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Did you ever contract with an unknown?

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  #1  
Old 12-22-2000, 01:08 PM
astralexis astralexis is offline
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Probably not! It is a matter of common sens to understand that you can only conclude a contract with someone if you know who this "someone" is.

However, what is true in normal life, seems to be the exception in dealing with web hosts. I mean, take a look at the order forms of your websites: You ask your potential client to give his name, his address, maybe phonenumber and so on, you want to know who is contracting with you.

But does your client know who he is contracting with???

No problem for corporations, they are dealing under their name which identifies them as a "juridic" person.

But if it's not an inc. the client is actually contracting with a physical person, the proprietor of the host. Shouldn't he know who that is? Can a contract be valid if not even the names of both contracting parties are clear?

Many hosts don't give any reasonable contact information on their website: No street address, no name of the person running the business, just an anonymous email address like TheSuperHost.com or something.

This isn't correct business conduct, IMHO.



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  #2  
Old 12-22-2000, 07:43 PM
Chicken Chicken is offline
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Well in theory, the TOS should list something along the lines of who to contact (and the address of the company, etc.), but that's in theory.

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  #3  
Old 12-23-2000, 12:29 PM
astralexis astralexis is offline
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I would never look in the TOS for such information, because it has nothing to do with TERMS. In the TOS one would usually use some trade name, like TheSuperHost.com or something, that's fine. But in the "CONTACT US" section of the website I would like to find information as to what person this trade name is associated with.

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  #4  
Old 12-23-2000, 12:54 PM
astralexis astralexis is offline
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Again, no problem for .inc or any other form of registerd business

The increased anonymity is one of the advantages of choosing such a legal form of the business. (like inc.). Remember if you're an inc., people can look up who's the owner of the business in a public register, so there's no perfect anonyat either.

If for whatever reason you cannot or don't want to incorporate your business, I find it a matter of correct business conduct to use your true name for contracting, even on internet.

Let's face it: Why would one be afraid of revealing ones name on internet? The only thing I can think of, is that maybe I don't want people to be able to do a search on the name of a person, to find out what kind of business she's doing.

Now, there's an easy solution for this: Put the information on a GIF, not plain text, so no search engine will index it.

Another solution, even more protecting your personality but still acceptable to me, would be to reveal the business identity to members only.

Too often not even this is done!! No correct business conduct IMHO.

  #5  
Old 12-23-2000, 02:31 PM
Chicken Chicken is offline
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Well, it is your choice to do business with a company/person with limited details on their site. Personally it would make me wary too. But often you buy products from companies without knowing much about them. In fact, I don't think I've ever bought a product and know exactly who was behind it.

Many internet 'businesses', so to speak, are nothing more than a URL and an email address and it is the consumer's choice whether or not that is acceptable.

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  #6  
Old 12-23-2000, 03:39 PM
astralexis astralexis is offline
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Chicken: basically I like your liberal way of approaching the question: It's up to the client to either deal with an anonymous email address or look for a more recognizable partner if he prefers.

However: It would be an error to presume anyone contracting with an anonymous email address and especially sending money to such address, would accept a gamble as to whether his host will fulfill the contract or not.

One may assume that someone doing business simply doesn't want to reveal his name on the www, but still expect a real person behind a website, since a product is offerd and paiment is accepted for it. The client, even if accepting an anonymous offer, expects to know identity (at least the street address) of the seller once the contract is concluded.

There's a number of threads on these boards, where clients are complaining about difficulties to cancel a contract and similar problems. Usually someone recommends to send a LETTER to the host and ask the post office to provide proof of the delivery of the letter. But how would you do this without a street address??

The bottom line is: Any seller who refuses to reveal his identity to his client (e.g. to someone who has signed up for hosting and paied for it) if expressly asked for this information, is a jerk.

  #7  
Old 12-23-2000, 06:50 PM
Chicken Chicken is offline
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I agree with that, and this thread has just alerted me to the fact that the new site I'm building (really a horrid monster at this point), does NOT have contact info listed, heh. Perhaps it is an oversight sometimes? (whups!)

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  #8  
Old 12-26-2000, 02:13 AM
Jaiem Jaiem is offline
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Question

Astra - Is dealing with someone face2face really providing that much more security?

Ever been to an expo, convention or trade show? Hundreds, maybe thousands, of vendors with booths. You don't know who is who. Yet people buy like crazy, often using their charge cards or giving checks, sign guest books, fill out raffle tickets (that's the biggest scam to get people's names&addresses!) etc.

Even a brick&mortar shop doesn't guarantee anything. I wish I had a $1 for each store I've seen open and close in a few weeks. Yea, you could try to track down the previous tenents but that's as much effort as trying to find the owners of a site.

I'm not trying to pass-off on your concerns, just trying to point out there is risk in any transaction anywhere.

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  #9  
Old 12-26-2000, 07:14 AM
astralexis astralexis is offline
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Contracts are not raffle tickets.

Some people buy at trade fares, but they won't usually leave without a business card of the seller, so they know who they've been dealing with.

The brick&mortar shop (I like your english) is basically identified, you can alwayse go there and complain about something, except if it disappears but that's a different question.

With hosting you're entitled to receive a service over an extended periode of time and obviously contact information is more important than if you had bought a product cash&carry.

Hosting ventures without reasonable contact information don't usually disappear, they just don't have a correct business conduct.

  #10  
Old 12-26-2000, 09:30 AM
astralexis astralexis is offline
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Jaiem: I agree some risks are inherent to any business transaction and I'm glad that you don't take this as an excuse for refuse of contact information. Enterprises vanishing away for bankrupcy is one thing, bad business conduct is another.

  #11  
Old 12-26-2000, 10:53 AM
Jaiem Jaiem is offline
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Astra,

I think we're on the same page.

A couple of other things I would also mention:

1) Most web hosting is done month-to-month with no contract.

2) The same info for establishing hosting is generally required also on any e-commerce ("cash and e-carry") transaction too. So if one is hesitant about giving the info for hosting that person is probably also not likely to buy online as well.

3) It isn't also just about knowing who you're dealing with. A host may need to contact a customer beyond email (telephone or snail mail). There's also AVS requirements of charging hosting services. No business of any type worth their salt is just going to take a name and CC# and start charging away.

Happy New Year!

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  #12  
Old 12-26-2000, 01:01 PM
astralexis astralexis is offline
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Ad #1: There's alwayse a contract for hosting services. The features of the hosting package are written on the host's site and if one admits the CC paiment as a signature, we even have a written contract for 1 month hosting.

If the click on an "Order Now" button or CC paiment is not considered equivalent to a signature (that may depend on national legislation), at least there would be a tacite agreement to a certain deal, which is a contract as well.

Therefore, in order to determine the rights and obligations of each partie, the situation must be examined as a contractual relationship. (no advice, just an opinion :-))

Ad #2: Client identity is a different question. I haven't seen any host who doesn't ask full name/address from clients. Important in some countries regarding hosting provider's responsability for content of his client's sites (not the topic of this thread).

Ad #3: I disagree: Why ask contact information from members of e.g. an adult site? Require a CC is the only AV that can reasonably be done. Therefore to sell a password for an adult site, CC information is all you need. That's perfectly ok.

  #13  
Old 01-06-2003, 09:22 AM
GoldenTiger GoldenTiger is offline
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