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  1. #1

    screwed by Siteleader [Split from older thread]

    I'm hearing familiar things on this forum that I happened upon while struggling to get ownership of my domain back.
    I've been with Siteleader for several years, and they seemed okay, if not a bit slow and unresponsive for the last year or two. They billed me, however, $125/year to register my domain, and recommended also registering the .org and .net variations to protect myself, so another $125 each, with no advance notice of billing.
    I always suspected this was run by younger folks who don't interact well with people, but it wasn't until I tried to setup online commerce that I really found their shortcomings. The OS Commerce software seems better suited to Europe since it lacks basic functionality for interstate commerce, shipping calcluation, sales tax, and is clunky in my opinion. As I struggled with it, invested in credit card processing, authorize.net, etc., and time to build the catalog, it just didn't work out. The credit card processing didn't happen despite all appearances that I set everything properly. When asking for help and expressing frustration with the OS Commerce package one response (often without a name) from Siteleader was "we don't know every software program out there". Well, I was just asking for help with the one they were providing. Lack of follow up, promises to help and fix things, my disappointment with the whole ecommerce experience through them drove me to find another provider. A dozen emailed inquiries about ending service later I received a brief reply that indicated that I would be charged $495 (!) per domain to terminate services with their firm.
    I tried desperately to reason with them, but emails went unanswered, their phone number goes to voicemail 312-324-0384. Another number, oddly similar, 312-324-0348 rings at a boutique in Chicago and the gal who answers says "Chris" does the computer stuff, but messages or him are not returned. I plead with siteleader via email for a phone number or for a return call so that I can speak with someone in person. (and I had received periodic calls from "Ron" who also answers the [email protected] email address-when there is a name) who seemed polite, but I suspect these guys bury their heads in the sand and wait for someone to give up and just pay to leave.
    I contacted someone at enom.com since that's where my domain name is registered, a fellow there indicated that since I was shown as the owner, I was good, he would notify them and in 24 hours he could let me take ownership and sign up direct with them. Well, Siteleader saw this "ticket" activity and changed the name of the owner to themselves so now this fellow at enom says there's nothing he can do.
    I've been stressed and livid for the past two days. Convinced at first they weren't reading my emails at siteleader, then they'd send 2nd and 3rd notices that to cancel an authorized person would need to contact them and the fees would be due. Irony, since I can't effectively make contact with them.
    Then, when I thought they were ignoring my emails, or they weren't getting through (understandable, since emails through my website don't always forward, courtesy of these same idiots) I received an email that just effectively said "pay up and then go work on your own business, go away", no name, but this from a supposed "legal and compliance department". I suspect there are no grown ups involved here.
    here I am, I'm stuck looking at legal action. I did file with BBB, but it's so tricky with their addresses, though I found a P.O. Box that might work, they seem to merely dodge any customer service issues, yet penalize anyone who wants to leave for better service. Sheesh!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    The Midwest
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    $125/year for a domain name?!?!

    Wow.

    What a mess, I sincerely hope you get this sorted out. Perhaps you can use the proof of your correspondence with enom and the "mysterious" domain name ownership change that followed to help get your domain back?

    Dave

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    10,482
    Scroll to the very bottom of this page: http://siteleader.com/customeragreement.php

    Read what their Re-instatement Fee is aswell as Domain Registrations and the rest of what is included in those Exhibit Boxes
    * Accounts exceeding the allotted Disk Space limit shall be charged at the rate of $1.00 per megabyte, per month. All fees are deemed earned upon receipt of monies and are non-refundable.
    *A $99.00 support service fee for troubleshooting any and all Internet issues not residing on our Internet servers will be assessed on all accounts, per incident.
    Should I laugh or cry?
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    The Midwest
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    Reinstatement Fee is $495.00 USD
    That, on top of everything you mentioned, Sean.

    I've seen some shiesters in my day but wow..just..wow.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    That, on top of everything you mentioned, Sean.

    I've seen some shiesters in my day but wow..just..wow.
    Exactly
    Also to the reasons why people should read the TOS of a Webhost before continuing.

