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[Ben]:Registrars Discuss This [1 comment so far] View Comments
Four years ago, I registered BenSwenson.com with DomainsAreFree.com. It was one of the cheapest registration sites around, and I figured registration was registration, right? I think I signed up for a two year registration.

Everything went fine for a couple of years. I set everything up and never had a problem with the registration. Last year, however, I found I could not log in to renew my domain. In fact, DomainsAreFree.com wouldn't recognize my user at all. I couldn't do anything. Apparently they upgraded their system and my domain was not fully transferred to the new platform.

Turns out that DomainsAreFree.com is a wholly owned subsidiary of Globat.com. I ended up calling Globat.com's support line and after doing my best to learn Hindi, I finally found someone willing to renew BenSwenson.com over the phone. Perfect. Another year without having to worry about it.

This year, as the deadline once again approached, I decided to be a little bit proactive and contacted Globat.com via a tech-support chat option they have on their website. My goal was to transfer the domain to another registrar so I could manage it online and renew without having problems like I had before.

The first step went fine. I got the code necessary to initiate the transfer and started the process with another registrar. A couple of days later I was notified by email that the process could not continue due to a lock on the domain. At that point I remembered that when I created the domain I had set it to be locked from external transfer to prevent domain hijacking. Crap. The only way for me to change it would be to log in to the web interface which - that's right - I could no longer do.

Back to the support chat, where I was quickly referred to the billing department. What follows is a mildly censored version of that chat:
General Info
Chat start time Feb 5, 2008 12:13:44 PM EST
Chat end time Feb 5, 2008 12:45:33 PM EST
Duration (actual chatting time) 00:31:49
Operator Jaime

Chat Transcript
info: Live Chat

Thank you for contacting Globat Support. A support agent will assist you shortly. You are number 1 in the queue. Your wait time will be approximately 1 minute(s) and 5 seconds

To obtain answers quickly, you may visit the Frequently Asked Questions page while waiting for a technical support agent.

Note: Browsing through the FAQs page while waiting for a technical support agent will not change your place in queue.

Thank you for your patience.


info: Thank you for contacting Globat.com. A technical support agent will assist you shortly. You are number 1 in the queue and will be with an operator in 1 minute(s) 5 seconds estimated time .Thank you for your patience.
info: Thank you for contacting Globat.com. A technical support agent will assist you shortly. You are number 1 in the queue and will be with an operator in 1 minute(s) 12 seconds estimated time .Thank you for your patience.
info: Thank you for contacting Globat.com. A technical support agent will assist you shortly. You are number 1 in the queue and will be with an operator in 1 minute(s) 12 seconds estimated time .Thank you for your patience.
info: You are now chatting with 'Jaime'
Jaime: Hello. How may I assist you?
Ben Swenson: Hello Jaime. I cannot log in to manage my account due to it being registered under an old system through DomainsAreFree.com and I need it unlocked so I can transfer it to another company.
Jaime: is it for the domain BenSwenson.com?
Ben Swenson: Yes.
Jaime: please hold on while I check our records
Ben Swenson: Thank you.
Jaime: can you give us the username and password for the verification?
Ben Swenson: Jaime, the problem is I am unable to log in with my username and password. If they worked, I wouldn't bother you.
Jaime: we only need it for verification purposes
Jaime: so we can unlock your domain
Ben Swenson: As best I recall, the username was BenSwenson.com and the password was ********** or ***************
Jaime: it does not match with our records
Jaime: there is some part or letters missing on the password that you have provided
Ben Swenson: It is entirely possible, but I haven't been able to log in for two years, so I just don't know.
Jaime: can you give us the email address you have used for this domain instead?
Ben Swenson: ***********@***********.com will reach me. I may have used *********@********.com to register it originally and I can use that as well.
Jaime: your domain is now unlock
Ben Swenson: Thank you, Jaime. Is there anything else I need to do to have the domain transferred?
Jaime: you have to give the authcode of the domain to your new registrar
Jaime: and we can provide it to you
Ben Swenson: I did that yesterday.
Ben Swenson: ********************, correct?
Jaime: authcode is directly sent to the email address.
Jaime: if that is what you received then that would probably be the correct authcode
Jaime: wait I have seen that you have only paid for the domain until 2007
Jaime: and there is no payment for the period of 2007-2008
Ben Swenson: Because I was not able to log in, I had to pay over the phone for 2007-2008.
Jaime: I will put again your domain to the locked status
Jaime: and when you have made the payment for 2007-2008, we will unlock it for you
Ben Swenson: Jaime, I made that payment over the phone in Febuary of 2007.
Jaime: can you give us the details of the payment you made
Jaime: amount of purchase, date, name/owner of the account, transaction ID
Jaime: please give us also the last four digits of credit card you have used to make payment
Ben Swenson: I think the card I used was in the name Benjamin Swenson and the last 4 digits are ****. I would have to dig through some old files to find any of the other information.
Ben Swenson: (another possible card would be Benjamin Swenson with the last four digits ****)
Jaime: thank you. please do so we can check on it further and help you with your domain.
Jaime: can you email us the details of the payment to billingdesk@globat.com
Ben Swenson: If I can find it, yes.
Jaime: thank you
Jaime: we will respond to the email that you will send us
Jaime: is there anything else we can help you?
Ben Swenson: No.
Jaime: We'll just update you by email
Jaime: Have a great day!

Needless to say, I was a little upset. I tried to have a problem fixed, and instead made a the problem worse. Now instead of just having to unlock my domain, I'm supposed to prove that I paid for it a year ago? A year ago I had just moved into a new house, we weren't settled in yet and I certainly didn't have my filing system set up. Worse, I paid over the phone and was given no transaction number for the purchase. At no time was I notified of nonpayment. Yet here I was, having to suffer the consequences of their inability to responsibly handle either domain management or over-the-phone payments.

Bugger.

More recently, I tried again. This time I registered a few additional domains as a backup and once again tried to initiate the transfer. This time I called in directly to request that my domain be unlocked. I asked specifically about any money that was owed and was told that they didn't see anything. Of course, they also didn't see BenSwneson.com in their system at all (despite it being clearly registered through Globat.com in the WHOIS records.

Anyway, we finally got it resolved and I immediately snatched the domain back. Everything seems like it's okay now, but as far as domain registrars go, I'd avoid DomainsAreFree.com and Globat.com no matter how cheap their registration service is.
  2008-02-16
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