Imagine Benwest Internet service / Demanding payment without justification

1 Johannesburg, MI, South Africa

Been a client of Imagine Benwest for 9 years. I was informed that I owed the company around R4000. I enquired several times for the breakdown of these costs. I provided the company with all proof of payments, an excel recon I did when I was informed by their accounts department that the account was last up to date & al supporting email correspondence. I went through each of the accounts (domains, emails and website hosting) in detail with the current person in the accounts department as I had picked up on several errors on Invoices. I requested a document with a recon of all of the accounts including amended monthly payments due, errors amended, refunds made and payments I have made to Imagine. FIVE months later, despite numerous WRITTEN requests I have not received the recon. Their response:" Imagine does not have time to finalise a detailed recon of accounts, either settled the outstanding amount or my account will be suspended". Two days ago all my domains and email accounts were suspended. My websites are hosted by another company, because my domains are hosted by Imagine, my websites are not visible to existing and potential clients. My work is primarily Internet based.

I have tried several times to call both partners, they are never available and no one is allowed to give out their mobile numbers.

How is it possible:
1. That a demand for payment is made by a supplier and the service has been suspended, but the amount owing cannot be justified?
2. This year R2100 has been paid to Imagine for an email adddress (with several alias - which are not charged for, and several domains. They no longer host my website, only my domains. My monthly charges from January this year should have been considerably lower that the previous year.
3. Payments that have been made, have not been allocated - I have no recon to prove this.
4. No payment arrangement was made for the 'alleged outstanding amount'. Over the past 6 months I have made payments of R300, R500, R500, R400 - without any confirmation of what is actually outstanding or what I am expected to pay monthly. This month a smaller payment of R140 +R260 was made. When I asked the lady in accounts how much I should be paying she said: "uhm... about R400-R500". I asked her if we had made any payment arrangement telephonically or in writing? And she said "No". I enquired why a payment arrangement was not fixed if this is the amount that I was expected to pay and if she could please confirm how these payments were allocated. At this point, as I was on the phone to the lady in accounts, I realised after 5 minutes on the phone, that she has put the phone down next to her on the desk and was not even listening to me. I was talking to myself. Immediately thereafter, I received a letter confirming that my accounts were suspended and a letter of demand for the ' amount they claim to be outstanding'

I find it extremely difficult to understand how this level of unprofessionalism can be tolerated and the inability of an accounts person to clarify amounts (large amounts of money) Imagine are claiming and the conditions of payment.

This is the message I am getting from Imagine: "Pay or we cut your service, you owe us this huge amount of money, we are not willing to clarify why, or assist you in making sense of what we are billing you for as we dont have the time."

I am very upset to say the least. As this directly affects my bottom line.

When I expressed my disappointment, and a request for the final recon, and advised that if the matter is not resolved, I would inform the various departments of trade and industry and consumer complaints and social media sites in South Africa, I was told by the lady in accounts that she had nothing more to say to me, and that I would receive a letter from their Attorneys. Well, I'll be damned!!!

They have money and time to go to an attorney and to take a matter to court, they dont have time to do a simple recon of accounts, they've had 5 months??? After all, what is the job description of an accounts person???

Every client who is paying for a service is entitled to know the detailed breakdown of costs of the service they are paying for.

Small business owner.

Sep 19, 2014

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