Fraud or Farce? - Axxcess Fibre "Cancellation Fees"

StungBAC

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2018
Messages
14
As a 10+ year customer of Axxess, it was with some regret that I pushed (clicked actually) the button to terminate my relationship with them after a series of unpleasant interactions. The real stinger was an immediate R950 cancellation fee deducted from my credit card - the amount was wrong, it was immediate, no indication of the amount was given and it appears that their basis for charging it in the 1st place is flawed.

When I asked for some justification for this I was given an endless run-around by their customer support staff - some of the stuff they put out was quite ludicrous. After an looking at their T&Cs and trying to get answers directly, my conclusion was that Axxcess is playing fast and loose with their clients and with consumer rights.

I have included below my penultimate mail to them (after about 7 mails seeking some clarity) to illustrate the lengths they have gone to avoid dealing with the substantive and real issues that I raised:

"Client 2018-12-04 13:55:48

Dear Anika

You have attempted to answer 1 question of 3 detailed in my previous correspondence and have chosen to ignore, yet again, the bulk of the
[other] questions and queries.

Your calculations are flawed for the following reasons:

1. On termination I would have used the service for a day under 5 months
[not 4 months]. R950 is not pro-rata (i.e. proportional to usage). You have not shown in any correspondence with me that the cancellation date is the effective date nor does this make any sense. [I had to ask 4 times to show me the calculations - they were then just reverse engineered to fit]

2. Furthermore my cancellation was on the 20th Nov - not the 1st Nov - even if you can show conditions that I agreed to referring to the effective date being the cancellation date - your calculations are still not proportional.
[This because Anika tried to suggest that I had cancelled without the notice period]

3. Your previous correspondence states that it is the amount subsidised by Axxess that is to be recovered. I do not believe that the these fees (installation and connection) are the amount Axxess subsisised Openserve. Evidence of the actual Openserve invoice or costs to you for my line would be useful in confirming the actual amount that Axxess has had to pay openserve. This, considering that Openserve will still provide, and that I will continue to pay for, the line.
[I can't believe that Axxess will be out of pocket to Openserve yet the invoice says that they are for installation and connection]

Over the course of 2 weeks and multiple emails Axxess has avoided, probably deliberately, dealing accurately or completely with my queries. In short you have treated me and my inquiries with disdain and disrespect. This would suggest that your organisation is at best incompetent and at worst deliberately misleading and fraudulent. You have failed to reasonably demonstrate that your billing of me is accurate , or reasonable and proper, or even within the terms of service you suggest that I agreed to.

Please be aware that I reserve my rights in this matter and will be taking further action to seek redress.

Regards"



I hope that this post serves as warning to others about Axxess. I'm also looking for advice on how to take this further. Any ideas?
 

The Axxess Lady

Axxess Representative
Company Rep
Joined
Feb 21, 2013
Messages
591
As a 10+ year customer of Axxess, it was with some regret that I pushed (clicked actually) the button to terminate my relationship with them after a series of unpleasant interactions. The real stinger was an immediate R950 cancellation fee deducted from my credit card - the amount was wrong, it was immediate, no indication of the amount was given and it appears that their basis for charging it in the 1st place is flawed.

When I asked for some justification for this I was given an endless run-around by their customer support staff - some of the stuff they put out was quite ludicrous. After an looking at their T&Cs and trying to get answers directly, my conclusion was that Axxcess is playing fast and loose with their clients and with consumer rights.

I have included below my penultimate mail to them (after about 7 mails seeking some clarity) to illustrate the lengths they have gone to avoid dealing with the substantive and real issues that I raised:

"Client 2018-12-04 13:55:48

Dear Anika

You have attempted to answer 1 question of 3 detailed in my previous correspondence and have chosen to ignore, yet again, the bulk of the [other] questions and queries.

Your calculations are flawed for the following reasons:

1. On termination I would have used the service for a day under 5 months [not 4 months]. R950 is not pro-rata (i.e. proportional to usage). You have not shown in any correspondence with me that the cancellation date is the effective date nor does this make any sense. [I had to ask 4 times to show me the calculations - they were then just reverse engineered to fit]

2. Furthermore my cancellation was on the 20th Nov - not the 1st Nov - even if you can show conditions that I agreed to referring to the effective date being the cancellation date - your calculations are still not proportional. [This because Anika tried to suggest that I had cancelled without the notice period]

3. Your previous correspondence states that it is the amount subsidised by Axxess that is to be recovered. I do not believe that the these fees (installation and connection) are the amount Axxess subsisised Openserve. Evidence of the actual Openserve invoice or costs to you for my line would be useful in confirming the actual amount that Axxess has had to pay openserve. This, considering that Openserve will still provide, and that I will continue to pay for, the line. [I can't believe that Axxess will be out of pocket to Openserve yet the invoice says that they are for installation and connection]

Over the course of 2 weeks and multiple emails Axxess has avoided, probably deliberately, dealing accurately or completely with my queries. In short you have treated me and my inquiries with disdain and disrespect. This would suggest that your organisation is at best incompetent and at worst deliberately misleading and fraudulent. You have failed to reasonably demonstrate that your billing of me is accurate , or reasonable and proper, or even within the terms of service you suggest that I agreed to.

