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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    335

    * Customer provided fake data and is asking for refund

    Hi there,

    I would like to share a story with you and get some feedback about how would you handle this situation.

    This story is related to a customer that is with us since 2008. We have been providing webhosting and domain registration services for all this years.

    Recently we get an order from this customer for a domain registration to a specific ccTLD in which we are Accredited Registrar. This ccTLD requires the fiscal number of the customer/domain owner.

    After we got the payment confirmed, we tried to register the domain with the details the customer have provided in the order form. While trying to register the domain, we got a reply from the EPP System stating that the fiscal number was invalid.

    We then requested the customer to provide us the correct fiscal number. The customer replied with a new fiscal number, and the domain was registered.

    Some days after this, we received an e-mail from the Registry for this ccTLD, claiming that the company behind this fiscal number called them and told that they didn't know or requested that domain name.

    After further investigation, we find out that the customer provided a VAT-ID (fiscal number) of a huge company in our country.

    We then requested details to our customer about this domain, because he could be using this domain for a project or website he was developing for this company.

    Unfortunately this wasn't the case. Our customer told us that he was registering a domain for another party which was customer of him, and that his customer didn't want to provide his fiscal number and personal details.

    We then explained that besides his customer information was needed to register the domain, he could hide the information from the whois database (this ccTLD allows to hide the whole whois information for a contact, not like a whois privacy service that replaces the contact, but they simply hide the information).

    Even after we tell him about this possibility and after requesting him the correct details in order to fix this situation and provide the accurate details to the registry, the customer didn't cooperated, claiming that we weren't being polite and asking for a refund. He also stated the he would be publishing this in the social networks and bashing us.

    Unfortunately we were already billed for this domain by the registry (we are billed monthly for the previous month domain name registrations/renewals) and we weren't able to get a refund for this domain. We also state in our Terms of Service that we don't provide a refund for domain name registrations.

    Again, we explained the situation to the customer and asked him his cooperation in order to fix the domain owner data. After all, it was him who provided us fake information in the first place.

    We quoted our Term os Service topics about the responsibility of the customer to provide us correct and valid data for the domain owner contact in domain registrations and others stating some ICANN and Registry specific rules about validity of domain data, which he had agree when signup with us. We also stated that it was very problematic that he provided us details of a legal company (Multinational corporation) to register his domain without their consent.

    The customer kept asking for when would he be refunded. One more time we explained that we could refund him as stated in our ToS and because we were already been billed for that service by the Registry.

    We requested again the correct contact details and explained him that he could hide the Whois details immediatly.

    He then hit us back, saying that the domain wasn't registered and that he would be discussing this if the domain was registered. (The domain was registered minutes after he provided the payment receipt and it is still active in his account at this moment).

    Then he stated: "If you can't register a domain before having customer details, please don't do it. I'm going to transfer all my sites away and will not provide any more data! I will be waiting for the refund!" which at this stage was starting to be totally inappropriate and annoying.

    Then we told him that if he didn't want to cooperate, the company which was now the domain owner (the one he provided the details) would be the legal owner and do whatever they want with the domain. After all, they were the Contact Owner for this domain.

    We also remembered him that we had provided us invalid/fake data for two times in this case, which was totally unacceptable and was enough for us to mark this order as fraudulent.

    He then started telling us that he was the victim and that the data was provided by his customer and not him. Said he wasn't the one that needed to confirm if his customer was a employee of the Multinational corporation in question or not (was being ironic) and that we were only interested in money and would accept any order that is paid without further interest.

    He stated that this was our fault and that he wasn't the one who was being in bad faith. He would be insisting all day and night until he gets a refund back from us and would not "associate my data to the domain only because you were already billed for this domain".

    The conversation kept going, with this customer telling us that he would spread this to the social networks, threatening us with court and lawyers, intimidating us that he would be knocking at our doors to sort this problem personally and telling us that he wouldn't have any problem in providing us fake data again to cause more problems like this one.

    We replied back politely with the same information we had provided before. We also verified that the fiscal number he provided for his customer account and the fiscal number he provided for a domain registration with his name, wasn't the same, so we sent him another e-mail requesting him to provide a copy of his ID to confirm the validity of the data and check which one was correct.

    We have giving him 48 hours to provide the scanned copy of the ID and we didn't received nothing yet. We're now thinking about what would be the best thing to do and would love to know what you think about this story and how would you proceed with it.

    I wouldn't have any problem to refund the payment if the customer were being polite and cooperative with us, even if this could mean a lost of revenue for us, but unfortunately i would feel well to know i'm cooperating with someone like this.

    Sorry for the long text and for my English. I'm not used to write so much in english and i think that my words start to being much repetitive after a while.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    OnTheWeb
    Posts
    2,024
    Since English is not your native language I will try to be brief

    You handled the situation quite well to be honest. (there are always 2 sides to a story but based on what you said here it seems that way)

    Also, it is standard practice to not issue refunds for domain names since most of us are resellers of them and do not have any direct control of cost vs refund negotiations with ICANN.

    To also build your case, your "customer" violated 1 major TOS clause which is to always provide truthful and accurate information for services to be rendered. Yes, it may have been his client who "pulled the wool over his eyes" but he is responsible for that, not you. You should inform your client that he has to correct the issues with his client first before approaching you to rectify this situation.

    Honestly, I think the story your client gave needs much more investigation because it seems as though he knew fully well what was taking place.
    If you're the smartest person in the room then you're in the wrong room

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    5,054
    This sound very interesting. Sounds like this is the real deal and by your story it sounds like the client wants it his way only which sometimes can not happen depending on many factors dealing with it.

