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  #1  
Old 03-25-2003, 02:35 PM
WaryEri WaryEri is offline
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You lying Bait and Switch bastards.

The hosting package said unlimited bandwidth when we bought it. We emailed you over and over, because we knew we had a big ass site that takes up lots of bandwidth, and we've been fucked by hosting services before. You said it would be fine. You welcomed us with open arms. You mentioned no limited time offers, no secret clauses.

Which makes sense, since you only added those things AFTER we switched to your site and started taking up the space and bandwidth that we damn well paid for. Now, amazingly enough, the package offered says 25 GB a month. It was fucking unlimited when we bought it. Everyone who works for our site looked over the offer, we didn't all happen to overlook the fact that your hosting package was a 6th of what we need. It was unlimited when we bought it. And you fucking cheating thieving bastards changed it, and you say you're " adding up the charges" now for our 'overuse'. It was fucking unlimited when we bought it. We asked if you could handle our site. You said YES.



A hem. Our host has fucked us. Have we any recourse?
  #2  
Old 03-25-2003, 02:41 PM
ed ed is offline
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Do you have any correspondence with them (say, emails) where they state anything contradictory to the new terms? Did you have to sign or "click through" any terms and conditions when submitting payment?
  #3  
Old 03-25-2003, 02:44 PM
hansel hansel is offline
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1. Report them to the Better Business Bureau.

2. Post a question to http://www.slashdot.org/ relating your experience, and asking the same question. Not only will you get a much larger volume of replies, but if you mention the ISP, they'll regret the negative publicity and back off, at least giving you a chance to move to a new host without paying for the "back-capped" charges.

3. Before you do any of the above, back up the site and prepare to move somewhere.
  #4  
Old 03-25-2003, 02:45 PM
Slacker Slacker is offline
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You've learned the hard way what all webmasters with moderately successful sites well know:

There's no such thing as unlimited.

Never. Ever. I know it says that on their page, but it's not true. When I moved SC to a new host last year I talked to over a dozen hosts with various offers. The first thing I looked for each time was the word "unlimited" on their website. If I saw it - I told them I wasn't interested for that reason. I had many awkward (for them, not me) AIM conversations after I called them on the unlimited myth.

Try posting what you're looking for at http://www.webhostingtalk.com - you'll get a lot of offers there. Make sure you filter 'em out though - because you'll get a lot of unlimited hosting offers there too.
  #5  
Old 03-25-2003, 02:47 PM
Giraffe Giraffe is offline
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Re: You lying Bait and Switch bastards.

Quote:
Originally posted by WaryEri
Our host has fucked us. Have we any recourse?
I saw this exact same question in Miss Manners last week, although it was with regards to dinner party etiquette, not web hosting. I'll tell you what she told them: you still have to send a thank you note, but it's OK to be really sarcastic.
  #6  
Old 03-25-2003, 03:00 PM
ed ed is offline
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What Slacker said. Remember, bandwidth ain't free for them. Most likely, they're paying a fixed rate for a certain sized pipe, and if you start eating up more than they bargained for (thus costing them in either real cash or poor network performance) they will find a way to bill you for it. They're not going to take a loss on you.

My above questions were an attempt to see if you have any way to prevent being hit with a bill for you overuse before moving to a new host. If you have some sort of proof of correspondence on the subject, or some sort of agreement from the time you paid them that states the "unlimited" terms, you might get somewhere with the BBB (as suggested) or by threatening small claims court or something. That's far from a sure thing (IANAL, of course) but it gives you something to argue with. If all you have is the word of you and your coworkers... well, I wouldn't count on anything.
  #7  
Old 03-25-2003, 03:08 PM
Skywatcher Skywatcher is offline
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Re: You lying Bait and Switch bastards.

Quote:
Originally posted by WaryEri
A hem. Our host has fucked us. Have we any recourse?
A previous host of www.snopes.com pulled the same thing. You might want to look into how they handled it; I'd post a link but Snopes isn't responding at the moment.
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  #8  
Old 03-25-2003, 03:32 PM
DrLizardo DrLizardo is offline
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Quote:
Ahem. Our host has fucked us. Have we any recourse?
I feel for you, truly. But my answer is still "not likely unless you have something in writing."

I'll add that you're very silly indeed if you don't, (I include email correspondence as "writing" realize) and make damn sure you do next time.
  #9  
Old 03-25-2003, 04:00 PM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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Is this another happy Earthlink customer?
  #10  
Old 03-25-2003, 04:11 PM
Cessandra Cessandra is offline
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If your site is so big, have you ever considered getting a server? Still not unlimited bandwidth, but more than you'd get with a simple hosting plan (say 400gb/month), and an unmanaged server can be something like $99/month. Of course, you'd have to know how to manage the server. A managed server might be more like $275/month.

