Scumbag Network Solutions

A few years back, I planned to start a business hosting web-sites for estate agents, under the name Property Triangle. The software was written and working well, but Life intervened and I never put in the hours to make the business fly. So I no longer need the propertytriangle.com and propertytriangle.co.uk domains.

I had registered them online with Network Solutions back in the day, so I went to their site to cancel them. Went to their web-site, logged in, clicked through to the “Renewal Center”, only to find:

Screenshot of Network Solutions “Renewal Centre”. Note that you can turn auto-renew on from the web console, but the only way to turn it off is with an expensive transatlantic phone-call. Click through for full screen-shot.

On calling the number I had to go through a seven-minute dance with electronic account-number entry and (mostly) waiting before speaking to someone. I then had to have an eight-minute conversation about deleting my unwanted domains.

And it’s still not done. I should expect an email about the request “within 24 hours”, at which point I guess I will find out what I have to do next. Presumably I’ll have to meet a Network Solutions representative at a safe house and do the “Can I borrow I match?” / “I use a lighter” / “Better still” / “Until they go wrong” handshake before I receive my next set of instructions.

Is there a legitimate reason for this? My first reaction was absolutely not — that they are just trying to raise the barrier to cancellation so they can continue to collect automatic renewal fees. Then I wondered whether requiring a phone-call was a legitimate security measure to help prevent malicious imposters from deleting my domains. But I think not. A hypothetical malicious imposter could take my websites down anyway, if he had access to my account on the Web-based console, by changing the DNS settings.

So Network Solutions’ domain registration feels like a lobster pot: easy to get in, hard to get out.

It certainly doesn’t leave me wanting to register any more domains with them.

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12 responses to “Scumbag Network Solutions

  1. It was possible; at least it was for me, to transfer my .com domain out of their cold grip. I had to do a sing-song of passport faxing, redo a signature fax because it wasn’t good enough, just because somewhere down the line I had used a company email address, I no longer had access to.

    But yeah, they will prob. claim it for security reasons.

  2. Stephen Sykes

    Reminds me of when I was cancelling a uk mobile phone contract some years ago. I had to speak to 3 different people on the phone, each trying to persuade me to keep the contract, before they finally told me I could not cancel by phone and I had to write them a letter.

  3. Ugh, Steve, that is vile. I suppose at some point I might have to instruct my bank to stop paying renewal fees and wait for them to cancel the domains on their own. But really. This is companies’ idea of how to do Customer Retention? By making us hate them? Those poeple need to go and read Seth Godin’s blog.

  4. They are absolutely terrible to w2ork with; they’re like anti-virus vendors ..or companies selling bottled water with pictures of ice topped mountains on them, that come from your local well. These guys are all about deception and discvouragement, to keep your money hostage. Dreadful service.

    Escape at all costs!

  5. NS has always been a pain to deal with. I think it is partially because they started off as something close to a monopoly and have never really lost that mindset.

    Just be glad that you don’t have to deal with my current Internet Service Provider, Comcast. They are pretty much a government-enforced monopoly here (there is no other way to get acceptable broadband where I live.) I won’t go into my litany of woes here, as it would make for a very long comment, but I am pretty sure that if a small businessman acted as Comcast has toward me they would risk charges of criminal fraud.

    I have never been treated with such contempt by any organization, commercial or governmental. And I have pretty much no recourse. Someone told me that in an internet poll of the most hated US companies Comcast came in first even in the year that BP had their Gulf oil spill. If that’s true it doesn’t surprise me at all.

  6. As opposed to the general NS bashing, I will instead raise a glass to “Property Triangle”, and all it could have been but for time intervening.
    Probst.

  7. Yes, it’s a shame. All the actual software was written seven years ago. I should have made an effort at the time to just sell it on to someone who could take it on and make a business out of it.

  8. Pingback: Why Plusnet is not my favourite ISP | The Reinvigorated Programmer

  9. @Tagore Smith Really Comcast: that’s why I’m so excited about Google Fiber. Although it may be several more long, tedious years before we see the full impact, I’m hopeful that the petty tyranny brought about by the telco and cable Co monopolies will eventually go away.

    Furry cows moo and decompress.

  10. In my case, I own about 6 domains. I had turned auto-renew OFF on all of them last year. This year I get a call from a friend that was once my partner and he says NS tried to bill HIS credit card (which was still on file) for one of MY domains. I was confused, as I turned auto-renew off on all of them. Lo and behold, I go in and find that auto-renew is now BACK ON on all domains! I call and they say they did it and “sent me an email” about it, which I don’t remember getting. I was extremely pissed and the woman on the other end was more than happy to turn it back off and delete all my saved credit cards when I told her I would file a lawsuit. This is typical in America today, with the big companies trying to suck everyone dry and use marginally-legal marketing schemes to make as much money as possible.

  11. @A. Quatroni : I’m inclined to agree. Of course I don’t think they sit around the table thinking “how can we screw people over today?” It’s just that there seems to be little to no incentive for them practice basic ethical behavior or due diligence.

    So, e.g., maybe they don’t say “hey let’s just start billing past customers again.” But maybe what they do is they do some sort of internal re-structuring of both staff and database at the same time. And of course, they kept all that credit card info for, forever. So if, during all that shuffling some accounts that were flagged as DON’T auto-renew get switched back to auto-renew… well they don’t care… because they don’t have to.


    Furry cows moo and decompress.

  12. Pingback: Dear Network Solutions, are you lying thieving cheats, or just incompetent? | The Reinvigorated Programmer

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