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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    San Jose, California
    Posts
    410

    abandonment of service

    We have a rather odd situation with one of our dedicated clients. There's this guy who has been with us since last September and up until early this year, customer has paid their bill every month without a problem. In early February we informed him that he was past due on his account and needed to have their billing taken care of. The client indicated that he would contact our billing dept. and submit a new credit card, etc.

    To make a long story short, we never heard from the client again after that message. About a week later we shut off the server since the account was *very* past due. Prior to that we tried emailing and calling the customer, leaving voice messages, etc. In every case we never received any response, even after the server was shut off.

    The funny part is that the client has not changed their DNS, or made any effort to contact us, or switch hosts. Looking through the clients service/ticket history, we don't notice any service issues or complaints, and all prior indications show that the client should have been happy with his service. Another thing that concerns us is that the customer was using a fair amount of traffic for membership adult sites, and you would think that he would care.

    It's now been over 2 months since any contact from this guy whatsoever and the server is *still* shut off and all his domains pointing to it still have not resolved elsewhere. We have not yet formatted the box in the event the client comes out from under his rock, but we don't know what to think. What are the chances of a customer just leaving their business like this??

    Has anyone else experienced a similar situation?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    176
    put it back up, change the ref codes to self created accounts, and keep the sites alive, im sure the traffic he generated to the server took a bit of work.

    if/when he comes back you can tell him you kept his sites from dieing and took compensation on payments from the sponsors and/or his paysite.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    San Jose, California
    Posts
    410
    Well, to be honest, we kinda feel sorry for the guy. It's not like we had something like this happen before. It's like he just fell off the face of the earth or something... No cancellation, no response, no contact whatsoever for over 2 months and nothing has changed.

    I was thinking he might have died or something. Damn!

  4. #4
    Mabe you could try call him up. He might have got overseas or busy with more pressing issues or just cannot pay for the bills.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    San Jose, California
    Posts
    410
    eddy2099,

    We have tried everything possible to contact him. Sent several emails to every one of his accounts, and left many voice mails on his cellphone. He is in the US, so I even tried to look him up online, but no response on ICQ/AIM either.

    The server has been pulled from the the rack, but our tech won't reformat until more time passes, I guess.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    176
    hmm, he might be in jail as well - what was one of his domains, ill see if I can find out if anyone knows where he is

  7. #7
    Well, if his cellphone is still working, someone would have to pay for that..

    Yeah, you could 'visit' the sites on his server, maybe it should give you a clue of the content.

    He could be running away the law or from creditors or just on an emergency overseas assignment.

    I am not sure how you could get his home number, maybe someone at home will have some clues.

    I would believe that if you made the best effort then there is nothing much you can do, business is business. Maybe before you sell his server, you could store his harddisk somewhere else for a little while longer or back it up somewhere.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    San Jose, California
    Posts
    410
    You guys bring up some good points. Perhaps he's overseas, an extended business trip, in jail, or other personal issues, who knows.... %&$# happens, so although this is a bit unusual, we are still a bit concerned.

    I will probably do as eddy2099 suggests and just set his hard drive aside for the time being. If he comes out of hiding, then we can offer his data back if he wants it...

  9. #9
    Originally posted by nectar
    I will probably do as eddy2099 suggests and just set his hard drive aside for the time being. If he comes out of hiding, then we can offer his data back if he wants it...
    I once had a similar situation. A client seemingly evaporated for about 6 months without any activity at all. It turned out that the woman had been diagnosed with colon cancer, had surgery, etc and really didn't have the where-with-all to pay attention to her server. She did resurface after a period and was most grateful that we had kept her data for her.

    Yeah - nice guys finish last, but they feel good about themselves. :-)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    60
    I think that it would be nice of you to keep the sites up. I would also be very concerned about your client. I would definately send mail to his address and look in the phone book for people with his same last name in his city. There are many different ways to track someone down and find out whats going on.

