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Domain name timebomb...

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Domain name timebomb...

Hello All,

As a long serving PlusNet and F9 user (probably over 3 years now) I too am (was) a very happy customer.

On the first of this month PlusNet deducted from my bank account £52. On viewing 'My Transactions' I find that this is payment for the continuing use of the Domain Name associated with my ConnectLite account. As I was unaware that this payment was due and without any preamble or the common courtesy of an email from PlusNet I first of all raised a ticket querying this and then finding my account was nearer the bone than I would have liked I rang the support number for an explanation.

After the usual wait I finally got through and discovered that this money was due as I had had my account for 2 years and this sum is automatically deducted on that anniversary to pay for the continuing use of the name. I enquired why I was not prewarned of this payment becoming due and was told that it was not PlusNet's job to inform me as I should have been aware of the anniversary. When I explained that not only was I not aware of this but on searching the Terms and Conditions I still could find no mention of this sanction being imposed. I then asked how I could reclaim the money and forego the domain name. I was told that no monies could be refunded as I had signed up for this and legally owed the sum. I pressed the point that the transaction he referred to was not immediately made obvious from the T&C and could he point out the relevant passage. When he could not I asked how I was supposed to be aware of this when obviously he couldn't find it either. I suggested this amounted to less than satisfactory customer care and expressed dismay at the problems this had caused me. At this point Support suggested I raise a ticket on the subject. When I told him I had he suggested I just wait for an answer to that then. I explained I had already waited for some time for an answer and when could I expect such a reply and at that point he just hung up the phone on me.

My point is this: why was I not pre-warned about this deduction? Why after a long and genuinely happy relationship between us was I treated with such a sharp business practice? Why isn't this payment made more clear to users in the T&C? Why am I told that no monies could be refunded without first agreeing that the payment taken was fair and proper? How can a cost of £52 be justified when the going rate for such things is substantially less.

An unhappy PlusNetter...

Martin
6 REPLIES
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RE: Domain name timebomb...

> My point is this: why was I not pre-warned about this deduction? Why after a long and genuinely happy relationship between us was I treated with such a sharp business practice? Why isn't this payment made more clear to users in the T&C? Why am I told that no monies could be refunded without first agreeing that the payment taken was fair and proper? How can a cost of £52 be justified when the going rate for such things is substantially less.

This is one area where PlusNet are definitely down on their usual high standards. I've followed various threads on here and the plusnet.customer.feedeback newsgroup & couldn't work out whether the free domain on my Connect Lite User account would be subject to a renewal fee or not. I specifically asked the question and have been told that No, it won't. To be honest I'm still not completely sure that I won't receive a similar 'surprise'.

If the renewals were charged at market rates, we'd all be quite happy and avoid all the hassle of transferring out and pointing domains back in to PlusNet web space.

Paul Brooks
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RE: Domain name timebomb...

Just browsing through the portal and had a look at the details of 'my' ConnectLite account and no mention of costs to be incurred after any period but the 'free' domain name is listed as number two in the added value benefits of using this particular product. Misleading? I think so.

Martin
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RE: Domain name timebomb...

Martin,

Please let me explain a little about the way domain names are attributed and billed to customers accounts.

If a customer has registered a domain from an external source and then hosts the domain name on their PlusNet account by means of changing the IPS tag then PlusNet become the billing contact for the domain name as is set out in Nominet's regulations.

We will then charge customers £52.88 incl vat for the domain renewal which will be applicable every 2 years from the day that the domain name was registered.

If by any chance the domain was included as part of your subscription to us as was the case when we were a partner in BT Surftime and at the moment BT FRIACO accounts, then the domain will be re-registered and the bill for re-newal will be met by PlusNet as long as the customers account is active and a subscription is paid by the account holder.

The documentation with regards to domain billing can be found in the legal section of our portal under section 8.

What I would mention though is that if a billing error has occurred with regards to re-newing your domain we will look in to it and gladly carry out a refund if we have made an error.

Best Regards,

Dave.
--
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| David Watson. Unmetered & ADSL solutions
| Technical Support. for Home & Business
| PlusNet Technologies Ltd. @ http://www.plus.net
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RE: Domain name timebomb...

> If a customer has registered a domain from an external source and then hosts the domain name on their PlusNet account by means of changing the IPS tag then PlusNet become the billing contact for the domain name as is set out in Nominet's regulations.
>
> We will then charge customers £52.88 incl vat for the domain renewal which will be applicable every 2 years from the day that the domain name was registered.

OK, but if instead we ask our 'external source' to change the name servers to Force9, they are still the billing contact & their (usually much cheaper rates apply).

> If by any chance the domain was included as part of your subscription to us as was the case when we were a partner in BT Surftime and at the moment BT FRIACO accounts, then the domain will be re-registered and the bill for re-newal will be met by PlusNet as long as the customers account is active and a subscription is paid by the account holder.

Thanks Dave that's much clearer. This is the situation as I understand it with my Connect Lite. I registered the domain via PlusNet & thus renewals are free (for me).

> The documentation with regards to domain billing can be found in the legal section of our portal under section 8.

To find that you need to follow the links Customer Support > Terms and Conditions, but it's still not desperately clear 'The domain name which is included with certain accounts...' How about having a rethink on the presentation of domain renewal information? It would save you all regularly going over the same all ground trying to explain it.

Paul Brooks
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RE: Domain name timebomb...

Hello Dave,

Many thanks for a civil response at last.

My problem with this whole deal is two-fold. Firstly I'm sure you would agree that the cost involved with this is hardly made headline news by PlusNet in the promotion of this account. That being the case common courtesy would indicate that loyal customers would be given some notice of this payment BEFORE it was withdrawn from my bank.

Secondly given that the ticket I put up on this has still not been answered and the phone was put down on me when I queried it this whole upsetting episode has left me with the impression of someone using sharp practice to illicit money then refusing to talk sensibly about the implications.

Can I ask you something? Do you honestly believe that most Connect users understand from the details you send out and from the promotion on the web site that this cost is imminent? Why when customer care in a service industry is supposed to be paramount do you not warn people or give them options before this payment is taken? Why does your support tell me when I phone that this is 'my problem'.

The whole deal has left a very nasty taste in the mouth.

A still smouldering PlusNetter...

Martin
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RE: Domain name timebomb...

Hello Dave,

As a follow up to your original post I would like to quote you:

"If by any chance the domain was included as part of your subscription to us as was the case when we were a partner in BT Surftime and at the moment BT FRIACO accounts, then the domain will be re-registered and the bill for re-newal will be met by PlusNet as long as the customers account is active and a subscription is paid by the account holder."

As this describes my situation exactly can I expect my £52 to be refunded?

Martin