Please be aware that I reserve my rights in this matter and will be taking further action to seek redress.

Regards"


I hope that this post serves as warning to others about Axxess. I'm also looking for advice on how to take this further. Any ideas?

Hi @StungBAC, please email your account details to theaxxesslady@internet.co.za so I may look into this. Thank you.
 

DERoestorf

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2014
Messages
923
This is what the Consumer Protection Act says. So if they did break anything in here, I would say let them have it
Cancellation by the consumer:​
Despite any provision of the consumer agreement to the contrary, the consumer may cancel that agreement upon the expiry of its fixed term, without penalty or charge.

However, the consumer remains liable to the supplier for any amounts owed to the supplier in terms of that agreement up to the date of cancellation.

The consumer may also cancel at any other time, by giving the supplier twenty business days notice in writing or other recorded manner and form, (and does not have to provide reasons for the cancellation), subject to the above, and in addition;

The supplier (i) may impose a reasonable cancellation penalty with respect to any goods supplied, services provided or discounts granted to the consumer in contemplation of the agreement enduring for its intended fixed term and (ii) must credit the consumer with any amount that remains the property of the consumer as of the date of cancellation.

Consumers who entered into a fixed term contract prior to the Act can also cancel such agreements without reason or charge, by providing twenty business days notice in writing, however the supplier can levy a reasonable cancellation penalty. Please note that there are transitional provisions contained in the Act.
 

StungBAC

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2018
Messages
14
This is what the Consumer Protection Act says. So if they did break anything in here, I would say let them have it
Cancellation by the consumer:​
Despite any provision of the consumer agreement to the contrary, the consumer may cancel that agreement upon the expiry of its fixed term, without penalty or charge.

DERoestorf - there's nothing for them to take back - I bought the router they just invoiced me claiming that it is what they are out of pocket to Openserve for. Plus all the other stuff I took issue with in my correspondence. If Axxess had just read my quries and reponded henestly and openly it would not have been a significant issue. Unfortunately there seems to be a culture of "write anything to make the ticket go away" present in their customer support departments
 

DERoestorf

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2014
Messages
923
DERoestorf - there's nothing for them to take back - I bought the router they just invoiced me claiming that it is what they are out of pocket to Openserve for. Plus all the other stuff I took issue with in my correspondence. If Axxess had just read my quries and reponded henestly and openly it would not have been a significant issue. Unfortunately there seems to be a culture of "write anything to make the ticket go away" present in their customer support departments

You have a very strong case then, and you can take them to the consumer commission and get all your money back. What they are doing is illegal.
 

StungBAC

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2018
Messages
14
yep... she's useless & a complete waste of time.

Hey mister - its word eating time for you:giggle:. Got a call from a nice lady, Nomonde, who admitted to making a partial error and will refund half the money. Unfortunately in a follow-up email Nomonde failed to address the more important and substantive issues I raised - namely the legality of whole thing

There are quite a few people that are interested in this - so lets see where it goes. I will put my response to Nomonde in a separate post.
 

StungBAC

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2018
Messages
14
After agree to a partial refund for their miscalculations - something Axxess previously found it impossible to acknowledge - Axxxess again failed to deal with the real issues.

Following below is my latest attempt to get to the bottom of Axxess' fibre "Cancellation Fees". Unless they can show otherwise it looks like Axxess charge people a prorata fee based on an non-existant fee from by Openserve. Much ducking and diving by Axxess over 3 weeks make me suspicious that they have something to hide.

What is the best way to take this forward so other subscribers are also not ripped-off?

" Client – 2018-12-13 09:18:23

[......]
Dear Nomonde

Thank you so much for responding. I am grateful that you you saw fit to correct the miscalculation. This took over 7 messages to 5 different people over a number of weeks on my part this reflects incredibly poorly on both your systems and customer care staff.

With reference to your mail of the 11th:

1. That I'm being billed for early cancellation is clear however what are the original installation and connection fees borne by Axxess?

