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Anyone else had a problem with Sunstone Telecom? they are anything but sunny!

 

About 5 years ago they sold our limited company a contract, which we understood to have been for a period of 2 years. We cancelled the service after 4 1/2 years, as we didn't use the phone much and they have expensive minimum spend clause.

 

Letters demanding huge fees (Like about £800) started arriving, morphing into letters with "Debt Agency" headings talking about court proceedings, baliffs etc. And many phone calls - I mean loads. We don't answer them, at least not after the first few - when we asked for proof of contract and they even admitted they didn't have copy of contract.

 

We realised their tactics are to trap people into verbal agreements on the phone and then threaten them into paying large sums later. In out case, not only is there no contract, but the original agreement was with a limited company that was closed over 2 years ago. They simply put my name in place of the Ltd company, without permission.

 

I've lost count of the phone calls - must be over a 100 and can be outside work hours. I can't imagine how distressing this might be to an elderly person or someone vunerable.

 

Any ideas on how to get rid of them?

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Anyone else had a problem with Sunstone Telecom? They are anything but sunny!

 

About 5 years ago they sold our limited company a contract, which we understood to have been for a period of 2 years. We cancelled the service after 4 1/2 years, as we didn't use the phone much and they have expensive minimum spend clause.

 

Letters demanding huge fees (Like about £800) started arriving, morphing into letters with "Debt Agency" headings talking about court proceedings, baliffs etc. And many phone calls - I mean loads. We don't answer them, at least not after the first few - when we asked for proof of contract and they even admitted they didn't have copy of contract.

 

We realised their tactics are to trap people into verbal agreements on the phone and then threaten them into paying large sums later. In out case, not only is there no contract, but the original agreement was with a limited company that was closed over 2 years ago. They simply put my name in place of the Ltd company, without permission.

 

I've lost count of the phone calls - must be over a 100 and can be outside work hours. I can't imagine how distressing this might be to an elderly person or someone vunerable.

 

Any ideas on how to get rid of them?

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http://www.cisas.org.uk/ are the Ofcom approved "alternative dispute resolution" for sunstone telecom. If you originally complained over 8 weeks ago, you can now escalate the complaint to them (providing your company employed under 10 people you can still use the consumer complaints route, which has tighter controls than business)

 

Putting a complaint to cisas will actually cost sunstone telecom money to have this complaint looked at independently, and it's free to yourself.


If in doubt, contact a qualified insured legal professional (or my wife... she knows EVERYTHING)

 

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Thanks for the pointer, Locutus. Yes, we are a very small business. Anything which costs them is good, as they cost others a lot of hassle.

 

Their supposed debt collection letters are headed "UNIVERSAL DEBT COLLECTION" and state in large letter "NOTICE OF COURT SUMMONS". Of course, any court summons would come from the court itself. So, they are masquerading as having authority when they don't.

 

These letters are churned out about once a week, with 1 to 3 calls a day. I guess they work on the basis that most people will be intimidated into paying, even when they don't have to.

 

I read recently that private car park operators, who use similar (if not so intensive) tactics have about 70% of people paying fines when they have absolutely no legal requirement.

 

Their business model stinks. Trick people into absurdly long contracts by claiming they agreed to a (whispered) clause in a long telephone call, slap a massive termination on them, then harass them to hell if they don't pay the silly demands.

 

No way they'll get a penny from us. If by some craziness they did actually take us to court, we'd vigorously defend ourselves and look to gain damages off them to boot.

 

And, importantly, I hope to warn others off making the big mistake of contacting these rogues for telephone services.

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Thanks for the pointer, Locutus. Yes, we are a very small business. Anything which costs them is good, as they cost others a lot of hassle.

 

Their supposed debt collection letters are headed "UNIVERSAL DEBT COLLECTION" and state in large letter "NOTICE OF COURT SUMMONS". Of course, any court summons would come from the court itself. So, they are masquerading as having authority when they don't.

 

These letters are churned out about once a week, with 1 to 3 calls a day. I guess they work on the basis that most people will be intimidated into paying, even when they don't have to.

 

I read recently that private car park operators, who use similar (if not so intensive) tactics have about 70% of people paying fines when they have absolutely no legal requirement.

 

Their business model stinks. Trick people into absurdly long contracts by claiming they agreed to a (whispered) clause in a long telephone call, slap a massive termination on them, then harass them to hell if they don't pay the silly demands.

