YteneWeb The Weirder Side Of Life…

November 17, 2013

Worst Web Hosting Contender: 1&1 Internet

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:06 pm

Where to begin?

I’ve been a client of 1&1 Internet for years – certainly more than 5, probably closer to 10. When it comes to providing reliable, trouble free web hosting, they actually do a pretty good job. And yet recently they seem to be absolutely determined to annoy and irritate their existing customers in an attempt to force those customers to take their business elsewhere. I think, in my case, they have finally succeeded. “How do they do this?” I hear you ask. Let me count the ways:-

1. Unsolicited and Unwanted Phone Calls
Despite being told otherwise, their “Sales and Marketing” Team got hold of a number I quoted during the resolution of a billing problem (more on that in a moment) and started calling me to try and entice me to buy more services from them. I told them I wasn’t interested and reminded them that under the Data Protection Act they could not use a number given in respect of issue resolution and use it for another purpose – Sales – without my consent. Which they did not have. They chose to ignore me, and in the end I was forced to write and threaten account transfer if they pulled the trick again.

2. Adding Charged Features Without Permission
Being a “progressive” company, 1&1 want to entice existing clients to take up new (expensive – £20/month) products and services. They did this with me, adding a feature to my account, which they then started to charge me for. When I noticed this and contacted their accounts department, I asked them for evidence that I had approved the additional expense on my account. I was told that the new service had been offered for free for a short introductory period and that if I had not canceled the feature in that window, it became a chargeable item. Now, notwithstanding the fact that I typically binned dross 1&1 emails other than invoice statements, I’m pretty sure that a company needs to have authorisation from a client before taking money for something. Just imagine how many angry people there would be if Amazon started sending random books to Kindle owners and then charging them for the titles, “Oh, but you could have pressed this cancel button within 14 days…” I don’t think so… To be complete in my account of this: I contacted 1&1 Accounts and got a refund on my card (about £170) but that took time and effort on my part, and their inclusion of the charges was specious at best, criminal at worst. I’m not a lawyer, I’m not sure which.

3. Screwing Existing Customers – Part 1
Over the years I have held a “1&1 Business Hosting” account, the core service has been improved. It started by offering a single MySQL database, then it upgraded to 2, now users can create their own [to a space limit] when they need more. but the problem has always been that when new features are added, 1&1 don’t automatically migrate existing customers to the full platform right away. You have to notice the change (not promoted to existing clients) and then ask, pretty please, to be upgraded to the new level of service. No thought, whatsoever, given to thanking or rewarding existing customers, either by automatically including them, or even an email with, “Your Account Has Been Upgraded At No Charge”. Oh no, too easy.

4. Screwing Existing Customers – Part 2
Having been forced to contact 1&1 to resolve an over-charging issue earlier this year, I was asked by the Accounts Team what package I was subscribed to. Having replied with the “1&1 Business Package, for £X.XX per month”, I was told, “No Sir, that can’t be right. We do have a Business Package, but it doesn’t cost that…” We did some digging, and it turns out that the Business package had been cut in price, and/or that I was paying £1.00 a month more than I should, and paying a price per month for a service that did not appear on any of 1&1 Internet’s then-current tariffs. Again, in the interests of being transparent and fair, it’s worth pointing out that once the discrepancy was spotted, it was resolved. But I can’t help wonder how it is that it’s so easy for existing clients to get screwed over.

And so we come to today… I’ve just received a “1 & 1 Newsletter” from Sachin Gupta and Leslie Bunder, Product Marketing Managers, UK
1&1 Internet Ltd. Now, I have never, not once, given any indication that I am willing to receive “Newsletters”. This particular email included a link to an option in the Customer Admin Panel to deactivate this feature (which appears to be new), but, yet again, these idiots appear willing to ignore existing requests to be left alone, or to use weasel words to explain how the latest unsolicited call/email/crap is sufficiently different from previously received crap as to be excluded from previously expressed requests to be left the #### alone.

Way to go, 1&1. Your willingness to go “above and beyond” the call of duty to annoy me is absolutely outstanding.

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