Internetters/IOMART

I used to host this website with Internetters. A few months ago they were taken over by IOMART.

The standard of service went into decline. In particular, the previously friendly telephone support became rude and unhelpful. I’m currently disputing a series of charges IOMART are trying to levy for accounts I still hold there.

I’ve noticed a number of angry comments online about IOMART.

Here’s one thing that annoys me. They propose to charge £49 (thats around US$85) for the privilege of letting a customer transfer a domain away from them. This is a bit outrageous. (And given their hosting charges, I’d expect a lot of people to want to transfer away from them).

What’s more, it’s a flat contradiction of this promise, which still remains on the internetters web site here. Extract:

Domain name registration companies that have very low headline registration prices very often give you the domain name and nothing more… And if you want to move your domain name to another company for whatever reason, you may have to pay a release fee to the one you are leaving, even if you are actually doing all the transfer work yourself via an online Control Panel. This fee can be anything from £20 upwards – Internetters is aware of some companies that charge £100 plus VAT.

Some Internetters customers have also discovered that although the company they originally registered their domain with claimed to have “no hidden charges”, in fact they were charged a release fee when moving the domain to us. You should specifically ask any prospective registration company whether or not they will charge you a release fee should you wish to leave them.

To transfer a domain from Internetters, for our customers’ security all we ask is for the Registrant to send us a fax or letter on their company headed notepaper, or if the domain is registered to an individual, that they include some proof of identity such as a copy of their Internetters invoice / receipt.

Compare and contrast this statement within the internetters knowledgebase:

If you have decided that you wish to transfer away, please ensure that you have all the information you require to hand and that you have followed your new Hosts instructions regarding domain transfers before proceeding past this stage.

If you are ready to transfer your domain away from us simply click “Proceed” which will take you to the secure online payment area. Please note that all domain transfers away incur an administration fee of £49.00 ex VAT.

So a shabby change of policy, implemented incompetently.

You might have thought an internet company would be more aware than others that crappy behaviour like this gets noticed and talked about. I may be talking about them some more over the coming days…

UPDATE: In December 2005, after pursuing my complaint by post, Internetters wrote to me agreeing to release me from my contract without charge, and dropped some other charges I was disputing. They’ve also corrected the charging information for internetters customers. I think it’s only fair to give them credit for sorting this out, even if it took a while.

26 thoughts on “Internetters/IOMART

  1. Dustin

    Sounds like short-sighted management.

    • Invest as little as possible into existing customers

    • Screw them if they leave

    • And I’d guess their plans for increasing market share are to acquire other companies and waste money in advertisements.

    I predict a future in which:

    • Bad word-of-mouth will hurt them

    • They’ll spend more to aquire customers than a)they get from penalizing lost customers or b)they would have spent making you happy in the first place.

    Of course, there’s always the possibility that they had no intention of keeping your type of business anyway. It’s just idiotic to piss you off and possibly lose larger potential clients that may be influenced by your bad experience.

    Reply
  2. Jack Yan

    If, at the time of your commencement of the contract, they had not informed you of the hidden charges, and they did not bring this new policy to your attention sufficiently, then you have every grounds to make the transfer and not pay the £49, in my opinion. Besides, if their web site makes contradictory statements, then they are liable for deceiving consumers. I don’t know English consumer law that well, but I assume it’s fairly similar to that of other common law jurisdictions.

    Reply
  3. Johnnie Moore

    Nicolay: Funnily enough, I have used icdsoft and think they are excellent value for money. The Applied Improv Blog is hosted there.

    This blog is now at Hosting Matters. Good support, good prices. And they support multiple domains which the geek part of me is looking forward to using.

    Reply
  4. nic

    Just about to start having the same issues with Iomart/internetters as I try to transfer a domain away – They promised ‘no hidden fees’ when I registered.

    How did you get on?

    Reply
  5. Johnnie Moore

    Nic: I’m still waiting for them to engage with my written complaint. I get the impression that they just run their system and pretty much ignore complaints.

    Browsing the comments I linked to in my other post on Iomart, several people suggest there is a way round their release fee.

