Open letter to iBurst

Open letter to iBurst (SA)

This morning (16 July 2009) I received an sms from a credit collecting company wanting to claim R2 299 on behalf of iBurst, for an account that was closed in December 2006/January 2007. While Shaun Green, a helpful employee at your company has now resolved the issue, I want to tell you my story, share my experience of the company with the company – a kind of anti-inspirational story, if you get my drift – and simultaneously warn anyone considering it as service provider to stay well away from iBurst (iBurst will cause you unending grief). Again, while I appreciate Shaun’s speedy resolution of my account – hopefully it’s indeed final, but who knows what the collecting company might do with my file – while I appreciate his efforts, my experiences with your company over the past three years I feel now lies in me like a bad, black humor. So see this as an exorcism of sorts on my part and something you might hopefully learn from. Take whatever lessons you want, they are free. And people looking for an ISP, you more than anyone else, take this lesson for free, but take it to heart. The problems I experienced and that are detailed below, still happen, and they happen to scores of people.

Shaun Green’s speedy resolution of the case gives me scant satisfaction. (His efforts, well-praised all over MyBroadBand as they may be, seem to me like holding a finger in a dyke.) It is scant satisfaction because you, iBurst, have repeatedly just ruined my fucking day, despite all reasonable efforts on my part to forget that you exist. You have ruined my day when I’ve least expected it, and you have done this repeatedly, now three times, after I had thought things between us had been resolved (more than once) and I was free of your magnificent incompetence. You have ruined my day by dredging up and returning me to my pitiful experiences with your pitiful fucking company.

Your continuing existence, the thought that iBurst as a company can exist in the face of the overwhelming odds that, surely, your own continuing, dreadful and shameless incompetence must present to your business… dit gaan die verstand te bowe. It is inconceivable. And that is why I get scant satisfaction from the fact that the case is now resolved and why I still write this. The idea that you just continue on your way, merrily ruining people’s days, that you haven’t folded yet: that pisses me off, in a big fucking way.

Let me tell you how it goes.

In late 2006, my external antenna was stolen. Without the antenna, I had no signal. I struggled to find another antenna. The reseller from whom I bought the modem and antenna was not answering nor returning my calls. So, finding it too much of a bother to find the hardware (strike 1), and figuring that an external antenna will just be stolen again, I decided to switch to ADSL. Within five days of calling Telkom, I was connected. I’ve never had any major problems with ADSL since. I had a connection problem once and a technician was at my house within 2 hours. I don’t own shares in Telkom and this is not a piece of marketing in their favour, but I have to give Telkom two ticks against your strike.

Despite me having no hardware for the iBurst service, and thus unable to use the service, iBurst still wanted me to follow the 30-day notice procedure. My case wasn’t a normal case: I wasn’t an individual who had stumbled onto a better deal and wanted to change ISPs. The issue was that I no longer could access the service, and yet iBurst wanted to keep on charging me for the service, based on a legalism that made no provision for extraordinary or unusual circumstances. In other words, iBurst followed, machine-like, a procedure that didn’t care for the variety of human circumstances – not very inspirational and not in tandem with inspirational messages that may make appeal to the human spirit. So, I cut my losses and paid for 30 days of iBurst use without access to my 3 Gigs of bandwidth. (strike 2)

Then, in December 2006, my final debit order for iBurst amounted to a whopping R4 829, while normally the monthly debit order was in the region of R500 or R600 (I can’t remember exactly, it was 3 years ago). I was fuming. I found a number at MyBroadBand, called it and spoke to someone at iBurst. I then learnt that this money was apparently owed for extra bandwidth.

Yes, I regularly topped up my bandwidth and, no, I didn’t regularly check my bank statements. I was then told that many debit orders, especially for top-up bandwidth, did not run every month (this is an old story for old customers of iBurst – I hope you have fixed that; I mean, you are an IT company, why the fuck can’t you get your debit orders to run?), and thus the R4 829 included the fee for my notice month (during which, remember, I couldn’t use the service) and outstanding fees – those debit orders that never ran for most of the second half of 2006. (strike 3)

Forgive me for being lazy with my own banking admin., but I would expect a 21st century corporation to be on top of their own accounting and run the debit order on time, accurately. I would also expect to trust an online company: as per agreement, they bill me for what I use, I pay them for that use. What I now had to do, was go through my statements and reconcile debit orders that did run against bandwidth purchases. Guess what? Of course I didn’t keep a record of my bandwidth purchases. Who the fuck does, since we trust the company’s accounting department and only notice figures that are way outside the average debit amounts? Besides, would a note scribbled in my diary in any case count as a legal record and proof against erroneous claims? At that time, there was no online facility at iBurst where one could check (and thus keep record of) top-up bandwidth bought. (strike 4)

I’m no longer with iBurst, of course, and thus do not know whether you have such a facility. I have been happy at Cybersmart (2 ticks) for 3 years, and they have such facilities: on any day of the month you can request online an automated invoice that will include top-up bandwidth bought to date. Magical, what one can do with software. Also, guess what, I’ve never been charged by Cybersmart for bandwidth that I haven’t bought. Nor has there been any problems with debit orders. (2 more ticks for Cybersmart)

In any case, I thus moaned and complained and appealed to your representative on the phone. Finally, he agreed to a compromise refund: R2 300. Clearly he had some authority in this regard because a few days later I received the refund of R2 300. I licked my wounds: at least I got some money back, I was happy – and still am – with Telkom ADSL and Cybersmart. Case resolved. No more surprising big debits from WBS Holdings. In fact, no more debits from WBS Holdings.

