Soul hits back at claims of dealer payment delays

Telco says it has withheld payment from five dealers

SP Telemedia subsidiary, Soul Telecommunications, has hit back at media claims that it has not paid commissions to hundreds of resellers across the country.

According to a story published in The Australian on May 28, up to 200 Soul Communication resellers across the country could be out of pocket because of delays in dealer commission payments. The article cited at least two business owners who claimed to be closing shopfronts and sacking staff because they had not been paid thousands in commission fees over recent weeks. It also claimed dealers were threatening legal action.

One Soul broadband and home dealer talking to ARN, who asked not to be named, said it had experienced ongoing issues and delays when trying to claim dealer commissions on sales. In one instance, the dealer claimed to have waited nearly six months before receiving its commissions cheque.

In a statement posted to the ASX, Soul confirmed it had withheld payment to five dealers operating in the call centre space. But it refuted accusations that it had wrongly withheld funds from dealers.

"Soul has commercial agreements with many dealers in Australia but it has only recently withheld payment from five dealers who are call centre based operators," the statement read. "To Soul's knowledge, the companies from which it has withheld payment have no shopfront stores.

"Soul has agreements in place with each of those five dealers which entitles Soul to withhold or claw back dealer payments in certain circumstances.

"Any suggestion that Soul has wrongly withheld money from these dealers will be vigorously defended."

Questions are now being raised as to why payments have been delayed. The dealer talking to ARN suggested SP Telemedia's raft of recent mergers and acquisitions and its affect on internal systems could be to blame.

SP Telemedia is currently in negotiations to acquire all shares in ISP, Chariot. The ASX-listed telco also acquired Australian ISP, TPG, in February. The deal included a $150 million cash payment as well as 270 million SP shares. As part of the acquisition, TPG CEO and founder, David Teoh, became SP's executive chairman.

Are you a Soul partner experiencing difficulties with payments from the company? Let us know

More about: ARN, TPG
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