VistaPages Curses Off Customer

Cut, parse, weave and waffle. Some customer service cases we can really run around who’s in the right but Anne’s is a clear case of customer abuse.

    “From: VistaPages Billing

    Reply-To: billing@vistapages.com

    To: anne.xxxxxxx@gmail.com

    Date: Jun 13, 2006 11:33 AM

    Subject: [#MMH-222898]: Re: Payment Approved – Invoice 2876

    Anne,

    Goto fucken hell you piece of shit. This was refunded. If a chargeback is placed, we will be sending all chargeback related fee’s to a collections agency.”

Needless to say, she’s no longer doing business with VistaPages to host her website. But now they’ve got her domain name and have told her if she wants it back, she’ll just have to wait until it expires next year and grab it herself. This is because the customer service manager “didn’t like her attitude.” Does she have any way of retrieving it before then?

Read one of the worst customer service breakdowns we’ve ever seen, we’ve also got a reply from the company president, after the jump…

UPDATE: Someone else writes in that “Chris Jenkins” and Kaumil Patel are in fact, the same person.

“Chris is also Kaumil. I’ve worked with him in the past at another company and he has no employees at Vistapages.

He’s created multiple personas to make the company look bigger. I can assure you he has no other employees.”

UPDATE: Kaumil disagrees with this statement. He writes:

“We have 4 employee’s not counting me. I would show you pay stubs, but I don’t need to. If you want to do things right, I suggest you do it right. The “updater” has a sour taste in his mouth because of his past with a past employer, who is related to me through business. I am not sure why he is attacking me, but this is not “right”. I was his boss, left the company and hates everything that deals with that company. Let me guess, David … was the person who sent that in.

I will now be seeking legal council in regards to false statements being posted by your web site. “

comment on this post

Dear Consumerist,

I really enjoy reading your website and am writing to let you know about an extremely unpleasant experience I had with VistaPages web hosting company. For the last year I’ve been using their web hosting services. When I signed up I paid for a year of service in advance ($69) and a domain name. I knew the time to renew was rolling around in June. I received this email from them on June 8:

Hello Anne M,
This is a notice that your invoice 2876 has been generated for services by VistaPages, Inc. on 2006/06/08.
————————-
Total Due: $9.95
Due Date: 2006/06/13
————————-
Your payment method is: CC Batch
SIGNED UP BEFORE DECEMBER 2005:
Please remember to update your credit card information online, if you haven’t already done so, you will need to log into your billing account located at https://billing.vistapages.com/ and pay the invoice to avoid being suspended for non-payment.
SIGNED UP AFTER DECEMBER 2005:
We will process your credit card shortly and you will see a charge from VistaPages, Inc. for this transaction.

Thank you,
VistaPages, Inc.
http://www.vistapages.com

I immediately went to my website (www.aemartin.com) to check and it it had been taken offline (on June 8th.) I wrote them an email asking why my website had been taken down. They informed me that I needed to update my credit card information. I repeatedly inquired of them why my website had been taken down without even giving me a chance to pay said invoice due on June 13, while wondering if I wanted to continue to do business with them. They continued giving me the run-around and not answering any of my questions. On June 11, I logged onto their billing system to update my credit card information. Within their billing system, there was no invoice for $9.95. There was an invoice for $69.35 (for which I received no notification whatsoever). I can only assume this was the fee for a year’s worth of web hosting (in advance). I attempted to pay the invoice online with my credit card, and the system declined my credit card on multiple attempts. After this, I was able to use my credit card at another online merchant (so I know my credit card was functioning.) At this point I got relatively angry because I needed to get my website back online a.s.a.p. so it could be viewed by potential clients. I wrote them the following email (to the customer service manager who was now handling my ticket):

From: anne m,
To: billing@vistapages.com
Date: Jun 12, 2006 12:25 PM
Subject: Re: [#PXS-485815]: Re: VistaPages.com – Invoice 2876

Chris,

I updated my credit card information yesterday, and attempted to pay the invoice. I told you this in my last email. I do not want to continue hosting my site with Vista Pages because I am dissatisfied with the service I’ve received, namely that you have taken my site down without even giving me one day to go and pay the invoice.

