Results 1 to 29 of 29
  1. #1

    Post Suspend, Delete or Die

    Just wanted to know how long you let your customers slide when they say they can't pay.

    Last year when US had the hurricane disaster, back when Alaska had the earthquake, and back when 911 happened, I'm sure we all had a heart and gave some customers extra time to pay their bill... I hope.

    Here's what I want to do but I want to hear your perspectives:

    Extend the due date by 14 days IF a customer requests a payment extension in writing and charge a $10.00 late payment fee.

    What do you think of this? or should I just suspend, delete and be on with my day.

    LH
    If the web closed at midnight, what would YOU do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    West Michigan, USA
    Posts
    9,675
    We suspend at 3 days overdue and delete at 30 days overdue.

    --Tina
    ||| 99.999% Uptime SLA!!!
    Plenty of space and bandwidth to fit your needs!
    www.AEIandYou.com - - (WP Friendly - Premium Reseller Hosting and Cheap Dedicated Servers)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Tampa, Fl
    Posts
    442
    This should have been figured out before your business was created, but I think it would have depend on the client's history with you. I see nothing wrong with treating each case differently, as long as things don't get too tedious. If tardiness is a routine thing, nothing gets you money faster then a good old fashioned "this account has been suspended" index page on their domain. The quicker the better and I find that I normally only have to do it once for them to get the picture. However, I rarely charge, everyone slips up once and a while.

    If you feel that 14 days is good then so do I, you call the shots. Axis is larger then we are, and I'm sure that because of their bigger client base they might have a more difficult time keeping track of who is and isn't a loyal customer, so that can be an issue as well.

    Just make sure your TOS clearly explains that you have the right to do so "whenever you deem necessary". There's nothing wrong with tightening the leash a little bit, so don't be afraid to do so when a client starts to get in a slump.
    Last edited by DLee; 05-29-2005 at 02:46 AM.
    DBLHost.com
    US Based Shared Web Hosting cPanel+Softaculous Email Hosting Domain Names
    https://www.dblhost.com

  4. #4
    Originally posted by DLee
    This should have been figured out before your business was created, ...
    As of now, I go by my TOS (billing reminder 10 days prior, suspend on the 5th day past due, and terminate on the last business day of the month). I havent had the scenario since most of my customers follow the rules or have recurring billing set up.

    I am asking because I hear the news about the state of our economy and all that stuff makes me think that I could bend a little if I had a written promise to pay...

    That's where my head is. Business is good and I am just trying to see how else I can give a more personalized service.

    LH
    If the web closed at midnight, what would YOU do?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Here?
    Posts
    2,560
    Originally posted by LadyHost
    As of now, I go by my TOS (billing reminder 10 days prior, suspend on the 5th day past due, and terminate on the last business day of the month).
    You should follow this to the letter then.

  6. #6
    If you have history of bad payment experience from that particular customer, then you should not give further extension, what I think.

    On other hand, if he is a loyal customer and you want to maintain your business relationship as well then you should make decision as per the merit of the situation which deems best as per your knowledge, and belief, but make sure as DLee said your TOS should contain specification such as "whenever you deem necessary".

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Posts
    740
    We give our customers a very reasonable credit period - up to 60 days. They *nearly* always pay.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Goleta, CA
    Posts
    5,550
    Hmm I have tar backups of old client sites from 2 years ago. I should probably do some cleaning.

    My policy in order is to:

    1. contact client
    2. work out payment plan

    * if 1 and 2 don't work
    3. suspend account
    4. see step 2

    *if client doesn't contact us

    5. backup site and label cd
    6. suspend site for 30 days
    7. delete site from server after 30 days have passed
    8. wonder what I could have done to keep the client and improve my services.
    9. keep working and shrug it off as a client loss
    Patron: I'd like my free lunch please.
    Cafe Manager: Free lunch? Did you read the fine print stating it was an April Fool's joke.
    Patron: I read the same way I listen, I ignore the parts I don't agree with. I'm suing you for false advertising.
    Cafe Owner: Is our lawyer still working pro bono?

  9. #9

  10. #10
    Neat perspectives. Thanks to all of you.
    I definately believe a TOS should be followed and I was just hoping that maybe leniency could have its place without mucking things up.

    From the sound of it, leniency really has no place unless I'm willing to give it for everyone, or specifically state that it applies to whomever I apply it to.

    Too much thought required. I'll stick to the TOS.