Invoices from iBurst, for R2 299 R7 000+, kept on appearing in the post, though [update].* I called. Some nameless person on your side told me that there have been problems in accounting and that, if I have closed my account, I should just ignore the invoices. It’s just lag. The invoices then stopped.

But then, a few months later, the invoices started arriving again. In the meantime, I was coming across more and more horror stories about iBurst accounting incompetence. Horror stories, reappearing invoices… nervous times. So I called your notoriously unhelpful helpdesk (strike 5) and was given the normal helpdesk runaround so endemic to 21st century corporations. No one knows anything fucking useful, no one can understand a not wholly complicated story – it’s all so fucking frustratingly incompetent.

Again I should point out the difference in experience with Telkom and Cybersmart: I’ve never experienced anything anywhere near the incompetence with either that I have experienced with iBurst. Despite Telkom’s bad reputation, whenever I’ve called – just to be on the safe side – to say that I’ve made a payment by EFT but it will be a day late or to request an extension to a bill, Telkom’s call centre staff have been helpful and friendly. In fact, so impressed have I been with Telkom that I made a point of spending 10 minutes on the phone recently answering a survey. I kid you not, I gave them on average 9/10. (2 ticks for them).

With Cybersmart too. If I need them to suspend a debit order for a particular month when finances are low, they do that – a simple email request 3 days before the end of the month and within 24 hours I receive a response saying that the debit order has been suspended. I then have 15 days to make the payment, and I don’t need to email or fax them the proof of payment. Close to the time of the next debit order, they will email to remind me that the debit order is in place again. If I need that one suspended too, there is no problem. And the few times I had minor technical glitches or where there was a discrepancy in bandwidth usage records, a simple telephone call resolved the issue on the fly. (I’ll give them 3 more ticks)

Again, I do not wish to market any company, but I mention these experiences with Telkom and Cybersmart to show that your company, iBurst, lags far behind in almost all matters, and that excellent service, however many lightyears away from you it might be, is possible.

Anyway. Again. I tried again. I was told someone important would get back to me. It never happened (strike 6), and the invoices kept coming. I ignored them for the rest of 2007 and eventually forgot about that ruined day back in December 2006.

Sometime in August 2008, a credit collection company contacts me. That’s right, my fucking day ruined: iBurst wants R2 299 from me. (strike 7) I tell them the story. Oh no, of course the onus is on me now to furnish them with proof, while it is iBurst’s accounting that has screwed up. I post a report at Hello Peter (12 August 2008), and iBurst contacts me. Eventually, Mr. X calls me (a name! what fucking pleasure and relief! at least there’s a name I can hold onto). Again I explain my story. He tells me that no debit order ran on my account in December 2006. I send him the reference number for the debit order of R4 829 by email. He replies, thanking me for pointing out the error, promises an apology if iBurst is indeed in error (he needs to check), and even offers a refund of R230 (I’m sure he meant R2 300) in the event of such iBurst error confirmed on your side. I’m prepared to withdraw 2 strikes at the promise of the refund being duplicated, but I then wonder whether Mr. X has actually understood my story: that I had received a refund and I was not now appealing for one; that my account is or should be closed and resolved.

In any event, that’s the last I hear from Mr. X.

Who knows what byzantine machinations work themselves out in the bowels of your company to explain no apology nor confirmation of an accounting error (yet again) forthcoming from Mr. X – perhaps he moved to another department, perhaps he was about to email me and was called away to a meeting or was cajoled into early drinks on a Friday, then by Monday had forgotten; after all, it’s just one bothersome account in a company that holds millions of them, I’m sure. But in the absence of any further contact from Mr. X, I naturally grow to believe that, finally, iBurst has resolved my account.

Lo and fucking behold! Today, 16 July 2009, almost a year since your company never got back to me on a case that was supposed to be resolved 2 years prior to that, you ruin my fucking day again. I receive an sms from a credit collecting company, asking for R2 299 on behalf of iBurst. Can you fucking believe it? (strike 8).

I go to MyBroadBand and resurrect an old thread with an angry post liberally laced with swearing. I husband my anger and litter expletives all over Twitter. That’s when Shaun Green contacts me. He is sympathetic, sincere and clearly dedicated. He’ll look into it. He calls me back late afternoon. He can’t find any details of an account for me on your system! Now can you fucking believe THAT? No fucking details for me on your fucking system!

What does one say? How in heaven’s name do you hand a dossier to a credit collecting company when you do not have any details of an account yourself. Now, I understand that credit collecting companies may buy over bad debt from each other and thus, without iBurst knowing, take over old dossiers, but, shit, do you people not reconcile amongst each other? And clearly Mr. X never did shit to resolve anything with the first credit collecting company if indeed bad debt was handed over to a new collecting company.

Or did Mr. X just throw his hands up in the air in befuddlement back in August 2008, hoping that shit wouldn’t reappear on his watch, but now here we are again, back at square one?

How can anyone do business like this? Looking at internet forums and Hello Peter, it’s clear that it’s not only one or two accounts that are causing consternation and anguish for your customers. You are ruining many people’s days, constantly, still, and there is great fucking gnashing of teeth across the land. Tell me, how the fuck is it possible that you’re still in business? I’d like to know, so that I too can open a business and do fuckall but still make money.