    At the moment I am waiting for them to respond to my complaint. They won’t be getting any money from me until they do.

    Reply
  6. nic

    Hi Johnnie,

    just to let you know that I initiated a transfer away (using goDaddy) for the domain that internetters/iomart were holding to ransom. It went through without a hitch and without any money going to iomart.

    Success all round for me. I hope you are having similar luck.

    Reply
  7. Ben Johnson

    All customers with IOMART should be very careful, now the new directory is up and running they are calling themselves UFINDUS, now they are still charging exsiting clients who have a Search Engine optimisation package with them for this service, even though they dispanded that side of the company over a year ago. Useful information Managing Director is Mark Hallam

    Reply
  8. Roy

    I just spoke to Internetters and asked about transfering domains away. There answer was (volunteered by them, without any prompting)

    “The standard way to transfer domains away is to use the control panel. However that will charge you, and all Internetters customers have a contract which allows them to transfer free of charge. Therefore what you need to do is send us a fax, and our DNS team will handle it”

    So it looks like they may have got their house in order.

    Reply
  9. The Doc

    Well none of their webites are working tonight 17/10/05

    They host mine and I thought it was me making mistakes with the upload . Several hours later I contact Easyspace /Iomart and find ALL of their websites are down. Cr!p service if you cant be bothered to tell your clients that the service is down

    Reply
  10. Chris Smith

    In the early days of Internetters we had no problems. Fast, efficient, friendly and personal service. Since coming under Iomart’s umbrella organisation they have plummeted to such depths of incompetence, rudeness and downright dishonesty that we cannot see how they can possibly survive much longer. I won’t bore you with the catalogue of fundamental business and ethical failings at Iomart’s instigation that have so damaged our business but suffice to say we will be moving all of our own and sub hosted domains away at the earliest opportunity. In over forty years of business all over the world I have never suffered such appalling business service.

    Reply
  11. ex-employee

    All i can say is… i and several friends have made a good living from working for iomart over several years dont knock unless u have tried it … get on with your lives and stop whining on about poor customer service … christ if the girl on the checkout @ sainsbury’s doesn’t say “hello, would you like any help bagging” you would probably complain about that

    Reply
  12. Johnnie Moore

    Hi ex-employee. I’m glad you made a good living but I don’t see what relevance that has to me as a customer. One man’s “whine” is another’s well justified complaint.

    Reply
  13. steve

    I’ve just been lied to by a ufindus / iomart employee and I’m going to take them to court, barclaycard are not much help, but I’m in contact with trading standards fraud division, If I get joy i’ll be happy to help any others.

    Reply
  14. m bolland

    I am just off the phone to a Customer Relations case officer of UFindUs (0141 931 6450). I really am quite appalled with the result of my endless communications with that company. Late last year my company, which is a website design company, was called by a disgruntled client of UFindUs. I agreed to redesign his website because UFindUs had made an extremely shoddy attempt and was not answering his phone calls. I called the company and they charged me fifty something pounds to redirect the domain name to my servers so I could redesign and host the site. Any reasonable company wouldn’t have charged anything but, I didn’t realise it then, they are anything but a reasonable company. Since then they have been charging me £23.50 on a regular basis. I still have no idea why are charging me and they cannot offer me any reason.

    I have contacted them relentlessly by phone and letter but always get the same stone wall. One month an operator may tell me that I agreed to pay for some services (they will look at their records or taped phone calls etc etc – but of course they never do) and another month a different operator will say that he can’t find any of my details at all and they have no record of any transactions. Of course it is nothing but theft.

    Today had a final conversation with Paul Williams (the only person there I have spoken to in any way helpful) and he tells me that his manager has told him that they cannot refund me. They admit that they had no right to take the money but tell me I have to get my Visa card company to claim the money back as a fraudulent transfer. The reason for this? They don’t have a refund policy! I couldn’t believe it when I heard it either but those were the exact words! In other words they are refusing to refund me the money they have stolen from my account.

