Afrihost has been sanctioned by the Internet Service Providers’ Association of South Africa (ISPA) following a complaint over the company’s ability to offer the services it advertises.
ISPA ruled that Afrihost was in contravention of Clause 8 of its Code of Conduct, stating that the ISP advertises services beyond its technical and practical abilities.
The complaint argued that Afrihost cannot provide the “Unshaped, Unmetered, Prioritised” Business ADSL services it advertises on its website, as it could not provide a consistent connection.
ISPA’s ruling on the matter reported that Afrihost initially tried to resolve the issues directly with the complainant, and requested ISPA’s advice on how to do so.
When the matter could not be resolved, Afrihost responded as follows:
- It is honest in interactions and on public forums.
- It is developing a new network which clients can trial, and continue working on improving the Afrihost network.
- Allegations that customers struggle to cancel or get refunds are unfounded.
- Afrihost attempts to resolve all complaints.
- Afrihost complies with its terms and conditions, which allow for a “best-effort” service.
The adjudicator for ISPA ordered that Afrihost make it clear on its websites it is experiencing technical difficulties, and that its products may not meet the offered service levels at this time.
“This information should be communicated upfront on the website, and proactively to each existing and potential customer until such time as these issues are resolved,” said ISPA.
The adjudicator imposed a suspended fine of R50,000 that will be enforced should Afrihost be found in breach of this clause in the next 24 months.
Afrihost appealing the ruling
Afrihost said it will appeal ISPA’s ruling.
“We are obviously very sorry that we let this client down. This the first step in the process and as such we will be appealing the ruling,” said Afrihost CEO Gian Visser.
He said if an ISP truly was in breach of Clause 8, it would render them unable to provide that service under the ISPA Code of Conduct.
“This would support Afrihost’s position that service was provided within the provisions of the advertised service levels, which take into account factors which are outside of Afrihost’s control as a best-effort service.”
Visser said Afrihost also makes it clear on its website when there are problems.
“We list the problems on our Network Notice page and this is accessible on every page of our website.”
Visser said Afrihost’s level of service will be excellent again once clients have been moved to its new ADSL network.