I understand that your boss is in the habit of writing inspirational emails in the face of much pessimism and adversity. In the context of what I have been experiencing with iBurst – a company I thought long dead to me since I switched to ADSL, but which has reared its ugly fucking head like some surreal bureaucratic monster Kafka would have wet his pants for – in that context those inspirational emails sound ridiculously idiotic. (strike n, where n=any fucking number you can think of greater than K, and where K is the constant of my anger and irritation at your company, which is big, fucking big)

Mr. Bossman,* do you know what effect your company has on its clients, existing or former? What accolades do you yearn for in writing inspirational notes, while your company remains faceless and clearly incompetent in dealing with the accounting of a measly (to you, I am sure) R2 299, that stretches back to an account that was closed at the end of 2006? I’d like to know the exact nature of the accounting error that has led through three years to this point of me eventually writing this long, angry piece. Was it a fly caught between a typewriter’s ribbon and paper, as in Brazil? Can’t be; we use computers and paperless forms. Did Mr. X look away for one moment at a bird’s sudden flurry of wings past his window, then returned to his monitor but inadvertently and absent-mindedly started on the next case? What? What did cause this drawn out fucking saga?

You know what else? I’d like to see you wring some inspiration out of this story. You want to be some inspirational guru? Is that your dream? Come on, inspire me and get me to switch back to iBurst – that will be an achievement. Show me how iBurst has improved over the past 3 years in customer service, in developing meticulous accounting, in price scales, in the breadth and depth of staff training. (But spare me any bullshit pseudo-philosophical or new-business speak. Or the tedium of inspirational discourse.)

I should warn you though that it is an impossible task – relieving my aggravation at your company – but I am sure you can inspire the Sisyphus in yourself.

Or, how’s about actually looking at iBurst with a cold, calculating, business-like but humble eye, admit defeat and close it down – its a woolly mammoth wandering way outside it’s time-band pretending it’s an IT expert with nimble fingers and good business practice. And that would be a greater achievement.

Furthermore, as an inspirational gesture to the many customers whose many days you have ruined many fucking times over, why not write off their debt or give them free bandwidth. And those who have been double-billed, or who are still being billed after they’ve cancelled the service, who have been handed over to credit collectors, who still suffer the deep troughs of incompetence in your accounts department, who I bet are whipped into financial panic mode because of unexpected credit collection notes, apologise to them, sincerely, send a box of chocolates, erase their records. Fucking do something. Such magnamity would be a far greater achievement than any warm fuzzy feelings you get from writing inspirational emails or from the false notes in any goodbye note.

Seriously, tell me, how does this story inspire you? How, do you imagine, does it inspire confidence in your company? How, do you imagine, may it inspire prospective customers to join iBurst?

While Shaun Green has been very helpful and has resolved the issue, I cannot help but feel that my immense irritation at iBurst will be long in dissipating, because of the unending fucking switchbacks to this overlong saga. And no matter such resolution, whenever I hear someone contemplating getting connected through iBurst, I will snort into my drink and do my utmost to discourage them from joining iBurst. The same I will do whenever I hear about your inspirational emails.

Yours ever pissed off

Rustum Kozain

Notes

* I’ve been rooting around in old MyBroadBand threads and found a post dated 26 July 2007 in which I complain about an invoice for R7 000+ and which an iBurst representative told me to ignore. I do recall invoices for R 2 299 reappearing. I may still have some of them in a folder which I prepared in 2008 when the first credit collector contacted me – but ja, that’s in a stack of paper somewhere in this untidy study… but which I hope to clean next week. It may be instructive to read the whole of that thread in any case, reminding yourself that it’s from the middle of 2007. And a few months later, another one – here a commentator complains that “there have been warning signs of incompetence for a long time now mainly in the accounts department”. In both these threads an issue that I have forgotten about came up: when I closed my account, I went to Nedbank to stop the debit order. Nedbank said they couldn’t stop the debit order, that that was entirely dependent on iBurst. I remember I thought that that was some scary stuff. But apparently, according to some commentators in that thread, at other banks there were no problems stopping debit orders from iBurst.

** I’ve just learnt that Mr. Inspirational is no longer at the head of iBurst – he resigned in March this year, apparently due to ‘family reasons’. He remains connected to iBurst as consultant until August. So I think I’ll just leave (enhanced) references to him in the post.

———————

Afterword

— I urge people who are considering getting or switching to iBurst to have a look at some of the complaints against iBurst at HelloPeter. It is a place filled with anguish.

— In a strange way, I feel sorry for some of the employees who have to respond to the complaints. They’re trying hard but fail miserably at sounding sincere, at trying to treat each complainant as an individual, ‘valued customer’ even as the repetitious responses and faux-gratitude for ‘bringing the complaint to their attention’ collapses in on that rearguard action. Who writes these scripts? What MBA genius thought that pretending to be grateful and humble will endear your customers? It’s patronising, especially when it’s so evident, on HelloPeter, that it’s more or less the same problem that people have been struggling with for a very long time with iBurst: billing, accounts – the overwhelming majority of complaints are about this. It’s so blatantly dishonest pretending that you’re grateful that someone is complaining about your miserable service: “Oh, we’re so grateful that you’ve brought something that we’ve known about for years to our attention. What would we do without you and your complaining ass?”

But, yes, I feel sorry for some of the employees. Can you imagine them, at drinks of a Friday evening, people chatting:

X: So, what do you do?

B: I work in customer relations.

X: Where?

B: At an IT company…

X: Which…

B: … er, at i-… sorry, will you excuse me, I need the powder room.