    Honestly, How they are still in Business is beyond me
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  6. #6

    follow up to my post, 125/year

    yes indeedy, crazy price! and they charged my card each time without so much as an email notification first. I cancelled that card this morning before they clear me out and jump on the $495 cancellation per domain (x3). I have tried the legal department and customer service at enom.com, but they don't want to get involved, they say I must pursue Siteleader-but of course that's the main problem, I'm unable to get responses from Siteleader.
    So, the more time Siteleader dicks around, the more time I can contribute to forums such as this and get the word out, 'find attorneys, inquired with Network Solutions, etc., and ultimately help others avoid scamsters like Siteleader.
    I have a business with 3 employees and we take pride in taking care of people, it just feels good and feels right, sometimes it's just free advice, knowing that in the long run it builds our goodwill and comes back to us. Short sighted clowns like those at this Siteleader outfit will ultimately find their reputation will catch up with them and drive business away-hopefully!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Texas, where else?
    Posts
    1,571

    Cool

    I'm in the WRONG business messing with all this hosting... for $125 a domain name I could just sell a few and it would be a lot easier than hosting!

    Now to the other part. I think if they are going tho charge $125 for one year for a domain you should get some exceptional service, That being said if you were with a regular host like us we (like many hosts) offer OS Commerce as an auto-install if people want it...just like we offer Word Press and some of the other popular programs most hosts do. However for us that's the end of it. We clearly state that we do not offer support for the third-party software. We offer the installer to make it convienient but we cannot possibly know all the ins & outs of those programs. I have played around with OS Commerce a bit and while it is a very powerful program it's not simple or easy to get everything working properly (and I imagine it's even harder if not dealing in the USA)

    I am certainly not defending the charging of $125 tr. for a domain name (are you sure that wasn't for 10 years? That would be more reasonable though still high)
    But I can say few hosts would go very far in supporting the "3rd party programs" they offer. That would include OS Commerce (there are easier e-commerce programs if you don't have LOTS of items to sell-OSC is made for handling hundreds if not thousands of products) But because there are many different programs like that and most hosts offer from 5 to 50 different programs you can install they probably know very little about whatever problem you are having with OS Commerce.
    You would probably get more help from the support forums for OS Commerce. All the different "freeware/shareware" programs like that have very active user forums and you could probably get an answer to your questions there quicker than you could from any web host.
    I know OS Commerce is kind-of tricky to configure because I had one client that never could get it to work after spending hours & hours on it and I am sorry to say I don't recall which program they went with but they found another "free" e-commerce program that handled the 150 or so items they had and they got it set up and working much easier.

    One thing you will need that I didn't notice if you mentioned is a dedicated IP address and probably a security certificate unless you are only using PayPal or similar for payment (a payment system where none of the credit card or other info is ever entered on your site, when they get their total they go to PayPal or such to "check out" and enter their credit card info there.)
    Otherwise you have to have a dedicated IP and get all your security stuff in line if you are going to be processing transactions through an on-line portal yourself.

    Best of luck

    PS: I know you already have this host and a lot of money spent but there are a very few hosts who specialize in programs like OS Commerce and they are usually higher per mo. but will offer support for the program other hosts can't.
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  8. #8
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    Have you looked in to filing chargebacks with your credit card company? That may be an avenue you want to look down.

    Short of that, I don't know what to say other than to maybe contact an attorney. I'm really sorry this happened to you.

    Dave

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    EU - east side
    Posts
    21,913
    I did file with BBB
    They can't actually force the company do anything, but it can be a good place to vent your frustration.

    Do they have any legal basis for these charges? You paid for the domains, they're yours, unless you have agreed otherwise.

    Do a whois on your domains and see who they resell domain registration service for (I doubt they're ICANN accredited themselves): whois.domaintools.com

    Contact that company and ask them for assistance.

    After reading a bit from their TOS, it looks like they're overpriced, and generally just out to get your money.

