In Defense of Access1 (email received Oct. 2005)

As reported by Channel 10, some of the causes of failure of the ISP operation and bankruptcy may not be true. Read the email and draw your own conclusions.

Access1 Returns - July 2004

Much to my surprise, I found that this page had disappeared from my website. As I investigated, I found that this page had been deleted. Was this an error on the part of my hosting service, or was it due to a hacker?

Well, anyway the page is back and upon investigating, I have found that Access1 is also back. The new Access1 is slightly changed but is now called http://www.access1.com instead of the old http://www.access1.net. They are definitely related since the old firm, run by Thomas Walker, went bankrupt in 2000, the internet service was transferred to BeWell.net, which was already being sued by the Attorney General in Colorado. BeWell.net no longer exists, but if you find any references on the net they will direct you to the new Access1.com. In fact one of the aliases http://www.bwn.net is an alias for access1.com.

Apparently, now located in Hilo, HI, the company is offering the same services as it did when it went bankrupt in San Diego. Although, Access1 claims to be incorporated, references to the company are vague in its service agreement and I was unable to determine the status of it's current incorporation. This and the fact that they do not provide any information on the website to indicate who is responsible for managing this operation tells me that this could be another disaster that I would avoid at all costs. Be sure to read the information below - the original page that was deleted from my website.

 

ISP Corruption in San Diego - August 2000

Our web site was shut down. Our ISP, Access1, has declared bankruptcy, San Diego Bankruptcy Case - #00 - 04076. We have been informed that we can continue with a new provider - BeWell.Net. However, it turns out that BeWell.Net, a Colorado company, is being sued by the Attorney General of Colorado for defrauding its customers. We want no part of this.

Thus we have moved to our new home at JohnnyPumphandle.com

We received a letter from the Trustee 'recommending' BeWell.Net but no mention of the hot water that BeWell.Net is already in. The trustee has been advised that there is potential fraud here. Could not update the old web site any longer - FTP access has been shut off.

Before being shut down, we went through a 3 month period of ISP agony. The web site was up and down; email came and went and some e-mail was thoroughly lost. Access to the internet was unstable and when connections appeared it was EXTREMELY slow.

The log of activity went like this ...

Checking on BEWELL.NET, we found the following ....

 

Access Developers - Bankruptcy Case #00-04076

Want to review the case? San Diego Bankruptcy cases are now on line! e.g you can see that the CEO, Tom Walker, had to forego the lease on his company owned BMW.

Go to the Bankruptcy Court Query facility and enter 00-04076, set Type = all.

This letter was sent to the Trustee in this case. Hopefully, customers and creditors of Access1 will be notified of ALL of the information regarding their proposed affiliation with BeWell.Net. Besides being sued by the AG, BeWell is on the S-List at the Better Business Bureau.

 

06/10/00 

James L. Kennedy
Trustee
The Office of the U.S. Trustee
402 W. Broadway, #600
San Diego, CA 92101

Re: Case #00-04076-JH, Access Developers

Dear Mr. Kennedy,

As a customer of Access1, I received your email regarding the transfer of operations to the new ISP - BeWell.Net.

This causes me grave concern, since most Access1 customers are not aware that BeWell.Net, a Colorado company, is being sued by the Attorney General of Colorado for defrauding its customers. I think it would only be fair that Access1's customers be made aware of the pending lawsuit in Colorado, since the suit alleges the same sort of service and fraudulent activities that took place at Access1. I am unable to contact Access1 customers directly, but can post this letter on the Internet.

As trustee, you should make all the creditors and customers of Access1 aware of this fact, so they can make informed decisions regarding continued affiliation with BeWell.Net. It should not appear that BeWell.Net is fraudulently influencing these creditors and customers into agreements and contracts.

Yours Truly,

 

Gary Thompson

encl. reprint from Denver Post (follows)


State a.g. sues 'Net provider

By Steve Raabe

Denver Post Business Writer

May 13 - The Colorado Attorney General's Office filed suit Friday against a Parkerbased Internet service provider, alleging that the company engaged in deceptive business practices.

