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Businesses The Almighty Buck Networking Security

Network Solutions Opts Customer Into $1,850 Security Service 405

Posted by Soulskill
from the enjoy-your-new-registrar dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Brent Simmons has posted about a troubling email he received from Network Solutions. He registered two domains with them in the 1990s, and the domains remain registered today. Simmons just received an email informing him that he'd been opted into some kind of security service called Weblock, and that he would be billed $1,850 for the first year. Further, he would be billed $1,350 for every year after the first. Believing it to be a scam, he contacted the official Network Solutions account on Twitter. They said it was real. The email even said he couldn't opt out except by making a phone call."
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Network Solutions Opts Customer Into $1,850 Security Service

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  • speechless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Redmancometh (2676319) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:06PM (#46031539)

    Wow I am just utterly speechless...that a site could stay up for that long!

  • Illegal. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:12PM (#46031595)

    So, I don't know about you, but this is straight up criminal behavior where I live.

    Not shady, questionable, or dirty. Criminal.

    In addition to ceasing business with this company I'd inform your credit card company. If you don't end up needing to dispute the charge, I bet lots of other people will be.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by M. Baranczak (726671)

      Completely illegal, there's not even any question. Which indicates to me that this story's bogus. When a giant corporation tries to fuck its customers, they tend to be a little more subtle about it.

      • NWS -- more info (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:24PM (#46032051)

        A couple years back, Network Solutions "opted me in" for automatic payment of all my domains via credit (debit) card. I didn't want this, as I don't habitually keep enough money in the account to cover random charges; I put in what's needed, when needed, and that's how I like to roll. There's an opt-out checkmark; but it doesn't work. You have to call and it tells you so. Then when you call, they say "oh, hey, for some reason this isn't working..." So since I couldn't turn it off, I just changed to an expired card. Then I get panicked form emails about how it won't charge, and I pay by paypal. That worked last year. THIS year, though, what happens is that the Paypal charge is now automatic -- by paying once, you're opting in (without recourse of course) to paying them via paypal automatically forever. I found that once you paid, Paypal (not Network Solutions, but Paypal) has a way to disable the "agreement" and get you back to payment only when you authorize it. Takes some menu mining, but it's there. Or at least it was a few months ago.

        The only reason I continue to use Network Solutions is because over the years (and yes, some of my domains have been up since the 90's as well) I've watched other name registering outfits come and go, seen various name server problems, etc., and for all their horrifying business practices and high prices, my sites seem to always work, which is what I place the most emphasis on.

        Interesting note: When the above happened, I submitted the story to slashdot. Initially, it got high ratings, and I thought for sure it would post. Then it disappeared. I mean literally -- I could no longer find it in the submissions cue. It disappeared from my profile, too. Older and newer submissions remain. I have no idea what that means, but I thought it was weird. No other story I have submitted has disappeared like that.

        • Re:NWS -- more info (Score:5, Informative)

          by DMUTPeregrine (612791) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @12:05AM (#46032609) Journal
          Get a prepaid debit card, such as a GreenDot or similar.
          Only put money on the card when you need to pay a bill, never link it to a bank account/credit card.
          Since the card isn't linked to a bank account, there is no automatic charge mechanism that will work.
        • And you, Anonymous Coward, are the fat cow on which business models are built.

          "Are you sure, Joe? Won't people cancel service and switch to a competitor?"

          "Sure. Some will. But there's a certain number of them who are too apathetic to get off their butts and do anything. Those are our REAL customers."

          See also: AOL [theatlantic.com]
      • by arbiter1 (1204146)
        Network Solutions is a web.com company that is based in USA, in Florida. I know for Damn sure this illegal as hell what they are trying to do. Its 100% for sure against the law to add a service like this to your account and then charge you like that.
    • Re:Illegal. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ysth (1368415) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @01:19AM (#46032919)

      Oh, bullshit. I bet you use a half a dozen services that quite legally reserve the right to change the terms, give you notice, and interpret your continuing to use the service as acceptance.

      Doesn't make it right, just legal.

  • $2000 a month should get their attention, require a phone call and 1 months notice of termination, and a $2000 early termination fee
  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland @ y a hoo.com> on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:14PM (#46031621) Homepage Journal

    anywhere else but in this persons claim.

    • by pudding7 (584715)
      Neither could I. Just logged into my account with them to see if there was anything about it. There was not.
      • From what I read elsewhere, it's only aimed at the top 1% of their domains (insert your own joke about wealth inequality here), with the other 99% being left alone for now.

    • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:45PM (#46031847) Homepage Journal

      I googled network solutions "weblock" and got their service agreement [networksolutions.com] which refers to a service by that name.

    • If the feature doesn't exist (which it probably does, considering a co-commenter noted the name is at least used in one of their official documents), then it merely turns into a story of network solutions' official twitter account (as pointed to from network solutions' website) stating that a document that would be completely false, is in fact completely authentic, and make it rather strange that they would tell the guy to contact them directly so that they could explain.

      I'd love to read the explanation, re

    • by celest (100606) <mekki@mekk i . ca> on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:07PM (#46032295) Homepage

      If you enable replies on the Network Solutions' Twitter feed, you can see them responding to the flurry of crap they got from this. They mention that the email is the "first step".

