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  1. #1

    micfo.com - nasty terms of service? (TOS)

    hi,

    just looking at micfo.com's terms of service, and they seem a little thugish. what do you think?

    12. Credit Card payment: If Customer chooses to pay for services by credit card, Customer grants Micfo.com Internet Services the right to charge payments to that card on each due date. Customer further agrees not to challenge nor dispute any charge representing hosting payments.
    If they charge me $500 by accident, i'd like to be able to complain!

    11... After the first 30 days you can still cancel your account but cancellation will become effective at the end of your current contract period and no partial refunds will be given.
    So, if i sign up for 2 years, and cancel after 60 days, my service is cancelled and there is no partial refund? That's not very fair.

    14. This agreement, User account, contract, and billing will automatically renew unless canceled in writing 30 days prior to the renewal date.
    So, i can sign up on the internet, but have to mail a letter to cancel? that's lame.

    Source: micfo.com /tou.html
    (i'm not allowed to post urls yet, so you'll have to assemble the url, sorry.)

    I've seen a lot of mixed reviews about micfo, but some good ones. This TOS just makes the whole company sound crooked.

    [strike]can anyone suggest a host with less hostile terms?[/strike]

    [edit] whoops, didn't realize asking for hosting suggestions was bad. sorry.
    Last edited by jmoore999; 06-19-2005 at 06:19 PM.

  2. #2
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    So, if i sign up for 2 years, and cancel after 60 days, my service is cancelled and there is no partial refund? That's not very fair.
    Fair or not, it's a common practice. If you can't agree to it, then don't, and find a host that does prorated refunds.

    whoops, didn't realize asking for hosting suggestions was bad. sorry.
    Actually you may ask for suggestions/recommendations.

    So, i can sign up on the internet, but have to mail a letter to cancel? that's lame.
    As far as I know, "in writing" does not imply the use of pen and paper, so an email is a notice "in writing".

  3. #3
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    Greetings, Not sure why it should be recalled nasty?!

    It's obvious that users such as yourself got the right to protect themselves, but the companies don't have the right to do so, is that what you're trying to say?

    12. Credit Card payment: If Customer chooses to pay for services by credit card, Customer grants Micfo.com Internet Services the right to charge payments to that card on each due date. Customer further agrees not to challenge nor dispute any charge representing hosting payments.
    This is for those customers who use our services, down the line in few months decide to chargeback for no reason! If you're charged accidentally, you will receive a refund.

    11... After the first 30 days you can still cancel your account but cancellation will become effective at the end of your current contract period and no partial refunds will be given.
    This is common in the industry, on top of that, no one forces anyone to prepay. You have the option to pay monthly basis or prepay for long-term to get advantage of discounted rates. Yet again, you're NOT forced to prepay.

    14. This agreement, User account, contract, and billing will automatically renew unless canceled in writing 30 days prior to the renewal date.
    This is to protect ourselves against those who e-mail you 3 months down the line and claim a refund, because 'they have not used the space or the account! (park your Mercedes in your garage and 3 months down the line go to Showroom and claim a refund for unused portion.)

    Not using the account doesn't necessarily mean you will not be charged, unless canceled in writing (e-mail or letter). Thinking you want to cancel your account and forgetting to inform us doesn't work :-)
    Amir Golestan
    Executive Director | Micfo
    delivering the divine hosting experience™ | AS53889
    www.micfo.com

  4. #4
    Hi Amir,

    Wow, quick reply!

    I think a TOS should ideally balance the needs and interests of customers and providers.

    Perhaps "nasty" was a bit strong. If "in writing" cancellation includes email, then that seems totally reasonable.

    The clause "Customer further agrees not to challenge nor dispute any charge representing hosting payments" should be reworded. As it is now, i would never be able to complain about anything. I understand you want to avoid chargebacks, but then the best way would be to make the pricing/billing as clear as possible.

    The no-refund for on prepay seems a bit harsh, since i always thought that prepaying meant that A) the company gets the money all at once (and makes interest) and B) they don't have the hassle of charging monthly. In this TOS it means that with prepay you can't get any refund. Even if the service is crummy, or non-existent. That still seems fishy.

    We can discuss this further, but as the customer... well, i'm always right, aren't I?

    thanks again for a quick reply. that alone makes me want to overlook some of the things in the TOS that i don't like.