X (looking at G, shrugging shoulders): I dunno, I just asked where s/he worked…

— Some useful advice should you find yourself lost in the iBurst labyrinth, from a poster at MyBroadBand.

— iBurst started tweeting on 7 April this year. Here’s a blogpost from January looking at iBurst’s tardiness in this regard compared to others, the impact of social media on bolstering or damaging a company’s reputation and how a company can gain or lose customers depending on its own interaction (or not) through social media. Interesting how Mweb picked up on someone dissing iBurst on Twitter and apparently offering that person a free trial.

— iBurst slogan: “Broadband. Simplified. (End the suffering!)” That should be: “Lowband. Byzantine. Relive the suffering.”

— “Byzantine” has been a favourite word these past two weeks, inspired by experiences with another bureaucratic process.

— I wonder what the advertising gurus call my experience: negative experience with company, shunning/forgetting company, unexpected reliving of negative experience, return of ‘brand awareness’, but in a bigger, more negative sense than the initial negative experience had left.

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46 Comments »

  1. I feel your pain. Just this week people were being ripped off because their bandwidth monitor is broken . Read mybb forums for early January 2010 (I would put the link in this comment but I don’t know if you strip hyperlinks out). Their bandwidth monitor has been broken for months. This, shoddy accounting and massive errors on their website regarding upgrades/downgrades made me terminate my month-to-month subscription with them (I was a long standing customer for 5 years) and go with ADSL. ADSL is now much cheaper than iBurst. iBurst simply haven’t moved with the trend of falling bandwidth prices.

    I’ve never looked back.

    Comment by Roger Weiss — 5 January 2010 @ 12:38 pm

  2. Hi Roger. Thanks for dropping by. I’m a regular at MyBB and, in fact, this blog spins off from my posts there last year. But not to worry about my pain; this happened in July 2009.

    Comment by BSE — 5 January 2010 @ 5:16 pm

  3. tonight i tried to buy bandwdith from icurse. i think icurse is an apt name for iburst because it seems whatever they do, or rather don’t do one will curse.

    anway way… iburst ruined my day by simply not letting me buy more bandwidth. their internet site does not allow you to log in to buy more bandwidth and when you phone their ‘help’ desk no one answers.

    sure i am phoning at 1am in the morning… and god forbid i wake someone up… but i am entirely perplexed at how one is meant to buy bandwidth.

    more than that i am entirely perplexed at how iburst actually do make money.

    thank you for this website and to inform you…. no their services have not improved… if anything they have worsened.

    Comment by halicon — 21 January 2010 @ 2:06 am

  4. Woo. iCurse, not a bad name for them morons. Fortunately our account was through Tradepage so I have never had any billing problems, but nothing else has been good with iCurse. I discovered that I was being billed for retransmissions for data errors originating from their transmitters. We sat for hours going through tons of documentation with a technician who must have been Mr X’s assistant. Eventually they checked their software and confirmed that all customers were being incorrectly billed for transmission errors. So a refund was offered and accepted but never paid. After months of more phone calls iCurse started the whole process all over again – I just gave up. Then in December 2009 we needed to buy additional bandwidth urgently. Not allowed, their web site was always down. In desperation we took out a Neotel contract. What a pleasure. What fantastic service. The price is half that of iCurse at double the speed. Also if you use up all you bandwidth you only pay 8 cents/MB for additional bandwidth.

    iCurse was started by Alan Knott Craig (junior). I guess Alan Knott Craig (Senior) was too busy at Vodacom to help his son in getting the business going. But then, guess what… Vodacom buys iCurse, makes the service even worse and Knott Craig United retire.

    Very happy with Neotel in the office and ADSL at home. Both give great service.

    Comment by John Agar — 4 February 2010 @ 1:32 pm

  5. It is September. I wanted to buy more bandwidth, was not allowed to.Could not get onto their site. I had a previous incident where I paid money up front R500-00 in credit, when I got my statement it stated that I was in arrears. I called them to say that I had a credit I got told that they can’t use that for the connection, it was only for bandwidth. Huh? I don’t understand the problem. they want to cut me off for not paying yet they have R500-00 credit…..speechless

    Comment by Celeste — 29 September 2010 @ 2:21 pm

  6. I am sad – but unsurprised – to say that the *only* joy I’ve had from iBurst in the 5 years I’ve been a client was today, when they *finally* terminated my a/c. It is 2011 – almost two years since your drama – and nothing has changed. Poor service. Poor delivery. Poor admin. Poor account handling. And no – NO – crisis management, conflict resolution skills or issue monitoring. How they remain in business year on year is an absolute mystery.

    Comment by Tiffany — 14 January 2011 @ 5:50 pm

  7. Welcome to the side of light, Tiffany.

    Comment by RK — 2 February 2011 @ 2:19 pm

  8. The reason I joined iBurst in 2005 was to rebel against Telkom’s bad service. iBurst was very competitive for about 4 years. The irony is that I’m back with Telkom…got my first ADSL line a year ago and I’ve never looked back. We all love to hate Telkom but you can’t beat their service, billing, value for money and uptime.

    I’m surprised iBurst is still in business.