      Seems real: https://twitter.com/netsolcare... [twitter.com]

      • by Dahamma (304068)

        I can't be the first one to think this - TWITTER IS THE WORST FORUM FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE EVER INVENTED!

        But on the other hand, one of the best forums for public shaming. The problem is when the naive/moronic company employee with access to their Twitter account actually responds to ANYTHING...

    • by sjames (1099) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:45PM (#46032505) Homepage

      Network Solutions claims it is real.

  • by Xeno man (1614779) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:15PM (#46031627)
    People have tried forcing people to buy their services before but you can't charge for a service someone didn't ask for. Well you can try but there is no legal power behind it. Things must be getting desperate over there.
  • by TheloniousToady (3343045) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:16PM (#46031645)

    Call collect.

  • Ewww. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Marrow (195242) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:17PM (#46031657)

    Their letter says they want to charge him that much for adding security to -their- website. To prevent changes to their data. It doesn't add any value to his service at all. Just theirs. How do people live with themselves.

  • Chargeback (Score:4, Informative)

    by s7uar7 (746699) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:19PM (#46031667) Homepage
    Businesses hate chargebacks, they cost them money. If you're ever in dispute about a credit card charge and you've given a company a fair chance to resolve it just call your credit card provider and dispute the charge.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I've never used it, and had never even heard about it until my sister ran into problems with this small time driving school.

      They essentially charged her twice by accident. Mistakes happen, but she was having a hell of a time getting them to fix it. My suspicion is given their size they probably already spent the money.. but they could have come clean with that and tried to work something out rather than dodging calls and having other people answer the phone with "I'm not familiar with this situation, but I'

  • by troll -1 (956834) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:24PM (#46031723)
    Contact your credit card company and dispute the item. I've heard rumored that credit card companies tend to take the customer's side as a form of insurance against losing a customer.
  • Apparently NetworkSolutions is going to die soon. Sell Network Solutions. Sell sell sell!!!
  • by tomhath (637240) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:56PM (#46031909)
    FTFA:

    We strongly encourage you to take advantage of this security program and register Certified Users before the program launch date...your credit card will be billed $1,850 for the first year of service on the date your program goes live

    The email implies it's an opt out but, it's not clear to me that he'll actually be billed until he sets up the enhanced security. Regardless, I've avoided Network Solutions for a long, long time and would never consider doing business with them.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:40PM (#46032147)

      The email implies it's an opt out but, it's not clear to me that he'll actually be billed until he sets up the enhanced security.

      When I first read the article I thought so too. But, actually, it tells him that he will be enrolled:

      Starting 9:00 AM EST on 2/4/2014 all of your domains will be protected via our WebLock Program.

      ...

      If you wish to opt out of this program you may do so by calling us at 1-888-642-0265.

  • These guys... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ozeroc (1146595) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:29PM (#46032087)
    Yeah, I recently had two domains I was planning on letting expire get auto renewed for 5 years for a total of ~$380. I went to check and they were set for auto renewal (I don't remember requesting that.) When I went to turn auto renewal off it stated that I had to call. It was a big PITA but after 20-30 minutes talking to the nice guy in India (naturally) I had my money back and auto renewal turned off. They're hoping people are unattentive. Not too cool.
  • I just logged into my NetSol account for my two domains, and aside from the totally skeevy auto-renew forced on, and only removable with a phone call, I saw no trace of this.

  • Illegal in Canada (Score:5, Informative)

    by celest (100606) <mekki@mekk i . ca> on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:04PM (#46032283) Homepage

    It's worth noting that this action (auto-enroll and bill) is illegal in Canada. Each province/territory has its own consumer protection act that requires explicit opt-in for any new services that are provided to existing customers, in writing. You cannot auto-enroll people and require them to opt-out to not be charged.

    Source (for Ontario, at least): http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/ht... [gov.on.ca]

    Non-legalese summary provided by the Ministry of Consumer Services of Ontario: http://www.sse.gov.on.ca/mcs/e... [gov.on.ca]

  • I'm pretty sure it is illegal. Would love to see the contract.

  • by pcjunky (517872) <walterp@cyberstreet.com> on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @12:16AM (#46032655) Homepage

    ICANN has rules for how accredited registrar must handle such things. They could be fined or have there accrediation pulled.

  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @01:06AM (#46032855) Journal
    FUCK YOU.
  • Run away! (Score:5, Informative)

    by 605dave (722736) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @08:00AM (#46034275) Homepage

    I am currently in the process of moving over 100 domains away from NetSol to Hover. I'd used NetSol since I started getting domains in the 90s, but it has changed from a trusted institution on the web into a scam. Everything is an up sell, and everything is designed to confuse you into buying things you don't need. One personal example. Last year I set up a client on a basic WordPress account, but later wanted to move the domain. They would not let us access the .db file until we upgraded the account. They wouldn't give us our own data!

    So now I am going to through the multi-stage process of moving all these domains, waiting days for each authorization code. These guys are crooks, so stay the fuck away from ever doing business with them. And if you have domains there, run away!!!

HELP!!!! I'm being held prisoner in /usr/games/lib!

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