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NSSL Global- Poor Business Practices

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by Ken Bracewell, Sep 5, 2013.

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  1. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    I’d like to share my recent (and not-so-recent) unpleasant experiences with NSSL regarding VSAT and Inmarsat C service. Beware when dealing with these guys! For anyone who isn't aware, they are one of the many companies that provide satellite communications.

    In 2010 we made the decision to install VSAT on RENA. NSSL was our Fleet77 provider so we gave them the first opportunity to bid on the equipment and service and, in exchange for a 2-year contract, they gave me a pretty good deal on the equipment. Since we were mostly cruising in the US and Canada during the summer months we weren’t sure how much we would use the service while close to the coast. As such, NSSL gave us two rates to choose from; a lower rate based on a 2-year uninterrupted plan, and a higher rate that allowed up to 6 months of suspension per year. We began our service in December 2010, and I guess I should say right now that they never supplied me with a signed copy of the contract- that will come into play later. During the first few months of service I noticed that they were charging my credit card (on file with them) the lower amount. I called the USA representative and she told me that they would continue to bill me the lower amount until we opted to utilize the suspension option.

    As our summer 2011 summer plans developed I decided that it made more sense to continue with the service, and to forgo suspension for the short time we were in the coastal USA. As such, I NEVER requested suspension of our service during the 2-year contract period.

    Well, during the summer of 2012 we started to experience extremely slow upload/download speeds, and frequent loss of connection all together. We battled with the system all summer, and there were several on-site service calls by NSSL in an attempt to fix the problem (some of the issues were related to their modem).

    Anyhow, by the end of the summer our boss had enough of the slow speeds and I began to look at other providers and decided that MTN was the best option for us. I then called the NSSL representative in Florida during October to ask what my obligations were to cancel the service, since the contract was due to expire in December. She tried to convince me to stay, but said that I was required to give them 90 days notice. The next day she emailed me the contract (unsigned by NSSL), and I replied that I was not planning to renew the contract; here is where I made a critical mistake- I didn’t read the small print on the contract. If I had, I would have noticed that it stated the contract would renew unless they were given 90 days notice prior to the expiration date. You would think that the service provider wouldn’t want an unhappy customer, and would just release the balance of the contract- but not NSSL! Not only did they send me an invoice for the balance of the contract (through December 2013), but they also presented another invoice for the monthly difference between the lower amount (which they billed and charged for 24 months in a row) and the higher amount. These two invoices totaled nearly $40,000USD!! The worst of it is, that they didn’t mention or send any of this to me until 3 months later, which was after I was in contract with MTN!

    My reaction was not a kind one, and I basically told them that they were acting like sore-losers and that there would be no further payments coming from our vessel! I then canceled the Credit Card that they were holding on file. In reality, what would it cost NSSL to release the contract and move on? We are not using the service- we’ve simply shut down the equipment.

    Since I hadn’t heard from them since February, I assumed that they must have come to their senses and to let it be. That was until last week, when I received an email stating that because I have not paid the outstanding “debt”, there were going to bar our Mini-M and Inmarsat C service in 7-days time. They claimed that IMO regulations require me to stay in port if my Inmarsat is not in working order.

    Apparently the Inmarsat terminal has the IMEI number burned into a chip, and it cannot be commissioned by another provider unless that number is released by NSSL, so they have our SatC terminal hostage. We are a private yacht and, as such, our flag state has no requirements for us to carry Inmarsat C, nor to be GMDSS compliant. We also have a fully functional HF/HF DCS radio so the Sat C is redundant. But I take issue with the fact that NSSL is attempting to leverage the safety of our vessel and crew (not to mention anyone else in our vicinity that sends an Inmarsat distress signal) in order to force me to settle a contract dispute under duress!

    I caution anyone considering using NSSL as a provider to think twice. Maybe even think three-times…
  2. Old Phart

    Old Phart Senior Member

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    I dunno
    Just curious.

    Checked Google for NSSL Global and read part of a PDF.

    Is this statement from the PDF accurate?

    NSSLGLOBAL & TELEMAR DOUBLES NETWORK RETURN SPEED

    June 2013 UK – Global satellite communication provider NSSLGlobal Ltd, in conjunction with Telemar Scandinavia, announced the immediate free-of-charge upgrade on their network return speeds for Standard and Premium Packages. The advancements, offered to all NSSLGlobal customers, will improve the Standard Package from 1Mb/256k to 1Mb/384k, while the Premium Package doubles from 4Mb/512k to 4Mb/1Mb.
  3. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    I'm not sure, but I hope it's better than what we experienced.
  4. oceaneer

    oceaneer Member

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    Most V sat companies are very dirty..
    It seems to be the last bastion of the payoffs/bribes and other bad habits that we all have hoped were gone from the industry.. but nooo
    Oceaneer
  5. SeaEric

    SeaEric YF Historian

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    I just Googled NSSL Global and this thread is on page 3 of the search results. Keep Googling NSSL Global in the next few days and I bet you see this pop up sooner than that.
  6. SeaEric

    SeaEric YF Historian

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    Tried Googling...

    NSSL Global problems - Page 1

    NSSL Global beware - Page 1

    NSSL Global experience - Page 1

    NSSL Global issues - Page 1

    NSSL Global service - Page 2

    Soon enough, every yacht captain with an interest in NSSL will find this thread, if they don’t already know Ken Bracewell.
  7. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    Now it is on Page 1. And if you Google "NSSL VSat" it is on page 2 :D