 

No way they'll get a penny from us. If by some craziness they did actually take us to court, we'd vigorously defend ourselves and look to gain damages off them to boot.

 

And, importantly, I hope to warn others off making the big mistake of contacting these rogues for telephone services.

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You appear to be double clicking the "post" button.

 

You will need something to defend yourself with if you are going to vigorously defend yourselves. This is a completely different legal framework to parking "notices". A telephone admission that they do not have an agreement will not wash.

 

OFT guidance precludes them from making threats of court action unless they intend to carry those threats out. So either you have a complaint there or they are actually proceeding with litigation. (The former in my opinion since they cannot "summon" you to court for a debt).

 

However, you should write to them "inviting" them to:

1. Deal in writing only.

2. Provide a copy of the agreement that allows them to claim money from you and shows the terms and conditions that the debt was accrued under.

3. Provide a breakdown of monies owed, including all credits, debits and charges to the account.

 

Should they fail to comply within 14 days then dispute the account on the total owing and the lack of legal right for them to collect.

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This was for a limited company that is no longer trading, the whole point in having "limited liability" is that if things do fail you are not liable for the debts. They're trying to get money which is not owed, and that's the OPs complaint, which IMO should be put forward to CISAS to deal with.


If in doubt, contact a qualified insured legal professional (or my wife... she knows EVERYTHING)

 

Or send a cheque or postal order payable to Reclaim the Right Ltd.

to

923 Finchley Road London NW11 7PE

 

 

Click here if you fancy an email address that shows you mean business! (only £6 and that will really help CAG)

 

If you can't donate, please use the Internet Search boxes on the CAG pages - these will generate a small but regular income for the site

 

Please also consider using the

C.A.G. Toolbar

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I only just came across this posting but it might be of interest to know that Sunstone Telecom was taken over by Unicom Telecom recently and Universal Debt Collection is a department within Unicom and is under the Universal Utilities umbrella. If you Google Unicom complaints you will see what you are up against!

Hope you got is sorted

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Yes, judging from the blog link you post, there seem to be quite a few victims of Sunstone's new identity, Unicom (Universal Utilities). Sadly, it also seems that Unicom/Sunstone's campaigns of intimidation work in so far as some people get very worried by their "Notice of Court Proceedings" type letters and pay up.

 

For update on my case with them - They offered to reduce my "bill" from a massive £900 down to £50. What they fail to understand is that I have no contract with them (any supposed contract was with a now defunct company) and I think it's wrong to pay anything. I am also outraged by their over a year campaign against me and a colleague. Hundreds of calls and many threatening letters. Do they think I will give them a penny after putting up with this rubbish...?!

 

I have lodged a formal complaint to OFCOM, along with a claim for damages due to all the time I have spent dealing with their harassment. I doubt much will come of this formal process as it seems by the cowboy actions of Unicom with others that they haven't had their wings clipped by OFCOM or anybody else. I'm thinking of a small claims court case against them for wasting my time.

 

The message for anybody lured by apparently low cost phone services from such operators as Unicom/Sunstone is beware. Their pathetic business model is to trap unwary consumers in their web of supposed contracts and harassment backed claims for huge termination fees.

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Hi

About a year ago, Unicom also took over Elite Calls and a great number of Elite customers found themselves in exactly the same situation as you are in now. It appeared that Unicom had imposed their own terms and conditions on to Elite customers and many customers fought and won their battle but many customers gave up and paid up. If you Google 'Elite Calls Unicom' it will bring up many links to the various forums where customers have posted complaints.

 

Unicom have already been investigated by Ofcom twice, once following a complaint by BT for ‘canceling orders from customers who wished to transfer provision of their telephone service away from Unicom to BT’ and once for mis-selling. However, there are still hundreds of complaints about them. If you Google ‘Ofcom Unicom’ it will bring up the Ofcom links with details of the investigations.

 

There are several more companies under the Universal Utilities umbrella and I personally would be very very cautious about doing business with any of them, especially after my own awful experience of Unicom.

 

The good news is that after the 31st Dec 2012, automatic rolling contracts will become illegal and providers will not be allowed to automatically roll over a contract then charge massive termination fees if the customer wishes to leave.

 

Good luck - but be aware that Unicom are almost certainly keeping a close eye on this thread (as they do with all the negative comments about them on the Internet) and have succeeded many times in getting negative comments edited or deleted.

 

 

 

 

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