Before I begin, let me just say that this example is taken from GoDaddy.com. I’ve used them in the past, I will use them again in the future, but this particular incident did put some heavy doubts into my mind as to what type of company they are.
At least a year or two ago, maybe more, I tried the GoDaddy’s domain name backordering service. It’s a pretty simple service, it allows you to try to pick up domains that are about to expire (that is domains that were once registered and that are now about to come back on the free market). At the time, I knew that the big services for picking up expired/deleted domains were Pool.com, NameWinner.com, and another one that I can’t offhand recall. In any case, GoDaddy’s domain backordering service uses one registrar to try to pick up expiring domains whereas these other services use many different registrars combined together to keep pounding away hoping to get the domain at just the second it expires (it’s first come first serve). As you can imagine, the success rate of highly sought after expired domains is much more likely with services like Pool or NameWinner than with GoDaddy.
So why did I decide to use GoDaddy? Because the other services start auctions if more than one person tries to get the name, with the domain eventually going to the highest bidder. As you can imagine, some highly sought after domains can quickly go for large sums of money. What GoDaddy offers is you get it or you don’t (no auctions), but for one low price, under $20. So the odds are very low, but the so is the price. Almost like buying a lotery ticket. So I figured why not try it out.
As well, they advertise on their website:
“If you don’t get the name, you don’t lose – just re-assign to another name.”
Not a bad deal. So if they can’t get it, you just keep trying with other domains. Well after several unsuccessful expired domain attempts, this got rather tedious and annoying. It could very well be that I was trying to constantly pick up popular expiring domain names. But either way this got annoying after a while. So what do you think your next reaction is going to be? Let’s get a refund since they can’t deliver the service they promised. Rather than keep trying for other domains that they don’t seem to be able to get, let’s just get our cash and move on. After all, they seem to offer a very nice guarantee: “If you don’t get the name, you don’t lose – just re-assign to another name.” suggesting that they would offer a refund.
But wait, there’s no mention of a refund… Actually if you look on their website, there’s no mention of any type of refund anywhere. It turns out this is a non-refundable service! But here’s the kicker, no where is it mentioned that this is a non-refundable purchase. On the contrary it seems to suggest that they have the best intentions for you by their guarantee, but the reality is that it’s a non-refundable purchase with no notification. I even took the time recently to try to dig up this non-refundable condition. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I looked in the FAQ, the Help sections, everywhere. Nothing. No mention of it anywhere. I’m sure it’s there somewhere, but it’s obviously not easy to find by any means! If any of you find it, please let me know in the comments, I’d be very appreciative.
Moving on, why is this bad customer service? Because they intentionally give their customer the perception that they’re out looking for their best interest by offering a great guarantee, but with the exception that if they can’t deliver their service it’s non-refundable. So now what am I to do with this money I spent? I know it’s not a lot of money, but it can quickly add up. Now the only way I can use this money is to buy an already expired domain (one that no one is interested in) for $20 where it should have only cost me $9, almost double the price of purchasing a regular domain because they couldn’t deliver what they promised!
This really annoys me. This is not a way to treat your customers. If it wasn’t for the fact that they are one of the largest registrars, if not the largest, and that I have many domains already setup there, I would have seriously considered moving. Actually I seriously did! It’s amazing how simple small interactions with your customers can have such large ripple affects. For a measly $20 they almost lost thousands of dollars of business! I can’t ever imagining taking this type of gamble with my LandlordMax customers. It just doesn’t make business sense to me…
And yes I’ve registered that many domains over the last few years as I tried and learned many things.