    Comment by Roger — 2 February 2011 @ 3:02 pm

  9. Wow, I feel your pain. I dont think I have EVER dealt with a company like this. They are unethical to the point that I wonder how they have managed to operate for so long. My issue is still not resolved they are still illegally debiting my account. I just cannot get them to cancel my contract,mailed, faxed phoned a 100 times. Even left a message with the ops director, he cant even phone back. BEWARE TO THE CONSUMER, ONCE THEY HAVE ANY OF YOUR DETAILS THIS APPARENTLY GIVES THE RIGHT TO DEBIT YOUR ACCOUNT AS AND WHEN THEY FEEL LIKE IT. Dont even phone them because that apparently constitutes a contract. Oh and they cannot find the recorded phone call, yet the debiting goes on. Time for them to be taken to court??

    Comment by Dee — 16 March 2011 @ 6:11 pm

  10. I knew I wasn’t alone!

    But hell, how are they getting away with this?

    We are but INDIVIDUALS being BULLIED by a large corporate company… They must have weighed their risks… Loss v/s Gain…

    How many inidviduals do you think will persisit weeks, months – going to years now trying to get i.e. R8000 back from a lumpsum debit order (which they UNILATERALLY decided on in my absence)back from them. How much will it cost in legal fees to do so? More than 8K…

    Trying Ombudsman now, and hoping new Consumer Act 2011 Launching 1 April will bring some joy.

    Consumer Law Firm in Rosebank (Featured on Carte Blanche) – I am going to try get hold of him to give pointers to shortest way to resolution – Least effort, least money spent for maximum reimbursement ain shortest timespan @ most taxing consequences to iBurst.

    Man, I wish I was a god to unleash a bolt of lightning now…

    Any news anybody?

    I will report back if I get any joy…

    “Useful” links:
    http://www.hellopeter.com/search_results.php?search=iburst
    http://www.complaintsboard.com/bycompany/iburst-a13720.html
    http://beta.mnet.co.za/Carteblanche/Article.aspx?Id=4302&ShowId=1
    http://beta.mnet.co.za/carteblanche/Article.aspx?Id=4303&ShowId=1

    Comment by Chili Cheri — 20 March 2011 @ 2:07 am

  11. To recent commenters here,

    my apologies that I take so long to approve and respond to your comments. I maintain this blog mainly for historical purposes and I do believe that I am finally free of iBurst, apart from a bug of schadenfreude that makes me check the iBurst threads at MyBroadband occasionally…

    And from your comments, I am amazed that this company still exists and that the same accounting problems persist. When I wrote this letter, the then bossman, Jannie van Zyl, insisted on calling my problem a rare, once-off occurrence. He was implementing new systems and whatnot, and famously said that ‘we will eat this elephant’. Hubris like I have never seen; and arrogant, stubborn denial that the problem was systemic and by now probably part of iBurst’s corporate culture. Van Zyl is no longer there; his tenure lasted, I think, 9 months. All sorts of reasons for his departure circulate; none of them include that he couldn’t turn iBurst around. No elephants were harmed, but the dinosaur that is iBurst clearly still lumbers through our land.

    Comment by RK — 9 May 2011 @ 12:29 pm

  12. I have had a similar experience with these crooks. Extra bandwith, but I was on Prepaid. So they just abused my credit card nr..
    My bank acknowledged my complaint, debited IBurst and reimbursed the money for 3 month. I challenged the crooks twice to take me to court, but they never did and they know why.

    R. Stompe

    Comment by Reinhard — 25 August 2011 @ 12:48 pm

  13. After not receiving any call backs from Iburst to my request for Iburst services I tried to find a contact address for the current CEO and stumbled on this page https://openlettertoiburst.wordpress.com/ I am so pleased i did and will definately not be doing business with Iburst. Thank you Iburst for not responding to my repeated email requests for your services.

    Comment by Keep It Live — 14 December 2011 @ 12:07 pm

  14. When I took this contract, I could not access internet not because of

    coverage, but their negligence. I used to spend more han 20 minutes

    trying to acces internet until I cided to give up. I used to call them

    from my cell phone each time I experienced this problem. I did e-mail

    them too to no vain until they decided to assign a certain technician

    from Pinetown, who refused to come to my area because ( I live with

    animals I assume). When I wanted to terminate the contract they

    refused saying that its a 2 yr contract. All I know is that the

    agreement said I should pay for the services rendered to me. In this

    case there was no service rendered to me.

    One day a certain guy from parlock came to assist me and @ least I was

    able to access internet. In September 2011 the premiums were not

    deducted on the 25th yet there was money on my account until 8 noon.

    They debited twice the amount the following month but, since then I

    have never had internet and they keep deducting my money.

    I have e-mailed, called, facebooked,twittered and they say my account

    is active even if I tell them that the system says thecaccount is

    still suspended. Whene i requested them to terminate this account,

    they refuse.

    Newspapers, Advocates, Lawyers, Media – I need to expose these peolpe now.

    Buhle

    Comment by Buhle — 9 January 2012 @ 4:15 pm

  15. Hi Buhle. I’m a business journalist and would like to look into this story. Email the details to maakem@sundaytimes.co.za

    Comment by Moyagabo — 30 January 2012 @ 8:39 pm

  16. TLDR

    Comment by Nic — 26 February 2012 @ 5:29 pm

  17. Iburst
    I didnt know this was possible
    how can you do this to people

    Comment by Rob — 28 February 2012 @ 4:22 am

  18. After not having internet for 6 months now, Iam not able to log into my iburst account as well but they are still taking money from account. The last debit was done on Saturday 25 February 2012.

