Anyone want to be on TV talking about 123 Reg?

  dennisricemedia 00:44 18 Oct 2012

Just had a terrible experience with the domain name company 123 Reg which has cost me £235, considerable man hours, and much anguish.

It began when I logged on to Paypal three days ago to find that £344 had come straight out of the bank card I have registered with the account for personal purchases (ie not my business). I discovered it had gone to a company called 123 Reg (Webfusion Limited).

As I had not the slightest idea who they were I contacted Paypal, which initiated its disputes procedure. In the meantime I contacted 123 Reg and discovered that they held the domain names of my two work websites plus a whole host of other ones which my former partner had purchased two years ago.

Unbeknown to me she had given my Paypal account as some sort of back up behind the credit card she used to buy these domain names for 1-2 years. Because we have gone out separate ways the cards were no longer active - as was the business email account linked to the account.

So when 123 Reg started sending domain renewal notices to this email address I was completely unaware - worse still they were auto renewals with prices 30-40 per cent higher than the ones they used to get the original business in.

My former partner swears blind she had clicked for manual renewals but, as I have discovered via other forums, manual renewals have a habit of suddenly becoming auto renewals on 123 reg.

The upshot was that with the cancellation of the credit cards, warning notices being sent to an unused email address, and despite my never personally approving the use of my Paypal account - 123 Reg whacked through hundreds of pounds in charges for domain names I did not have the slightest interest in having.

I assumed - quite wrongly as it turned out - that it would be a simple case of explaining what had happened to 123 reg and that would be the end of it.

After speaking top three members of staff, who seemed reasonably sympathetic, I was put on to a man called Richard Winslow, the grandly titled Head of UK Hosting.

Mr Winslow, whose name appears on several forums insisting that the many instances of 123 Reg aggressively billing people are rare, wasn't the slightest bit interested in the fact that I hadn't personally given my permission for his company to drain my Paypal account.

In a series of emails and phone threats he told me that if I didn't pay they would suspend my two working websites - this despite both having been paid and having nothing to do with this particular dispute.

He further said that the company would appoint bailiffs to come round and demand the money if I did not pay.

I told him this was clearly blackmail and that I would take the case to county court to recover my money and he simply said to send the summons to the company's legal department. I sensed this was a normal day for Mr Winslow.

After learning that I was a journalist he offered a miserly discount and the proceeded to bill me a further £96 for Paypal's decision to return the original money to me. It added up to £235.36 and about three days of unpleasant worry.

The upside is that I have seen so many instances of 123 Reg behave in similarly appalling fashion with others that I have persuaded a producer at Channel 4 that it would make rather a good programme.

  ianjones87 11:40 30 Oct 2012

we cancelled our server hosting with them last year and on Sunday they charged us again!!! about £180

  Ansolan 01:06 31 Oct 2012

All I would say is be careful and legally pedantic in dealing with this company. I don't know the details of your domain contract with them but they will try to fall back on this type of stance:

Not unusual in the hosting/domain world.

If your partner at the time provided the email and account details, thought needed.

In a series of emails and phone threats he told me that if I didn't pay they would suspend my two working websites - this despite both having been paid and having nothing to do with this particular dispute.

They would be ill advised to do that. Of course they are entitled to host who they want but a connection would be evident here and they would be digging a large hole. Doubt their legal people would let this happen. If they do, you are likely to be the winner from the action.

  Forum Editor 13:00 31 Oct 2012

There are two relevant clauses in this company's terms and conditions of service.

The first one states that:-

"Where the Client authorises payment of any of the Fees by credit and or debit card then 123-reg may deduct other amounts becoming payable to it under the Agreement from that credit or debit card without obtaining additional authorisation from the Client."

The second says:-

"Without prejudice to any other of its rights and remedies, 123-reg will be entitled to remove the Client's data from its systems and any Equipment and/or put the Equipment to any use other than the Client's if any amount due under the Agreement is not paid within 14 days of its due date for payment. 123-reg is not required to back up such data or return the same to the Client prior to any such removal or following termination of the Agreement."

Your former colleague would have acted as your agent when providing payment details originally, and presumably that was with your knowledge and consent.

  Jollyjohn 14:43 09 Nov 2012

I have used 123-reg for a few years now and not had any issues for a small personal website. however this is not a post to defend 123-reg but a suggestion that the producer looks at the wider issues of domain renewals.

Earlier this year it took 4 months to get a domain renewed because the renewal date was missed. I was offered the option to pay about £150 and they would "see if they could re register it any quicker" This was with Their online control panel is pretty poor and their phone support was often contradictory.

I have also had issues with another hosting company trying to simply transfer the domain from one person to another, with the consent of the owner. About £50 was requested. The transfer has not gone ahead.

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