I think you must have some type of problem with your billing system since it declined my credit card after I’d updated my information. Like I said I do not want to continue my service with you so DO NOT charge my card for the $69.35. If there is any such charge on my card, I will be alerting my credit card company and disputing the charge.

If you could explain to me why I never received an email/invoice about the $69.35 that I owe, that would be helpful. Also, why I received an email/invoice telling me I owed $9.95, and there was no such invoice when I logged into your billing system. According to the email invoice for the $9.95, I would fall under the category of “signing up before dec. 2005″ which means I need to log in to pay my invoices, and you WOULD NOT automatically charge my credit card, which it seems like you are insuating you were planning to do. Your inability to clear this up and answer my questions in the least bit is another reason I am choosing to take my business elsewhere.

However, you currently have my domain name, which I wish to renew. Someone at the online help center directed me to call the sales department, before mentioning that they dont’ work on Sundays. If you could please give me information on who exactly to contact about renewing my domain name and switching it over to my new service
providers’ nameservers, I would appreciate it.

I received this email from Chris Jenkins, their customer service
manager:

From: VistaPages Billing billing@vistapages.com
Reply-To: billing@vistapages.com
To: anne.xxxxxx@gmail.com
Date: *Jun 12, 2006 2:45 PM*
Subject: *[#PXS-485815]: Re: VistaPages.com – Invoice 2876*

Anne,

Just because of your attitude. Keep the $69.35, and wait until the domain is out of the redemption period and register it again. You act like we owe you anything, you owe us money, and you have to pay it to get the service. You didn’t do that, so you don’t service. There is nothing wrong with our billing system, we process hundreds
of payments every single day, some with problems, which we resolve and some without problems. We send out notifications to ensure that your account information is up to date to avoid issues like this. I told you several times, make sure the information matches your credit card billing address, and if it still comes back as declined,
it’s because of your information, not our system.

I have been patient with you and have explained to you exactly what you need to do, it however, is not the fault of VistaPages and/or me when it comes to you not being able to do what is required to get your web site back up. To say that the service here was not up to your standards, is quite lame and unprofessional on your part.

Bottom line, your account expired (you should know the billing date regardless), you didn’t pay the invoice. You decide to complain rather than fix the issue, so we cannot do anything else for you.

Have a great day. Thank you for wasting our time!
———————–
Chris Jenkins
Customer Service Manager
VistaPages, Inc.

http://support.vistapages.com

Not only do I do not “owe” them any money (the $69.35 they were trying to charge me was for a year of hosting in advance), but they continued to ignore my question of why they took my website offline before the due date of the invoice (and on top of that, I had tried to pay it and their billing system declined my credit card.) They also refused to allow me access to my domain name, of which I am the legal owner. Considering their lack of customer service and affinity for rudeness, I decided to cut my losses, kept checking my credit card for any charges from them, and signed up for a new domain name with a new hosting service.

On the morning of June 13, I received this (automated) emailed from them:

Hello Anne Martin,

Your invoice 2876 in the amount of $69.35 has been processed and approved.
————————-
Transaction ID: 1174525396.6853
————————
NOTE: You will see a charge from ModernGigabyte, LLC for this transaction.

Thank you,
VistaPages, Inc.

http://www.vistapages.com

I wrote back the following:

Are you kidding me? I’m calling my credit card company. I have numerous emails telling you i did not wish to continue my service and NOT to charge my credit card, in addition to an email from your manager telling me that you were not going to.

I got an automated response telling me they’d received my ticket and someone would get back to me. Later that day I received this email, again from customer service manager Chris Jenkins:

From: *VistaPages Billing Reply-To: billing@vistapages.com
To: anne.xxxxxx@gmail.com
Date: *Jun 13, 2006 11:33 AM*
Subject: *[#MMH-222898]: Re: Payment Approved – Invoice 2876*

Anne,

Goto fucken hell you piece of shit. This was refunded. If a chargeback is placed, we will be sending all chargeback related fee’s to a collections agency.