    LH
    If the web closed at midnight, what would YOU do?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Merville BC
    Posts
    608
    We use this in our terms of service....

    Payments not received on the due date can result in suspension of your hosting services. Payments in arrears over 7 days are subject to a $20.00 account reinstate fee.

    If an account is in arrears for over 30 days, the account may be closed and all files deleted from the server. A full backup will be kept for 3 months, which can be obtained by paying any outstanding hosting fees, $10.00 per month for storing your hosting files, plus the reinstate fee of $20.00.

    We always ensure a reminder is sent with a quote in regards to our terms of service in regards to billing.
    Three out of four people make up 75 percent of the population

  12. #12
    I think we can't deny it that few amendment on TOS may require, totally depends upon the situation and merit or your experience to an exceptional case you might face which you have not presumed yet, this is the reason TOS should contain specification such as "whenever you deem necessary. Ultimately as a whole this is your business.

    This is my thought only.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    285
    Suppose the client came back, say after 30 days and willing to pay the dues with late payment fees? Meanwhile you have already deleted the site from the server.
    What you will do?
    *if client doesn't contact us

    5. backup site and label cd
    6. suspend site for 30 days
    7. delete site from server after 30 days have passed
    8. wonder what I could have done to keep the client and improve my services.
    9. keep working and shrug it off as a client loss
    He said he will backup the site and label the cd (assuming according to the site name etc). Thent he site will be removed from the server after the 30 days have passed. Therefore, if a client is willing to pay the monthly fee plus late fee he may simply restore the site from the cd.

    You have a good method/practice.

  14. #14

    3rd Party Disclosure Issues

    Hello All

    I am new to the forum, but thought this something the community should be aware of.

    As a former financial adviser, loan officer, collections officer, and credit underwriter/analyst and legal representative for a number of rather large financial institutions in the United states. Might I try to advise some of the web hosts that reside in the US who use the "good old fashioned" "account has been suspended page" that it's not wise and it will most likely bite someone in the butt legally someday, from that point on it will then start biting everyone in the butt and in the pocket.

    I am surprised no one has run into this issue as of yet and it also surprises me greatly that the web community does not even know that it is a very risky page to put up.

    As a host attempting to collect on a debt. You can be viewed as a creditor. (I am not a layer, I simply specialized in collection law and practices with in the US and possibly I could be wrong and this does not apply, but personally I would suggest that the risk is to great for any one company to find out that it does apply) And as such YOU ARE BOUND by laws in regards to collection practices.

    One of which (and a real biggy!!) is the 3rd party disclosure law. You CAN NOT under "ANY" circumstances discuss nor "suggest" the current state of an account (any account be it web or other) with a 3rd party (meaning of course anyone other than the account holder themselves). Further more to suggest to a 3rd party that a individual has not paid their bill. Or is considered to be a "deadbeat" Is the Ultimate in breaking US collection laws.

    I bring this to the boards attention simply because at some point, someday, someone's client is going to speak to an attorney who knows and understands collection law. And that attorney will realize that he has a slam dunk of case. Not only that, he will most certainly suggest to the client that they should sue for everything they can get and for good reason he stands to make a good amount of money. In my experience working within a number of companies ("AVCO Financial services", "The Associates Financial Services", "Associates Bank" and "CitiFinance".. in my past life.) When it comes to collection law in the US of all the things a creditor can do, 3rd party disclosure is the worst. And in almost all cases the entity that breaks the said law is penalized SEVERELY. Now when we are talking about the web. and posting that page we are talking about 1 entity breaking the "golden" (called golden within the industry because when broken, allot of "gold" has to be put forth) 3rd party disclosure laws who knows how many times depending on how many visitors viewed the page. The number of times this law is broken simply due to the nature of the web is unprecedented. Unlike the situations in the real world this is not a he said she said situation, visits are logged there can be no question as to how many times the said page is viewed. Imagine a $5,000 fine per viewing. eeeek!!!

    So to all who use this page (The one I'm referring to is the suspended page that suggest 2 reasons for suspension. With one of them being that they possibly have not paid their bill). I caution you strongly, I know the page works. But for someone someday its not going be worth it. And once that cat is outta the bag this said slick attorney is going to realize that ALLOT of hosts are doing this and he will have found himself a new and well paying hobby, searching out these pages, and contacting url owners in an attempt to make them aware of this and possibly persuade them to move forward with legal action, promising once again "gold".

