Dear Network Solutions, are you lying thieving cheats, or just incompetent?

Let’s go through this slowly and carefully, shall we?

After a long, tedious process in which you did not allow me to cancel my domains online, I finally received your email requesting me to confirm what I had told you by phone:

And here is the reply that I sent, 22 minutes later, confirming that yes, I do wish to delete both of the named domains:

This you then confirmed to me, three hours later:

Let me just quote that back to you, in case you didn’t actually read what you said: The domain names PROPERTYTRIANGLE.CO.UK and PROPERTYTRIANGLE.COM have been deleted.

Imagine my surprise, then at finding this notification in my inbox this morning, six weeks later:

So you have stolen $35.98 from me to renew a domain that I cancelled, and whose cancellation you acknowledged six weeks ago.

So I have three questions for you:

  1. Is this the grotesque dishonesty that it appears to be, or is it merely grotesque incompetence?
  2. Will you credit the stolen amount back to my card immediately?
  3. Will you please now actually delete the deleted domains?

Needless to say, I will not be “continuing to give you the opportunity to help me meet my online needs.



12 responses to “Dear Network Solutions, are you lying thieving cheats, or just incompetent?

  1. Appallingly predictable update #1

    I emailed a copy of this post to Network Solutions, by replying to the “Order Confirmation”. That email was rejected as follows. I wish I could say it’s a surprise that they make it difficult to contact them about the fraudulent and/or incompetent invoice, but it’s not.

    Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

    Technical details of permanent failure:
    Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the recipient domain. We recommend contacting the other email provider for further information about the cause of this error. The error that the other server returned was: 550 550-Invalid recipient (#5.1.1) (state 13).

  2. Ah well, it’s not unusual, I’ve had this happen with a hosting provider too. I suspect it’s a deliberate policy, but usually a grumpy email fixes things up. (And I note it seems to happen with insurance, and … in fact anything where a company has your details, and hope you aren’t paying attention.)

  3. I have now sent the same message to Further Bulletins As Events Warrant.

  4. Impressive. Less than one hour after posting this — at 13:27 GMT, which is 14:27 in whatever the heck timezone runs in — I got a phone-call Allen at Network Solutions technical support, promising to sort this out and refund the money. The details of how this happened are not entirely clear to me, but relate to the requirement of .uk domains that they be renewed 26 days before they expire. (Allen, if you’re watching this blog, please feel free to add a comment with the full story.)

    I’ll report back again when the various promised confirmatory emails arrive.

  5. [Testing: I have just reset this blog’s timezone from GMT+1 to GMT. What time will the comment show? It should show 13:38.]

  6. [OK, good. Looks like fixing the timezone means that new comments show with the correct timezone, but does not retrospectively fix the old ones to appear correct. Which is surprising, as it suggests they are storing comment datestamps as human-readable strings rather then number-of-seconds-past-the-epoch or similar.]

  7. Hanlon’s Razor suggests that you should always assume incompetence rather than intentional malice. But then I don’t that Hanlon ever had to deal with the likes of Network Solutions.

    Regardless of which side they fall on the incompetence/malice razor, I’d say it’s just about time for some legal action. Yeah I know it’s only $35.98, but it was *your* $35.98. And they took it and they (obviously) don’t care.

    Furry cows moo and decompress.

  8. Yes — they are in my opninion ‘dishonest’ (deceptive and tricky), and yes, they are incompetant. And over-priced.;

    They’re in the same league as anti-virus products that pop up BS warnings to make you afraid more, that push ‘pay extra $$ so you can download the product later’ packages, that bug you 70% of the way through your year-long license to renew now since you’re near the end; and like door to door salesmen-scammers. I mean, go to their website and work through the interfaces.. its like 10% interface, 90% begging and tricking you to get other BS products?

    They’re all around annoying, and you should run from them.

    I too have one of my domains there, just since its such a total pita to deal with them that I can’t be bothered to get it away from them, in the end; but many of my other domains are elsewhere, thank god.

    They’re the worst.

  9. Allen from Network Solutions support sent me this follow-up email:

    Dear Mike,

    Once again I would like to apologize about the issue that you had with your domain name and the frustration and inconvenience that this problem has caused for you. As I stated during our phone call, I processed a refund of $35.98. This is the full amount you were billed including the $6 tax charge for the renewal of the domain name. I made sure to waive any processing fees that may have been charged so you would receive the entire amount that was deducted from your account as you followed the proper process to have the domain name cancelled. I did research the domain name, and found that we did process deletion of the domain name however, due to the guidelines of .uk domain names the renewal processed before the deletion request had the ability to fully finish. The .uk registry requires that domain names be renewed 26 days in advance and as your domain name was on Auto-Renewal, the domain was renewed.

    I have taken care of the issue and processed the refund and cancellation under order number 468175141. It can take up to 7 business days for the funds to be placed back into your account by your financial institution and I appreciate your patience and understanding while the refund is being sent and credited back to your account.

  10. I work in the domain name industry. Network Solutions are lying scumbags.

    The .uk registry does *not* require that domains be renewed in advance. Nominet’s policy is that unless a domain is actively renewed, it shall expire; the registrant then has a grace period of to renew it for the normal fee of 90 days. They used to have a policy where you had to explicitly surrender your domain before it expired or you’d be rebilled, but they realised that was a stupid idea and stopped doing this in something like 2005.

    So I have no idea why Network Solutions are blaming this on Nominet. Nominet works like every other sane registry (i.e. everyone other than EurID, the .eu / .be people), and only renew a domain if explicitly asked.

    Also, one thing worth mentioning: the wholesale price of .uk domains is £5 for 2 years. This isn’t a trade secret; it’s something that’s been public knowledge since Nominet dropped the price in 1999 or thereabouts. Charging $36 for a .uk domain is a downright rip-off.

  11. This just in:

    Date: 16 November 2012 15:59
    From: Network Solutions via
    Subject: Your Refund Has Been Issued

    Order Cancellation

    Dear Mike Taylor,

    As you requested, your services have been cancelled and we have issued a refund to your account for the transaction detailed below:

    Order Information
    Purchase Order Number: 468175141
    Purchase Amount: $35.98
    Refund Order Number: 468493489
    Refund Amount: $35.98

  12. I had a similar experience with Network Solutions. I vote for it is deliberate malice (ie the business system their financial wizards setup) rather than incompetance. For example, why can you make all sorts of financial commitments online, but it takes phone calls to turn them off? Why did they turn back on auto-renew, when I had specifically and intentionally turned them all off?

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