We are a small family owned business in Texas. Our company was approached by a sales rep from Norvergence. He told us a great fairy tale about a magic box called a Matrix box that could reduce our total telecommunications bills by 20-30%. All he needed was our current bills to give us an estimate.
He returned with a grand promise to lower our expenses by almost $8,000 a year. We just needed to sign a few documents. We asked him what would happen if the company went out of business since the agreement was for 5 years. He told us they had agreements in place with such giants as Sprint, Nortel, Qwest Communications and T-Mobile. These companies would guarantee us service for the full five years and at the current rates regardless of Norvergence.
They coupled our T1, 6 phone lines, cell phones, 800 numbers and fax lines into one bill. It was alleging to save us good money. It had the Giants of Communications logos at the top of their letterhead. I called 20 references in the Great State of Texas and all said they had done what they said would. So, we signed the leasing agreement of the Matrix box.
They sent us a new phone system for free. It is a nice phone system. It sat in a box for 5 months before it was ever installed. The magic Matrix box sat in a closet for 4 months before it was installed. The services were NEVER connected.
As part of the agreement, they promised to buy you out of your present contract with your phone companies. They never did that. We paid both our old phone company and the lease payments for 4 months. Norvergence promised they would send assistance checks to cover our expenses for paying two companies. We got one and never another.
We signed in December. Our lease was sold to IFC leasing in March '04. We got bills from them but no communication. We got our cell phones in June! JUNE!
Norvergence was forced into Chapter 11. The courts turned it into a Chapter 7, liquidation. Qwest terminated all service to Norvergence customers. Sprint and T-Mobile were allowed to do the same. Sprint contacted us, however, and helped us port our numbers over to them directly and gave us a deal on cell phone usage. The leasing companies were now demanding that we make our payments and threats were issued on numerous occasions. We have made all our payments despite the fact that the equipment is useless.
We contacted our old carrier. WE HAD NEVER BEEN REMOVED FROM THEIR SERVICE! They never recieved anything requesting that our numbers be moved to Norvergence. They hadn't even been contacted. They sent over a tech guy to inspect our lines. The tech guy removed the Norvergence box from the wall and unplugged it. NOTHING HAPPENED! Nothing was connected to this box. Everything was just as it had been before this nightmare got started. We had been paying for nothing. We had been paying for a black box to be installed in our telephone closet as a decoration.
We contacted the leasing company and informed them we were sending them the equipment and stopping all payments. They informed us they would accelerate our payments and seek legal action to force us to pay in full. 60 months at $500.00 a month is a $30,000 useless piece of equipment!
The bankruptcy hearings were held in New York the first week in July. Norvergence was represented. The Giants of telecommunications were represented. The leasing companies were represented. The 11,000+ customers that signed contracts with Norvergence were not represented at this hearing. All of us are left trying to find a legal way out of this hostage situation.
The leasing companies are holding us hostage to these leases despite their invalidity. Small business all across America are struggling paying their leases and their new service they had to get connected when Qwest terminated services. Not to mention a lot of these companies were issued back bills from their former communications companies that Norvergence never paid. Where does it end?
This was a scam of the largest proportions that specifically targeted small companies across the country. The media isn't picking up this story. It needs to be heard. There are others out there that need to join with us to get out of our leases.
Inflexion is being presented to businesses as we speak. This is the Norvergence scam with a new name! Be careful!!