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  • FIRST POST
    • MrBox
    • By MrBox 10th Jan 18, 11:59 AM
    • 11Posts
    • 0Thanks
    MrBox
    1&1 Hosting - Advice required
    • #1
    • 10th Jan 18, 11:59 AM
    1&1 Hosting - Advice required 10th Jan 18 at 11:59 AM
    Hi, first of all sorry if I've posted this on the incorrect board, I wasn't sure where it would fit.

    I am just looking for some advice on how to proceed in a situation where I am dissatisfied, but am sure I've been stitched up legally with complex T&C's.

    Basically, just over a year ago I purchased three domain names from 1&1 Internet hosting and domains for a project I was involved with. These were all 1 year domain leases and as the project wasn't envisioned to go beyond that I thought no more of it. The project came and went and the websites (hosted elsewhere, not with 1&1) were shut down.

    Based on previous experience of having dealt with other companies before, I hadn't thought much about the domains, presuming they would be suspended/cancelled once they reach their lease end as had happend in the past. In fact, at work a colleague actually lost one of our work domains this way by not updating payment details so the domain wasn't renewed and a rival snapped it up shortly after the lease end.

    I also moved home during the course of the year and to be fair I never gave it a second thought. Fast forward to November 30th 2017 and I get a invoice to my previous address saying I needed to play it or action would be taken for the two year renewal of these domain names.

    I immediately tried to login to the 1&1 control panel to get some details of the service in preparation for the call I was going to make to query/cancel the service. I manged to get in and noticed the series were still listed as active and had a hunt around and found an auto renewal slider that was enabled (by default!) . I couldn't turn this off (some sort of browser issue) so I contacted them on the phone.

    I explained the situation, I didn't want the domains and I hadn't received any correspondence except the postal one. At that point I was told the service was cancelled and it had been done via teh control panel so that was the end of it. I couldn't log into the web service after the phone call any longer so I presumed it had all been taken care of.

    Fast forward again to this week when I received a letter from a debt recovery agency who have contacted me for the recovery of the payment plus fees.

    I contact them again today, I politely asked what the issue was, explained it was cancelled as far as I was aware as of the 30th November due to that being the first correspondence I had received and that I wasn't aware of the auto renewal as this wasn't really a practice I'd expect. Plus the renewal was for two years too, instead of the one year (doubling the cost).

    I was given a case number and the rep said they would take this to a supervisor to query. I was told it would take 48 hours to sort out. I then received an email about 10 minutes later saying:

    "In lieu to our conversation earlier, we would like to inform you that the cancellation of the domain via disabling the auto-renewal on October 24, 2017 will actually take effect on October 19, 2019. I do apologized I failed to inform you on this information during our conversation. I overlooked on the date of the cancellation effectivity."

    So basically telling me via email, no your cancellation was for the end of the next period - in two years time.

    I recontacted them again saying I was not satisfied with this, saying I felt this was a dubious business strategy and making it difficult for customers to exit their lease after the agreed period. Again, after having experience with other companies and knowing that the receiver actively targets inexperienced and new internet hosting users, it's a practice that obviously benefits only themselves if/when it's misunderstood and fallen foul of.

    The call center assistant may as well have been a robot because she constantly just kept saying "You don't understand this is a valid invoice as it was issued 21st October - you need to pay it now".

    I was on the phone a good 45 minutes going round in circles as the assistant struggled to understand and empathise with the case. She also failed to concede how this could be perceived to be a "trap" for customers, or how it put obstacles in the way of exiting the agreement. She just kept reiterating the companies "protocol" and couldn't answer me (or deliberately ignored me) when I asked how that protocol of automatically presuming I wanted to renew the service and charging me for it was better than Simpy notifying me it was due for renewal and letting me decide to (or lose it due to my own fault), rather than charging me and taking the money.

    As I said, I understand it's important for some domains to be re-registered and kept and why this could/should be done in those instances, but not for every domain, and certainly not as standard for every service, especially when the company advertises that its a great service for new and experienced users.

    I hold my hands up and admit, I have actually received the renewal notifications from October in my junk filter when I've looked (they gave me 1 week's notice!) but, even if I had have read it properly I would have presumed they couldn't take a payment automatically and would therefore suspend the service.

    I don't mind them having an auto renew policy and feature, my argument is it shouldn't be automatically enabled for anyone and everyone, because errors and oversights will be made and they are the only ones who stand to benefit is purely the company. In fact its obviously an intentional trap they anticipate some users, particularly inexperienced ones, falling into as they automatically renew the service for two years (instead of the initial one!) as as to maximise the profit from it - effectively locking in customers for three years per domain.

    After expressing my dissatisfaction and requesting to speak to someone who may have more of a say on these "protocols" I was left on hold (at my expense) for another 15 minutes only to be told there was no one available as they were all dealing with other problems (I bet they were, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has felt like they've been conned!). I as only told I could call back later and try again then. I then queried what the protocol was if I am dissatisfied with this, only to be told that's the only thing I can do....

    So in the meantime I have a debt recovery agency chasing me and a suspended service I didn't want in the first place....