    A final word! One of the operators I spoke to approximately 1 month ago actually admitted to me that he was embarrassed to be working for this company and he spends a large amount of his working day dealing with people who have been robbed by UFindUs.

    My advice is not to get involved in any way with this company and if at all possible cancel any contracts with them immediately. I can tell you, as a director of a Web design and Internet marketing company, the websites I have seen developed by this company are appalling. They have no special relationship with Google (Google have no special relationship with any company) and if they tell you that they will get you at the top of any major search engine, then they are liars as well as thieves.

    Reply
  15. John Pascoe

    Don’t deal with Iomart / Internetters, paid £1200 for e commerce website that only worked if they entered payments on a daily bases. this they stopped doing after 2 months, would not speak with me after that, but now contacted again saying they need more money off me. horrible people, only contact via recorded delivery, they will loose all other corespondances.

    Reply
  16. Ray Clements

    Internetters really are abysmal – and the sooner word gets out the better.

    I have lost four domains through their ineptitude – all belonging to customers.

    I still have 6 with them that I am desperately trying to pry away from them.

    Their website control panel doesn’t allow you to do what it says it does. Their telephone system is constantly in “sorry all our operators are busy” mode – probably dealing with 1000s of people ringing up to complain.

    I have sent recorded delivery letters but still no response.

    Does anyone know a way to forceably drag these domains off them?

    Reply
  17. Johnnie Moore

    Hi Ray, thanks for your comment. In my case, letter writing and nagging did eventually lead to a resolution. It appears many others have had a lot of problems – just see this for an indication of blogosphere response.

    I have seen some comments suggesting it is possible to transfer .com domains bypassing them, but I didn’t try this myself.

    Reply
  18. jonathan farber

    Back in July 2004 I receievd a call from Iomarts sales team, promising me front page exposure in all the search engines which would garauntee me hits, Quoting that the domain names they were about to sell me had been searched 100s of times per month. It sounded a good way to promote my Villa in Florida to short term renters. So I invested in their package which included a templated website 2 domain names monthly hosting, and site stats fo £350 plus £19 per month.

    In October 2004 I recieved another call from Iomart sales, trying to sell me exactly the same. The obviuosly had trawled through magazines and were calling all in them. I told them I had their package already and had not recieved 1 enquiry from potential customers.

    In Dec2004 I recieved another call from their sales team. Stating that my site was getting 40hits per month and would I like to upgrade. I was at this point very suspicious. So I asked them to call me back a bit later.

    I checked my site stats and found to my suprise that the site had had 45 hits that month. I drilled down to find out where thy had come from and established that they had all come from the same IP address which turned out to be that of Iomart.

    The sales girl from Iomart called back to ask if I wanted to upgrade , when I confronted her with the facts of the web stats she hung up on me.

    I then went through to their customer service and posed this question with them and asked to cancel my contract. After several calls none back from them i might add I obtained an agreeement on this on the basis that I would not take the matter any further.

    In June 2005 I received a bill and a phone call from their accounts chasing payments as I had cancelled my direct debit. I again went through the rigmorole of Custoemr Service and thought id sorted it. Until June 2006 when they called again chasing 18 months hosting. Again Customer service promising to sort it.

    I HAVE NOW RECEIVED A LETTER FROM A DEBT COLLECTOR THREATENING COURT ACTION ETC.

    They have sucked over 240 000 customers into such contracts no doubt using similar sales tactics, I would therefore be very interested in any other custoemrs out their that have been stung and decieved by their sales methods

    —–

    I cannot begin to tell you about the problems and over charging from iomart-internetters. They even charged me for domains that i didnt even own sub hosting that I had repeatedly ask to be terminated.

    and the list goes on….having read p-lenty of comments on blagger.com i think that we could ourganise a visual demonstration at their offices, and with my connections in the press, we could do some damage to that £24m profit margin of theirs.

    regards,

    jonathan

    Reply
  19. Dave

    My advice to anyone contemplating signing up with any Iomart company is simply

    this – Don’t!

