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Is this even legal for a host to do?

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  #1  
Old 07-11-2006, 06:57 PM
multiwebinc multiwebinc is offline
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Is this even legal for a host to do?


I was with Ace-Host.net from about May 2004 until about July 2005. I prepaid for a year and they gave me an extra 2 months of service. During this time, their server was down multiple times for many days (over 2 weeks total downtime), which surpassed their 99.9% uptime guarantee. When my time had expired, I then e-mailed them and said that I was very unhappy with their services and I would like them to give me 1 or 2 extra months while I switch to another host. They gave me 3 extra months and during this time I switched to another server as I said I would.

After the 3 months were up, I tried to login to the account just to see if it was active and found that it no longer worked, so I thought that all was finished with them. They didn't contact me at all until a few days ago, when I got an e-mail saying that I owe them $358 because I did not use their cancellation form which is hidden in their TOS to cancel my account and my account has been suspended for the past 10 months.

Can a hosting company legally not accept an e-mail cancellation when I told them I was unhappy with their services and I wanted to switch to another provider? Can a hosting company legally continue to accumulate my bill every month after my account had been disabled?



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  #2  
Old 07-11-2006, 07:19 PM
vidahost vidahost is offline
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Quote:
When my time had expired, I then e-mailed them and said that I was very unhappy with their services and I would like them to give me 1 or 2 extra months while I switch to another host. They gave me 3 extra months
From this I'd assume your contract had expired so there's no way they can carry on charging you - you don't have a rolling contract.

The extra 3 months could be put down as goodwill on their part.

It seems they forgot to remove your account because of the extra 3 months and their billing system is having a field day.

Remind them of the history and they should say "oops - sorry - account deleted."

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  #3  
Old 07-11-2006, 07:25 PM
AMJones AMJones is offline
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I don't know the answer to your question from a legal standpoint.

I certainly think that trying to charge you $358 for a suspended account is excessive, and uncalled for. That said...

If you had Cable TV, called them and said you were unhappy with it, and then turned it on one day to notice it wasn't working, then didn't turn it on ever again -- would you still get charged for it? You bet. Unless you chose to call up the company, cancel (and likely get some sort of cancellation confirmation code)... you'd still be a customer. Same goes for phone service, online games, post office boxes, etc.

Additionally, many services (hosting services, other online services) out there have chosen to not accept cancellations via e-mail because of the potential for abuse. It isn't all that terribly hard to make it look like someone is sending a cancellation e-mail if you really want to. Something as serious as turning off someone's domain name, and deleting their data.. I'd like to have some sort of confirmation before doing so.

The second item there really puts hosting companies into a bind when it comes to e-mail conversations regarding cancellation. I don't know your exact situation, I didn't see the e-mails ... but those are some things to keep in mind.

I'd write to them. Try to work things out, let them know what you thought was happening, and go from there.

Next time? Make sure you've cancelled a service if you aren't using it...

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  #4  
Old 07-11-2006, 07:28 PM
DimensionServers DimensionServers is offline
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Ouch that is brutal. If I were you I would contact them and tell them your not paying the bill and that if they want their money then they should take you to court. No judge or jury would EVER award them that money.

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  #5  
Old 07-11-2006, 07:29 PM
vidahost vidahost is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMJones
If you had Cable TV, called them and said you were unhappy with it, and then turned it on one day to notice it wasn't working, then didn't turn it on ever again -- would you still get charged for it? You bet. Unless you chose to call up the company, cancel (and likely get some sort of cancellation confirmation code)... you'd still be a customer. Same goes for phone service, online games, post office boxes, etc.
That's where it's hard to say, because he'd reached the end of the agreed contract so it's possibly slightly different.

The key, as always, is to read the holy TOS

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  #6  
Old 07-11-2006, 07:44 PM
multiwebinc multiwebinc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMJones
I don't know the answer to your question from a legal standpoint.

I certainly think that trying to charge you $358 for a suspended account is excessive, and uncalled for. That said...

If you had Cable TV, called them and said you were unhappy with it, and then turned it on one day to notice it wasn't working, then didn't turn it on ever again -- would you still get charged for it? You bet. Unless you chose to call up the company, cancel (and likely get some sort of cancellation confirmation code)... you'd still be a customer. Same goes for phone service, online games, post office boxes, etc.
If you are suspended for any reason, no phone/cable/internet provider would continue to accumulate your monthly fee to your bill. My account was completely suspended, meaning I couldn't login or anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AMJones
Additionally, many services (hosting services, other online services) out there have chosen to not accept cancellations via e-mail because of the potential for abuse. It isn't all that terribly hard to make it look like someone is sending a cancellation e-mail if you really want to. Something as serious as turning off someone's domain name, and deleting their data.. I'd like to have some sort of confirmation before doing so.
I definitely see your point about people being able to abuse e-mails and cancel someone else's account. However it wasn't technically e-mail, it was using their support system on their website, which e-mails me every time they reply. Similar to a forum that notifies you upon new posts.