    Comment by Buhle — 28 February 2012 @ 8:17 am

  19. Wow!Just Had My First Crack At The Retards This Week!Incorrect Billing!No One Contacts Me To Inform Me Of The Error!I Had To Phone Back All The Time Due To Empty Promises Of “I Will Look Into The Matter Mr Briggs And Get Back To You Later Today” So Im Thinking Cool….But Do They Get Back To Me..NOPE,So Tuesday Comes I End Up Phoning Again!To Have Another Consultant Say The Same Thing To Me And Guess What…Nothing Happens (Suprise Suprise),So I Phone The Wednesday Only To Talk To Another Doos Who Then Assures Me That He WILL Get Back To Me Today Because He is Not The Other Consultant I Spoke To…So i Got Some Confidence And To No Suprise No Fucking Phone Call!So I Phoned Again Today!Same Bullshit Different Consultant!I Mean Are They Trained To Take People For A Fucking Ride Or Are They Just That Not Cared About There Clients,The People That Keep Their Asses In The Position They Are In Today!Anyway So This Consultant Now Informs Me That He Is Not The Consultants I Spoke To Before And He Will Get Back To Me!So Guess What….HE DOESNT!Then I Phoned The Supervisor Who Politely Informs Me That The 2 Previous Consultants And Fucked Off To Take Leave!SERIOUSLY!!!!So He Couldnt Pass On A Message Or Anything!So I Am Thankfully Going To Terminate My Contract When It Expires This Year I Just Pray To God Nothing Like This Happens Again! Oh And Would Anyone Perhaps Know What The General Manager Or What Evers Email Adress Is Or Contact Details Is?

    Comment by Brandon Gareth Briggs — 1 March 2012 @ 7:09 pm

  20. Well I stumbled across this letter in an effort to find the MD’s contact details. I suppose all the account dramas will also come my way in the future but I had a very simple request and spent the whole afternoon on fruitless telephone calls. I need to move as the place where I live now has been sold and,being dependent on the internet with an iburst contract and being an old lady who is definitely not a computer fundi – all I wanted was a short list of areas in Pretoria where iburst reception is good so that I could start my house hunt in those areas.What i found on their website was a digital map where I needed to type in each individual area to view the reception and not wanting to start with A and work all the way through to Z I thought one call to iburst would be a quick solution! HA HA HA .NOBODY COULD HELP ME ACCESS SUCH A MAP OR GIVE ME THE INFORMATION OR EVEN GIVE ME THE NAME OF SOMEONE THAT WOULD HAVE THAT INFORMATION(WHETHER ON THE TECHNICAL, HEAD OFFICE OR SALES SIDE) Doesn’t anyone in iburst have an overall picture of their company? Doesn’t anyone know where they need to improve their reception? What they need to work on?I phoned their branches asking to speak to anyone that has been working there a long time that would know a few good areas off the cuff and managed to get ONE NAME- BUT GET THIS-THIS PERSON IS ONLY WORKING ON SUNDAY and I will need to wait until then!!! Looks like even the employees don’t stay long!!(and of course the thought of them actually telephoning this ONE GEM and getting the info and actually coming back to me never crossed their minds! I mean, that might actually smack of customer service and they are not that type of service provider!!! I AM SO TOTALLY FRUSTRATED!!

    Comment by Mariaan Viljoen — 2 November 2012 @ 3:20 pm

  21. It would be so amazing if IBurst could offer a service and train their people to deal with the public in a polite and efficient manner. I run a charity and used IBurst. We had to convert to a network in order to train and skill people and for love or money I could not cancel or shorten the two contrancts running with IBurst. I recently asked for the end dates of these two contracts that are gobbling up money that could skill a person and help them to start a small business. I also asked for the debit order to be cancelled on the date that the contract expires. This is the well written reply I received – abviously the word SERVICE is not part of the employment agreement at IBurst.
    By the way, my name is Nina and I am a female.

    Goodd day sir,
    Could you kindly contact us requesting for these debit orders to be cancel when by the time the contracts expires.
    Kind regards
    Lenore burger
    on behalf of credit & risk

    Comment by Nina Venjakob — 29 November 2012 @ 1:59 pm

  22. I have had a similar experience with Iburst. The service is absolutely shocking. I receive astonomical bills, of which Iburst is unable to prove my usage. I have been invoiced for days I was not near my computer……or for usage apparently at 1am or 5am. I am still to this date waiting for a response. According to them, the Privacy Act prevents them forwarding sites visited to me. As the contract owner, and the only user of the modem, surely I should access to this information? Why can my service provider not provide this service????
    Iburst will take your money but not provide you with service.

    Comment by Ms. Roe — 11 December 2012 @ 12:29 pm

  23. Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful article.
    Thanks for supplying this info.

    Comment by get cash for surveys reviews — 22 December 2012 @ 6:33 am

  24. It’s really a nice and useful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by telephone sales training — 2 February 2013 @ 12:43 am

  25. I thought I was the only person in South Africa who had a problem with iBurst. They are a buch of incompetent morons. I have on two occasions actually been called back by the technicians, yes I was surprised too, must have been new to the job. This is since 2004 when I joined them. Otherwise, iburst is a bad name to my ears. I am not paying them anymore. They can come and fetch their modem, and shove it where the sun don’t shine, I have paid thousands of Rands for technicians to come to my place to fix problems up, and most of the time they fuck it up worse than before.

    The debacle that has occured since early this week an left us all up in the air was the last straw. Why does it not amaze me that another company went and “Retrieved” their equipment, leaving iburst users in the dark?

    Dee

    Bye bye iburst.

