The telecommunications watchdog Oftel is investigating the World Online takeover following over 50 complaints from disgruntled screaming.net customers.
World Online has been swallowing ISPs such as screaming.net and bun.com as well as telcos Telinco and Localtel as part of its plan to become the largest service provider in Europe. But not all screaming.net users are happy with their new owner, claiming World Online has upped telephone rental and forced users to upgrade to services they didn't want.
CEO of World Online UK, Simon Preston, dismisses the claims. "There is not an Oftel issue here at all. We can't give out free lunches," he says. Preston also defends the decision to "upgrade" screaming.net customers to a 24/7 unlimited access service. "We took a view on the service and decided to increase line rental by around £4 or £5 [a month] although everyone will get 24/7 for no extra cost for the first three months," he explains.
Preston says he was "surprised" that not all screaming.net customers wanted to be upgraded and in a concession to them admits World Online will be offering the option to return to the original service if they wish.
Oftel claims it is currently investigating the matter and expects to rule on the issue later in the year.
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