Opernserve claim that they bear these costs and not Axxess. Your invoice also reflects that it is Openserve that is making these charges. Bear in mind that Openserve will continue to recover the fees through the rental agreement with my new service provider. Openserve do not currently charge for installation and setup and it is unlikely that they have suddenly started charging Axxess. Axxess can only recover from me what they have paid Openserve upfront. I do not believe that you have paid anything to Openserve and your incorrect billing of me is merely a way to extract funds from myself and other members of the public.

I look forward to any proof that the above is incorrect.

2. Again it is obvious that your system is set up to charge people immediately, the point is that it is wrong.

No indication on your cancellation process indicated: a. what the fees might be or b. that they are immediately due or c. that there were indeed any fees to pay.

Your process consists of an immediate credit card deduction and simultaneous posting of an invoice for the amount deducted. That the amount you deducted from me was incorrect (even on your calculations) and took the intervention of social media to get refunded - shows why this is flawed and contrary to any ethical standards and may well be contrary to the CPA and other statutory regulations.

Your support staffs' attempts to fob me off with a screen dump of a R12 data purchase is illogical and frankly disingenuous - all it did was convince me that Axxess was trying to avoid addressing your inconsistencies.

3. You have shown a standard consent form - my issue is the immediate deduction of funds without any indication of the amount or the submission of an invoice.

Your own cancellations policy seems to indicate that month end deductions are the correct procedure.

".... If your payment method is Credit card you are able to process your cancellation for the end of the current month from the Client Control Panel for selected services (excludes ADSL Lines). ...." and

"Should you cancel one of your services or downgrade a service after the 24th of the month, your first renewal debit order will remain unchanged, but the price difference will reflect as a credit on your account, which can either be refunded to you or will automatically be deducted from your next debit order. "

You have also failed to explain why your support staff claim that the deduction is immediate because I cancelled in under 30 days. This is both untrue (my notice was 40 days) and inexplicable and again served to raise my suspicion that Axxess had something to hide.

4. I accept this and just wanted to confirm that that the T&C's I fall under are indeed the ones published on your website on the date of my original fibre order.

I look forward to your response and hope that I will not be treated as I was previously so that this matter can be resolved to our mutual satisfaction.

Regards"
 

quovadis

Executive Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2004
Messages
6,074
The question is what was the activation date and what was the cancellation date?

Axxess's terms for free installation are very clear. If you cancel within 6 months from activation date then you will pay pro-rata on cancellation. So if you had only used the service for 4 of the 6 months then it would be calculated as R2850/6*2 = R950. If you had 5 months (not 5 months less 1 day) of service then it would be R2850/6*1= R475. If you haven't achieved a full month then you're disputing days. They technically have paid back half as per your post as they're giving you the extra day.

Your assertion that you are entitled to knowledge of the commercial arrangement between openserve and axxess to the exact cost of *your* specific installation is ridiculous. The installation fees for each network are still Axxess installation fees for each network quoted and would be calculated based on numerous factors including admin and other charges not exclusive to the build/installation of the openserv infrastructure and would be priced according to their own calculations. The installation & connection fee costs and promotional terms would've been agreed to at the outset - you're pissing into the wind.
 

quovadis

Executive Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2004
Messages
6,074
You have a very strong case then, and you can take them to the consumer commission and get all your money back. What they are doing is illegal.

No it's not illegal. They're clawing back a pro-rata amount for the Axxess Fibre installation costs & connection fees due to early cancellation.
 

StungBAC

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2018
Messages
14
The question is what was the activation date and what was the cancellation date?

Axxess's terms for free installation are very clear. If you cancel within 6 months from activation date then you will pay pro-rata on cancellation. So if you had only used the service for 4 of the 6 months then it would be calculated as R2850/6*2 = R950. If you had 5 months (not 5 months less 1 day) of service then it would be R2850/6*1= R475. If you haven't achieved a full month then you're disputing days. They technically have paid back half as per your post as they're giving you the extra day.

Your assertion that you are entitled to knowledge of the commercial arrangement between openserve and axxess to the exact cost of *your* specific installation is ridiculous. The installation fees for each network are still Axxess installation fees for each network quoted and would be calculated based on numerous factors including admin and other charges not exclusive to the build/installation of the openserv infrastructure and would be priced according to their own calculations. The installation & connection fee costs and promotional terms would've been agreed to at the outset - you're pissing into the wind.

Quovadis

A couple of points on your 1st para:

1. "Prorata" means proportional.

2. It is unreasonble to use, nor do they calculate from, cancellation date - otherwise you would be penalised for giving Axxess more than the stipulated 30 days notice. (I gave 40 days and Axxess at some point tried to justify their actions by quoting part of their T&Cs about giving less that 30 days - go figure)

3. Axxess insists on 30 days notice, not 1 month's notice - they talk days not months

4 They also stop the service at month end - not at some date the exactly corresponds to 6 months usage. I was not given the option of the exact date of termination of service. They can't have it both ways.