Regards,
———————–
Chris Jenkins
Customer Service Manager
VistaPages, Inc.

http://support.vistapages.com

Needless to say I am glad to no longer be doing business with this company, and am deciding how to pursue getting my domain name back. In the meantime I have moved my site to: www.annemartinphotography.com

Thanks and I hope that this can be a warning to other customers not to do business with them!

Thanks,
Anne Martin

We forwarded the matter to the company’s director of operations who had this to say:

Hello Ben,

Looking at records Anne Martin is no longer a customer. From reading the incidents here, she was overdue and blamed us for taking her site down. I don’t know about you, but if you don’t pay the bill the service doesn’t stay active. So she e-mailed us, fine, we gave her instructions on how to update, but she insisted our billing system was at fault. In the end, she wanted a refund and she got it.

Thank you for notifying me about Chris, I will be dealing with him on this matter.

Reagrds,

———————————
Kaumil Patel
Director of Operations

We replied,

Hi Kaumil,

Thanks for your reply, we’ll include it in our post. Billing snafu aside, it seems the balance books would be cleared if VistaPages helped Anne regain use of her original website, aemartin.com.

Sincerely,

Ben Popken
Editor, The Consumerist
http://www.consumerist.com

And Kaumil replied:

Ben,

A resolution was offered to her from the beginning. Pay the bill… get the service reactivated. She was overdue. She thought it would be best to blame the billing system. From the history, I see that we made several attempts to explain to her that certain criteria had to be met in order for us to be able to successfully process her payment and the I can assure you that the billing system is working fine, as it processes several dozen payments daily.

As for the domain, it was in redemption period, and required renewal. She also did not notify us of cancellation 30-days before the hosting invoice was generated, and according to a TOS, in which she agreed to, you must do so. So she’s in owing of $69.35. If she wants to receive service, she needs to pay for it. We’ve done everything in our power to resolve the solution in our best ability, surely, Chris’ reaction was a sign of frustration with the customer, after her continuing to blame the system and the company. This is not to excuse his reaction, which is why I agreed to have it looked into and deal with it accordingly.

On the behalf of VistaPages, Inc. and Chris Jenkins, I apologize for the conduct that was taken in addressing her concern, however if she wishses to have her service re-enabled. She’ll need to pay what is due.

Regards,

Kaumil Patel
VistaPages, Inc.

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. ExVee says:

    It really depends if the domain name was registered in Anne’s name or in the company’s name. If it’s in the company’s name, she’s pretty much at their mercy to release it. If it is in her name, a letter from a lawyer would be in order. This is a good lesson, though: Never register a domain through a host since there can be ownership issues down the road.

  2. gvonk says:

    Wow. I don’t care whose fault it is, I don’t care if a customer is many months past due… if your Customer Service Manager says “Goto fucken hell you piece of shit” to a customer (complete with paper trail) and you don’t immediately fire him, your customer service, company-wide, is an abject failure.

  3. Scott says:

    Why not go to GoDaddy.com (or any other) and initiate a transfer of the domain name? If it’s successful, it’ll cost her around $7, but at least she’d be out of that little slice of hell. It’s worth a shot; if it doesn’t work, she won’t have to pay:
    (From GoDaddy.com)
    “Your transfer is absolutely risk-free. If it fails to go through for any reason at all, we’ll refund your fee, no questions asked.”

  4. ACurmudgeon says:

    Don’t need to hear any of their excuses. There is NO excuse for treating your customers like that. I will not be using VistaPages, ever. And I will be telling everyone I know as well. Even if it was all her fault. The responses from the CS Manager and the DoO are unacceptable.

  5. Gari N. Corp says:

    I dunno, it seems there’s something deliciously unethical about the hosting/registration business anyway. I just lost a domain (my fault, I was on vacation when I should have renewed), and it went to a spammer super-quick. I guess being short-sightedly mercenary is hardwired into their brains.

  6. MirDreams says:

    His crediblity would increase if his grasp of grammer came close to matching his irrate customer’s. That is one company I shall be avoiding.