    I cant say for sure. But based on my experience, for years now I have felt that this is a bomb waiting to off within the web hosting industry.

    So to all I suggest that you manage this (page) "RISK" as you see fit, but all should understand that it in my opinion it is a very "REAL" financial and legal risk.

    I advise any who uses it regularly to talk to an attorney, and should that attorney suggest its not a problem, then ask him specifically what he knows of 3rd party collection laws, both nationally AND locally. You may find he too is completely in the dark if its not his niche. It is for lack of a better term a specialized area and an industry unto itself.


    I don't mean to run around yelling "The sky is falling". but it definitely seems like very big can of worms that at some point will be open.


    To summarize this using a typical collection situation another way:

    Jon lives in the US. He hasn't paid his "Sears" bill.

    Sears (calls home), "Is Jon there?"
    Baby sitter answers, "No he's not may I take a message".
    Sears replies, "You sure?, this is very important?"
    Baby sitter replies, "Yes I'm Sure what's this in regards to?"
    Sears replies, "Well he hasn't paid his bill".

    Jon comes home, baby sitter tells Jon, Jon files case, Jon wins hands down. No longer does he pay his sears bill according to the judge but he also gets a nice big fat check from sears.

    I've seen it, and as a representative of the above companies Have lost to it a number of times, and on each occasion was happy it wasnt my money lost.


    Best regards
    Razz
    Last edited by RazzBlade; 07-05-2005 at 09:40 PM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Goleta, CA
    Posts
    5,550
    Well I could always just change my method by skipping the suspension part and goign straight to deletion. Problem solved.

    Are you entirely sure that this is correct? It seems like it would have become an issue by now.
    Patron: I'd like my free lunch please.
    Cafe Manager: Free lunch? Did you read the fine print stating it was an April Fool's joke.
    Patron: I read the same way I listen, I ignore the parts I don't agree with. I'm suing you for false advertising.
    Cafe Owner: Is our lawyer still working pro bono?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Prince Edward Island
    Posts
    2,287

    Re: 3rd Party Disclosure Issues

    Originally posted by RazzBlade
    "good old fashioned" "account has been suspended page" that it's not wise and it will most likely bite someone in the butt legally someday, from that point on it will then start biting everyone in the butt and in the pocket.
    There is nothing wrong with the account has been suspended page. It merely says the account has been suspended and does not state for any reason why, which means your not disclosing the account information. Therefore anything further would be based on pure speculation and speculation alone.

    In the U.S.A you can sue anyone for any reason. Thats right, you can sue anybody you want for any reason which of course is why we have lawyers. Winning is a different story.

    Bringing someone to court is merely an attempt to win a law suit. Not a guarantee you will win, merely an attempt. Your chances at winning are based on the solid facts and the reason your bringing the other person to court. If your bringing them to court because they said "hi" in public, then you got a stupid reason to sue and no doubt the judge will laugh at you and throw the case out. Which means the person you attempted to sue, can sue you (and have very good chances at winning) for damages as well as the cost of that person hiring a lawyer.

    So summing up, if a host puts up a suspended page because you didn't pay your bill on time, learn to pay your bill sooner. Sure you can try and sue them because they put "Account suspended due to lack of payment" but if your able to afford the lawyer, you probably woulda been able to pay your bill on time too.

  17. #17
    pixilized:

    I think it is an issue that will surface "someday", and on that occasion depending on who takes the hit, and how much they want to spend to fight it. It could set the precedent for anything to follow, But the truth is I don't know and can't say. It seems that this will only happen when its finally done to someone who know these things. like myself for instance. If I saw that page posted at my url. I would definably pursue legal action. To even contemplate that existing and potential customers could visit and find something like that in place of the expected web page. Is enough to make me personally take some form of pro-active action.

    I bought hosting a number of years ago while I was still in the financial industry. And when I logged in for the first time I saw that page sitting in my root directory apparently ready to go up at a moments notice. I hate to say but I called my host immediately and explained exactly what I explained above (In much harsher terms). I stated very strongly that I don't wanna see that page anywhere near my account, or in my folders, and that I better never see it "Live". Simply because it could be put up based on even the littlest of misunderstandings or even as a simple mistake.

    If you consider that someone is running a business and then you tell their customer base that person doesn't pay their bills, that could be devastating to that business, it brings everything into question surrounding the business, ie: the quality of the product, the legitimacy of the business, the honesty of the company. etc. This could possibly destroy the companies bottom line (regardless of how small the company is). That is certainly grounds for legal action, and heaven forbid if it was just an accident or misunderstanding with billing.

    Needless to say the page was removed, and knowing other customers with the same company, I was told by them, it had also been removed from their directories as well.

    I think this was a good move on the hosts part.

    If we take "sears" as an example again. And imagine that something got muffed up in accounting and that they had not paid their bill for that month. I don't believe that the company hosting "sears" site (for this example I'm assuming that "sears" uses a host and does not actually have their own web server which is highly unlikely) would even dream of putting up such a page. It would certainly mean sudden death financially to the hosting company. If such a page were up for lets say 4 days it could conceivably even effect the price of "sears" stock. It would suggest big trouble financially within "sears".

    John:
    like I said handle that risk as you see fit.. Ask your attorney

    But as said In my original post. This is based on my experience In court, representing rather large financial institutions locally. It was an area I specialized in for years. Take it for what its worth to you.

    The easy cover your *** answer is to make certain your suspension page does not suggest that suspension is due to non payment.

    And I have a seen a suspension page in the past that suggest exactly that..

    Based on my experience I'm confident that if that page went up on my site and I proceeded legally I would win hands down. Because I always lost hands down as soon as the customers attorney proved that 3rd party disclosure laws were broken.

    Again I am not an attorney, but represented these companies locally with coperation and under the direction of a cooperate attorney.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    The South
    Posts
    5,403
    Our billing software is set to suspend at 10 days overdue, and we try not to delete a site until it's been suspended at least 4 weeks.

    If someone just talks to me and says what they need and when they'll pay I'll almost always let them slide, yes people can lie to you but it's outweighed by those who do just need a few days to get things back in order with their finances or whatever.
    Gary Harris - the artist formerly known as Dixiesys
    resident grumpy redneck

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    The Ozarks
    Posts
    888
    RazzBlade:
    There are numerous reasons why a site may be suspended, only one of them being non payment.

    Your example:

    Jon lives in the US. He hasn't paid his "Sears" bill.
    Sears (calls home), "Is Jon there?"
    Baby sitter answers, "No he's not may I take a message".
    Sears replies, "You sure?, this is very important?"
    Baby sitter replies, "Yes I'm Sure what's this in regards to?"
    Sears replies, "Well he hasn't paid his bill".

    Jon comes home, baby sitter tells Jon, Jon files case, Jon wins hands down. No longer does he pay his sears bill according to the judge but he also gets a nice big fat check from sears.
    My example:

    Jon lives in the US. He hasn't paid his "Sears" bill.
    Sears (calls home), "Is Jon there?"
    Baby sitter answers, "No he's not may I take a message".
    Sears replies, "Please have him contact Sears Financial Department at 555-215-1212".

    Jon comes home, baby sitter tells Jon, Jon files case, Jon loses hands down. There is no violation of disclosure laws.

    Again, there are numerous reasons why Sears may have requested him to call, and asked the sitter to take a message to that effect, only one of them being late/non payment.

    If you truly believe that this will be a hands down win, and result in a windfall of cash for the suspendee, put it to the test. Get a hosting account with a large company that uses suspended pages that don't reference non-payment, and don't pay.....wait for the suspension, and then take them to court.

    I am curious about the outcome.
    Need Control Panel help? Tutorials, FAQS, user guides. and more
    Don't have the control panel you use listed? Let us know.

  20. #20
    Your Example illustrates "exactly" what I'm saying Robert.

    In your example the representitive was smart enough the leave the appropriate message. And likewise there is no breach of current 3rd party disclosure laws.

    In my example the representitive clearly violates this by stating to a 3rd party that "jon" has has not paid his bill.

    So im not sure if your suggesting that you agree, or if your suggesting that my scenerio is incorrect. I would suggest that they are both correct.

    But in any event to all others who read this listen to Robert he is correct as well.

    As I stated earlier.

    The simplest way to ensure that this is never an issue for you as a host is to ensure that you do not directly suggest to a third party that a customer has not or does not pay thier bill..

