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
Date: Jun 13, 2006 11:33 AM
Subject: [#MMH-222898]: Re: Payment Approved – Invoice 2876
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. “
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.
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,
Date: Jun 12, 2006 12:25 PM
Subject: Re: [#PXS-485815]: Re: VistaPages.com – Invoice 2876
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
From: VistaPages Billing firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: *Jun 12, 2006 2:45 PM*
Subject: *[#PXS-485815]: Re: VistaPages.com – Invoice 2876*
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!
Customer Service Manager
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.
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
Date: *Jun 13, 2006 11:33 AM*
Subject: *[#MMH-222898]: Re: Payment Approved – Invoice 2876*
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.
Customer Service Manager
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!
We forwarded the matter to the company’s director of operations who had this to say:
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.
Director of Operations
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.
Editor, The Consumerist
And Kaumil replied:
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.