And let me second whoever said this, back up everything on your site -- including databases -- before you do anything! It'd be awful to lose your site over this.
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  #11  
Old 03-25-2003, 04:42 PM
Skywatcher Skywatcher is offline
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Found that Snopes page.
Quote:
The first provider we opted to try was Blueberry Hill Communications, who offer web hosting services that are advertised as including "unlimited hits" and "unlimited data transfer" with "no hidden charges."

We established an account with Blueberry Hill, copied our web pages over to it, and began directing some of our web site traffic there. (The disk quota on our account was far too small to accommodate anything but our HTML pages, so all our image files continued to reside elsewhere.) This new account seemed reasonably speedy, so we eventually tried directing more of our HTML traffic to it. One day a few weeks later (8 June 1999, to be precise) we found that our account had been disabled and our web site was non-functional. We had received no advance warning or notice about this action, nor did anyone at Blueberry Hill communicate anything to us until we took the initiative of phoning them to inquire. Only then did we find out that they had deliberately disabled our account. When we asked why they hadn't even extended us the simple courtesy of notifying us (either before or after the fact) that they were disabling our account, we were told, "We've found that shutting off a customer's account is the best way of getting their attention." Pretty novel approach to customer support, eh? Can you imagine if other types of service providers used this model ? "One day I noticed that $10,000 had disappeared from my bank account. When I called my CPA to find out what was going on, he told me, 'I've found that embezzling from my clients is the best way to get their attention.'"

Blueberry Hill had disabled our account, they claimed, because so many of the process slots on their server were being used to handle traffic to our web site that visitors were unable to reach the web sites of other customers whose sites resided on the same server. There may have been a problem, but it wasn't our problem. We weren't breaking any rules or doing anything we weren't supposed to be doing; we simply have a very popular web site. If Blueberry Hill's servers couldn't handle the load, then it was their problem. They took our money by promising "unlimited traffic," and then summarily cancelled our account because we generated too much traffic. This is no different than advertising an "all-you-eat-buffet," then going through the restaurant and kicking out patrons who are "eating too much."

The end result was that Blueberry Hill told us if we wanted our account reactivated, we would have to pay for additional services (which we didn't need) in exchange for their moving our site to a server better able to handle the traffic. It had taken them less than four weeks to violate their promises of "unlimited traffic," "unlimited data transfer," and "no hidden charges." (This is a tactic more commonly referred to as "bait and switch.") We ageed to pay the higher fee, and Blueberry Hill moved our account to a different server. This was the one and only time Blueberry Hill spoke with us.

On 20 July 1999, Blueberry Hill once again disabled our account with no prior notice or warning and re-directed all requests for our web site to Yahoo! Also once again, they didn't extend us the simple courtesy of telling us anything about their actions until we phoned them to find out what was going on. This time they claimed that we were using up too much CPU time on their server and told us they were disabling our account permanently. Once again, this wasn't our problem -- if Blueberry Hill wasn't capable of handling high-traffic web sites, they shouldn't have been advertising "unlimited traffic" and "unlimited data transfer." Besides, the "too much CPU" claim was specious: our site consists of nothing but HTML pages -- no CGI scripts, no Java applets, no FrontPage extensions. It's hard to imagine a less CPU-taxing web site. If Blueberry Hill was having problems with their server being CPU-bound, it was because they don't know how to administer web servers, not because of anything we did.
  #12  
Old 03-25-2003, 04:58 PM
Sapphire Wolf Sapphire Wolf is offline
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WaryEri, please excuse me while I do a bit of "Conversanengilizing." And keep in mind I know exactly nada about your site.

But...if it's feasible at all, and you're just wanting to change hosting...one that I highly and strongly recommend is Conversant .

It's what I use. I love it. Just love it love it love it.

I will grant, though, it's a lot of work to learn the new system (I usually pick up that stuff in a flash, but it took me almost six months to get comfortable with it). In the end, though, I think it's worth it.

Need to make a change to the copyright notice at the bottom of your 250 pages? Just make a change to the one template, and bam! You're done. Changing the banner that appears at the top of your 600 pages? Change the template, and poof!

That sorta thing.

And the president of the company that makes Conversant, Seth Dillingham, does not say what he does not intend. But you can also email him and ask him for sure...and then save the emails.

On the other hand, if you have neither time nor inclination to learn the Conversant thing, feel free to tell me to stop spewing monkey shit.
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  #13  
Old 03-25-2003, 05:51 PM
WaryEri WaryEri is offline
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Thank you very much for all the replies.

Luckily, we just moved a few days ago, so back ups aren't an issue. We've had those all along. Our last host was alright, up until the guy running it left and never came back. A bit of a problem when it fell into the habit of going down for days at a time, when there was no one to contact to fix such a thing.

