Mississauga, Ont.-based Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider Axsit (pronounced “access it”) has been sold, one month after it was determined the company had breached its service obligations, the Commissioner of Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS) announced this week.
The customer who first issued the complaint that led to the breach has been compensated, and Axsit’s new owner, Calgary-based WiMac Tel, is currently making the changes necessary to comply with CCTS public awareness standards, the telecom watchdog said.
Under its former owner, Peter Sliwka, Axsit “was a one-man operation, and he either couldn’t or wouldn’t spend the time necessary to service these customers,” CCTS commissioner Howard Maker said, noting that both his organization and the customer were pleased with WiMac Tel’s willingness to meet CCTS standards.
The customer in question, whose name has not been released, first complained to CCTS in January regarding charges on his Axsit bill that turned out to be the result of fraudulent long-distance calls made by someone who had hacked into his service.
“Following our investigation we concluded that Axsit should be responsible for those charges, rather than the customer,” Maker said. “They initially did not reply to the complaint, and so when that happens – which it does sometimes – we proceed based on the information we knew from the customer.”
On July 5, CCTS sent out a media release informing the public and Axsit customers of the breach, and on July 14 the organization issued another release revealing that Sliwka planned to sell the company, claiming it had 1000 customers that could be “up-sold and converted into double and triple play bundles,” according to the second release.
Despite the breach, Axsit has continued to enjoy a four-star user rating on Google — though it should be noted that as of this writing the positive reviews were all at least a year old, while the two most recent reviewers were both less than thrilled with their service.
“Fortunately this sort of thing is very rare,” Maker said. “But when it happens, we have to publicly call [companies] out for not honouring their obligations.”
Soon after CCTS issued the second release, the organization was contacted by Axsit’s new owners.
Unlike Sliwka, WiMac Tel is much larger (though significantly more poorly-reviewed) than Axsit, and until recently had primarily focused on operator services, Maker said.
“They participate in placing collect calls, from payphones and elsewhere, and people find those charges expensive – they’re not what they’re used to. So that probably has generated a lot of the discontent that you see on message boards,” Maker said in response to the company’s reviews. “I think this is going to be a new foray for them into retail – a local and long-distance phone service, so we’ll see how that goes.”
WiMac Tel plans to continue operating Axsit under its current name and is taking the appropriate steps to comply with CCTS standards, including paying all outstanding fees, Maker said.
Meanwhile, Axsit customers should expect to continue receiving the service they’re used to – except, hopefully, with improved customer support, he said.
WiMac Tel CEO James MacKenzie has promised to speak with ITWorldCanada.com’s sister site ITBusiness.ca regarding this story next week.