    Comment by Deanne du Preez — 5 April 2013 @ 7:48 pm

  26. Hahaha. So glad I came across this page. Just looking at service providers and price comparisons…. Will stick to cybersmart. No hassle or issues… :-) No wonder iburst is trying to get customers through ABSA by offering 10% off. Just received an SMS. Hellopeter is also really helpfull to decide on these options. Thanks guys!!!

    Comment by Andre — 22 April 2013 @ 8:54 pm

  27. On 3 April 2013, without notice, inspectors from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) entered the premises of Wireless Business Solutions (WBS), the owner of iBurst, and seized certain radio transmission equipment. This resulted in an interruption of iBurst services to a number of its subscribers.

    WBS and ICASA are currently engaged in a dispute over the amount of fees due by WBS to ICASA for WBS’s radio frequency spectrum licences. WBS has held these licences for between 4 and 7 years. WBS and ICASA have been negotiating over the precise amount of these fees to be paid by WBS. In fact, these negotiations were ongoing at the time at which the seizure of equipment took place.

    In view of what WBS regards as the unlawful deprivation of its property and interference with the provision of services to its client, WBS instructed its lawyers, Webber Wentzel, to approach the South Gauteng High Court for urgent relief last week Friday. In this court application, WBS sought the return of its equipment and an order interdicting ICASA from interfering with the provision of WBS’s services, pending a further application to court to declare that WBS is in possession of lawful spectrum licences. The court application was heard last Friday, and the interim order was shortly therafter granted by Judge Vally in favour of WBS.

    As a result of the court order, all of the equipment seized by ICASA has since been returned to WBS. WBS has also since been in a position to devote all its resources to the full restoration of its network activity.

    WBS and ICASA are due to return to court in the week of 14 May 2013 for a determination of the legality of the spectrum licences. In accordance with the court order this dispute will be resolved without any further interruption of iBurst services as a result of the actions of ICASA.

    Comment by brian — 29 April 2013 @ 4:23 pm

  28. Have had a hate/hate relationship with Iburst for years now …. despite investing in more and more antenna their signal remained worse than the Telkom dial-up connection I experienced in the late 1990’s from Telkom.

    Now Im fighting with them because they refuse to accept my 2 months notice of cancellation – despite receiving a ‘reference number’ – and are demanding I pay for another month of non-existent services!

    Geez, how desperate is the Iburst Group that they so badly need an extra R98 from me??

    Comment by be — 14 May 2013 @ 7:07 pm

  29. Three words on Iburst’s downfall: Affirmative Action Management

    Comment by barry — 14 May 2013 @ 7:20 pm

  30. Barry, if you read my post you will note that a certain Jannie Van Zyl was heading it at the time of this saga. Before that, Alan Knott Craig Jr. Ra-ra. He couldn’t rescue it and then left, to “spend more time with his family.” Van Zyl arrived with great fanfare, touted widely by fanboys as The One who would be able to turn iBurst around. Full of hubris, he announced that “we will eat this elephant”. Instead, his hubris ate him and he left iBurst. Throughout this saga, he also did not reveal himself as someone of any intelligence or competence.

    No race has a monopoly on competence or incompetence.

    Comment by RK — 24 October 2013 @ 7:55 pm

  31. Rustum this country needs people like you to challenge the incompetence we see around us. Rustum for president!

    Comment by John doe — 29 December 2013 @ 7:08 pm

  32. You think you have it bad, I got this email today, keep in mind I demo’d there system in 2007 and haven’t used it since:

    MR/MS  …

    …. 

    Ref No:        …

    Date:             2014/04/24                        

    Direct Tel:     0878250600

    Direct Fax:    0866218000

    RE:  OUTSTANDING iBurst Account / MR/MS  …

    You have failed to make a payment on this account during the last 60 days.  As a consequence of this: 

    ·        Further fees and interest will be raised on this account.

    ·        Your credit record may be affected.

    Your total settlement amount is R 12 121,20 as of 2014/04/24. 

    Please make a payment of 10% within 7 days.  

    PAYMENT CAN BE MADE AT ANY ONE OF THE PAY-POINTS DETAILED   

    Direct Deposit into the bank account as reflected below:                                         

    Trust Account Name:   IBurst            

    Account No:       62365986606            

    Bank Name:      FNB                  

    Branch Code:    254005

    Reference:        …

         2. A Debit Order for the installment amount can be arranged by contacting our call center on 087 825 0600

    The current status of your account is as follows:
    Fees: R 171,69
    Interest: R 1 093,50
    Total amount paid: R 0,00
    Current balance outstanding: R 12 121,20  
    Please fax your proof of payment detailing your account number to 086 621 8000 or email info@ssda.co.za 

    In the event you have any queries do not hesitate to contact us. 

    We trust you will find the above in order. 

    Yours sincerely

    R12k haha…flipping mad these okes.

    Comment by Jay — 26 April 2014 @ 1:56 am

  33. Thanks you for this site. I was going to sign up with them tomorrow (I have the forms all ready) and luckily found your site from Google. Also had a look at HelloPeter.

    I’ll spread the word!

    Comment by Arthur — 15 July 2014 @ 7:46 pm

  34. I need to speak to someone at iburst not just uhm uhm

    Comment by du plessis — 29 August 2014 @ 12:18 pm

  35. You got a guy jannie du toit he say he is a agent of your guys fixing cell phone and all make apointments but never come out its now the 5time I don’t think its a good name for iburst

    Comment by jacques — 15 November 2014 @ 8:42 pm

  36. My name is Neville Valentine = I.D. No. 4912125052086 = I received approximate 30 popups/junk mail on my e-mail = PLEASE, PLEASE, BLOCK OFF ALL JUNK MAIL WHICH COMES TO MY E-MAIL ADDRESS – trustu@ananzi.co.za Trusting this meets your approval serving a loyal client.

