Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Slingshot due in court

Telco accepts watchdog's findings that 27 customers were transferred without authorisation.

Photo / APN
Photo / APN

Internet company Slingshot has accepted Commerce Commission findings that 27 customers were transferred to it without authorisation and is due to appear for sentencing in an Auckland court tomorrow.

A spokesman for the commission confirmed the case against the telco was being brought under the Fair Trading Act and involved accusations the internet company transferred customers without authority. He would not reveal the nature of the charges and said the regulator began its investigation in 2011.

The parties are scheduled to appear in the Auckland District Court tomorrow afternoon for a sentencing hearing but the spokesman said Slingshot had not pleaded guilty to the allegations and so the telco's stance would determine how matters proceeded.

However, Slingshot chief executive Mark Callander said yesterday evening that it accepted the commission's findings that 27 of its customers had been incorrectly transferred.

Callander said the people affected were contacted by Power Marketing, a former sales contractor of Slingshot that cold-called potential customers.

"We have accepted the findings of the Commerce Commission and have apologised to the 27 customers who were impacted by the actions of the third party telemarketing company, Power Marketing," Callander said.

"We accept that we got some things wrong and have since addressed those areas of concern, including the termination of the contract with Power Marketing. The customer complaints occurred between 2009-2011," he said. "We have co-operated fully with the Commerce Commission since the charges were laid ..."

The Herald requested comment from Power Marketing managing director Paul Ross via email yesterday evening but he did not respond by time of publication.

In early 2011, former Power Marketing staff claimed to the Herald on Sunday that they had signed up people for internet packages even though they did not have computers.

Letter writers to the paper claimed their elderly parents were signed up for Slingshot accounts without being aware of what they were doing.

At the time, former Power Marketing staff also claimed the telemarketing company's employees had accessed a Telecom customer sales database known as Wireline.

This database contained an estimated 2.15 million names, as well as addresses and billing details.

Slingshot presently holds about 10 per cent of the broadband market and is the third largest player in this space after Telecom and Vodafone.

- NZ Herald

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