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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About The Blog Author

Alex Sysoef is an IT Consultant, Internet Marketer and ProBlogger who shares his passion and knowledge of WordPress, SEO, Social Media and traffic strategies on his blog WordPress Howto Spotter. Connect on Twitter or Facebook

60 Responses to “Beware Of HostICan Hosting”

  1. Glad you are getting the word out on how this company lacks integrity and doesn’t stand behind their guarantee! I often wonder how so many of these companies stay in business not to mention don’t seem to care about their reputations.

    It is just awful that you and your partner were treated this way. I recognize the hard work it takes to move your blog and get it all set up. Most of all it is sad to see that a company you have done business with for a couple of years chose to sever the relationship forever in the fashion they did.

    Glad you are up and running again and really glad I found your site! Great info you pack on here! Thanks for all your hard work!

    “Dream, Believe, Become…”
    Tracey Keefer
    Tracey Keefer recently posted..5 Pillars of Success- a New Perspective- Pillar 1

    • TheSpotter says:

      Tracey,

      Actually blog move was the simplest process – it is all the other sites and membership scripts migration that nearly killed us :-) But it also gave us opportunity to simplify and re-arrange our business. So there is something positive even in this mis-adventure :-)

      • Growth and learning there lies the silver lining to all mishap adventures!

        Perspective can make you powerful or powerless and you have gained much power in this process.

        But as you said the real service is in your sharing and sparing of others from the same lesson! The smart ones will learn from you!

        Thanks again!

        “Dream, Believe, Become…”
        Tracey Keefer
        Tracey Keefer recently posted..5 Pillars of Success- a New Perspective- Pillar 1

  2. Ouch! What a painful situation to have to go through witha company you’ve been paying money too! Yikes!

    Thank you for the heads-up on this company! I recently purchased a VPS and am glad its not with them!
    Kimberly
    Kimberly Castleberry recently posted..An Introduction to Google Adwords and Adsense

  3. Denis Motova says:

    Alex,

    Thanks for getting in contact with me. I apologize that it took me a while to get back to you. Per our conversation, this issue has been resolved and once again my apologies on behalf of the billing group.

    Thanks again for letting me know about all of this.

    – Denis

    • Guess it took throwing it out there in the open on your blog that expedited the refund!

      That’s one way to get the owner to respond!

      But the damage has been done and the old saying applies too little too late, as he could have avoided this whole thing by ensuring his policies are actually executed as promised!

      Rock on Alex!!! and thanks for saving the rest of us!

      “Dream, Believe, Become…”
      Tracey Keefer
      Tracey Keefer recently posted..5 Pillars of Success- a New Perspective- Pillar 1

    • TheSpotter says:

      Denis,

      Thank you for your reply and resolution of the problem. I have edited post to reflect resolution.

  4. Lakhyajyoti says:

    A very bad experience.I will never host with HostICan.BWN I heard first time about this host in your site
    Lakhyajyoti recently posted..7 Things You Should Know To Write a Killer Article

  5. Alex, thanks for updating us about the resolution.

    Mr. Motova, I imagine it was hard thing to do – apologize for the screw up in public. I hope this is being viewed at your company as a learning opportunity. Whoever is in charge of PR at HostICan would have lost their job- if I was in your shoes. I was expecting an official response from HostICan to be among first 10 comments of this discussion.

    As an affiliate I made some decent pocket change promoting web hosting providers. While I have not made any money with HostICan the pages on my websites featuring HostICan all used to stress on “No Questions Asked Money Back Guarantee”. I have removed any mentions of HostICan 30 Day Money Back guarantee, for time being.

    I hope you can understand where some one like me is coming from. As an affiliate I might be found liable one day for promoting a guarantee that… oh well has rather number of complicated steps to it (don’t take my word on it since I am not a lawyer).

    My initial intent was to publish a longer post on one of my own blogs. However, I needed to tune it down a bit- especially after refund was made.

    As one of the comments mentioned a “screw up” like this already caused big deal of damage. And it’s consequences will last longer that one might imagine- Internet is a strange beast with extremely long memory.

