Although this was a little bit of a trip through hell, I have to say that my recent experiences with 1&1 have been educational. Although my situation definitely wouldn't apply to the vast majority of their clients, it still showed me what 1&1 "Customer Service" is all about.
It all happened when I applied to transfer my domain from 1&1 to my new webhost company (HostRefugee.com). Unlocked and applied for the transfer as usual. Now, the one thing I think everyone
needs to know about 1&1 is that anything involving them losing money and/or transferring things away
from them...well, they just take their sweet time. After a week there was no transfer. Emails and queries went unanswered.
Now, this is where I admittedly made a dumb mistake - I cancelled my Package with them before the domain transfer had been processed (was it ever going to be processed, I sometimes wonder?). Although the transfer request went through way before, the cancel was effected immediately. Suddenly, my domain was PENDING DELETION!
(Thanks to Vince at HostRefugee who had been keeping an eye on it for me...without his alert I might have lost my domain!).
Now this part of the programme is chalked up to me learning from my dumbass mistake. For those of you who didn't know:
- retrieving a domain name from PENDING DELETION must be done by the original registering company. 1&1 seems to keep a tight grip on domains registered as part of their free packages; if you get a domain with them, as I later read in their TOS, you CANNOT transfer it for 60 days.
- 1&1 charges USD40 for domain retrieval. Moreover, they will only retrieve your domain if you have an active account with them to pin it on...so on top of this charge I had to RE-register for a beginner package just to get my domain back. There's a 90-day refund policy, so the latter is more of a pain in the *** than anything else.
- To retrieve the domain you have to wait for them to email you a link to a special page you fill out, sign, and fax to them. THEN you have to call their billing dept. to...well, I don't really KNOW why since the form authorizes the USD40 debit, so...umm.....uhh...
Now this wouldn't have been quite so bad were I not in Australia so I have to wait until the wee hours of the morning to call them...
- But I was very fortunate to have gotten DAN. Dan was my "Customer Service Agent" in the Billing Dept. As a customer, I feel I should heartily apologize for calling at approx. 8:05am their time with an urgent matter...after all, they open at..well, 8am. Apparently I had woken up poor Dan, as he wasn't sounding too happy with me. Or maybe he was narcoleptic...his finger must have slipped on to the HOLD button, cutting me off in the middle of a question so he could "see what he could see." Undoubtedly the rudest, most apathetic and condescending service agent I have ever dealt with.
And for the icing on the cake...the official notification that my domain had been restored came several days after it had come back AND Vince at my new hosting company had notified me he had seen it restored as well.
I'll be the first to admit my own mistake in this matter, and that this is a relatively unique situation almost certainly beyond the pale of most customer issues...but both the timeframe of their correspondence with me (after having spoken to their agents in person about my problem) and the "customer service" I received are completely unacceptable.
Never again with the cookie-cutter McWebsite-meisters at 1&1.