I should qualify "we". It's my SO's site, I work on it, running the forums and handling other small things, along with a handful of other people. For free, in our spare time. The wallet being drained by this is my SO's, which is why I'm so bloody pissed about the whole thing.

The current thieving bastards have been pretty clever. They say that yes, they did once have an "unlimited" hosting package, but they stopped offering it three days before we signed up. Not that there was anything on their site, or in our lengthy email communication with them about whether or not they could handle our site to indicate that the offer was temporary and we were already too late. Not that anything in the details of the package paid for indicates that they changed the meaning of "True Unlimited Package" to mean unlimited up to 25 GB of bandwidth. We showed them our site prior to purchasing, they said it was fine. We indicated we wanted to purchase the " True Unlimited Package", they didn't say boo about it being temporary.

Am I remembering incorrectly about what was originally offered, and maligning these poor noble people? Maybe, but then so are the other 5 senior staff at our site who went over the offer seperatly with a fine toothed comb to make sure that it really wasn't too good to be true. And it really looks like they changed it on us after all was said and done. If there was anything on their site to indicate that the True Unlimited Hosting package was about to change, we didn't see it, and they didn't mention it despite being shown our site and having us make it clear that we were looking for unlimited bandwidth ( at the very least, we obviously pulled in more than 25 GB a month).

We're moving. They don't offer any packages that can handle our site ( Not anymore, that is), and we dont' want to deal with them after what they pulled. Where we move is still up in the air, and we're going to have to cut loose alot of people that we were helping out, to trim our site down to something more affordable, but please god for once we'll find a host that won't fuck us in some manner or another.

We're just trying to get our money back now ( they do say they'll refund fully within 15 days. With a clause that they will not refund for " user ignorance"...so it's not looking good. Hopefully just saying " I'm not satisfied" will suffice, but they do not say what is required to qualify for a refund, only a vague clause about what's not), and I personally hope not see my SO completely fucked over as far as these trumped up " extra charges" are concerned. He'll pay them, of course. He just wants to see this over with. So I'm trying to save him from getting screwed any further if it's at all possible.
  #14  
Old 03-25-2003, 05:55 PM
Cessandra Cessandra is offline
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Just wondering, about how much bandwidth are you looking for for about how much per month? (Remembering that unlimited bandwidth doesn't exist in reality.)
  #15  
Old 03-25-2003, 06:10 PM
WaryEri WaryEri is offline
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We used about 250 GB/month. We had a mailing list of 1000 or so, and our forums were uber-active, straining SQL servers.


We will not be that big when we finally settle into a new home.

We were paying $89 a month on the host before this, which was affordable. The curent host claimed to be cheaper, but...well, as feared, it really was too good to be true.
  #16  
Old 03-25-2003, 07:20 PM
White Lightning White Lightning is offline
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Anybody else remember www.nosepilot.com?
  #17  
Old 03-25-2003, 08:21 PM
black rabbit black rabbit is offline
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250 gigs? Woah. You're gonna pay a lot more than 89 bucks for a host that won't fuck you. A whole lot more. I mean, shit, you're probably better off running your own box on site, for that kind of money. I'd call your local telco and get a quote on a dedicated data pipe.
  #18  
Old 03-25-2003, 08:26 PM
Cortana Cortana is offline
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Hee... well, the forums / webcomic site that I run the server for averages oh... 5Mbit/second...

I wouldn't be surprised if SDMB does a healthy chunk of that amount of bandwidth.
  #19  
Old 03-25-2003, 11:53 PM
WaryEri WaryEri is offline
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This just keeps getting better and better. Now they refuse to refund the 23 months PRE-PAID. And will not let us shut down our account. We asked ot no longer do business with them, and just settle all accounts and be on our way. They refused to let us leave. How they hell is THAT legal?
  #20  
Old 03-26-2003, 02:33 AM
Slacker Slacker is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by WaryEri
This just keeps getting better and better. Now they refuse to refund the 23 months PRE-PAID. And will not let us shut down our account. We asked ot no longer do business with them, and just settle all accounts and be on our way. They refused to let us leave. How they hell is THAT legal?
Good gravy. I really hope you didn't give these guys over $2,000 without reading the fine print. Do you have a link to the agreement you accepted when you signed up?
  #21  
Old 03-26-2003, 04:07 AM
Typo Negative Typo Negative is offline
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I say sue them for breach of contract. Violently and publicly. Make them think twice about doing it again.
  #22  
Old 03-26-2003, 10:03 AM
peri peri is offline
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If you get no relief within the week, contact the Attorneys General of your respective states. Print out every email, to and from, you can retrieve. Nail the bastards.
  #23  
Old 03-26-2003, 03:55 PM
White Lightning White Lightning is offline
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If their 'unlimited' agreement was online, find cached pages of it from when you signed up. They're out there.
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