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12 May 2013

Telco cold calls

A new telco is on the prowl for customers.

A new telco is on the prowl for customers.

Consumer member Pam is usually immune to the hard sell. But after a lengthy call from Origin Communications, she told us she felt bullied into switching her phone and internet services to the company. She says it then took several long phone calls to cancel the deal.

Origin Communications is the trading name of NXT Telecom, a company registered in May last year. According to the Companies Office, its sole director Sanjay Bhayani lives in Australia and its two shareholders Sudha and Sriranga Rathi reside in India.

NXT Telecom is also behind the Spirit Telco brand, which emerged at the same time as Origin Communications. The Commerce Commission told us Spirit Telco was being investigated under the Fair Trading Act but details of the investigation have yet to be made public.

Sales reps for both Origin and Spirit have been busy cold-calling potential customers offering phone and broadband deals. The terms and conditions for the services are set out in a lengthy 53-page document.

Pam isn't the only one who is less than impressed with the sales spin. Our advisers have been getting a steady stream of calls about the companies.

Adviser Maggie Edwards recommends that consumers never sign up on the spot and never give personal details to cold-calling sales reps. "If you get cold-called by pushy sales staff from this company – or any other company – the best consumer protection is to hang up," she says.

Maggie also points out NXT Telecom isn't a member of the Telecommunications Dispute Resolution (TDR) scheme. Companies that are part of the scheme agree to comply with a customer complaints code and are bound by TDR decisions on disputes.

When we finally managed to get in touch with NXT Telecom, its general manager Michael Slunksy told us it was "still considering" whether to join the TDR now or wait until the current telco legislative review is completed. He told us the company stands behind its products and encouraged dissatisfied customers to contact its customer care centre.

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