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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.

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:14PM (#46031615) Journal

    Free market, bitches! Suck it you socialist faggots!

    Free market means exactly that - if the vendors do something despicable the customers stop doing business with them and choose other vendors who won't do similarly despicable things to them.

  • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:20PM (#46031685)

    So the free market is being able to defraud people of money and the only consequence is to "lose their business"? Jesus you libertarians are dumber than I thought.

  • Re:speechless (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:24PM (#46031729) Journal

    Nothing Network Hell could do would surprise me. If it was revealed their sales staff ate human body parts and molested captive giant squid, I'd just go "Why are you all surprised?"

  • by epyT-R (613989) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:25PM (#46031735)

    In a truly free market, customers roped in this way would be free to simply not pay, tell the vendor to go to hell, and take his property (the domains) elsewhere.

  • Re: Call a Lawyer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:28PM (#46031767)

    "Then they'll send you to a collections agent and have that appear on your credit report."

    They'd better not. Unauthorized charges to cards are pretty damned illegal. In fact, I think that amount would qualify as felony fraud. Grand Larceny. (Hell, it should anyway. Sounds like larceny to me.)

  • Re:Illegal. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by M. Baranczak (726671) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:45PM (#46031853)

    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.

  • by manu0601 (2221348) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:51PM (#46031889)
    In a truly free market, the domain problem does not arise, because internet have not been created. What you have is a myriad of proprietary networks instead.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:11PM (#46031991)

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

    From the ToS:

    Although WebLock shall provide for additional domain protection, you acknowledge and agree that the Service is not a guarantee or policy of insurance of any kind, and in no way will the use of or enrollment in the WebLock Service diminish or otherwise alter the other sections of this Agreement, including but not limited to, Section 7 (Exclusive Remedy) and Section 8 (Disclaimers of Warranties) above, which shall continue in full force and effect.

    Can't be the only one here wondering...For $1850, just exactly what in the fuck are you getting then...

  • by professionalfurryele (877225) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:17PM (#46032025)

    Credit reporting agencies aren't about reporting credit, they are gangs who job it is to record which of the peons isn't being compliant.

  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:25PM (#46032063) Homepage

    Exactly what does enrolling a customer into an unwanted and ridiculously overpriced service has to do with shedding customers?! If the contract is over. Shed the customer. If the contract is not over. Keep up your end of the contract.

  • by TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:12PM (#46032323)
    Network Solutions has to operate within their role as a bleeding legacy domain name provider.

    To anyone reading this who doesn't know, they used to be the sole provider of domain names in the world.

    Most of their remaining clients are very large businesses who don't care if their domain renewal is $6 bucks or $35 bucks or $500 bucks.

    They have to fight to survive in a way compatible with their mainstream client base --- big inept companies that didn't switch to a cheaper provider a decade ago like Godaddy or [insert your favorite low cost provider here].

    Network Solutions has a client base similar to a company running COBOL or with mostly government agencies as clients. Sure their business practices suck, but they are little different than other legacy service providers --- you might ask why the blogger of the article has been overpaying for domain names for 15 years? He probably has flushed $700+ dollars down the toilet compared to what he could have saved with another domain registrar ages ago. But he didn't, he's been volunteering overpaying for quite a while now and that is your average "still with Network Solutions" customer. Network Solutions has been doing this for a decade now through inertia and now for survival. This doesn't make Network Solutions innocent -- they aren't --- but their customer base does consist of people largely willing to overpay, which is largely big faceless corporations --- I bet Blackberry prices gouges captive legacy clients and I bet so does IBM, EDS and Accenture and even Microsoft. It is just what happens to legacy service provider's customers.

    This fellow should have switch a dozen years back if he was price shopping the market.
  • by Desler (1608317) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:34PM (#46032437)

    But knowing that would require actually having read all of what Adam Smith wrote not just the parts one likes.

  • by Qzukk (229616) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:49PM (#46032533) Journal

    If the contract is over. Shed the customer. If the contract is not over. Keep up your end of the contract.

    Contracts are for the little people to keep up. Companies shouldn't be bothered with such trivialities especially when they cut into profit.

  • Re:Chargeback (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @12:09AM (#46032631)

    Yes, and if they get enough chargebacks then their credit card provider will drop them as a customer.

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

    by Nemyst (1383049) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @12:54AM (#46032795) Homepage
    I'd rather have lawmakers understand the field they're making laws in. You can always get lawyers to help you write legal documents, that's their job, but good luck getting a lawyer turned politician to understand medicine, physics, environment, psychology or economics.
  • by zieroh (307208) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @01:06AM (#46032849)

    I'm shocked that someone with such a very low slashdot ID would be even the least bit confused about this.

  • 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.

  • by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @03:00AM (#46033409)

    The real solution for the "natural monopoly" is to have the infrastructure owned by the government, and providers buy service from there. It works great for mobile service in Europe (or did, until privatization took hold, and the assets were sold off below market, and the profits were lost and service got worse.

    It doesn't even have to be the government, rather it's an entity that has no commercial interests in the infrastructure they're providing. This can be done by making the wholesale provider a completely separate corporate entity from retail providers (and preventing the wholesale provider from being a retail provider).

    A government service like a infrastructure provider can be corporatised and run on it's own $0 profit mandate without govt interference. They only have to make enough to meet costs (incl. expansion costs).

  • by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @04:04AM (#46033575)

    I guess I am spoiled. I grew up in Conservative Texas, where the communist TXU provided power, cheaper and more reliably than anywhere else in the US. Though power in TX went to shit when they privatized.

    Same story with Australian states that went the same way. I'm in one of the lucky states where the power distribution utility was corpratised, so no longer under direct govt control but still has no profit motive. States that went for full privatisation ended up with horrible power bills.

    Private companies that had capped profits is what brought us AT&T and the insurance industry.

    Corpratised entities aren't technically private. They're more like non-profit organisations that have to provide a service. At the very worst, they have to turn over their profit to the government.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @08:49AM (#46034487)

    Over here in Europe, it's definitely fraud. A contract is not opt out, it's opt in.

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog. -- Cartoon caption