    Regards,

    JASON

  5. #5
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    Originally posted by jmoore999
    We can discuss this further, but as the customer... well, i'm always right, aren't I?
    The customer is right until the host refuses to deal with them anymore.
    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?

  6. #6
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    The customer is right until the host refuses to deal with them anymore.
    Well said.

    To the O/P if you aren't able to agree to a hosting provider's TOS/AUP then simply choose another host sir. Fact is many of us do use similar terms of service and in this industry both the host and the customer need to adquately protect themselves. I can fully understand micfo's stance on this as fact is fraudulent chargebacks can ruin a company easily.
    Justin Schurawlow :: Technology Enthusiast
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  7. #7
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    I too do not see a problem with micfo's TOS. There are so many people out there who use the service for 11 months of the 12 month contract and then decide they're not satisfied with the services and request a full refund. If refused, they file a charge back. To protec themselves from people like this, you'd have to have an iron clad TOS/AUP policy.

  8. #8
    If someone paid for 12 months, used 11 and cancelled, why not just refund the 1 month? (and reduce the chance of having an angry customer who then wants to get "revenge" with a chargeback?)

    I've never gone through the chargeback procedure, but from what i understand the burden of proof in on the company to provide evidence that the services were offered and the charge is valid. Is that correct? Does this mean the company just sends a copy of the TOS to the credit card company - and since it says, no refunds, then the case is closed?

    Here's another scenario. Customer pays for 24 months. After 3 months, they are not happy with the service. The company says "no refund". The customer gets (predictably) mad because they paid for 24 months. They initiate a chargeback as revenge. They lie or say whatever they need to to get the credit card company to believe them. The credit card company reverses the charge. End result: 3 months service provided for $0. one less customer. (possibly still disgruntled, telling friends, blogging, posting in forums, etc.) and the hassle of a chargeback.

    And how does the "iron clad" TOS help avoid this scenario?

    I know some customers are just a waste of time and money. But maybe treating all customers as chargebacking-deadbeats might actually encourage them to act this way. What goes around...

  9. #9
    And how does the "iron clad" TOS help avoid this scenario?
    They lie or say whatever they need to to get the credit card company to believe them. The credit card company reverses the charge. End result: 3 months service provided for $0. one less customer. (possibly still disgruntled, telling friends, blogging, posting in forums, etc.) and the hassle of a chargeback.
    Wrong. End result you go to jail.

    You lie to your credit card company to get a chargeback, you're going to jail. Period.
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  10. #10
    hey, let's not get personal. I never said I was going to lie to my credit card company.

    still, a company would have to prove that the customer was lying and was solely interesting in trying to commit fraud. That's rather difficult when all they have is a credit card number, some log files and a psuedo-legal TOS agreement.

    Besides, the customer wouldn't "lie" directly, they just wouldn't tell the whole truth. Or they would spin it to their advantage. (e.g. They didn't get 99.9% uptime. The server was slow and unsuitable. etc.)

    anyways, assuming a company was able to send its customers to jail, it's not much of a long-term growth stategy. (I think I would call that the RIAA model.)

  11. #11
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    If someone paid for 12 months, used 11 and cancelled, why not just refund the 1 month? (and reduce the chance of having an angry customer who then wants to get "revenge" with a chargeback?)
    And what about those of the hosts who give 2 months free specials and such for those paying annually? So, you are saying all hosts now need to go refunding for a "free" month where the customer technically only paid for 10 out of 12 then?

    jmoore999, flat out and simple if you don't like the TOS of a specific host just do not use them if you can not agree to what their Terms are. All hosts need to be able to protect themselves, that is why a TOS and AUP exist.
    Justin Schurawlow :: Technology Enthusiast
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    Computer Services for the Lehigh Valley area
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  12. #12
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    It's usually a violation of merchant processing agreements to attempt to restrict the consumer from dispute resolution through their card issuer. Check the fine print before you write something that probably isn't enforceable anyway.

    Kevin

  13. #13
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    Originally posted by sigma
    It's usually a violation of merchant processing agreements to attempt to restrict the consumer from dispute resolution through their card issuer. Check the fine print before you write something that probably isn't enforceable anyway.
    You are absolutely correct. I have seen several hosts with this type of "no chargeback" clause in their terms. It is nothing but a scare tactic, and as you said, unenforceable.