The lawsuit, filed in Douglas County District Court, claims that BeWell.Net charged customers for undelivered services, billed other customers for services they had not requested, and failed to offer promised technical support to customers.

A company official denied the charges and claimed that an Internet-service competitor stole customer e-mail communication from BeWell and forwarded the pirated documents to the attorney general's office in an attempt to cause legal problems for BeWell.

"The claims are false," said Christy Logan-Sheppard, president of BeWell.

She said many of the e-mails on which the state lawsuit is based are not complaints, but simply routine communications such as customers asking for tech support or making inquiries about service.

BeWell has filed a criminal complaint with the Parker Police Department for the theft of its internal documents and is seeking an injunction against the competitor, Logan-Sheppard said.

The Attorney General's Office said the lawsuit against BeWell is based on about 400 consumer complaints filed with the Denver Better Business Bureau and with attorney general offices in Colorado, Kansas and Wyoming.

If found guilty of the civil charges, BeWell faces fines of up to $2,000 per violation. The lawsuit also names Logan-Sheppard, 33, and her husband William R. Sheppard, 52, of Parker.

The lawsuit lists these allegations against BeWell:

BeWell offered a promotion of six free months of service if customers agreed to a one-year plan for $179. Hundreds of customers were billed without agreeing to the service plan.

Many BeWell customers were unable to connect to the Internet, received slow connections, or quickly lost connections, despite company claims of high-speed service.

Some customers were unable to obtain technical support because BeWell failed to answer phone calls and had insufficient support staffing on duty.

Some customers continued to be billed after they requested that their accounts be canceled; others were billed after expiration of free trial periods.

"Internet service providers need to be held accountable to the same standards we require of other businesses," said Attorney General Ken Salazar in a statement. "This kind of activity is not only bad for consumers but bad for the reputation of other Internet providers who do strive to follow the law."

Copyright 2000 The Denver Post. All rights reserved.

The Corruption Crusaders have received several e-mails from the Trustee and directly from BeWell.Net ...


Subject:  James L. Kennedy, Bankruptcy Trustee for Access Developers, Inc.
Date: Fri, 9 Jun 2000 23:13:08 -0700
From: <a1@bwn.net>
To: <mailall@mail.access1.net>

Access Developers, Inc., filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on
April 20, 2000. On June 1, the Bankruptcy Court appointed me, James L.
Kennedy, chapter 11 trustee. On June 2, I met with the president of Access
and quickly learned that Access could not pay its bills and could not
continue to provide Internet service to its customers. It was immediately
apparent that I would have to act quickly in order to avoid complete loss
of service to Access customers. I contacted BeWell.net to negotiate an
agreement that would minimize the disruption of service to Access'
customers. The agreement with BeWell.Net was approved by the Bankruptcy
Court on June 9, 2000. BeWell.Net has agreed to transition Access
customers to its service. One advantage of signing on with BeWell.Net is
that you will not have to change your "@access1.net" e-mail address if you
go with BeWell. You will receive a message from BeWell.Net describing
their organization and service. Go to http://www.bewell.net.

While we believe BeWell.Net can minimize the disruption to you and provide
money to the bankruptcy estate for the payment of claims,BeWell.Net is not
obligated to provide the service you purchased from Access.

This is a difficult situation. Most Access customers have paid in advance
for Internet service. While I have only begun my investigation, I can tell
you that when I was appointed trustee, Access had less than $15,000 in the
bank, and no ability to continue in business. As Trustee, my job is to
locate assets and turn them into cash that can be distributed to creditors.
At this time I can not tell you how long that process will take or how much
money will be available to pay creditor claims.

To ensure your claim is included you must file a proof of claim form with
the Bankruptcy Court. The Proof of Claim forms can be downloaded from the
Bankruptcy Court's web site at www.casb.uscourts.gov. Click on the "Front
Counter" icon and follow the directions to access the local court forms.
The Proof of Claim form can be downloaded as a .pdf file which you can
print, fill out, sign and mail to the Court for filing.