    As others in these depressing pages have already said, ISP companies that were once

    efficient, friendly and accessible became rude and incompetent once under the Iomart

    umbrella. Worse (if that were possible) the statement right on this site by an ex

    Iomart staff member amply describes the staff attitude at Iomart. Arrogance that

    beggars belief. They never admit to their errors and errors they do make. By the

    bucket load.

    So saying one does occasionally come across a technical person there prepared and

    able to fix what they break but it is seldom worth the hour wait in a telephone holding

    queue. I feel sorry for those few staff there that do try and hope they do well when

    soon they find better employment. As surely they must if for no other reason than

    Iomart’s survival under its present direction would be nothing short of a miracle.

    Only Iomart could expect their customers to be pro-active, almost on a daily basis,

    just to ensure no surprise changes had been made to servers or protocols requiring

    hours of their customer’s time to repair the damage. Initial contact with Internetters

    for example must be conducted through an assault course they laughingly think of as

    a website. Only to have painstakingly written problem ‘tickets’ dismissed and

    cancelled without so much as even an email apology let alone a solution.

    As larger domain name holders know (and even smaller ones for that matter), it isn’t

    easy constantly moving sites and email servers so best not make the mistake of letting

    any Iomart company host yours in the first place.

    Quite where or when or by whom their claimed customer testimonials were written is

    anyone’s guess. They certainly wouldn’t publish this one!

    —–

    Hi, I have had an ongoing problem with this company since July 2005, they now say that I owe them £379 and that my details have been passed to a debt collection agency. The debt collectors have written saying that they will take me to court. Has anyone else had this? and has anyone actually been taken to court as I have been unable to contact the debt collection agency (number goes straight to answer machine)

    Reply
  20. Kathryn Hoyles

    We are currently experiencing the same problem as

    Dave (Oct.6th). We received a ‘contract’ on 26th Feb 2004 and paid £246.69 plus £364 on 30th Sept

    2004 and some monthly payments of £10 plus Vat

    which they took from our credit card. I don’t believe I’ve heard anything from them for over a year and have paid nothing because the credit card expired and we received a new one.

    Then out of the blue last week I received a call from a person called Michael Quinn demanding £202.69. He said we were in arrears. But I demanded to know why we hadn’t heard anything from them for a year. He tried to make out that he’d been sending us e-mails but he hadn’t.

    Anyway a friend checked out their claims and discovered they were in effect doing nothing for us so when he rang today I told him I wasn’t paying. He became very aggressive, said the managing director of the firm dosen’t speak to customers so with that I put the phone down on him. He’d also told me that I had a contract which I hadn’t cancelled and therefore I had to carry on paying. He rang back and made a lot of threats; namely that he would take us to a debt collection agency, give us a bad credit rating etc. I don’t really know what to do next.

    Reply
  21. Richard

    Hi,

    Looking for some advice. I have two business websites that provide my living, hosted by iomart/internetters, plus several other domains that are less important and have had so many problems since Iomart took over. I used to deal with Paul Westley of Internetters in the good old days and he was absolutely fantastic – great guy. I need a decent reliable hosting company like internetters used to be. Any suggestions? I too have had so many charging issues, the control panel is so out of date that it’s a total waste of time. They tried to charge me twice for the same hosting and then removed my main business website for over a month until they realised it was their mistake and I had paid for the bundle months ago. Now I can’t even service my email forwarding and have had control panel “tech-help” from some foreign shore for the last week just trying to sort out en email.fwd issue. Still not resolved and the tech help ‘phone line is always engaged – suprise!

    Thanks for the opportunity to rant Johnnie!

    Regards

    Mike

    —–

    Mike, I’ve sorted out quite a few clients who were with Iomart and I’d suggest moving your domains and hosting elsewhere – obvious really! But finding an honest, reliable hosting service can be more tricky. For what it’s worth, I’ve used Donhost and Heart Internet. The former is a fast service, but limited on facilities, the latter has loads of useful facilities, but the servers aren’t as quick. Try out http://www.webperf.net. One of the top performing hosting companies told me the top 50 should provide a fast service. But as with many things in life you only get to find out once you’ve tried a service. And that is why I run my clients’ hosting separately from the domain name management. It gives you the opportunity to easily transfer your hosting to another hosting company if you’re not happy with the service. You do have to know how to organise the name servers, but it’s well worth the effort of finding out or using a company that will keep your domain management and hosting separate for you. Good luck!