    If I were you I would contact the customer and explain to him that he/she has breached terms of service by not presenting valid truthful information in order to process the order correctly.

    As for a refund dir the domain also explain to the customer that it clearly states in your company's terms of service that you guys do no refunds on domain registrations just about any one can understand why you and most other providers may not do refunds on domains.

  4. #4
    He's wasting your time. Time is valuable because time is money.

    If I were in your position, I would stop negotiations and put my foot down because he is in the wrong and if this case were to be taken to court, he would be the one penalized. Provide him with an ultimatum of either providing you with the accurate information so you may settle the situation once and for all, or leave without refund.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    2,735
    you know some people are unreasonable guy,you need you keep them away with best safe way asap,
    because he will just waste your time.
    with this situation,you can not refund because you had be charged,
    and the user would not give you the correct data.

    where do you register the domain ?
    if you register the domain at enom,
    you may try to help the user to create a account at enom system with his mailbox,other fields are typed with any data you wish,just make sure the account can be created well.

    then,you use push feature to push the domain to the account and give the user the login data,
    and tell him that is the best way to protect his payment and you,
    in the future,if he has issue or renew question,
    ask him to contact registrar directly.because you can not handle the domain at all.
    please note,do not set the account as sub-account under your account,it is very important,
    or the registrar may ask you support the user again...

    i think this is a best way,
    because his domain be saved now,in the future,
    if registrar ask to correct the contact info again,it is not your business.
    Last edited by ttgt; 01-07-2014 at 06:38 AM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by cenourinha View Post
    We have giving him 48 hours to provide the scanned copy of the ID and we didn't received nothing yet. We're now thinking about what would be the best thing to do and would love to know what you think about this story and how would you proceed with it.
    Put the domain name in a "holding account" where the customer cannot do anything to it. If possible, do not put any content on the domain name.

    Keep every communication you have from the customer. You might need them to rebut, to a point, the customer's argument/s against you if that person carries out the threat.

    However difficult, stay firm yet polite. Depending on what the Registry requires and what you can afford, give as much help as you can until the end.

    Good luck.

    On the side and out of curiosity: what happens to the domain name, especially when it's paid, if that fiscal number or so is not provided and verified on time?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    335
    Thank you all for your comments. This domain is a specific ccTLD which we are Registrar for.

    The Registry System for this ccTLD only allows one Registry-Account/Registry-ID for each person/entity, using a NIC-HANDLE and the Fiscal Number (or VAT-ID) as unique IDs.

    This way, when we registered the domain with the Fiscal Number he provided us, the domain was registered in the other entity Registry-Account, with their details.

    At this moment, that entity is the Domain Owner, we are the Manage Entity (Registrar) and Technical Contact.

    Because we are the Registrar and the customer has this domain in his Client Area, he can manage the domain, even not being the Domain Owner.

    Our customer can't get any EPP/Transfer Code (because of EPP protocol restrictions/limitations), but he can at this moment change the nameservers for this domain.

    We are not confortable with this customer having the control of this domain and being able to act on behalf of the actual Domain Owner without their consent.

    Like already said, this customer is wasting our time and at this stage we want to "put our foot down". As he have other services with us, we want to give him the keys so he can go away when the subscription period ends. What's your thoughts?
    WebTuga Hosting - Portuguese Shared, Virtual and Dedicated Web Hosting
    CloudFire WebHosting - European Low Cost Cloud WebHosting

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Harrisburg, PA
    Posts
    2,073
    I agree with the others here; you've done everything properly, and have been far more lenient with the customer than most would expect.

    I would let the customer walk. Sometimes it's just not worth the trouble. We also have a clause in our TOS requiring the customer to provide and maintain accurate information with us (even though we aren't an accredited registrar), and we occasionally get orders in that are missing names, or that have clearly fake names ("AAAA BBBB", etc). Depending on the circumstances we either simply cancel the order or give the customer 24 hours to provide us with correct information.

    I would say this customer has worn out his welcome. It's time you wished him luck with his future host. Inform him that his service will not be renewed, and that he must find a new host before the termination date.
    Fresh Roasted Hosting :: High-performance Harrisburg web hosting since 2012!
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by cenourinha View Post
    We are not confortable with this customer having the control of this domain and being able to act on behalf of the actual Domain Owner without their consent.
    That's why I suggested putting that domain name in a holding account, which my ex-registrar colleagues do until the issue (e.g. billing, legal) is somehow resolved. That way, neither the customer nor the business can do anything to that.

    Quote Originally Posted by cenourinha View Post
    Like already said, this customer is wasting our time and at this stage we want to "put our foot down". As he have other services with us, we want to give him the keys so he can go away when the subscription period ends. What's your thoughts?
    What FRH Lisa said, although that depends if your contract allows that. Hopefully it does.

  10. #10
    Seems like you did your job well, customer is in the wrong here

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    335
    As we use WHMCS, i think i will just put the Registrar option to "None", this way the customer will not be able to make any change to the domain.
    WebTuga Hosting - Portuguese Shared, Virtual and Dedicated Web Hosting
    CloudFire WebHosting - European Low Cost Cloud WebHosting

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    335
    The problem is now solved after the customer finally decide to provide his data to change the NIC-Handle associated with the domain.

    Thank you all for your input.
    WebTuga Hosting - Portuguese Shared, Virtual and Dedicated Web Hosting
    CloudFire WebHosting - European Low Cost Cloud WebHosting

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