1&1 - Account Suspended without notice problem

  matto 00:39 20 Nov 05
Locked

Hi, I have a shared hosting/email service with 1&1 that I use for websites I design.

I have maybe 20 domains registered on the account, these I pay for as I register them and annual for renewal.

I pay an annual fee for hosting and pop3 email in advance.

Recently I took a vacation, missed an email invoice (it happens!) for the renewal of a few domains and the account was suspended.

What I want to know is, can a company just suspend accounts without notice (or even a message on their 'message centre' linked to my online admin panel)?

Also, can a company suspend all services they provide to a customer, even though some have been paid for in advance?

Thanks in advance for any advice/comments you can offer.

ml

  spuds 10:53 20 Nov 05

Why not take this up with 1&1.I tend to find that any queries that I have, 1&1 usually give a satisfactory explanation.

All my payments to 1&1 are open credit via a credit card, so I never have account problems with them.Billed as and when, then told about it.That arrangement seems to work very well, between the both of us.

Regarding suspension of account, I should imagine that in 1&1 terms and conditions, there will be a clause covering this.I know reading terms and condition can be very boring, and perhaps most of us never bother to read them ,only tick the little box saying that we had. In the end it is the company that makes the rules and we have to abide with them, unless of course we can prove the contract is unfair.

  ade.h 18:54 20 Nov 05

If it has suspended any parts of the service for which you had to pay in advance, I would be very surprised if this was entirely within the relevant laws (which I suppose would be the Sale and Supply of Goods and Services)

Having paid for a service, surely the company has an obligation to refund the balance of what you paid up front if it sees fit to withdraw that service. It would have to have a reasonable justification for the cancellation as well.

With regard to the invoiced parts of the service, the situation would be more in the company's favour I suppose. It would be up to 1&1 whether it continued the service while the payment dispute was corrected.

Arm yourself by reading your rights and studying 1&1's terms; then, if you have a case, you can take it up politely but firmly and hopefully get it sorted.

Even if it has acted within its terms, and those terms are legitimate (which I would assume they are) you may still get a result with a bit of well-aimed sweet-talking.

  Forum Editor 19:14 20 Nov 05

in the forum - and on that occasion the problem was also with a 1&1 account. It's obviously unfortunate when you don't meet a domain name renewal payment, and I think most people would agree that it's reasonable for a host to allow the name registration to lapse in those circumstances. I also manage a lot of domain names on behalf of my clients, and I run an automatic renewal reminder system at my end to make absolutely sure that I don't miss a payment.


With regard to account suspension - if you have paid for a hosting service in advance, and there are no outstanding payments in respect of that side of things it is - in my personal opinion - unreasonable for a company to suspend hosting, simply because of a missed payment for domain name registrations. After all, the one isn't in any way affected by the other - apart from the fact that you would lose any sites that are running on names that are allowed to lapse. I have a reseller account with a well-known hosting company, and if they suspended my account for such an oversight I would be making the mother and father of a fuss.

Having said that, I'm not aware of the specifics of your case, and I agree with the advice given by ade.h. Make sure of the facts, and approach 1&1 accordingly.

  matto 05:15 21 Nov 05

Thanks to all for your comments - they are all useful.

I will let you know the outcome once I've spoken to a UK-based 1&1 person later today (Mon).

My feeling is that an entire account should not be closed just because of a later invoice, especially when the main service has been paid for in advance. I also plan to suggest that they add more options in their payment system, including a reminder of some sort.

Although, I doubt I'll let any future emails from them slip to the bottom of the pile...

ml

  matto 03:00 26 Nov 05

An update on the situation.

1&1 maintain that they will lock all services associated with an individual. Apparantly this is to prevent customers from not paying for a domain name renewal... although, that sounds strange; locking wouldn't make me pay unless I wanted it to start with...

Daniel at their customer service team suggested I transfer my account elsewhere if I don't like their process. Maybe I picked him up wrong, but that sounds a little arrogant coming from the 'world's number one host'.

So, I contact the Office of Fair Trading and Consumer Watch. This issue possibly is a breach of fair terms and conditions, and is definately not best practice.

