The client contacted the Cairns Community Legal Centre in relation to a dispute with an internet service provider. The client was in receipt of a Disability Support Pension. The client had telephoned the internet service provider and requested a 'non-contract' internet service connection which could be cancelled at any time without incurring a fee. The internet service provider agreed to provide the client with a month-to-month internet service connection and confirmed that the service could be cancelled at any time without incurring a fee. The internet service provider advised the client that the service would incur a one-off start-up fee and a monthly fee thereafter, which the client agreed to pay.
The client paid the one-off start-up fee and the first monthly fee. The client then realised that he could no longer afford the service and telephoned the internet service provider to cancel the service, effective immediately. The internet service provider confirmed that the service would be disconnected by midnight on the same date and that the client was not required to make further payment. The service was disconnected on the same date.
The client then received a series of Pending Disconnection Notices, Letters of Demand and 48-Hour Demand Letters demanding payment to 'finalise your debt.' The client telephoned the internet service provider and was repeatedly assured that the account was finalised and that no further payment was required. The client subsequently received a number of letters of demand from lawyers acting on behalf of the internet service provider demanding payment of additional amounts. The letters threatened to escalate the matter and suggested that the client may be liable for additional costs. The client attempted to negotiate with the lawyers, which was unsuccessful. The client was anxious over the prospects of legal proceedings.
The Centre sent correspondence to both the internet service provider and the lawyers acting on behalf of the internet service provider denying liability for the amounts sought. The Centre did not receive a reply and the client continued to receive letters of demand from the internet service provider and from the lawyers acting on behalf of the internet service provider, which continued to cause the client anxiety.
The Centre prepared and lodged a Complaint to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. The internet service provider then agreed to negotiate with the Centre. The Centre successfully negotiated a full waiver of the amount sought and the internet service provider provided written confirmation that no further payment was required.
The client was very grateful for the assistance which he received. The client said: "The Centre provided a good service and I was very happy with the result."