    I have contacted the debt recovery agency and explained its in dispute and gave them the case number I had though, they said they'd hang fire for a week or so so there is that. In the meantime I'd like to know if anyone has any advice on what I can do about it (if anything) or how can I complain about this (and to whom?) as this all seem really underhand to me. The fee is about £60 now, which isn't much but it's the principal and the fact is for service I didn't want beyond a year, and originally only cost about £20 anyway!

    Cheers in advance.
    Last edited by MrBox; 10-01-2018 at 12:18 PM. Reason: spellings
Page 1
    • bearcat16
    • By bearcat16 18th Jan 18, 1:07 AM
    • 321 Posts
    • 381 Thanks
    bearcat16
    • #2
    • 18th Jan 18, 1:07 AM
    • #2
    • 18th Jan 18, 1:07 AM
    How much is your time worth? You’ve already expended effort and time to try to save how much?

    I’d just pay the £60. You forgot to switch off the auto-renew, it’s not a big deal.

    And I’m not surprised their customer service tech wouldn’t concede that it was “a trap”. More like standard practice.

    Honestly I got to the end of that long story and thought we were talking about a sum in the hundreds or thousands! Life’s too short.
    • Browntoa
    • By Browntoa 18th Jan 18, 6:29 AM
    • 32,232 Posts
    • 37,942 Thanks
    Browntoa
    • #3
    • 18th Jan 18, 6:29 AM
    • #3
    • 18th Jan 18, 6:29 AM
    And they email way in advance of auto renewal
    I'm the Board Guide of the Referrers ,Telephones, Pensions , Shop Don't drop ,over 50's and Discount Code boards which means I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum runnning smoothly .However, please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    • waamo
    • By waamo 18th Jan 18, 9:41 PM
    • 2,260 Posts
    • 2,716 Thanks
    waamo
    • #4
    • 18th Jan 18, 9:41 PM
    • #4
    • 18th Jan 18, 9:41 PM
    It is in their terms and conditions when you sign up that they auto renew. The reason being imagine if you had a business and you didn’t see an email reminding you to pay. How upset would you be at losing your website and potential thousands in income?

    The same could apply to consumers. Imagine your store of sentimental photos vanishing because you forgot to renew.
    This space for hire.
    • mr_munchem
    • By mr_munchem 18th Jan 18, 9:48 PM
    • 44 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    mr_munchem
    • #5
    • 18th Jan 18, 9:48 PM
    • #5
    • 18th Jan 18, 9:48 PM
    It is pretty standard for hosting and domains to auto renew with these providers. I’m very surprised in fact that none of the prior providers you’ve had experience with haven’t done this!
    • MrBox
    • By MrBox 19th Jan 18, 12:38 PM
    • 11 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    MrBox
    • #6
    • 19th Jan 18, 12:38 PM
    • #6
    • 19th Jan 18, 12:38 PM
    Just an update for the sake of anyone else who has the same problem with 1&1 as it seems there are many;


    For anyone else who has this issue, there is a brilliant thread up on another board here called
    "1&1 internet persuing me via debt collection agency Arvato" by a chap called JacobsDadUK.
    LINK TO IT IS HERE - http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=3630553

    It is full of great advice and discusses how 1&1 are in breach of The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 act and Principles for use of Continuous Payment Authority here in the UK. Their automatic renewal and billing system has caught many people out as it is only laid out in small print and not clearly presented to the customer.



    Thank you for the posts here too

    ow much is your time worth? Youíve already expended effort and time to try to save how much?

    Iíd just pay the £60. You forgot to switch off the auto-renew, itís not a big deal.

    And Iím not surprised their customer service tech wouldnít concede that it was ďa trapĒ. More like standard practice.

    Honestly I got to the end of that long story and thought we were talking about a sum in the hundreds or thousands! Lifeís too short.
    Nah,money is not the point just doesnt fly for me - if they do this to every one of their customers and they all just roll over and pay, well then its no wonder they get away with it. Sorry mate, you might have money to waste but £60 for a couple of 99p domains I don't want/need now are another pair of football boots for my kid.


    And they email way in advance of auto renewal"
    Yes they do. I went back and checked. It was in my junk mail filter 6 days before the renewal date... that's really helpful of them. What happens if I was away working or sick?


    It is pretty standard for hosting and domains to auto renew with these providers. Iím very surprised in fact that none of the prior providers youíve had experience with havenít done this!
    It is in their terms and conditions when you sign up that they auto renew. The reason being imagine if you had a business and you didnít see an email reminding you to pay. How upset would you be at losing your website and potential thousands in income?
    It's basically a service that only favours 1&1 and no, its not standard practice - auto renewals for domains is nothing new granted, but standard practice is that if payment in advance is refused/not collected, the service is then dropped/suspended - not handed to a debt recovery service and sought even if it's not needed!

    As I said (i understand its a very long read) in the OP, i know this first hand as a colleague has actually lost on of our work domains by payment being refused on an automatic renewal system from another provider. I don't have a problem with auto renewal services for things, but It should always be ultimately up to the customer if they want/need a service - not an obligation forced upon you without your knowledge and that you are pursued for even if payment is not made by an enforced deadline. If you lose a domain then you have no one to blame but yourself.
    Last edited by MrBox; 19-01-2018 at 12:49 PM.
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