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Am I just a problem Force9 customer?

Posts: 5
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎16-12-2020

Am I just a problem Force9 customer?

Since 1999 I have been a customer of Force9 and have benefitted from use of broadband, phone and mobile phone plans with them. I have made use of domain registering, web hosting and email hosting with Force9. In addition I have made use of CGI and MySQL databases available to me in their plan. And for the most part of 21 years, I have had no room to complain. In fact I have referred Force9/PlusNet to several people who have become customers of theirs.

As of April this year, I noticed that my plan broadband speed had dropped from the typical 11/0.8 (down/up) to 2.5/0.5. Given lockdown and the need for family members to work from home I upgraded to Fibre Extra and within days was getting a healthy 68/15 speed. As of late August/early September (I'm not sure exactly when) this speed dropped back down to a less than healthy 20/18 and although I was not overly concerned with the downgrade of speed, I thought it wise to open a ticket, given that I was paying for the 'fibre extra' plan for 18 months.

Fast Forward to early November
Wise Phrase: "if it ain't broke don't fix it" and now I realise that is true in so many of life's situations.

I was told that as a Force9 customer I shouldn't have been on 'fibre extra' and PlusNet's billing systems could not cope with this. The only answer was to migrate my old Force9 account to a new PlusNet account. This I agreed to (especially since I had not been billed for September and October!!). This was in the process of being set up and I asked if PlusNet would be ensuring that my webspace, CGI space and MySQL databases would be retained. To this I was told that it wouldn't, and I was also advised that the new account would invoke a change of Home telephone number. I have had the home telephone number for 34 years and it is in a few friends' and families' address books. So I had to cancel the migration to the new PlusNet account, since I could not risk the loss of home phone number (and webspace, CGI/MySQL features).

That seemed to be alright, until two weeks later my home telephone number was no longer available. It had been 'ceased' (in PlusNet terms). Unfortunately this coincided with a family bereavement which was communicated with a link to our home telephone number. Fortunately, PlusNet managed to retrieve my home telephone number within 24 hours (Phew!). The Migration of my Force9 services to a new PlusNet account was cancelled. My confidence in PlusNet customer service took a hit here.

After I was back with my good old Force9 account, everything proceeded OK, broadband speed was back to a speed of 15/5. Not ideal, but at least, I was still able to use email, domain names, webspace, CGI space and saw my referrals billed for.

I was encouraged again to migrate to a new PlusNet account (a second time) and this time I was assured that email, domain names, email (and aliases), webspace and CGI space/MySQL databases would be ported/migrated to the new account. I agreed again (remember the wise phrase cited above).

1st December: broadband speed went up to 70/18. I was thrilled!
2nd December: at 9:30, broadband went off only to reappear at 30/15 (after I correctly signed in to my router with my new account name/password). Within the next hour, email to my domains was being bounced, websites hosted by PlusNet for domains were not found, CGI URL could not be found, FTPing to html webspace or CGI webspace was no longer available. Irony of ironies, PlusNet were responding to my complaints/requests to my old Force9 account email address (which I couldn't see!) I thought they might have twigged this, if they got 'bounced' responses? I was less than thrilled!!

Although I have asked for updates to this situation on many occasions (I usually ring daily, trying to vary the issues to see if I can get one of them resolved), I have not to date, been given any that have inspired me with confidence. Below are some of the key events/responses:

6th December: Email was being routed through to new account mailbox, no domain associated mailboxes or aliases from old account were migrated across. Not told this at all, found out by 'trial and error'.

10th December: Was told static IP address from old account could not be restored to new account, had to request new one. (so who gets my old one that is embedded in some of my code on a server and router at home?)

14th December: Was told remaining issues (webspace, CGI webspace and referrals not 'migrated' to new account) were being escalated (again!) With all the escalations, I can expect to be contacted by the PlusNet CEO in the near future?

15th December: Since first (and only) day of new service when the broadband speed was 70/15, it has levelled off at about 28/8.
So my 'guaranteed minimum' of 52Mb/s download speed has not been met since day 1. (Testing at Master socket has shown this). I was notified of this fact by PlusNet. Unfortunately, I have not followed up on this, since my main concern is losing my websites, email and databases and this has drawn my efforts and time for the last two weeks.

Without wishing to go in great detail about some of the response I have had, to summarise, from a point of being happy/content with the Force9 service I have had for 21 years, I am now at the point where I have a partial poor service which I am paying 'over the odds' for, with little prospect of seeing this improve (judged by the responses I am getting from 'customer support' and their ability to 'park' and 'close' tickets at will).

I have been in Customer Service Management for nearly 30 years and have judged the quality of service on three things:
(1) Management of Expectations (e.g. Tell the customer you can't do it, if you can't do it)
(2) Management of Communications (e.g. Tell the customer frequently what you are doing and when)
(3) Management of Outcomes (e.g. Do it when you said you would do it)
Without going into great detail PlusNet have scored poorly on all three.

And the question I am asking the forum is, is this my fault because I foolishly agreed to upgrade a reasonably adequate service and has anyone else had similar issues with migrating from a Force9 account to a PlusNet one? And what did they do to resolve the issues, if anything?

Regards to all, David.

Posts: 1,339
Thanks: 83
Fixes: 13
Registered: ‎04-11-2011

Re: Am I just a problem Force9 customer?

Difficult to reply to all that you have said but as an old time free-online member since 1999, much like yourself, you have my sympathies. We too upgraded to fibre but never experienced billing problems nor slow downs (a lucky escape?).

Changing accounts is fraught with dangers, especially when you have accrued so many “extras” over the years. It’s not something that should be carried out by any CS member, only one that knows all the potential problems that could be encountered.
That's RPM to you!!
Posts: 5
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎16-12-2020

Re: Am I just a problem Force9 customer?


Thankyou for your feedback.

Since I posted this, I am finding that if I tackle individual issues, rather than expecting all the Force9 services to be migrated to my new PlusNet account, I am getting somewhere. For example, two days ago I only raised the issue of the referrals that I used to have and why I couldn't see them in my new account. On the second attempt ,a ticket was raised confirming action to be taken and even a (generous?) discount on my future bill was given as a gesture of 'goodwill'. Also, last week, again after a couple of attempts, I obtained a static IP address again. Not my old one that I had for 15+ years, but heigh-ho, it is a start.

So, rather than hope for all the services to be migrated across (as promised) from my Force9 account to my new PlusNet account, by me raising the issues individually over the next few weeks, I may get back what I lost. Here's hoping!

Merry Xmas.