08/03/2010 Update: HostIcan refund issue has been resolved with full refund provided by Mr. Denis Motova. He called me in addition to replying to my last email and leaving comment on this blog and has apologized for the “inter department” screw up. According to him problem was within Billing department and he was away during the last leg of communications I have attempted – hence I got no answer and issue quickly escalated. Because full refund provided I’m crossing out statements within this blog post that no longer hold true and providing update and resolution at the end of time line.

I still don’t think that getting a simple refund should be such a frustrating and time consuming process and has to escalate to the point it did

Original Blog Post Content with Edits and Notes:

HostICan VPS and shared hosting provides seemingly great value and since 2008 I was their happy customer, that is until I became a victim of consumer fraud when I have decided to take advantage of their “No Questions Asked Money Back Guarantee”.

I was actually quite surprised to discover that culture of defrauding the customer is something that appears to be encouraged by the company owner Mr. Denis Motova himself (Mr. Motova called me personally and advised me that he was out of town). This blog post will contain detailed information and personal opinion so you can decide for yourself if you decide to give your money to HostICan or perhaps look elsewhere…

In attempt to expand our presence my partner and I have decided to purchase yet one more VPS server for our sites. HostIcan was our hosting provider since 2008 and were quite satisfied with their level of technical support, price and performance. Due to that fact we have decided to simply buy one more new VPS Extreme server.

Here is the recap of everything that transpired this blog post and…

Why I Believe that HostICan is a Hosting Fraud Operator!

  • On June 4th I have purchased a 6-Months “VPS Extreme” hosting package.  $519.70 was paid via PayPal. HUGE mistake on my part as I knew that PayPal doesn’t provide buyer protection for any Digital or Service purchases. But at that time I have been a customer with HostICan for over 2 years and opted to go for convenience.
    NOTE: Always use Credit Card for large purchases to be able to fight the charges!
  • On June 22, after being dissatisfied with the original purchase I have followed the process for obtaining a refund, according to the “30 Days No Questions Asked Money Back Guarantee“. I submitted a cancellation and a refund request (Ref #THT-759551) via a phone conversation with the customer service representative named Bakarr.  According to an email that I received after this conversation I was to receive my refund within 5 days.
  • On June 28 (6 days later) my purchased service has been discontinued and the billing account has been deleted from the system, however the refund has not been processed.  I have sent an email in reply to the original ticket associated with the request for a refund.
  • On July 2nd, I have called the billing department since I’ve never received a reply to my June 28th email.  I spoke to the customer service representative Brad and asked for assistance with getting a refund.  Brad said that he will forward the request to the billing manager and I should get the refund within 5 days.
  • On July 4th I have sent a second email asking for refund and clarification since the refund still had not been processed and no communication was received. I know… it was a holiday but even later no response was received!
  • July 9 – I had made a second phone call and once again spoke to Brad who opened a new ticket (Ref. # DYN-304071) to expedite the refund for the services.  No refund had been provided.
  • July 12 – I had opened a PayPal dispute, case #PP-001-016-538-114, to get my money back
  • July 14 – PayPal closed my dispute.  I spoke to the PayPal account manager who emailed HostICan with a request to honor their refund policy and advised me to pursue escalation outside of PayPal to following authorities: www.bbbonline.com, www.ftc.gov, www.ic3.gov (operated by the FBI), www.econsumer.gov. I honestly found PayPal stand on this quite interesting since in my opinion this is a direct fraud – company took the money for service and failed to provide, service that is measurable by term! But I guess whatever helps them rake the cash…
  • July 16 – Called again and spoke to Bakarr, who promised to call me back with a final resolution.  I waited for the promised call, which never came.  Called back and spoke to Mike, who promised once again to escalate to the  billing manager
  • July 19 – Called again and spoke with Bakarr and Brad, both have promised to get with billing manager to honor the refund policy. Never received any replies and have not been credited.
  • July 19 – Emailed owner of the company Mr. Denis Motova with the information provided above and received a reply “I will investigate, and my internal team will review to see what is going on and get this sorted.” I did make a mistake with date of initial purchase in email but since it didn’t impact the “Guarantee” period – it is non-essential. See the image below, click to see full image:

denis-motova-email-responce

  • July 23rd – I emailed Mr. Motova again and asked if he has any updates on the case – no reply
  • July 29 – I emailed Mr. Motova and also CC-ed their Billing Support email address  [email protected] with a request to address the issue. I wanted to be sure that  if by any chance Mr. Motova is on vacation or out of office – someone has an ample opportunity to respond and avoid escalation through legal channels.  No reply from Mr. Motova but I did receive a notification that yet another support ticket (Ref. # NRI-810414) has been created.
  • July 30th – I have followed advise provided by PayPal and submitted complain to every site provided to me as well as writing this blog post.

Post Resolution Facts:

  • August 2nd – I have called PayPal and requested escalation and investigation of the HostIcan business practices, since they do business through their merchant account.
  • August 2nd – I received full refund as guaranteed by HostICan Policy. Mr. Denis Motova left comment on this blog, called me personally and apologized for the problem in billing department. According to him he was away since our initial communication, which allowed problem to escalate and become public knowledge.

As it stands today, HostIcan took my money for 6 month of service, which had been cancelled after 18 days. I have followed their outlined procedures to get my money back, according to HostICan’s Guarantee. The refund had never been processed regardless of my many attempts, including communicating to the owner of the company.  At this point it is safe to assume that I am a victim of fraud.

Not to mention that it took me and my partner few weeks to migrate all our sites and business to new host. I have mentioned it in my previous post “Blog On The Move“.

Since HostIcan methodically and intentionally ignored all my attempts to resolve this issue via normal means I want to use this blog post as means to warn other consumers by sharing my personal and detailed story!

I withheld nothing and if HostICan choose to reply here – it will not be deleted!

Summary 08/03/2010:

After multiple attempts and escalations I have received full refund! I appreciate direct intervention by Mr. Motova and final resolution of the problem. I do think this issue should have never be allowed to escalate to the point it did and since it became public knowledge – this post will remain online with my edits and final resolution.