5. Axxess admitted being incorrect and duly refunded me after trying to avoid the issue

6. Axxess are welcome to refund me R15 less or cancel 1 day later - they chose not to do either

On your 2nd para

1. I am entitled to know what a specific aspect of their commercial relationship as I'm being specifically billed for it. Their claim is for R2850 - this has to come from somewhere. They could say R5 million installation using diamond encrusted fibre - please pay 5/6th of this. (Limited by a R3k max clause I know, but you see the point).

2. Openserve physically installed and continues to own the line - they bore the installation cost and will continue to receive income from it - just not from Axxess anymore. Openserve are not likely to be out of pocket and demand to recover installation fees from me or from Axxess

3. The invoice specifically states that the fees (both installation and setup) are for Openserve - not some other internal admin and such. If Axxess wants to recover their own costs then they should be honest upfront and do so whithout using some fictitious 3rd party setup costs.

4. None of Axxess' T&Cs menthion their own set up costs as being recoverable from their clients. It it were they could have used this and not Openserves' cost. To late for that now though.

Most of this issue is contextual and you should read my whole post #10 above and maybe comment on the other parts also.
 

StungBAC

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2018
Messages
14
Before i respond how about you share your date of activation and the cancellation date of the service (not the notice of cancellation) ?

Here you go

1 Aug 2018 - Activated
20 Nov - Cancellation Instruction
31 Dec - End of service

Also note that the incorrcet calculation is no longer an issue between myself and Axxess - they have admitted fault and refunded me.

There are other much more pertinent issues raised in my correspondence with Axxess that will affect the broader memebers of this community going forward - perhaps you could give us your insight into these.
 
Last edited:

quovadis

Executive Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2004
Messages
6,074
Here you go

1 Aug 2018 - Activated
20 Nov - Cancellation Instruction
31 Dec - End of service

Also note that the incorrcet calculation is no longer an issue between myself and Axxess - they have admitted fault and refunded me.

There are other much more pertinent issues raised in my correspondence with Axxess that will affect the broader memebers of this community going forward - perhaps you could give us your insight into these.

1. So basically you had an active service for August, September, October, November, December which was 5 or 6 months which prorata would be R475 (R2850/6*1) - as you've said this has been settled based on the actual service period and not at time of cancellation instruction.

On your 2nd para

1. I am entitled to know what a specific aspect of their commercial relationship as I'm being specifically billed for it. Their claim is for R2850 - this has to come from somewhere. They could say R5 million installation using diamond encrusted fibre - please pay 5/6th of this. (Limited by a R3k max clause I know, but you see the point).

2. Openserve physically installed and continues to own the line - they bore the installation cost and will continue to receive income from it - just not from Axxess anymore. Openserve are not likely to be out of pocket and demand to recover installation fees from me or from Axxess

3. The invoice specifically states that the fees (both installation and setup) are for Openserve - not some other internal admin and such. If Axxess wants to recover their own costs then they should be honest upfront and do so whithout using some fictitious 3rd party setup costs.

4. None of Axxess' T&Cs menthion their own set up costs as being recoverable from their clients. It it were they could have used this and not Openserves' cost. To late for that now though.

Most of this issue is contextual and you should read my whole post #10 above and maybe comment on the other parts also.

The problem you have with your argument is you're assuming that Openserve and Axxess are separate entities and you're contracting Axxess to engage Openserve on your behalf. This is not the case. You have a commercial relationship solely with Axxess who are providing a fibre service providing the last mile access via a third party fibre provider (in this case Openserve). The installation and connection fees are related to a specific provider on offer and are the installation and connection service fees Axxess charges for the installation of your fibre and connection fees determined to do so with Openserve. These fees are quoted for and agreed to by you.

1. No you're not. They quoted an installation cost for fibre via Openserve - they can charge whatever they like for this and provide any commercial terms as they deem viable.
2. That point is irrelevant as you're contractually obligated to Axxess and not Openserve. Openserve would've charged Axxess for their installation services upfront.
3. Yes - a fee they charged you for Openserve fibre installation and connection fees to Axxess which Axxess determine. Openserve does not magically connect you to the Internet.
4. Once again, you are buying a service from Axxess who is a reseller of Openserve for last mile connectivity. They would commercially create their own model on what to charge you per month, per installation or however they want. In fairness to Axxess, their Fibre Installation and Connection Fee Promotion terms are quite clear. They determined that a Fibre Installation via Openserve is R2850 and state "Should the client cancel or transfer their service away within 6 months of the activation date we will invoice the client for the installation and activation costs initially covered by Axxess on a prorata basis."
 

mister

Executive Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Messages
9,044
"Should the client cancel or transfer their service away within 6 months of the activation date we will invoice the client for the installation and activation costs initially covered by Axxess on a prorata basis."