Anyway thanks for all the pointers guys.

  #7  
Old 07-11-2006, 07:47 PM
multiwebinc multiwebinc is offline
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Originally Posted by jmcallister
Ouch that is brutal. If I were you I would contact them and tell them your not paying the bill and that if they want their money then they should take you to court. No judge or jury would EVER award them that money.
Not to mention it might be a bit hard to make it to court living in Costa Rica...

  #8  
Old 07-11-2006, 08:48 PM
The Stealthy One The Stealthy One is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by multiwebinc
I was with Ace-Host.net from about May 2004 until about July 2005. I prepaid for a year and they gave me an extra 2 months of service. During this time, their server was down multiple times for many days (over 2 weeks total downtime), which surpassed their 99.9% uptime guarantee. When my time had expired, I then e-mailed them and said that I was very unhappy with their services and I would like them to give me 1 or 2 extra months while I switch to another host. They gave me 3 extra months and during this time I switched to another server as I said I would.

After the 3 months were up, I tried to login to the account just to see if it was active and found that it no longer worked, so I thought that all was finished with them. They didn't contact me at all until a few days ago, when I got an e-mail saying that I owe them $358 because I did not use their cancellation form which is hidden in their TOS to cancel my account and my account has been suspended for the past 10 months.

Can a hosting company legally not accept an e-mail cancellation when I told them I was unhappy with their services and I wanted to switch to another provider? Can a hosting company legally continue to accumulate my bill every month after my account had been disabled?
Unfortunately, the bottom line is that if the TOS stated you must fill out the cancellation form, then they are completely within their legal rights to not accept an email cancellation request. I do not see this practice as being ethical, but it is certainly not illegal.

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  #9  
Old 07-11-2006, 08:51 PM
fastnoc fastnoc is offline
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Agreed. if you sign up agreeing to their ToS it's your responsibility to know it. I think it's a really shotty way to do business, but it's certainly not illegal.

server4you has the exact same policy.

EDIT: to expand on this it's a crappy way to operate IF they don't make it very clear that this is their policy. I'm referring to if it's burried in the ToS.

If they make it clear and it's simply their policy there's nothing wrong with it. but I'd imagine a company that did this should make it pretty clear that this is the only way to cancel servers.

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Last edited by fastnoc; 07-11-2006 at 08:54 PM.
  #10  
Old 07-11-2006, 08:54 PM
mripguru mripguru is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by multiwebinc
If you are suspended for any reason, no phone/cable/internet provider would continue to accumulate your monthly fee to your bill. My account was completely suspended, meaning I couldn't login or anything.
That's not true - some providers have a clause in the TOS that says that they can continue charging (and you are responsible for those charges) until you officially cancel the account.

  #11  
Old 07-11-2006, 08:56 PM
mripguru mripguru is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by multiwebinc
Not to mention it might be a bit hard to make it to court living in Costa Rica...
They could compel you to make the trip to their choice of venue for a trial/legal proceedings (if one is stipulated in the ToS/contract).

  #12  
Old 07-11-2006, 09:40 PM
csingsaas csingsaas is offline
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I would tell them to go to hell and that you are not going to pay it (only if you are not locked into a contract that is). If they claim that you must cancel only one way and that they can ignore all others - well that is just very unethical. I am sure you are not the first person they have done this to - and I imagine they will back down if you stand your ground. Good luck with this.

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  #13  
Old 07-11-2006, 09:42 PM
The Stealthy One The Stealthy One is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csingsaas
I would tell them to go to hell <snip>
I wouldn't advise this. I've tried it before, and it does not work. It makes you look like an ***, and it does no good in resolving the situation.

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  #14  
Old 07-11-2006, 10:19 PM
fastnoc fastnoc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csingsaas
I would tell them to go to hell and that you are not going to pay it (only if you are not locked into a contract that is). If they claim that you must cancel only one way and that they can ignore all others - well that is just very unethical. I am sure you are not the first person they have done this to - and I imagine they will back down if you stand your ground. Good luck with this.
If it's in his ToS then simply ignoring it, or not paying is both a bad way to manage your business, and a great way to get bad credit.

Companies that do this are use to getting that type of reply I'm sure, and they will probably send it to a 3rd party collection agent, who WILL report the bill to the credit bureau .

It just depends on how important that stuff is. It's purely speculation, but if it's in their ToS it's an open and shut case, they can force you to pay if they want to.

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  #15  
Old 07-11-2006, 10:30 PM
nicedream nicedream is offline
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If you were locked out of the account, then I'd say you are well within your rights to assume that the account was cancelled, given the fact that you were in communication with them before.

Another point, I can understand hosts not taking cancellations through email for secuirty reasons. However, if a client emails a cancellation, the host should tell them that they need to use the form. It's ridiculous for them to pretend that everything is ok, then hit you with a huge bill a few months later.

If you paid with a credit card, I would tell them that you are disputing the charge, if they give you no satisfaction.

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