    Sadly, as this thread illustrates, people don't always use their common sense.

    -B

  14. #14
    I tend to side with that of the customer in most cases but the TOS is clearly written and you as the consumer have the right to CHOOSE who you host with. Rather than bitching in a form to us about it use your time constructively and move on to a host you do agree with. Sound to me like you are either a competitor or have an beef with this company.

  15. #15
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    If you don't like a host's TOS, don't sign up. No-one is forcing you too after all.
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  16. #16
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    Originally posted by kpsservices
    Sound to me like you are either a competitor or have an beef with this company.
    Basically that's what it exactly sounds like! Since the initial post of the thread starter was about this matter.

    The fact is you enjoy the offers and extra goodies made available to you by prepaying (free months of hosting, reduced prices, extra features, no setup etc.) but down the line if you decide you no longer need their services, do think it would be fair to refund you the unportion used, BUT:

    1. Charge you the setup fee which was waived due to prepaying
    2. Charge you the actual price of the package, not discounted ones.
    3. Charge you for the free months of hosting provided?

    If your answer is still yes, then I don't think even anything would be left as pratial refund if YOU allow your provider to charge you the difference in prices mentioned above.

    Good luck finding the RIGHT hosting provider!
    Amir Golestan
    Executive Director | Micfo
    delivering the divine hosting experience™ | AS53889
    www.micfo.com

  17. #17
    The fact is you enjoy the offers and extra goodies made available to you by prepaying (free months of hosting, reduced prices, extra features, no setup etc.) but down the line if you decide you no longer need their services, do think it would be fair to refund you the unportion used, BUT:

    1. Charge you the setup fee which was waived due to prepaying
    2. Charge you the actual price of the package, not discounted ones.
    3. Charge you for the free months of hosting provided?
    Sounds fair to me. Why not put that in the TOS?

    If your answer is still yes, then I don't think even anything would be left as pratial refund if YOU allow your provider to charge you the difference in prices mentioned above.
    Fine. But do you see the difference between what you just said and your TOS? The customer understands why there is no (or only a little) refund, and they don't feel like they got hosed.

    As for the comments about me being a competitor or disgrunted customer, i'm neither. (I know, i'm just a newbie on this forum, so you'll just have to believe me.) I'm just a frustrated potential-customer that has wasted too many hours searching for a webhost that is honest and straightforward in their policies and what they offer.

    I was hoping to start a dialog here about the negative attitude the webshosting companies seem to have to their customers. However all the Adam Smith free market worship "if you don't like it, go somewhere else" comments clearly indicates the industry has a long way to go before it matures.

  18. #18
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    Originally posted by jmoore999
    I'm just a frustrated potential-customer that has wasted too many hours searching for a webhost that is honest and straightforward in their policies and what they offer.
    Basically we added everything in the TOS and been straightforward in OUR policies. Did you like no mention of partial refund in our TOS which would persuade you to signup, then down the line we'd inform you ' Sorry, we do not issue partial refund' ?! Obviously that would make you even more frustrated. I think we've cleary stated what the customer needs to know before they signup.
    Amir Golestan
    Executive Director | Micfo
    delivering the divine hosting experience™ | AS53889
    www.micfo.com

  19. #19
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    Originally posted by jmoore999
    I was hoping to start a dialog here about the negative attitude the webshosting companies seem to have to their customers. However all the Adam Smith free market worship "if you don't like it, go somewhere else" comments clearly indicates the industry has a long way to go before it matures.
    I go buy a convertible Range Rover, suprisingly I get told by the sales man that they don't have a 'convertible' Range Rover. Shall I go scream in streets and slag Range Rover cause they didn't have the convertible I wanted? No, I go simply to another showroon and look for a convertible :-) As simple as that!

    It's the matter of Math and got nothing to do with maturity. For the matter of the fact, I'm not mature if I make a big fuzz of Range Rover not offering convertible!
    Amir Golestan
    Executive Director | Micfo
    delivering the divine hosting experience™ | AS53889
    www.micfo.com

  20. #20
    well, since we've degenerated into insane analogies, i think we can just declare this thread dead.

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