  7. TheBrianIsAstonishing says:

    I’ll only say that Kaumil and Chris’ online dictions seem awful similar to one another.

  8. Ben Popken says:

    Anne writes:

    “Ben,

    Thank you for posting my complaint and for contacting the company… what they responded with was pretty much the same run-around answer they’d been giving me through the entire exchange. And really, really interesting to hear the allegations that the company is just one person! I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s true…

    I’m heading over to godaddy.com to try and get my domain name back. Thanks again,

    Anne”

  9. Ben Popken says:

    Edward writes:

    “The VP or whoever seems to have a major identity crisis…apparently he’s Sandip as well.

    http://www.webhostingtalk.com/archive/thread/410885-1.html

  10. Morgan says:

    I love that he keeps repeating that she was overdue, never addressing that they took the site down when she had 5 days left to pay. Whether or not the TOS say she needs to give 30 days notice, they must have breached the contract first by taking the site down before the period she had paid for was up.
    Oh, and threatening the Consumerist for posting “false statements” definately doesn’t help the guy’s case. Everything here is phrased as “a reader sent this story and these e-mails in,” which is absolutely true, whether or not the information the reader sent is true. It also doesn’t seem likely that a court case will go over well when all the reader needs to do is submit the e-mails on her computer as evidence…

  11. Latepost(TM): This masterpiece of customer service is, as I write this, hit number eight in a Google search for the name of the company.

    Excelsior!

  12. geedeck says:

    There is absolutely no justification for that tone.

    I think it’s the same guy, just after he’s had time to realize he committed a horrible wrong and so he sat down and smoked a bowl. Look at how consistently her questions are ignored? Same dude, never wanting to admit error.

    If he was smart, he’d say that he fired the cusser and offer her a free year of service to erase the stigma.

  13. DDinTV says:

    All I can say is that I empathize with Anne. I had a horrible experience with VP last year, in which they double-billed me, and when I canceled, they stole my domain (even though they did refund my money about two days before they would have been hit with a chargeback). Now, they’re trying to bill me for renewal of service that I canceled nearly a year ago, and the only thing that’s stopping them is that my Visa card was reissued this year with a different number.

    As far as Kaumil’s response to Anne, I don’t care who you are or how great you think your business is….you DO NOT speak to a customer in that manner That language is simply inexcusable in customer relations. If the manager of a retail establshment talked to me in such a manner, rest assured I would never again set foot in his/her establishment. I am so glad there are sites like which expose such ridiculous and rude behavior!

  14. Anonymous says:

    We are company from Europe which two months ago bought hosting solution VPS2 from http://www.vistapages.com, under this agreement:

    [www.vistapages.com]

    As you can see they guarantee uptime of 99.9% percent.

    Everything start with their awful user support… Then it continue further more…

    On Friday our site went down and comes back on Monday.

    Also, in meantime they wrote these letters to us:

    “Greetings,

    The entire server was corrupted. We believe it was due to ex-employees of Vista Pages who implemented an exploit within the server to bring it down. However this has been corrupted and their IP’s have been blocked from our network. We will be reinstalling the VPS and restoring accounts this weekend, everything should be back up and running smoothly on Monday. Please do email billing@vistapages.com to get your FREE months of service due to the inconvenience caused.

    Regards,
    Mike”

    “We do have spare servers and are currently rebuilding the server, we started this process yesterday and it should be ready for Monday if not sooner. Regarding the 99.9% uptime guarantee we do offer it and try our very best to meet it; however at times unavoidable things happen like this. You can email billing@vistapages.com to receive your free month of hosting.”

    So, they managed to delete all of our data and bring the server down for more than 70 hours. And this is not first time. We have had downtimes of 15-45minutes twice a week every week from the start.

    But that’s not end. After two days up, it went down again. This time here is the response:

    Me:
    “Today my server is not responsible(VERY SLOW, unusable), it seems that your network is down again.

    PLEASE HELP!!!”

    Vista:
    “Greetings,

    At present a server within our network is under a dos attack. Our Network Administrators are currently working on mitigating this attack.