    Reply
  22. Gary Wearmouth

    Thanks for the comments Richard. Keeping domains and hosting separate is a good suggestion. Thanks. Iomart speed is so variable – sometimes you can FTP instantly, sometimes it is SOOOO sluggish; same with page download speed.

    Regards

    Mike

    —–

    I would appreciate it if someone could offer some advice. My dispute with Ufindus/Iomart has been going on for a year now and I cannot get rid of them. I have had no joy with the website from the word go and they want paying for it. They haven’t answered any of my correspondence all year. Could someone tell me how to proceed?? PLEASE????

    —–

    Hi everybody,

    I have had U Findus on back for over three years and it is still ongoing with abusive threats of court action by their staff I will not pay a thing to them I was told the payment I made over three years ago was for one year’s ad and that is it I was miss sold product by this company they said they had taped the conversation but they have no give me a copy as yet the latest now is last week I received a letter from a collections agency which U Findus have employed to try and recover unauthorized debts I called them and explained what was going on had no intension of paying one penny to them I also point them in right direction to many website telling them they need to find out who they are really dealing with. The collection company are called Blacks Collections they told me that they do not take people to court or even issue court action they pass all details on after they spoke to whoever and pass it back ufindus.com I am now waiting for a court summons and I can assure you and unfindus.com they can go to hell I will fight this to the day I DIE I will not pay them they are thefts’ trapping the small business in their so called terms and conditions. I will spend every penny I have on court action with ufindus.com

    —–

    With regards to Darren’s letter (Oct 13th 2007) I think he need not worry. I too have had Ufindus on my back for the last two – three years, claiming I owe them this and that amounting to a few hundred pounds. In fact I have only just had a call myself from ‘Blacks Collections’……..it was lovely to hear from them, the last time was over a year ago.

    At the end of the day, if these idiots were serious about taking us to court….it would have happened a long time ago. The reason they have not is blatantly obvious.

    I have had calls from various agencies claiming to be this legal dept or xyz collections agency and on each occasion I tell them that they must take the matter to court….indeed that I want them to take us to court.

    Now I don’t know about you Darren, but if one of my clients owed me several hundred pounds and they were blatantly refusing to pay, their feet would not touch the ground. Ask yourself why Iomart or Ufindus or Blacks Collections or whatever other name they think up next, have not brought this matter before the court in over 3 years??? The reason is – they know they would lose.

    I have read pages and pages and pages of complaints online about these people, but one thing is common in every single case, they shout, they threaten, they pester but these are just empty threats and you, I and everyone else should just laugh at them and hang up the phone.

    I have asked them several times to produce a copy of the agreement I signed, they can’t. I asked for a copy of the phone conversation in which I made a verbal agreement and agreed to an open ended automatically renewing contract paying month after month forever and ever …..er they could not. I asked them why they failed to respond to the letters (x 3) I sent to their head office cancelling the contract, or the messages left on their answer phone….or the emails…….all of which were ignored.

    Even if we did have our day in court, I would have under my arm a long list of almost unbelievable claims the sales rep made at the time they approached us…..stating they were going to produce fantastic results for our business, that Ufindus was going to rival Yell.Com, that there would be television adverts promoting the website, even going so far that they virtually guaranteed us new business.

    I believe that the law calls this ‘Misrepresentaion’ and where it can be shown that this had taken place…..the contract could be deemed null and void anyway.

    Frankly, I believe I could tear this company apart if I faced them in a court room, but sadly I doubt I shall ever get the chance…..

    To Darren and all the other disgruntled people ripped off by these unscrupulous scam mongers….think yourselves lucky you only lost a few quid. Put it behind you and get on with living your lives.

    Merry Christmas to one and all.

    —–

    I feel so much better after reading these comments, I,ve not slept for two nights worrying about it.

    Many thanks

    Reply

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