    So yes, I do believe that both situations would be a hands down win, one for jon, and the other for sears. ,

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    The Ozarks
    Posts
    888
    I agree 100% that you should never, ever, put up a suspended page that refers to non payment......I would further go so far as to say that if you put a contact email on that page, it should not be billing@, it should be the standard support@ or whatever you use.
    My point was only that a "suspended" page in and of itself is not cause for a lawsuit, it's the information contained therein.
    Need Control Panel help? Tutorials, FAQS, user guides. and more
    Don't have the control panel you use listed? Let us know.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Rochester, NY
    Posts
    1
    We give only 15 days before termination. All website owners should check their sites within 15 days, that's just normal.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    West Michigan, USA
    Posts
    9,675
    That's cutting it a little short. We've had customers notice 2 or 3 weeks after they've been suspended. Most, however, notice within 24 hours or they don't pay at all.

    --Tina
    ||| 99.999% Uptime SLA!!!
    Plenty of space and bandwidth to fit your needs!
    www.AEIandYou.com - - (WP Friendly - Premium Reseller Hosting and Cheap Dedicated Servers)

  24. #24
    Originally posted by Staff.ie
    We give our customers a very reasonable credit period - up to 60 days. They *nearly* always pay.
    Ditto. Our billing system will send them past due notices in 15 day intervals starting at 30 days past due (a friendly "We understand this may be an oversight on your part,......). Then a 2nd, "Final notice" at 60 days past due (entirely different message, more urgent letting them know services could be stopped and to call us right away)

    If there's no response after that, we suspend them........and then we delete the customer around 120 days.

    Somewhat lenient I would say, but you'll find very few that make it to 120 days past due....and what's more important, you won't anger the customer by shutting them off the day after they are due. (being "flexible" is sometimes required guys).
    Kenneth R Taylor
    Inet7 Internet Serivces
    Web & Application Hosting Services
    http://www.inet7.com

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    51
    I use a "Website Temporarily Unavailable" page instead of "account suspended"....Just be careful with your wording, lol not "this scum hasn't paid his bill" and you should be ok.

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    European Union
    Posts
    387

    Thumbs up

    Originally posted by pixelized
    Well I could always just change my method by skipping the suspension part and goign straight to deletion. Problem solved.

    Are you entirely sure that this is correct? It seems like it would have become an issue by now.
    This is the best post I've read in a LONG time!

    If people aren't going to be responsible and pay their bills, then they don't get service - period. If they contact billing and state their problem, i.e, can't pay due to "xyz" reasons, will pay later, fine-

    No contact, no payment, 3 days, you're suspended -- 10 days, you're gone forever.

    EuroVPS - Europe's Fully Managed Hosting
    Established 2004 - The European Hosting Authority

  27. #27
    Originally posted by EuroVPS/Igor
    This is the best post I've read in a LONG time!

    If people aren't going to be responsible and pay their bills, then they don't get service - period. If they contact billing and state their problem, i.e, can't pay due to "xyz" reasons, will pay later, fine-

    No contact, no payment, 3 days, you're suspended -- 10 days, you're gone forever.

    Entertaining, but I disagree. I have found that the reason for non-payment 99.9% of the time...is because either the invoice is not getting to the right person or the right address. Our customers seem to have a problem keeping their billing address or billing email contact up to date (the few that don't pay).

    Keep in mind that our company is dealing mostly with businesses though. I do understand that if we had a high % of individual customers/personal sites that the intent to be dishonest would be higher. (one of the mail reasons we have targeted businesses over individuals.)

    In short, find out why people don't pay....fix any problems globally from a procedural standpoint and you'll have fewer headaches in AR. (then you can delete them).
    Kenneth R Taylor
    Inet7 Internet Serivces
    Web & Application Hosting Services
    http://www.inet7.com

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    United Kingdom
    Posts
    78
    I think my TOS nicely covers it so I can suspend and delete whenever I want to after their billing date:
    3. Payment: Payments are due on the anniversary date of the month/year for that month/year's service. Upon failure to meet payment deadline, GHXhosting.com reserves the right to terminate all services on the user's account, or may turn the account over to an outside collection agency for collection where you agree to pay an outside fee to retrieve your account.
    And when suspending, I just use a generic "Your account has been suspended" page. It doesn't have any reason on it, as it could be used for any reason (e.g. their account was used for spamming, etc.).
    Mark Stevens
    GHXhosting.com Ltd - Shared & Reseller Hosting
    (UK/US) Dedicated Servers & VPS
    Server-Help.co.uk Experienced Linux server admin for hire

  29. #29
    But of course! Aren't TOS agreements nice! Without it, we'd all be in a heap of trouble.
    Kenneth R Taylor
    Inet7 Internet Serivces
    Web & Application Hosting Services
    http://www.inet7.com

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •