Thursday, 21 October 2010


I often wonder how some companies manage to remain in business when they treat their customers so appallingly. Now, you would think that renewing a web domain name when it falls due would be a very basic procedure; and you would be right. But it is not as simple as you would think if you are a customer of 123.

When I was notified by automated mail from 123 that one of my domain names was due for renewal, as instructed, I logged in to the 123 site and attempted to access the control panel that SHOULD allow customers to process their renewals quickly and without fuss. But, after entering my password several times access was denied. I followed the instructions to change my password but all this returned was a page of error messages. I tried on several occasions over a period of days without success. I then searched the 123 website for a way to contact the company by email but this revealled nothing more than an automated page of standard questions and answers and as far as I could see, no mailing address is listed.

Because I was getting nowhere with 123 despite repeatedly trying, I contacted Nominet for their assistance and they kindly provided me with an email address and a premium line telephone number. From experience I knew that it would be extremely costly to attempt to speak to anyone so I sent an email. I have to say I was NOT surprised when 123 failed to acknowledge me.

I returned to Nominet and they contacted 123 on my behalf and told me that they would email me. Nothing happened until today - 3 weeks later - when a girl form 123 Support called me with an offer to renew my domain name. Initially I suggested she should do this but in view of their lack of cooperation I felt they should waive the fee, more especially as I had already paid another registration company to transfer it because they offered far better customer service. I then asked why, Nominet had been advised by 123 that they had closed my account for 'fraudulent reasons' without advising me? I was kept hanging on for the prescribed ten minutes while, presumably, she worked out some kind of lame duck excuse. She returned to tell me that accout had been closed because I had fraudulently used their services and had blocked their efforts to obtain payment via my credit card. This is certainly news to me. The girl was unable to explain how and when this 'fraud' was meant to have occured but said it was at least two years ago. I was furious; because I was being accused of something that was entirely untrue. Had there been any kind of allegation of wrong doing on my part why had they not considered it prudent to contact me about this? I do not take too kindly to being wrongly accused of fraud aud I feel I am due an explanation. But 123 thus far have failed to provide me with any information that has led to this serious accusation. But this is not surprising considering their appalling track record for answering customer emails and other other correspondence.

Nominet has now offered intervene by transfering the domain for me to another company at no charge but despite my complaint about 123 nobody seems to have any power to slap their knuckles over this and it seems the company can continue to take people's money without providing anything in return.
After the heated exchange this morning I Googled 'complaints about 123' and found a whole string of web sites dedicated to customer issues surrounding 123 and their parent company Webfusion. The postings do not paint a pretty picture and it appears that 123/Webfusion's poor record of customer service is legendary. At least I know that I am not alone as there are hundreds (probably tens of thousands) of people out their all with an axe to grind against 123/Webfusion. Isn't it high time they addressed the situation and did something positive about it particularly as many of these complaints go back several years?

Perhaps it is time for Trading Standards to intervene?

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