The chances that Axxess paid ZERO for the installation is very high. I found out that my installation costs from Openserve were zero and I fought them on this very issue and won.
 

StungBAC

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2018
Messages
14
1. So basically you had an active service for August, September, October, November, December which was 5 or 6 months which prorata would be R475 (R2850/6*1) - as you've said this has been settled based on the actual service period and not at time of cancellation instruction.



The problem you have with your argument is you're assuming that Openserve and Axxess are separate entities and you're contracting Axxess to engage Openserve on your behalf. This is not the case. You have a commercial relationship solely with Axxess who are providing a fibre service providing the last mile access via a third party fibre provider (in this case Openserve). The installation and connection fees are related to a specific provider on offer and are the installation and connection service fees Axxess charges for the installation of your fibre and connection fees determined to do so with Openserve. These fees are quoted for and agreed to by you.

1. No you're not. They quoted an installation cost for fibre via Openserve - they can charge whatever they like for this and provide any commercial terms as they deem viable.
2. That point is irrelevant as you're contractually obligated to Axxess and not Openserve. Openserve would've charged Axxess for their installation services upfront.
3. Yes - a fee they charged you for Openserve fibre installation and connection fees to Axxess which Axxess determine. Openserve does not magically connect you to the Internet.
4. Once again, you are buying a service from Axxess who is a reseller of Openserve for last mile connectivity. They would commercially create their own model on what to charge you per month, per installation or however they want. In fairness to Axxess, their Fibre Installation and Connection Fee Promotion terms are quite clear. They determined that a Fibre Installation via Openserve is R2850 and state "Should the client cancel or transfer their service away within 6 months of the activation date we will invoice the client for the installation and activation costs initially covered by Axxess on a prorata basis."

Quovadis

Your points might have some limited validity if both the Axxess T&Cs and their invoice to me didn't explicitly refer to Openserve costs. (They might actually have limited choice in the matter given Openserve's local monopolies on fibre.) I urge you to look at the T&C's and I can assure you that my invoice refers to Openserve Costs on each of the 2 line items.

Seeing that you are going to bat for Axxess, here is a bit of perspective from my pov:
  1. Axxess overcharged me by R475 - they admitted this and repaid me. (Original charge R950 - the money is not the whole issue though)
  2. This after 5 people, 3 weeks and 7 or 8 emails during which time every level of b@llsh1t and delay was used prevent me from confirming this.
  3. Only the the intervention of Axxess' brand manager, Ruan Coetzee (aka "The Axxess Lady" - bit of cross dressing going on here ;)) led to that refund.
  4. Axxess has steadfastly avoided offering an explanation such as yours - I suspect, because it could expose them legally. In any event, most of those opportunities were closed by themselves in the course of our correspondence.
  5. Their cancellation billing process is grossly unfair and unethical (no upfront indication of fees etc - read my post #1 and #10)
  6. My reason for cancelling arose after being fed cr@p by the self same support people. (See here Axxess contradicts own support staff - where Ruan had was contradicted by his support team ). Prior to this I was a big Axxess fan - they really have/had fantastic tech support and excellent online systems for managing your account, I was influential in getting at least 6 friends and family to use Axxess as well as 2 businesses, I choose them over a cheaper Telkom fibre service - I was a 10+ year customer (now going to Cool Ideas on recommendations on this forum.) ("Hell hath no Fury like a Customer Scorned" - Albert Einstein talking to Mother Theresa at CES '14)
  7. If you really think that Axxess is has treated one of their long term customers well, then you have a great potential in the Trump White House :).
 

StungBAC

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2018
Messages
14
The chances that Axxess paid ZERO for the installation is very high. I found out that my installation costs from Openserve were zero and I fought them on this very issue and won.

How did you find out? Can you explain further? I would be very interested as would plenty of other people in the same boat.

And you owe me R100!!! - can I suggest a donation to these people - Action in Autism
 

mister

Executive Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Messages
9,044
How did you find out? Can you explain further? I would be very interested as would plenty of other people in the same boat.

And you owe me R100!!! - can I suggest a donation to these people - Action in Autism

My new ISP said at the time that Openserve was not actually charging anybody for the installation and that Axxess was talking nonsense about having paid.

Glad you got sorted! lol @ cross dressing.

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