alex sysoef

Beware Of HostICan Hosting

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  billing@hostican.com 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.

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60 Responses to “Beware Of HostICan Hosting”

  1. Alex, unfortunately this is not the first such comment I read about HostICan. I have heard thattheir management changed recently and ever since they started to slip in the customer service department. I see more and more comments advising to stay away from them. Really sorry to hear you fell victim of their fraud.

    • TheSpotter says:

      Thanks Mike,

      Unfortunately I only started looking at those reviews when I had my own problem.

    • Mary says:

      Sign me as someone who is also leaving Hostican due to bad customer service and total disinterest in customer satisfaction.

      This used to be a good little company. The new owners are going to pump it on the web, and provide zilch in value.

      I run a for pay stock market chat group, and it has been down now for most of the day. They have been unable to even get my WHM panel back up and running…incredible, and unacceptable.

      Hostican is not a hosting site for professionals who make money off their sites, even though Hostican charges premium rates. They are heavy now with salesmen, and know-nothing customer service, slim on tech support because it actually costs them money.

      You can see where they are taking this company, and I am planning on running far in the other direction immediately.

      Been down this road before with another site which got bought by a pump and dump hosting mill. Don't need to stick around for a second ride through the rotating knives,

  2. skykid says:

    I am sorry to hear that they keep misleading people. I believe that soon or latter things will change as more people share their experience with them as a company – I did and you too and we can only hope that other people will stumble on these articles and at least be more aware when picking a hosting company.

    • TheSpotter says:

      Thanks for comment, I agree that unfortunately at this point we can only hope that other customers will avoid our mistakes. I did however submitted official complains to all the federal services and BBB. I think scammers like this have to pay for what they do!

  3. Saksham says:

    I will never host with Host I Can. Stupid fraudsters! There are many such hosts online these days.

  4. Oh Alex,

    What a sucker of a thing to happen to you. I honestly believe you are doing the right thing now in making this public after trying to hard to rectify the matter on a personal level.

    It seems these guys are clearly evading you and this is a very cowardly thing to do. Unbelievable that a hosting company needs to resort to cheating its customers out of their money!!

    Hope you can get your money back at some stage. Would be good to see them shut down by the authorities.

    • TheSpotter says:

      Monika,

      I honestly don’t think I will get my money back – they had plenty of opportunities to provide it before it got escalated. I simply want to use this post to warn other people of the practice that HostICan choose to engage. If you note in my email to the company owner (as registered with BBB) I specifically asked:

      Please advice if failure to honor your company’s “30 Days Money Back Guarantee” is a new policy you have chosen to implement and I should follow advice given me by PayPal or if we could resolve this small misunderstanding and credit money back to my account

      I can only assume at this point that failure to address the issue, when given ample time is an answer.

      But once again – this is my PERSONAL opinion, based on my own recent experience.

  5. Buck says:

    I have no experience with HostICan, but I have had similar experiences. It really becomes a heart-break when you leave a place of business where you have had a good relationship.

    I recently lost two weeks of work production for a similar reason. I had a shared hosting provider who intentionally left setting open that introduced vulnerabilities to my websites outside of my control. More recently, several of my sites have been rapidly attacked and damaged by someone with the ability to delete the .htaccess files. As best I can tell, the only two ways to access these files is from my cpanel or from a higher authorized access than I have to the servers themselves.

    When I contacted the vendor, I provided information on how to set a switch, a setting that literally would only take seconds, and they not only refused to change the setting, but told me I was responsible for protecting my sites by purchasing a more expensive package they offered (which only had 1/2 the resources I was currently getting.)

    Now I am protecting myself by initiating a system of backed up sites between two providers in two parts of the country. Sure, I am paying twice as much as I would have, but I have piece of mind that if places like HostICan buy one out, I can move on without losing a week of work.

    I have no doubt that you are also taking steps to prevent downtime in case something happens where you are. After all, how do you measure the loss of several weeks work?

    Good luck in the move and with your future plans in this regard.

    Buck

    • TheSpotter says:

      Buck, hosting is tough business and sometimes in attempt to protect their customers security measures make host providers less then usable for many purposes. That is why we have switched now to a service where we simply lease the hardware and install the OS and everything required for us to run the sites ourselves. But luckily our combined knowledge allows us to take that step, I know majority will not.

  6. Jacinta Dean says:

    Hi Alex,

    I am so sorry to hear of this happening to you. I think there are more and more people now a days being scammed. I don’t understand why people do not honour their commitments. It is very easy to give a refund via paypal. It should not be a problem for them other than they are choosing to defraud you on purpose.

