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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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  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@ya ... m minus math_god> on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:14PM (#46031621) Homepage Journal

    anywhere else but in this persons claim.

  • Re:Not exactly new (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:18PM (#46031659)

    FALSE. Implied opt-in is a valid way to incur a debt, and this has been litigated on many times. It is just like EULA/TOS lawsuits... there has yet to be a single case that has actually weakened or gone against a EULA in the US, in all the entire civil court system.

    First year law school stuff.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Re:Chargeback (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:56PM (#46031917)

    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'll get someone to call you back". She thinks at one point she was actually talking to a kid.

    It got resolved when she basically told them she was obviously getting nowhere with them and was going to go to her bank for a chargeback. They suddenly found the means to refund the money (probably double charged someone else...).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:57PM (#46031919)
    No, that's why fraud is a crime.
  • 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.
  • Re:Not exactly new (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:31PM (#46032095)

    It is just like EULA/TOS lawsuits... there has yet to be a single case that has actually weakened or gone against a EULA in the US, in all the entire civil court system.

    That's provably untrue.

    Step-Saver Data Systems [wikipedia.org]
    Vault Corp. [wikipedia.org]

    (Note: Don't use Wikipedia for legal knowledge of any sort. It's terrible.)

  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:32PM (#46032103) Homepage Journal

    Adam Smith himself wrote about the need to put legal limits on unethical business practices.

  • by raymorris (2726007) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:33PM (#46032117)

    Comcast (in most areas) is a government enforced monopoly. That's precisely the opposite of free market.

    On the other hand, I pay $30 / month for unlimited everything, no contract, on my cell phone because that's a free market -
    if Boost Mobile annoys me, I can switch to Virgin mobile ($35 no contract), Walmart Family mobile ($35 no contract), T-Mobile, Cricket, Sprint,AT&T, Metro PCS, etc. etc.

    "Cable is a natural monopoly", some people say. It is, in precisely the same way that phone service is. It's "inefficient" to have redundant towers owned by different companies.
    Yet, that's how you get consumer choice. "The government should own the cables and companies provide customer service", some say. Funny, that's almost exactly what happens in the free market, except without the government bureaucracy, and with actual competition. US wireless service has a couple of networks using competing technology, and many competing companies providing service over those networks. For example, I liked Sprint's network, but not their policies and attitude. With Boost, I can have the same Sprint network, but without the annoying nickel-and-dime policies, or service contracts. If I didn't like Boost's service, some Walmart Family Mobile phones also run on the same network. If I'd prefer a different network, several providers offer service on a different network.

    That's the difference between a regulated monopoly (you can choose Comcast or Comcast) and unregulated competition (a dozen phone companies to choose from).

  • 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.

  • Re:Not exactly new (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rick Zeman (15628) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:45PM (#46032177)

    Since when do lawyers make the law?

    Pretty much since the 20th century. The law schools shit out lawyers and they end up in Congress. 60 Senators and 170 House members (last stats I could find) making up 43% of Congress. Largest representation of any profession, and that's not even looking at state governments.

  • by game kid (805301) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:49PM (#46032205) Homepage

    Footer fortune atm: "And remember: Evil will always prevail, because Good is dumb." -- Spaceballs

  • Illegal in Canada (Score:5, Informative)

    by celest (100606) <mekki@NOSpAm.mekki.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]

  • by celest (100606) <mekki@NOSpAm.mekki.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 sjames (1099) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:45PM (#46032505) Homepage

    Network Solutions claims it is real.

  • 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.
  • Re:Illegal. (Score:5, Informative)

    by jibjibjib (889679) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @12:31AM (#46032715) Journal

    The number listed was posted on Network Solutions' official Twitter account, the same account which explicitly said that the email is real. It really is their official Twitter account; their website links to it, and checking archive.org reveals that their website has linked to it for quite some time.

    Web.com (Network Solutions' parent company) has also responded in other ways, confirming this story. For example, see http://domainnamewire.com/2014... [domainnamewire.com] .

  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @01:06AM (#46032855) Journal
    FUCK YOU.
  • by Sique (173459) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:07AM (#46033771) Homepage
    In the U.S., it actually was in the 19th century. Quoted from Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

    A journey from Philadelphia to Charleston involved eight different gauges, which meant that passengers and freight had to change trains seven times.

    It was the government (sic!) stepping in after the Civil War with the construction of the transcontinental railways which caused the different gauges to be harmonized to the U.S. gauge of 1448 mm, later to 1435 mm ("normal gauge").

  • 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!!!

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