To follow the progress of the case, click on the "File Room" icon and
follow the instructions for looking up a case file. The case name is
Access Developers, Inc. The case number is 00-04076. By accessing the
"Docket Report" you can see what documents have been filed with the Court
and you can download those documents in .pdf format.

Please be patient. I understand your frustration at having paid Access
for service you are not receiving. Unfortunately, Access can no longer
provide Internet service. Neither I nor the Bankruptcy Court can change
that fact. It is my sincere hope the steps we have taken to obtain
approval of the agreement with BeWell.Net will minimize the disruption
caused by Access and that your Internet needs can be met by BeWell.Net.

Sincerely,
James L. Kennedy
Bankruptcy Trustee for Access Developers, Inc.



June 5, 2000 -- a1@bwn.net wrote:

Dear Valued Customer:

We would like to welcome Access1.Net customers to the BeWell.Net family. As BeWell.Net currently handles all technical support, email, news, domain hosting and networking activities for Access1.Net this should ensure a seamless transition for Access1 customers.

We have also taken extra care to make sure that as a new BeWell.Net customer, you may use our online account manager http://www.bewellnet.com/am/ to update personal information, change your billing information, choose the type of internet service plan that best suits your needs and a number of other features that makes connecting with BeWell.Net an easy task.

You can easily renew your account with BeWell.Net by going to http://www.bewellnet.com/am/. Click to login to the Account Maintenance pages and then click on the Account Renewal Special to begin your service with BeWell.Net.

BeWell.Net has designed 3 plans with Access1.Net customers in mind. You may pay monthly for only $14.95, quarterly for only $12.95 and annually for as low as $9.95 plus a set up fee. We understand that you may have had prepaid access with Access1.Net but due to their current situation that access will no longer be available.

We have worked diligently to ensure that you may keep your email address, dial up settings and your web sites just as they are. We are also in the process of adding additional lines in areas that are at capacity.

Please call BeWell.Net Sales/Customer Service at 800.948.2638 or technical support at 800.690.2638 for additional help. Remember you have the option to automatically renew online through our Account Management system, http://www.bewellnet.com/am/. Be sure to read our service agreement and acceptable use policy.

Logon and BeWell,
Christy Sheppard
President



June 3, 2000


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Parker, CO...BeWell.Net announced today that it has petitioned the trustee of the bankruptcy court for Access1. The petition would allow BeWell.Net to purchase the Access1.Net customer database and the Access1.Net domain name for the purpose of converting these customers to BeWell.Net customers. Additionally, BeWell.Net will receive the rights to assume the Access1 phone numbers; assume relationships with vendors; and any other rights or needs to service the former Access1.Net customers.

BeWell.Net is the regional Internet service provider that has been servicing Access1.Net since late April of this year. Currently all Access1.Net customers call BeWell.Net for technical support, dial up access, email, news, domain hosting and networking needs.

"This is a great move for all parties involved because BeWell.Net already maintains the mail, web and news servers for Access1.Net. Customers wishing to switch to BeWell.Net may do so with an almost seamless transition. Customers will need to call BeWell.Net to update their account information," says Christy Logan-Sheppard, President of BeWell.Net.

BeWell.Net services 50,000 dial up users, authenticates over 200,000 connections daily to the Internet and moves more than a half million emails daily.

BeWell.Net has been offering Internet Service in Colorado since 1997. Through its ingenious, state of the art network, Bewell.Net has been able to reach the rural and secondary markets that most National Providers have yet to enter. "It has always been, and will always be BeWell.Net's goal to provide affordable Internet access to everyone," says Christy Logan-Sheppard, President.

For those interested in BeWell.Net call 303.805.2638 or 800.948.2638 for further details or go to http://www.bewell.net and sign up online.



Also from the files of the Better Business Bureau in Denver....

Business -- Internet provider battles Better Business Bureau

By Alan J. Kania

Staff Writer

A Parker-based Internet-service provider is one of the largest regional providers in Colorado, says the Boardwatch Internet Service Providers Directory. And it's growing at a rate of 1,500 net customers each month.

