1 & 1 equals 0

As long as we are on hosting issues, I have a new company to add to the avoid category: 1and1.com. Some of you may remember this outfit: they were offering free hosting for a while (and still do, on a trial basis), a couple years ago. They also allowed you to register a domain for about $6, which I did.

Unfortunately, unlike registrars and ISPs that actually ask you to pay for a renewal, 1&1 decided to do it for me, moving my free account to a pay account. The clickwrap agreement appears to have given them permission to change the rates, and to charge my credit card without asking. It’s not a big charge — about the same as lunch or about 4 minutes of time with an attorney — and so they get away with it. And to cancel, they make you jump through ridiculous hoops: it’s a bit like the roach hotel. It’s strange that in a business that is so much built on trust, they choose the short term bilking of people out of pocket change. All perfectly legal, but stupendously bad customer service.

Caveat emptor. Don’t even think of giving these guys a credit card number. I’m hoping I can get my credit card company to make sure they don’t make future charges to me.

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One Comment

  1. Mike
    Posted 4/24/2006 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    Alex, you have probably long forgotten about 1and1, but I found you comments enlightening. I wish I had seen them before signing up. Curiously, United Internet AG, their German holding company, is doing well. I wonder if the personal power of the internet can counter the impact of 8 page advertisments in Software Development Mag.
    For me, they initiated, entirely without my knowledge or assistence, a very expensive dedicated server running God knows what. Naively, I trusted my invoices and control panel to oversee my small site presence and mail service. While computing my business taxes I noticed the unexpected charges on my credit card. Calling 1and1, they informed that because I didn’t have the password or customer ID for the site I was paying for, I could not either know the contents, IP address domain, or cancel it. They wouldn’t even tell me to whom the invoices were sent or to whose US Mail address the startup package was sent. Kafka would be proud.
    I will cancel immediately and consider whether legal action makes sense (it may because I do defense related software development, and am particularly concerned with anything illicit).
    Your slogan, 1and1 = 0, should get wider distribution.
    Thanks, Mike

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  1. […] already complained about this once (1 & 1 equals 0), but it’s my blog so I get to again. If 1and1sucks.com wasn’t being squatted, […]

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