Host with the LEAST

A Cautionary Tale of Cheaters on the 'Net

As an illustration of how problems with on-line companies can reveal themselves and then (rapidly) escalate, I offer a timeline of a bad experience with the website hosting company, InfiNet Hosting. Can you spot the red flags?

  1. After several months of hosting passed without incident, my website suddenly went down.
  2. I tried to be patient, figuring it was just a temporary glitch, but then their main website went down.
  3. I attempted to contact them via the information they had provided with my domain registry, but I received a message that the phone number had been disconnected.
  4. After about a week of down time, my domain and the other sites hosted there returned. InfiNet offered no explanation for the service disruption.
  5. Six months later, my domain and InfiNet's main site went down again. Remembering the last time, I waited a week to see what happened. Their main site came back, but mine remained down.
  6. Then, adding insult to injury, they replaced my site's content with an ad for their hosting company. I tried to log in and update that because I certainly did not want to advertise their services, but the system would not let me log in.
  7. As before, attempts to contact them via email, fax, and phone remained fruitless.
  8. After my site had been down for two weeks, I moved my domain to another host. I had used less than half of the two years of hosting that I had paid for - and I was certain that InfiNet would not give me a refund - but that was less important than getting away from the frustration of dealing with them.
  9. I mailed a letter of cancellation to them. A week later, the post office returned it to me with the message that the company had moved and left no forwarding address.
  10. However, the nightmare continued. When I received my next credit card statement, I found a charge from InfiNet for $180 -- two more years of hosting!
  11. I wrote to my credit card company, explaining my repeated attempts to cancel my services with InfiNet. I also explained that, even without the cancellation attempts, I had one year left of the two years of hosting I had already paid for, so InfiNet had no reason to charge me again at that time.
  12. After I provided documentation of my contact attempts and what I had already paid, the charge was removed from my account. I then cancelled that credit card, so InfiNet would have no means of charging me further.

InfiNet Hosting has since gone out of business. They're trying to sell their domain name, so I'm leaving this warning with the link to let potential buyers know what kind of reputation is associated with the name InfiNet Hosting.

Lessons Learned

The experience with InfiNet taught me to be very careful when dealing with any company, but especially with companies on the Internet, where it is far too easy for someone to hide if they choose to do so. While there's no way to guard yourself 100% from choosing a bad business, there are several things you can do to help make informed choices:

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