My immediate challenge was connected to the Afrihost site control panel. I thought I would be able to make a payment directly on the site using my card like I do when I top up my account. The reason why this is a challenge is that when you run out of bandwidth or if your account is suspended, you can’t even access the Afrihost client zone to top up your account or seek assistance on the site itself. This is pretty dumb and while I criticised Axxess for its relatively high prices, I could always access my Axxess control panel to top up my account or post a support request. Not being able to access the Afrihost site when you are out of bandwidth makes it a little difficult to do anything about it. You can’t top up your account using the online top up method or even get to your Internet banking service to make a manual payment (like I just had to do).
Fortunately I also have an account with G-Connect and this is where its Connection Manager came in really handy. The Connection Manager doesn’t require you to edit your router settings to connect to G-Connect. If you are plugged into a DSL capable router that is synching with the necessary switches or servers (or whatever these routers sync with), it will establish a connection to G-Connect and you are back online. As clunky as the Connection Manager can be, it worked well for me this morning when I needed it.
Anyway, I then connected to the Afrihost client zone and couldn’t find an option to pay the outstanding invoice directly. I could view the invoice but there doesn’t seem to be a button that allows me to pay it. The invoice listing doesn’t even tell me that the invoice is outstanding, I need to look at my connectivity information page to see that my account is suspended. Very unhelpful. Instead I have to make an EFT to Afrihost (got to be online for that), send Afrihost the payment confirmation (sent via fax and email) and wait for its accounts department to process the payment and reactivate my account.
My concern now is that because I made the payment from Standard Bank to ABSA bank (Afrihost’s bank), I may have to wait 2 to 3 days before my account is reactivated because that is usually how long it takes for inter-bank payments to occur. It is possible that my account will be reactivated now on the basis of my payment confirmation to Afrihost but I’ll have to wait and see if that happens.
In the meantime I am going to try find out why my payment wasn’t processed in the first place. This isn’t the first time I have had an issue with my card not being processed and my Standard Bank relationship managers still haven’t come up with a solution.