    I still believe HostICan has an opportunity to change things around by making sure no one has to be in Alex’s shoes. Just think about it, even Alex admits that your company offers above average hosting solutions. I think small hosting companies like HostICan can outgrow GoDaddy’s and Yahoo’s of web hosting world if they do things the right way.
    Vlad Zablotskyy recently posted..Tip For Datafeedr Users- Removing Rel Canonical – Why And How

  6. Mark says:

    I have never heard of that site, but I know that find good and affordable hosting can be difficult. I have moved hosting three times since in online business and run a dedicated server now.

    The two hosting companies I would recommend are Serverloft, and ThePlanet. Later this year I intend to move to Serverloft because there you get more bang for your money.
    Mark recently posted..The Other Guys

  7. Sire says:

    Good to see it’s all resolved. A shame that it had to get to this though. Let’s hope it’s a lesson learned.
    Sire recently posted..How A Woman Made Me Change My Evil Ways

  8. Kathy Pop
    Twitter: kathypop
    says:

    It’s an awful thing when businesses do this. It makes it tough for people to trust those of us who conduct business ethically.

    But Mr. Motova’s absence should not have had an impact on whether or not you get a refund- that’s why we hire & train staff- to handle issues for us. A simple yes over the phone to his employees should have done the trick. Geesh, I managed a bar/restaurant from a hospital bed several years ago.

    Your post shows what real power there is in blogging. keep it up.

    Kathy Pop
    Kathy Pop recently posted..What To Do On The Off Weeks In The Challenge

    • TheSpotter says:

      Thanks Kathy,

      I agree with you but Mr. Motova did come through and I’m not going to speculate on what might have been or why something didn’t happen.

      Blogging is a power and that is one of the reason I published this post, bad publicity is not something a business relying on web should be looking for but sometimes is necessary

  9. Glad to see it was all resolved, Alex… Looking at the dates involved, maybe you misunderstood their ’30-day refund policy’ – obviously it means it takes 30 days of action on your part before you can expect a refund… ;-)
    Doug Champigny recently posted..Online Marketing Tips For Small Offline Businesses

  10. Herschel says:

    Hi Alex,

    Sorry you had so much trouble getting your money back. Like Kathy said, it is a shame that businesses let things like this happen.

    I ran an off line business for 42 years and was away many times during those 42 years, but I always made sure that my employees knew exactly what my policies where for any foreseen situations.

    That is all that in necessary.
    Herschel recently posted..Get The FastWebFormula Bonus And Learn Internet Marketing Techniques Quickly

  11. Aaron says:

    Sorry to hear what happen to you Alex and thank you for sharing this post to make us aware about HostICan.
    Aaron recently posted..Today on the Spot – WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011- WWE All-Stars

  12. Matthew says:

    Add Fatcow to this list, there hosting is terrible, downtime quite often, slow load times and ftp problems. I even got an email 1/5 into my term telling me my account was going to be deleted, had to call them to get it sorted.
    Matthew recently posted..Financial Advisors – Should you trust them

  13. I remember how one of my friend loose all her three years valuable wordpress database as her hosting site runaway closing his business in between. I always insist on world class well known branded hosting to my readers.
    Shanker Bakshi recently posted..Is Your Blog Ready for New facebook Search Engine

  14. Jason says:

    What a nightmare…congratulations on your refund. That just goes to show you that as a consumer you can still put pressure on an organization to do the right thing.

  15. Nice to know that the post is going to stay up. That way they can be on their toes against future occurrences. Had the same problem with some stupid Nigerian web host.
    Udegbunam Chukwudi recently posted..How To Advertise On StrictlyOnlineBizcom For FREE!

    • Afam says:

      Chukwudi Nwanne, Pls Can you state the problems you had with your hosting company without stating that it’s a Nigerian host? No country has monopoly for wack hosting service. No reference was made to the country that HostIcan originates from but Nigerians like you are quick to rub the name of your country in the mud.

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