    Comment by Neville Valentine — 21 January 2015 @ 2:58 pm

  37. Nothing has changed. Been waiting years for a USB modem. Upgraded to wireless uncapped, then told afterwards that its is not meant for downloads e.g. can barely watch YouTube. Stuck in a contract. Why would I want to change to ADSL if they charge double what others charge. STAY AWAY.

    Comment by Grant — 18 February 2016 @ 8:23 am

  38. OMW… I just read all of this – it’s utterly pathetic. I’ve been trying to call them for 2 weeks – they don’t answer, I continually get spam from people offering jobs so I emailed it to them asking them to block it – they don’t reply. I now get 3 copies of every single email I receive – I’ve tried calling, nothing. So I have decided to forward the same email I sent them with all the ‘triplicate emails’ I receive until somebody contacts me. I will re forward the same mail EVERY SINGLE day with all the attachments whilst adding all the new mails that come in. IBURST YOU’RE SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by haveyoursay1 — 29 June 2016 @ 8:56 am

  39. Do you have a number for the Ombudsman?

    I’ve canceledy iburst in full on the 22 April because of absolute incompetance.
    They are now taking my money again without my permission and say that I haven’t paid upy account.

    Comment by Lara James — 4 July 2016 @ 1:21 pm

  40. I am about to pay them whatever I need to get out of the contract. I then I will spent half my life creating blogs warning people to stay away from iBurst. No customer service, uncapped means web browsing only etc. etc.

    Comment by Jonathan — 27 July 2016 @ 4:24 pm

  41. I have been with iCurse for some 4 years during which time the service “worked” [sort-of] with much vaunted “speed” never coming about. Having got i-Call [using Grandstream supplied by iBurst] that worked for some two years …. until a TWO DAY drop in transmission from a i-Curse base- station 500 Mtrs away on top of a tall building in Durban Road circa March 2016! For AGES [ever efficient and trying] Peter Erian battled until [having had my “Grandstream” collected by Courier] he tested it and found it was buggered! A NEW one was sent to me per courier [for which I paid R549] which ALSO didn’t work. A local “representative” of iCurse [I was astonished to learn there WAS one] from “Etlone” confirmed my HARDWARE was the culprit! “Network Card not working (sic)”.

    BUT Grandstream wouldn’t work on my BACK-UP PC either.

    As it happens I bought TWO NEW PC’s but Grandstream wouldn’t work on either. After much angry exchanges THAT Grandstream was replaced … the previous being under warranty.

    THAT didn’t work either.

    ANOTHER Grandstream was sent which only got to be working after Peter Erian got at it using TeamView.

    YOU GUESSED IT! i-Curse have billed me for TWO “adapters” at R549 each – which I know bugger-all about any “adaptor”.
    Having got ONE R549 reversed .after much shouting and cursing in capitals upper-case.

    Thank GOD I REFUSED to give iCurse a Debt Order pay R280pm per Bank Transfer. The R549 being ignored

    Having read this read I guess the R549 will remain on my account……. until the coming of the Rapture or when pigs fly.

    I have no doubt i-Curse has hopelessly incompetent [people] in “accounts” who don’t know where it is Monday – or raining!

    I am looking at switching back to Telkom ADSL whom I chased away [with a stick!] four years ago because of THEIR arrogance!!

    Comment by delphiman — 12 August 2016 @ 7:30 am

  42. I want to cancel my iburst subscription but I can’t reach the call centre. Frustrating.

    Comment by Prim Gower — 4 October 2016 @ 2:13 pm

  43. Prim you screwed up the moment you signed a Debit Order it being [almost always] difficult to cancel the thing. I pay per EFT and similarly ignore nagging from Multi-choice.

    Comment by delphiman — 4 October 2016 @ 5:51 pm

  44. This iburst is crab’especially Brynston the Indian lady has no respect at all’i find her talling other person to cancel if not happy’on my turn i gave her my mordem and router to check it cause it had no internet’and i said to her please check as to whats wrong with my password cause it doest connect at all’replied your passowrd is with you not me’whereis your power cables ‘replied its in the car i send my brother to bring it but she just left i ask her dont you need those cables’she never reply she just left like that’she came back at about 15minutes saying passwords its fine’i ask her is this unit work she says its working but its up to me if not working’i went home i was not working at all’yaah this iburst it was fine but now bad management who undermine costumers yooh.

    Comment by Joseph — 4 May 2017 @ 2:41 pm

  45. Can someone please assist me..I paid R1050 into Iburst Pty Nedbank account by error and Shabeer Omar will not refund me…His becoming vindictive and spiteful…

    Comment by Robert Zackey — 26 September 2017 @ 4:25 pm

  46. WHAT a saga! For my part when I signed up with iBurst 5 years ago I FLATLY refused to sign a Debit Order …. pay by Bank Transfer to this day. Only problem I have have had [as an accountant by profession] was the statements never make any sense … to this day. I just ignore them paying what I knew I need to. SOMEHOW … from time-to-time we both end op with the same balance. Ho! Ho!

    Comment by TERRY THEUNISSEN — 26 September 2017 @ 4:51 pm


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