This is the longest internet transaction in my life and it still irritates me now. But I guess it also teaches me a good lesson on doing business.
During the last week of November, I came to know about Hostgator’s insane (80% off) Black Friday discount on hosting services so I camped on that site counting down to 7pm to get myself the 80% offer and I got it!
Alas, that was the start of my 19 days ordeal. It happened with an innocent request.
Which I complied with, of course. But that wasn’t all. The Hostgator staff replied,
“Because the credit card used is a virtual card (for electronic/internet use only), we would like to request a screenshot of the card’s account management page showing the last four digits of the card number and your name….. We apologize for the extra security steps, but we wish to ensure the security of the cardholder as well as protect ourselves from fraudulent activity.”
I was getting irritated, and replied that I don’t have IB but I do have a letter of my account balances sent monthly (that unfortunately don’t reflect my card number) that I could send them.
Then the conversation went on something like this
Hostgator: The last 4 numbers of the credit card used to make this purchase is not on the bank statement.
Me: What will this mean then? There is no other document provided by DBS bank that puts my name and the credit card number together. Could you please call up this bank for verification?
Hostgator: We’re sorry but give us a scanned copy of the credit card and your ID.
Me: bloody hell, I’ve already sent to you! … nah, I replied with “Please see the attached documents.”
Hostgator: Send in a picture of you holding your ID. We require this identification to ensure that you are the account holder. Please explain why the name on the government identification card does not match the name on the credit card
Me: The bank allows the name printed on the card to differ from the real name of the account holder. I could request for the name ‘Maria Tan’ to be printed, for example (not too sure if ‘Wonderwoman Tan’ could pass though). Please double check with the bank (DBS) if you want to be certain that such policy indeed exist. Attached is a picture of me holding my ID.
Hostgator: In order for us to activate your account we will need some sort of statement from your bank (screenshot) that has the name of the card holder.
Me: I’ve made a trip to the bank. There isn’t such statement that they can give out.
BLOODY SCREENSHOT AGAIN? AIN’T WE ALREADY DONE WITH THAT?
Hostgator: If you would like to activate your account, we will require payment for the initial invoice via COMPANY A* or bank wire. COMPANY A is one of the worst companies we have ever had the displeasure of dealing with. They make it very hard for honest companies to collect payments sent to them.
*Company A’s name is replaced on purpose.
Me: Some clarifications needed.
Hostgator: If you are unable to verify your account with us, then no further action needs to be taken on your part.
Me: You got me wrong. I would like to make payment via COMPANY A to Hostgator so I need an amount to send Hostgator.
Me: Just want to explore alternatives in payment. Can my family member make the payment for me by giving you the credit card details, photo of credit card and photo of ID?
Hostgator: “Thank you for your response.
We sincerely apologize for any inconveniences or confusion that has resulted from this process.
After further review of your documents, we have gone ahead and activated your account! We will not need you to pay in an alternative method, as requested previously.
You may make your payments using the credit card which you have signed up with.
We have activated your account!!”
Me: &^%$#$%^*%^$#@…. (-_-”)
Note to self 1: Make it easy for consumers to hand over their money
Throughout the ordeal, I was tempted to go to another hosting provider who was providing their services roughly at the same price as the discounted price that Hostgator was giving. I only decided to stay on after reading reviews on how bad that hosting provider was.
One thing One of the many things I was irritated about was how Hostgator knew that it was unpleasant if a company makes “it very hard for honest companies to collect payments sent to them” but they obviously don’t make it easier for a honest consumer like me to make payment to them. Btw, isn’t it mean to be bitching about another company to a customer? #fail
Note to self 2: Good customer service don’t repeat the cycle for consumers
For my case, there were a total 6 customer service respondents who communicated with me. That’s a pretty big group of people, which may have made customer service difficult to keep track of. Obviously, anyone who reads my conversation with them will have realised that they did 2 rounds of requesting a screenshot of IB and requesting of snapshots. When the purchase takes forever compared to other online purchases (my payment for incorporating my business only took 3 minutes), I really didn’t appreciate doing the verification cycle all over again. #fail
Note to self 3: Get your cycle right
The biggest wtf moment I had was that my purchase was verified using all the information I have already provided after communicating that the only method for me to hand over my money was to head down to an agent or bank. I would have seriously be pissed off if I had went down and make the payment just to realise that it could have been avoided (but of course if I did make my payment physically and give them the details, they wouldn’t tell me that I could have done so otherwise. This is a little moment of win for procrastinators, I must say.). #procrastinationwinbutHostgatorstillfail
I build Learnemy, an online marketplace that finds you the right instructors and classes in Singapore. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter