In 2009, I opened an account for web and email hosting with Jumba, a small Canberra-based firm with a good reputation for customer service. In 2011, Jumba was taken over by UberGlobal. They had a far poorer reputation but the service was still OK, so I stayed.
In February of this year, Uber informed me that they were "moving to Netregistry". I think that's marketing-speak for a takeover.
In March, I received another email. Among other things, it said:
"When your existing cPanel service is migrated to our state-of-the-art infrastructure, it will have an ongoing monthly fee of $9.95"
I responded with:
"My current Uber account costs me $49 per annum. By my calculation, the new charge is about 144% more; almost 2.5 times as much. You're telling me to find another provider, is that right?"
In part, their reply was:
"As part of the consolidation we are reducing the amount of packages offered so we can better support our customers, as the $9.95 plan is the closest fit to what you are currently on under UberGlobal it is the plan you are being moving to.
If you do not wish to continue your service you may cancel it prior to migration ..."
"My current subscription runs to 11 January 2018. Are you dishonouring that contract?"
"The comms for this were poorly worded, that is what the price will be if paid monthly beginning with your next renewal (11 January 2018)."
An email dated 23 May, I found somewhat amusing:
"We’re contacting you again as your migration to state-of-the-art infrastructure, and our new account management portal, The Console, is scheduled for Invalid date.
What this change means for you
- No action is required by you today
- However ACTION MAY BE REQUIRED on Invalid date (see below)"
The message made little sense, so I ignored it. They followed up with a message that at least had the dates. Migration was scheduled for 30 May.
On that date, another email arrived:
"We recently informed you of your upcoming service migration to NETREGISTRY. This migration was due to be completed on Tuesday, 30th May 2017. Unfortunately we were unable to complete your migration due to unexpected technical issues.
At this stage no changes have been made to your account. We will reschedule your move and will notify you by email of your successful migration shortly."
The next day:
"Welcome to Netregistry!
We're happy to announce that your UberBusiness domain(s) have been moved to Netregistry."
So far, so good, I guess.
Today (13 June):
"Please find attached the current paid invoice for your Netregistry services."
The attached invoice shows a charge of $119.40. A check of my bank account showed that it was debited yesterday (the 12th).
I've sent the following to my bank, via their secure messaging facility:
"The following transaction on account ####### is not authorised:
12 Jun 2017
NETREGISTRY CH *
Please cancel it and credit the amount of $119.40 to my account. NetRegistry is not authorised to debit any of my accounts. Please block any further debits from NetRegistry."
and to Netregistry:
"On 5/05/2017 11:01 AM, email@example.com wrote:
"... paid monthly beginning with your next renewal (11 January 2018)."
As it is not yet 11 January 2018, no payment is due. Please cancel the debit. Any authorisation you think Netregistry may have to debit any account of mine, whether explicit or implicit, is hereby explicitly revoked.
My account is fully paid to 11 January 2018. If there is any interruption to or degradation of service before that date, then I will expect compensation."
I'd already decided to find a new hosting provider. Any chance Netregistry had of retaining this customer is now irretrievably gone.
I've often thought that business attracts criminal minds. Netregistry has done nothing to dispel that notion. Their poor reputation is richly deserved.