    *A $99.00 support service fee for troubleshooting any and all Internet issues not residing on our Internet servers will be assessed on all accounts, per incident.
    Failure by Customer to provide Site Leader with 90 days prior written notice of cancellation for services are subject to a $495 early termination fee.
    Reading that TOS I understood what a fly feels when trying to escape a spider's web. How could you agree to it?

  10. #10
    Their website looks sketchy too
    GlumboUploads - File hosting without wait-times or CAPTCHAs
    RichPeopleThings - Blog about rich people and luxury items

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    10,482
    Their website looks sketchy too
    You should never judge a book by it's cover, However, Under these circumstances I am willing to make an exception
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    The Midwest
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    Just for laughs, I sent a ticket to their sales department asking them to justify a $495 reinstatement fee. First they responded to the original e-mail address with some weak "personal" insults (someone learned how to use Google). Then they also e-mailed my Live account with the same message.

    True professionals, these guys.

    And they misspelled "Cincinnati". That one just hurt personally.

  13. #13

    Siteleader - in chgo area

    Dear Livid1 - Here are some suggestions which may get there attention. The name of the game is to mess with you sooooooooo


    It is my understanding they've had a few offices over the years. Glenview, then Wilmette and currently Winnetka, IL. These communities are adjacent to one another located on the North Shore, just N of the city. (Chicago)

    Call or contact the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan 100 W. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60601, (773) 265-8805 or go to illinoisattorneygeneral.gov. you can fill out a consumer complaint on-line. Ask for Consumer Fraud Div.

    Check with the Chicago Bar Association, Illinois Bar Assoc or any legal sites to track down and find the owner/s - Raul Heredia, a former corporate lawyer.

  14. #14

    siteleader hell update...

    hi all,
    thank you much for the encouragement, ideas and support. I finally reached someone at siteleader ("Ron") by putting his name in the subject line of one of the many emails I sent to [email protected]. This either was routed to him, or provided him an opportunity to pretend that the previous emails didn't reach him at all. (The few responses I received to my dozens of emails requesting a phone number to contact, an attorney to contact, etc., were anonymous, just things like "legal and compliance department", "collections department", even though they came from the same [email protected] email address.
    Anyway, he mentioned that he'd been trying to figure something out for me (the same guy promised a month prior to help me make things work with their service, but never followed up) and proposed $200 to cancel the service. I said great, let me send funds via paypal (no more credit card charges please!) and after a few more emails I he responded with the same email address for Paypal. I sent the $200. A day later he effected a change of the registrant's name back to my name with enom.com, but then panicked and told me they no longer accept paypal-even though the payment went through. Another day later, enom.com allowed me to take possession of my domain and use their services instead for hosting as well, and it's all good. "Ron" emailed later to say that the paypal was setup and payment received (which makes no sense, I suspect there are fractures in their "organization", if you can call it that!). I am still struggling to get my .org and .net domain names back into my name, he says he's working on it, but now it's been a week. I'll probably just wait for them to come up for renewal and then take them. Those weren't live and hosted, but pointed to my .com domain.
    I have to say that what made this entire dilemma most challenging was the inability to communicate effectively with these idiots, since they wouldn't return calls, emails, and generally hide behind their monitors. Their "live support" button on the siteleader.com webpage is never active, I suspect because they'd rather hide and remain anonymous, ripping people off and avoiding confrontation.
    whew!

  15. #15

    screwed by siteleader

    Glad you have some resolve. Companies like this are not stopped unless they are exposed. Not everyone who’s been jacked around may find this site.

    Options – contact the Winnetka, IL, Chamber of Commerce – for real address.
    File complaints with BBS and IL States Attorney’s ofc in Chicago. Both the Chicago Tribune and Sun Times have tech reports – write to them. CBS Channel 2 Chicago's investigative team of Pam Zeckman and Dave Savini have exposed bad companies for years. Check with both the Chgo Bar and IL Bar Associations to see if owner, Raul Heredia is active.

    Sounds like they hide behind fine print and hold their customers and their websites hostage until they get hastily negotiated settlements. You might want to see where in the fine print your recent negotiation is spelled out.

    Good Luck!

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