I’m not normally an angry person (well I can be a bit grumpy sometimes), but having to deal with British Internet Service Provider Easyspace has got my goat this week.
It started with a couple of mystery payments on my credit card, which after having rung my credit card and Easyspace turned out to be for a website I built 11 months ago, that had been automatically renewed a month ahead of its due date.
Fair enough you might think. Unusual (not to mention cheeky) I thought, but that’s the way they work. It was also annoying as it was a site I was going to cancel anyway. The anger came when I tried to cancel the hosting.
The response, in a nutshell, was no way José.
You didn’t realised it renewed automatically? Tough cheese.
You didn’t get a reminder it was about to be renewed? Nah,we don’t send those.
You want to call some one to discuss? Nope, we only talk via emails chump.
So there it is – £60 pounds for a year’s hosting I didn’t want. But it’s all in the terms and conditions, so it’s basically legal theft.
The final irony? That’s significantly more expensive that most other hosting companies and, if you believe what you read online, their hosting that isn’t even that reliable.
Here’s the email exchange with Colin McGregor, Customer Services Manager at Easyspace. It won’t get me my money back but it might prevent one more sucker handing over their cash, and it makes me feel better.
28 January 2011 09:00
Customer Number: xxxxxxxxx
We have been asked to look into your account by our Support Team. I was sorry to hear that you are unhappy that we renewed your service automatically.
Our AutoRenew feature was implemented in January 2008 to safeguard customers’ valuable domain names and hosting packages. Prior to this, we received a lot of negative feedback from customers who had lost domains, websites and email services due to failed or late payments. Now, feedback is very positive as customers like the fact that they don’t have to worry about remembering to renew as it is happens automatically.
While I am sure you can now appreciate the benefits of our Auto Renew service, the choice to opt in or out of the Auto Renew scheme is open to you at all times. All you need do is login to your control panel (https://controlpanel.easyspace.com) then select ‘Services and Auto Renew’ from the menu on the left hand side of the control panel.
Full details of auto renew can be found in Section 3.10 of our Terms and Conditions: http://www.easyspace.com/about_easyspace/terms_conditions
Easyspace attempts to take Auto Renew payments 30 days in advance of the renewal date. This allows us to ensure timely registration and continuation of services when payments are successfully received. Prior to this, when payments failed (expired cards, insufficient funds etc), services were lapsing as we did not have enough time to make contact with the customer and arrange an alternative payment method.
As Easyspace have now incurred costs I regret we cannot offer a refund for the services that have auto renewed. We suggest you log into the control panel and remove services from Auto Renewal that you do not wish to renew automatically in the future.
As mentioned we get many comments from customers thanking us for safeguarding their services. We hope you understand our stance in this particular instance and thank you for your continued service.
28 January 2011 09:15
Dear Alyson, thank you for your email.
Unfortunately your policy of automatic renewal a month in advance – which was set by default on my account – was not something I noticed when signing up for the account, and not something I would have accepted. I was well aware that my account was expiring next month and would have be contacting you in the next 30 days once I’d decided whether to renew.
Moreover I did not receive any communication from you warning me that the account was due to automatically renew.
I have a lot of experience with internet service providers and yours is the only company I have dealt with that automatically renews an account so far in advance.
I do not now wish to extend this hosting for a further year and insist my account be refunded. I am happy to discuss the costs you have incurred and come to an arrangement to compensate you for this if you cannot or will not give me a full refund.
I look forward to receiving your speedy response.
Regards, John Catterfeld
28 January 2011 09:43
I am sorry to hear of the issues you are having with your account with Easyspace
Looking into your account in full I can see the information Alyson has provided is correct
I must point out we have 100,000s of customers and a large majority of them are on auto renew and are extremely happy with the service.
You did agree to the terms of service which clearly state the autorenew policy
We have had no indication that you wished to cancel these services and we have incurred costs, If services are on autorenewal we assume customers are aware of this so do not issue renewal notices
Unfortunately you are not entitled to a refund in this instance
Customer Services Manager
Tel : 44(0) 141 931 6400
28 January 2011 10:07
Colin, thank you for your response.
I have no doubt you have thousands of customer that are happy with your service, but this information is irrelevant to me. I am not happy with your service.
Furthermore your assumption was incorrect that I was aware of the auto-renewal, hence you had no indication that I wanted to cancel.
As mentioned in my previous email I am prepared to discuss the costs you may incur in providing a refund, but I consider this an offer I would not have to make to a professional, customer-focused company.
In addition can you please clarify what the “renewal period” is of which I read about on your website?
I am a successful, freelance web developer with many new clients asking for advice on the best hosting companies, and the effort I have already expended in this situation makes it difficult for me to give any positive feedback on easyspace. Hopefully we can resolve this situation to the satisfaction of both parties and I will be able pass a positive message about your brand to my clients.
Regards, John Catterfeld
28 January 2011 15:06
To confirm the renewal period for your domain package is 3 years and the renewal for your hosting package is 1 year
As I have explained we cannot issue a refund as you agreed to the renewal
If you plan to use other services with us please let me know what and I will arrange a discounted price for you
No refund will be issued
28 January 2011 15:35
Colin, I have never before encountered a company with such a gross disregard for customer satisfaction.
The correspondence received from your company has been matter-of-fact and dismissive in a situation where a professional company would be conciliatory. If held your position I would be embarrassed.
I only wish I’d done a simple search of your company before entering into any sort of contract with you; Google’s first page of result links to a damning review site of which I know you’re aware. You should be embarrassed with 1.2 out of five average rating.
I am certain easyspace has been in this situation before and your terms and conditions will likely be well tested legally. I will however be assessing my options in this situation and as promised will be doing all I can to highlight your company’s failings within the wider internet community, and to a situation I consider nothing more than legal theft.