Even if you think a client is being really unreasonable you shouldn’t be mean to them, that’s unnecessary and won’t do you any favours.
He then went on to threaten legal action against me. I really couldn’t believe my ears. He was angry because of what I have previously written on MyADSL and said he was going to post a comment about me. Wow, that’s mature. Writing slander about ex-customers is definitely not a good way to attract any new ones.
After this I had to wait almost a month to get my equipment bought back from me. My reseller (the one that Carey said he fired) suggested that I should rather sell my equipment that they sold me in the CapeAds because he would not give me R2300 for it. In the end, the most he was willing to pay me was R1500 for equipment I had owned less than 5 months. So basically when they say they will buy your equipment back, what they really mean is that they will give you barely just over half of what you originally paid for it.
I have a few requests:
1. Please “sticky” this, I believe this is a valid complaint and would like others to know about my experience
2. All other people that have used or still use Megaserve/Netcontacts wireless please post your opinions of their service and customer treatment so that other forum readers can get a broader view of the situation. Even if you have posted about them in the past! Bismay, Hunted, etc.
3. Anyone else please feel free to comment as well
4. Any feedback from anyone in Megaserve/Netcontacts will be appreciated.
And, lastly thank you for reading this! I feel really strongly about getting screwed over like this and I just had to let others know so that they don’t make the same mistake.