1and1 have just sent me a customer satisfaction email, asking how I rate their performance. LOL. Difficult to remain polite though it was I tried my best… Of course, for the longest time I wasn’t aware that I was a 1and1 customer at all! I was one, way back in 2002 when I had a couple of domains, but they were deleted and the account cancelled long ago.
Or so I thought.
In 2003, I was charged for one of the domains, one that had come as a ‘free’ extra in a promotion when I had registered another one. Because it was a freebie, when I came to cancel the main domain name it was impossible to delete the free one from their online system as it wasn’t a ‘paid for’ item. But I cancelled via email anyway and left it at that. So, in 2003, when I was billed, I entered dispute with the company. I had it resolved through the credit card company and received a refund. We’re only talking £10.56 here folks, but you know what? It was my £10.56. 😉
2004 and 2005 went by without any issue. Of course as far as I was concerned there was no issue. I wasn’t a customer of 1and1 any more. Then, last week, I received an invoice for – you guessed it – £10.56, renewing that ‘free’ domain. I wrote back to explain their error, and hit the helldesk bot.
In order to process a cancellation we require you to follow our online procedure.
Please go to http://contract.oneandone.co.uk and log in with your customer id and password, when you are within here select the package that you would like to close, or contains the domain name to close, and then follow the on screen steps.
Nice. But I don’t have a customer id or password, not being a customer. So I write back again and tell them the account is closed, and that I can’t access their system anyway.
Just to confirm that your contract period is from the date of initial registration until the date of termination from our database.
Now, it appears, if they don’t cancel the account as requested, I am locked into paying forever… Hang on… Nah. That can’t be right. Let’s try again.
Just to confirm domain name xxxxxx.xxx is registered to you for another period of one year from 25.06.2006 to 25.06.2007. You will need cancel this if you no longer wish to retain it as all the services and features we offer automatically renew. It is still regisetered to you.
The outstanding balance on your account is currently £9.98 as this has been renewed.
So, although it wasn’t renewed in 2003, 2004 and 2005, it’s now renewed? But at least it’s cheaper. £9.98? Prices must have got more competitive at 1and1 central…
Thank you for your email. Unfortunately we are unable to cancel this for you, all the services and features we offer automatically renew unless you submit an online cancellation.
Um… So I can’t access the system, and they won’t. I am still remaining mostly polite at this point, but tell them again I can’t access the system.
To gain your password please go to the 1&1 Control Panel, this can be found at https://admin.1and1.co.uk. You will find a Forgot Password link, type in your Customer Number and a new password will be mailed out to the e-mail account that we have for you on the main account. If you no longer have access to this e-mail account, then please send a signed dated fax to the Technical Support team asking for new information to be issued. a signed and dated letter/ fax asking to update your information.
Hmm, signs of cut and paste frenzy there. Luckily, I seldom delete stuff, and a half hour or so rummaging about my archives on the old computer reveals sufficient information to get into the 1and1 system. There, I see my old account details. I’m not shy. Here they are with my latest email.
Well that’s quite interesting. Now that I can gain access to your system, I see that I was not billed last year, and that the previous year’s bill was £0.00 =====
4/7/2006 71XXXX87 £9.98
8/12/2004 70XXXX94 £0.00
4/11/2003 70XXXX29 £10.56
23/11/2002 70XXXX98 £10.56
That has promoted me to check back through my credit card accounts. I see that I was in dispute with you not last year, not the year before, but in 2003! At that point I entered a dispute with my credit card company and was refunded the £10.56 on 22/12/2003 reference XXXXXXXX.
It is clear to me that 1and1 agreed to refund my fee in 2003 in recognition that I had cancelled my contract. It is clear that you recognised I had no contract in 2004 and 2005, and it is astonishing that you are now attempting to reapply charges you have accepted are invalid.
On checking my credit card account I can find no charge to date. I deem this contract closed, and if you charge my account I shall again enter a dispute against you with XXXXXXXX.
Even more interestingly, on checking your system I find I cannot even close my contract with you as ‘Contract cannot be cancelled as ‘parts of it are in the process of cancellation.’ This, after telling me in no uncertain terms that the only way to effect such a closure was by ME logging into your system. Your whole set-up is the most unfriendly conglomeration of almost truths I have ever come across, and I’m still sure it would form an amusing and informative article in the computer press. Your ball.
Confused? You won’t be – in the next chilling episode…