As I'm in the mood, I'll continue to find out more - I do like the 1&1 technical service, but I'm not at all happy about being bullied by a big company.

m

  Forum Editor 08:36 26 Nov 05

to suggest that "I transfer my account elsewhere if I don't like their process" is a disgrace, and if a web-host said that to me I would act on the advice, and move.

Many customers will only have one domain name associated with an account, and in that circumstance failure to renew the name would automatically mean that account becoming inactive. When multiple names are involved the situation is different, and in that case I repeat my earlier opinion - that disabling the whole prepaid account is unreasonable.

  hrushenka2000 22:16 06 Oct 06

Matto, although you have indicated this topic as closed, I have some information which I feel would be beneficial regarding 1&1s unfair conduct and treatment of customers.
1&1 have a few higly questionable clauses in their terms and conditions. In your case, may I bring to your attention clause 8.2:

"The Company shall have the right to terminate this Agreement WITHOUT REASON upon giving 14 days written notice to the Customer and termination shall occur at the expiry of the notice period. The Customer shall have the right to terminate this Agreement any time giving written notice to the Company. Termination shall occur at the reception time of the notice."

Others have also been locked into unwanted renewal of their domains as 1&1 DO NOT issue any reminders prior to the renewal date, against ICANN regulations. Indeed, many peoples first knowledge is when they receive a suspension of service demand and threats to employ the services of a debt collection service to enforce payment of their 'automatic renewal' policy.This is usually the case when the card held on file has expired.
The clause for auto renewal is 4.4:
"The Company agrees that for the Duration Period of this Agreement and in consideration of the payment of the Charges by the Customer it will renew the registration of domain name(s), Hosting fees, Additional services for the Renewal Period."
In addition to this, clause 5.1:
"All accounts are payable on demand. In the absence of demand, payment in full for the goods supplied shall be made by the Buyer to the Seller on or before the fourteenth day following the date of the invoice. The Seller shall also be entitled to charge such reasonable costs as it may incur in recovering any overdue balances."
And clause 5.2:
"The Company shall be entitled to issue an invoice for the Charges on the Commencement Date or as soon thereafter as is reasonably practicable. The invoice shall be entered into the CUSTOMER'S ADMINISTRATION MENU and the Customer shall be RESPONSIBLE FOR CHECKING RECEIPT. The Company will if required provide invoices through the postal system but subject to payment of the Company's Additional Charges that are in force from time to time."
Clause 5.4:
"Payment of the Charges can only be made by a valid Credit/Debit Card and the Customer shall provide details of the same when he makes an Order for the Services."
And last but not least, 5.15:
"Customer accounts that are not settled by 20 days after due date will be passed to a debt recovery agency and will incur an administration fee of £15.00."
It is my opinion that the above clauses are unfair, unbalanced and written to the benefit of 1&1 to the detriment of the customer.
Think carefully whether you agree with my opinions and whether you wish to be bound by them.
The attitude you experienced has also been experienced my many others. 1&1 has obviously grown too large, and consider themselves to be immune to the wrath of the customer.
You can find more information at click here and click here

  carol57m 18:29 27 Oct 07

I noticed on Wednesday that I was not receiving email, and we called 1&1, to discover that they have put the account into collections because the credit card we had on auto-renew had expired.

We had to talk to the collections NCO, pay $25 outstanding balance, then talk to 1&1 and have them verify that the balance had been paid, and they'd set up a temporary account for us, and we needed to wait for an email with the account number so that we could fill out the redemption form.

The email never arrived. 2 days and 4 calls later, we were told they never did set up the temporary account. Somebody screwed up. No apologies. Once we received the email, we sent in the redemption form, and are now informed that we have to wait 5 days from that time.

I spoke to another representative this morning, asked to speak to his supervisor and Kit refused to put me through, because he felt my reason for wanting further assistance was invalid.

A week without emails, and our website is down that whole time. We can't do business like that. We had NO warnings from 1&1, although they say they sent 4 emails. What about a phone call? Or a letter?

1&1 service SUCKS!

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