    You are a good person for caring enough to ask. Hope that everything is ok with your customer.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Sunny California
    Posts
    1,679
    We've had a couple similar situations. Usually, for non-payment, we'll take their hard drives and store them in a safe place, then put new hard drives in the server and lease it out to another customer. We have about 20 labeled hard drives from various server migrations of our own and from customers who have not paid up. We keep the hard drives around for 30-60 days and then reformat those and put them back into use.

    You might want to try looking him up in the white pages to see if you can get another number for him or a relative. Most of the time, they're alive; they've just lost interest in their sites for whatever reason. If you can get in touch with a relative of his, you can find out the story. Hate to say it, but a collection agency is probably the best way to find out what really happened.
    Erica Douglass, Founder, Simpli Hosting, Inc.
    I founded Simpli Hosting, and sold it in 2007 to Silicon Valley Web Hosting after over 6 years in the business.
    Now I'm blogging at erica.biz!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Rochester, MN
    Posts
    916
    Be sure to keep a backup of the data, we keep data for a year just in case. It doesn't cost much to image it to some dvd's. I would recommend getting two contacts for every business client. This allows you an alternative contact for many situations when the primary contact is unreachable.
    Area51.mn VPS, Dedicated & Colocated Servers.
    Area51 Computers Custom Servers & Gaming Systems. (Since 1998)
    NetAffect Email & Web Hosting Services. (Since 1996)
    Quality Systems & Service Since 1996

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    2,670
    Originally posted by Ananke
    put it back up, change the ref codes to self created accounts, and keep the sites alive, im sure the traffic he generated to the server took a bit of work.

    if/when he comes back you can tell him you kept his sites from dieing and took compensation on payments from the sponsors and/or his paysite.
    I sure hope you were joking when you wrote that. A provider changing referral codes of a client's (even ex client) sites to make money is not even close to being acceptable.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    6,984
    This is really good services on your side nectar! Life unpredictable, I had a client who passed away as well as also one in jail before. I must say what you are doing is beyond your call, but very good practice nevertheless.

    Originally posted by nectar
    You guys bring up some good points. Perhaps he's overseas, an extended business trip, in jail, or other personal issues, who knows.... %&$# happens, so although this is a bit unusual, we are still a bit concerned.

    I will probably do as eddy2099 suggests and just set his hard drive aside for the time being. If he comes out of hiding, then we can offer his data back if he wants it...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    1,652
    Originally posted by nectar
    You guys bring up some good points. Perhaps he's overseas, an extended business trip, in jail, or other personal issues, who knows.... %&$# happens, so although this is a bit unusual, we are still a bit concerned.

    I will probably do as eddy2099 suggests and just set his hard drive aside for the time being. If he comes out of hiding, then we can offer his data back if he wants it...

    Send him an offical letter, via Certified mail, along with a confirmation notice on it. If they accept it, they have to sign for it. Take note who takes it. If no response after 30 days, I'd wipe the drive. We do similar type thing for the ISP I work for. If the customer doesn't return the modem (after about 30 days, an all means to contact them result in nothing), we send out a certified letter. After 30 days, no response we either bill their cc on file ($400 for the modem (cost of it)) or forward it to collections. Amazing how many people respond, and bring in the equipment when you mention collections...
    Happily hosting @ Dathorn.com (Since 3/2003), Ispeeds.net (Since 2004), & Quadspeedi.net (Since 7/2005)!
    Hosted @ FDC for 9 Years

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    San Jose, California
    Posts
    410

    Post MIA customer

    Thanks for the suggestions. Some really good ideas here..

    We couldn't just leave the server online without hearing *something* from the client. It was averaging about 8 mbits, which is not an extreme amount of traffic, but nevertheless the client was nearly 2 months overdue at the time we shut the box down.

    We left several voice mails on this guys cellphone, sent email to every address we had on file, etc. There was no response to any tickets, emails, or phone calls. I even tried calling his cell at different times to no avail. We might also send a notice via certified mail w/return receipt just to see what happens.

    We have done as was suggested earlier and removed the drive the from the server and keep it in the NOC. This doesn't happen everyday, so hopefully he will contact us who knows when... To hold onto his drive isn't going to hurt us. After all, we have cases of them, so it doesn't matter.

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