    I sell a ‘Spray Tanning’ manual online and whenever I have ever been asked for a refund even if I don’t believe the person deserves one I have still honoured it no questions asked. It is not worth the negative publicity.

    Good luck in your mission to get your refund or at least help get the company de-listed.

    Cheers

    Jacinta :D

    • TheSpotter says:

      Jacinta,

      My partner and I have several products and in our business we have honored refund even beyond the refund period provided in our guarantee. It was done as an exception but I still think its better for the business to not have a customer then have unhappy customer.

  7. Alex,

    Sorry to hear about your troubles with HostICan. As affiliate marketer I make most of my money promoting web hosting providers (I promote HostICan) as well.

    To say the least I am very disappointed by the fact that they made no attempt to contact you and resolve the issue. I will be following this with great interest.

    Again sorry for your trouble.

    • TheSpotter says:

      Thanks Vlad,

      Actually as you can see I have initiated and made multiple attempts to resolve this issue. Don’t forget that while dealing with this problem I actually had one more VPS server with them and I had every intention to keep it.

      I stated on several occasions during the conversations that I’m an existing customer and would like to keep it that way – all I was trying to do is to get the money back for the New Server I have purchased and then decided not to use, all within their defined 30 Days time frame.

      Luckily at same time when I canceled new VPS I was already working on building out a new VSE server with Media Temple, but its intent was quite different from what it is now – it was to be an EXTRA server to offload some of our sites. When all my attempts failed, we started to and just completed migration of ALL my sites to new server.

      I have canceled the VPS Extreme account I had with HostICan since 2008 this past Friday. I have no intentions to contribute to their cash flow when I feel I was scammed by them.

      • Can’t help but feel responsible. I believe have been promoting them since 2008. How many more clients are being treated like that? How many of the clients referred by me are being treated this way??? I am very close to say to them “You Are Fired!” as affiliate marketer…

        One dissatisfied client is one too many…

        Mr. Motova, please do the right thing. Every one can make a mistake, your company is not beyond making one either. You still have a good chance not only to save company’s face but end this situation on a positive note. Do the right thing.

  8. Dennis Edell says:

    Damn man, sorry to hear of all the troubles.

    Right up to the point of talking about the owner ignoring you I thought (hoped) it was a mere yet frustrating case of a mass interdepartmental breakdown, as it happens lots with offline corps as well. (Right-hand-left-hand two different directions.)

    However, when the owner, the man that can snap a finger and refund says, “I will investigate, and my internal team will review to see what is going on and get this sorted.”, you know something nasty is afoot.

    Refund NOW, THEN investigate what happened.

    • TheSpotter says:

      Thanks Denis,

      It was my thinking exactly and when I got almost instant reply from the person I believe to be owner (according to BBB record) I thought that all the problems were over. Sad that I was wrong and had to go to extremes I normally never would.

  9. pratish says:

    It’s very bad to hear that HostICan is a big fraud. Your true review about them will be really help new customers to stay safe from them. Since you have provided every proof they can’t say that this is something a wrong news. I recommend you to publish this in every webmasters forums too and help the members on there to be safe.

  10. Peggy says:

    Alex,
    It is a shame to HostICan that they have acted this way, without any honor whatsoever. Also, they should know that the internet is a very public place, and they should want to save their reputation by taking care of business in a very respectable way.

    Alas, they have not. And all of us appreciate you bringing this out into the open so we are not scammed!

    For many marketers, losing that kind of money is devastating and they would not bounce back. I am glad to see you were able to pick yourself up and continue running. Kudos to you, Alex.

    Peggy Hurd

  11. tedifa says:

    Actually i never heard that site,but about click fraud that just happened to me,you tell so detailed, thanks for sharing

  12. Thanks for the warning, I will stay clear of HostICan. I am on the lookout now for other scams like this. Sorry to here that you got caught by this :(

  13. Sire says:

    What a bummer. Nice of you to warn others of the extremely poor way in which they treated you. I can’t understand why they won’t honor their agreement and how they could let it get to this stage. The bad publicity would cost them a lot more than what they owe you.

  14. Linda G. Cox says:

    Thank you for getting the word out! By nature I’m a trusting soul~ I’m very grateful you warned me so I don’t give HostICan a shot at my $500!
    ~Linda

  15. Just checking in to see if there is any change. I am sure they have read this thread by now. Any response from HostICan?

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