    Regards,
    Mike”

    “Valentin,

    Please be patient as we’re moving to a better network. Updates will be posted at [status.vistapages.com.]

    Regards,
    Nathan”

    Me:
    “http://status.vistapages.com/ it is saying network migrated. So what is the problem with my site?”

    Vista:
    “Valentin,

    Although the servers are up and running we are in the process of recreating the zone files for each account which will take 2-4 hours to propogate.

    Regards,
    Nathan”

    Me:
    Today my server is not responsible(VERY SLOW, unusable), it seems that your network is down again.

    PLEASE HELP!!!
    Mike C.
    Posted On: 10 Oct 2007 03:06 PM
    Greetings,

    At present a server within our network is under a dos attack. Our Network Administrators are currently working on mitigating this attack.

    Regards,
    Mike
    Valentin Gjorgjioski
    Posted On: 10 Oct 2007 04:23 PM
    So would you like to employ me? Obviously is too hard for you to manage this dos attacks. You will lose everything if you continue with this service.

    Let me know when you manage this.

    And one more thing Mike, your hosting really s****
    Mike C.
    Posted On: 10 Oct 2007 05:41 PM
    Greetings,

    We are in the process of moving networks to improve our service stability. More updates to follow at [status.vistapages.com]

    Regards,
    Mike
    Valentin Gjorgjioski
    Posted On: 10 Oct 2007 05:59 PM
    I checked the status page. Interesting there is nothing about box11 there, which had also corrupted file system. So corrupted file systems is very common at your place.

    Good luck in migrating, we will also migrate to another provider if you continue… So another 24 hours my services will suffer. Nice, in one week they suffer 84 hours…

    Valentin Gjorgjioski
    Posted On: 10 Oct 2007 07:41 PM
    Again down :( ;(
    Nathan P.
    Posted On: 10 Oct 2007 08:00 PM
    Valentin,

    Please be patient as we’re moving to a better network. Updates will be posted at [status.vistapages.com.]

    Regards,
    Nathan
    Valentin Gjorgjioski
    Posted On: 11 Oct 2007 04:47 AM
    How long? I’m loosing money every day because of you. I don’t understand… really….
    Valentin Gjorgjioski
    Posted On: 11 Oct 2007 07:18 AM
    [status.vistapages.com] it is saying network migrated. So what is the problem with my site?
    Nathan P.
    Posted On: 11 Oct 2007 07:21 AM
    Valentin,

    Although the servers are up and running we are in the process of recreating the zone files for each account which will take 2-4 hours to propogate.

    Regards,
    Nathan
    ME:
    Valentin Gjorgjioski
    Posted On: 11 Oct 2007 07:28 AM
    I do not understand what is the connection between zone files and ssh on my server by ip.

    ssh 64.86.164.109

    Please check once more. Thanks for really quick reply.

    Vista:
    Valentin,

    Sorry that was a canned message due to the volume of requests we have within our desk. Your IP for the VPS would have to be re-assigned and it will be done shortly. I am forwarding this ticket to our Activations Team so they can notify you of your new IP.

    Regards,
    Nathan
    Me:
    What is my new ip?

    Vista:
    Greetings,

    We have successfully migrated to a new network and are currently recreating the dns zone files which should propogate within 2-4 hours approximately. Thank you for your continued patience.

    Regards,
    Mike
    Me:
    I still cannot UNDERSTAND what is the connection between YOUR DNS ZONE FILES and my ip address. Let me know, IP address of my VPS server. I DO NOT NEED DNS.
    Vista:
    Greetings,

    That was a canned message due to the volume of requests we have been receiving regarding our network move. You will be emailed your new IP shortly once our datacenter technicians assign it to your VE.

    Regards,
    Mike

    And…. much more…. Even I’m tired copying pasting … to give you full story… BUT IT IS AWFUL and PAINFUL believe me.

    We were running community site and we have had registered about 2000 users in a month, and about 2000 visits per day. This means catastrophic failure for us.

    Guys just stay away from vistapages, and if there interested for lawsuit let me know at my email gjorgjioski at gmail.com. We are already two. We should form club of vistapages former “satisfied” customers.