But the Better Business Bureau doesn't think BeWell.Net is worth the credit.

Despite making improvements that prompted Christy Logan-Sheppard and Bill Sheppard to move into a larger building in the Parker Square Drive commercial district off Hilltop and Parker roads, the BBB's bad review haunts them.

BeWell.Net is not a member of the Better Business Bureau; a non-relationship that is satisfactory to both parties.

"BeWell.Net has an unsatisfactory record with the Denver Better Business Bureau," writes Patrick Smid, president of the Denver-area BBB, on its Web site. "It has been the subject of a volume and pattern of consumer complaints that allege dissatisfaction with services provided by the firm. Complaints filed with the BBB include excessive busy signals, unavailable service, disconnections, slow connections and failure to provide services as promised or ordered."

The original allegations were published July 9, 1998, on Dive-In Denver, a service of US West Interactive Services Inc. The review remains on the BBB Web site as a "consumer alert."

During the last three years, the BBB said, 66 people have filed complaints and two-thirds of the complaints have been resolved in some manner. The reporting agency did not provide figures of other Internet providers working in Colorado, but did say complaints about the Parker Internet-service provider were "far in excess of the other providers."

However, Glenn Herlinger, a Douglas County News-Press columnist and computer consultant, said the number of complaints against BeWell.Net is minimal.

"Sixty-six complaints doesn't sound unreasonable to me at all," he said. "For all we know, those could be people who don't know how to use a computer in the first place and are blaming their problems on the Internet-service provider. That's not an uncommon scenario."

Herlinger said America Online had trouble meeting demand for its unlimited service and spent millions of dollars to bring the service up to meet customer demand. It also was the subject of a class-action lawsuit brought by frustrated AOL subscribers.

"We're a small part of the Colorado Internet," said Bill Sheppard. "There are approximately 350 Internet providers in Colorado, some with only 50 customers. We cover all of Colorado from 16 locations in a dual hub-and-spoke design. We're three times the size of our nearest competitor and cover every city in Colorado with local-access phone lines."

US West is the largest Colorado provider, but its Internet connection statistics include customers outside Colorado, says a recent survey conducted by the Denver Business Journal. BeWell.Net was rated second, Rocky Mountain Internet third and SuperNet, recently purchased by Q-West Inc., came in fourth.

Bill Sheppard defended his company's record, stating BeWell.Net has approximately 50,000 subscribers, losing only 3 percent of its subscribers each year, a figure Sheppard states matches the industry standard for turnover of accounts. He also said approximately 30 percent of the new subscribers come as referrals from existing accounts.

The BBB said some customers of the Internet-service provider have said the company failed to respond to their complaints.

"Consumers with complaints have found it difficult to reach a BeWell.Net customer service representative," continued the BBB report, "then, all too often, the representative has been rude. ... The firm has generally responded to complaints presented by the BBB with a form letter denying the refund request by explaining that fees are prepaid and non-refundable. This response has been unsatisfactory to consumers with complaints on record."

Bill Sheppard said BeWell.Net provides Internet service for $9.95 a month.

"It costs us $35 to provide an account for a customer," Sheppard said. "Each modem is shared by 8.5 customers and the phone line costs $50 to install, plus the cost of all the related equipment."

To keep the cost of the infrastructure in line with a low profit margin, Sheppard insists that clients adhere to the contract. The company does not bill customers, replacing a costly invoicing system with a less expensive dunning of a customer's debit or credit card. He admits the system is not traditional, but customers are alerted to the terms on the contract verbally and in writing.

Meanwhile, BeWell.Net has complaints about the BBB.

Christy Logan-Sheppard, president of BeWell.Net, founded the company in 1996, but the BBB shows an incorporation date of Oct. 1, 1992. She has fought with the BBB to correct the date and other discrepancies to no avail. Logan-Sheppard also operates a vitamin manufacturing business in Parker.


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Last update 07/25/04