GoPredatory business practices
July 6, 2010 7:11 PM   Subscribe

GoDaddy just employed some Jedi mind tricks to con me into a $150 Paypal charge. How do I recoup this money?

I called tech support tonight because I was having an issue forwarding one of my domains. We start chatting about it, and he casually mentions that he can refund me $50-$60 by canceling some e-mail accounts that I hadn't ever set up (from older domain purchases.) We're getting everything sorted out, deleting away, when he asks me if I want to delete any of my domains.

"I'm just going to hold onto the domains for now," I distinctly remember telling him.

"Do I have permission to go forward with the Paypal transaction?" he asks me. I give him the go-ahead, since I'm still assuming he's going to only be refunding my money.

Instead, he comes back telling me that the total is $150 and that the $60 refund will be coming in 2-5 business days.

"Where did that $150 come from?" I ask him. He tells me it came from renewals.

He had renewed all of my domain names for another year, and certified them. This includes a domain that I purchased a week ago. I was planning to wait a little while before dropping another $10 on it, and never certified my domains in the past.

Now it seems like the only way to cancel a renewal is to delete the domain name. These are well-designed domain names, so I don't want to lose them, but money is also extremely tight for me right now. Spending $150 on domain purchases that I could make three months from now is incredibly foolish at this point.

I have mixed feelings about this situation. I feel like I was conned, but I also saw that the bulk renewal knocked 50% off the cost. What's my recourse here?
posted by gacxllr9 to Work & Money (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: *note: I'm not opposed to deleting these domain names in question outright, if that's what this is going to take.
posted by gacxllr9 at 7:15 PM on July 6, 2010

First, what did he say when you objected to the renewals? Did you? Did you agree at all to the renewal?

Your first thing to do is to dispute the charges with GoDaddy customer service. You really have to give them a chance to make it right before you do anything else.
posted by inturnaround at 7:19 PM on July 6, 2010

Response by poster: He asked me if I would authorize the Paypal transaction, which I assumed was his refund of those e-mail accounts. As of that point, he hadn't mentioned anything about wanting to renew the domains.
posted by gacxllr9 at 7:22 PM on July 6, 2010

Response by poster: Also, when I called the billing department, their friendly support staff had this to say, after groaning and sounding clearly annoyed: "You can't cancel a renewal, alright? Delete the domains, and we'll take care of issuing a refund."

It looks like GoDaddy will only refund me the money if I cede the rights to the domains altogether - one of which I literally bought one week ago but did not yet want to renew until at least 8 or 9 months from now.
posted by gacxllr9 at 7:25 PM on July 6, 2010

I had a similar problem with GoDaddy earlier this year. I called as soon as I got the bill and complained and they reversed the incorrect charges. They didn't even seem surprised when I said that the guy I spoke to didn't tell me he was renewing anything and that I would never have agreed to that. This seems to be standard m.o. for them. Call them tomorrow and see if they'll refund you.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 7:28 PM on July 6, 2010

Does your Paypal account use a credit card as your default funding source? If so, you may be able to dispute the charge with your credit card company. Even if they're pulling the money right from your bank account, you may be able to call your bank and dispute the transaction. I'd call and find out what your options are. However, you'll want to read the fine print on your contracts with GoDaddy to try to figure out what they're likely to do in the case of a chargeback.
posted by decathecting at 7:32 PM on July 6, 2010

Doing what decatheting suggests will get you locked out of paypal.
posted by special-k at 7:35 PM on July 6, 2010

Per ICANN policy, domain name purchases can't be refunded.
posted by jjb at 7:36 PM on July 6, 2010

The answer is never to use GoDaddy. Transfer your domain to any of the various MeFi faves and reverse the GD charges.
posted by rhizome at 7:39 PM on July 6, 2010 [11 favorites]

GoDaddy is a horrible, horrible company run by a fascist lunatic. Transfer your domain and reverse the charges per rhizome's suggestion.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:45 PM on July 6, 2010 [5 favorites]

Doing what decatheting suggests will get you locked out of paypal.

Really? I make purchases with paypal all the time and would do as decatheting suggests if I ever had a dispute like this. I'm not disagreeing, I just never heard of this before.
posted by geoff. at 7:55 PM on July 6, 2010

Step one is to call GoDaddy and tell them what you told us. Odds are pretty good that they'll fix it for you.
posted by spilon at 8:14 PM on July 6, 2010

Ask them to escalate you to Office of the President. There's an elite ninja crew of six or so customer service reps who are empowered with magical abilities to Do Things. It might not help, but it sounds like you have tried everything else.

It might be that they're only able to give you a credit, if jjb is correct, though. In that case, rhizome's idea sounds like the winner.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 8:38 PM on July 6, 2010

Doing what decatheting suggests will get you locked out of paypal.
posted by special-k

Not true. I do it all the time when PayPal drags their heels instead of resolving my disputes with merchants. (Coincidentally, PayPal seems to magically issue my refund within 24 hours of being pinged by my credit card company.) This type of situation is precisely why you should use a credit card via PayPal instead of your bank account. PayPal doesn't want you to go through your credit card company because they know your credit card company will hit them with the chargeback fee.

I second rhizome: transfer your domains to a better provider (personally, I prefer namecheap) and once they're safely back under your control*, then pursue your refund. Try reasoning with godaddy first; be firm and polite, tell them that you explicitly did not give the CSR permission to do what he did and you want a refund on those charges. If they won't back down, tell them you're going to do a chargeback with your credit card company because you didn't authorize that transaction.

Whatever the outcome, follow-up with a piece of written correspondence outlining the events (be sure to get the names, dates, etc of who you've dealt with) to let them know that you're keeping a paper trail. Your credit card company might also want a copy of the email/letter to show that you've tried to resolve the dispute with the merchant first before they'll intercede. Good luck.

*This can take up to 48 hours, so make triple sure it's a done deal beforehand.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 8:41 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

I stand corrected.
posted by special-k at 10:01 PM on July 6, 2010

Mod note: A couple comments removed, this is not the place for a sidebar about GoDaddy.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:53 AM on July 7, 2010

To be fair to Special-K, issuing a chargeback on your cc used to get you locked out of Paypal. That got cleared up when they got bought by eBay.
posted by micawber at 7:58 AM on July 7, 2010

Best answer: update: Just spoke to someone from GoDaddy's team who saw this post and MeFi-mailed me. This guy listened to the full phone call that I had with technical support, walked me through the purchases that had been made and ended up refunding everything for me. Seriously, GoDaddy's founder might be somewhat insane, but they've got a lot of good people working for them.
posted by gacxllr9 at 4:29 PM on July 7, 2010

Cool.... I'm actually the guy who flagged it for the GoDaddy social media folks - I work for GoDaddy, albeit not in a billing / customer service role. (I'm a developer.... and yeah, our crew is awesome.) Glad to hear they got in touch with you and that it all worked out.
posted by ph00dz at 5:31 PM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

You should still transfer away from there. The fact that they took the opportunity in the first place speaks volumes. The fact that it happened DURING A TECH SUPPORT CALL is unconscionable.
posted by rhizome at 5:59 PM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

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